While it feels like throughout the whole first three months of the year everyone waits in anticipation for the cherry blossom peak, once it is over, people throughout Japan celebrate the incredible azalea, roses and hydrangeas! While I feel like in Europe flowers are generally more scattered, in Japan they are planted in abundance in distinctive places, so it really feels like entering a botanical garden even in the bleakest of places!
While I was fascinated more by the azalea and ajisai (hydrangea) last year, this year the roses really stood out to me. We’re super lucky to have quite a few major gardens right next to our workplace and thus could explore some of the best rose viewing gardens in Yokohama casually during our lunch breaks! In this article, I’m introducing my three favourite parks & gardens for rose peak viewings in Yokohama to you.
Harbor View Park (港の見える丘公園)
In Japan, this park is widely known for being the backdrop of the famous Studio Ghibli From up on Poppy Hill anime film, telling the story of a girl whose father left on a navy mission and never returned. Feeling hopeful, she hissed flags every day wishing for his safety and imminent return. Since the 1860s, the site of this park used to house the British Consul’s Residence, so it’s to no surprise that a beautiful rose garden was established here. As the British Consul’s Residence and surrounding gardens were returned to the City of Yokohama in 1969 and opened as a public park, there is no entrance fee to see this stunning rose garden and the British House that has been turned into a museum and cafe.
Yamashita Park (山下公園)
Yamashita Park has been around since the 1920s and is perhaps one of the most well-known places in Yokohama with it’s vast green stretch by the waterfront ideal for picnics and hanami (firework viewings), as well as the ocean cruiser Hikawa Maru open for visitors, and many festivals taking place throughout the year. The park’s rose garden was refurbished in 2016 and has since become one of the most popular spots in Yokohama for rose-viewing in spring and autumn. Yamashita Park and Harbor View Park are both in walking distance from each other and can therefore easily be combined as a day trip! In recent years, the ‘Yokohama Garden Necklace‘ has been introduced and at each participating venue (including the three in this article), you can grab a free magazine that showcases all the different parks and gardens in Yokohama that you can visit for flower viewing. The best thing is, the majority of them have free entry and make a great day out in Yokohama on a budget!
Yokohama English Garden
The Yokohama English Garden has opened its doors five years ago close to Yokohama Station, with a feel of a small oasis in the big city! As this is one of our favourite secret little weekend getaways in Yokohama, we bought yearly membership passes last year, which allow us to visit the garden as often as we like and we also received a beautiful calendar with photos of the garden, so we always know what’s in bloom. When the 1,800 roses are in peak in April and May, the whole garden transforms to a treat for the senses! As you walk around the rose-woven paths, there’s an opulent scent of sweet blossoms and we just wanted to stop and take photos of all the different coloured roses and peonies, as they looked so precious! It comes to no surprise that the Yokohama English Garden won the Award of Garden Excellence at the 18th World Rose Convention.
What’s next? With the start of the early rainy season, the hydrangeas have started to bloom and I love seeing them pop up around our local neighbourhoods!
Similar blog posts with itineraries around Yokohama & Tokyo you might be interested in –