See Some of Tokyo’s Most Beautiful Wisterias at the Nishiarai Daishi Spring Flower Festival

JAPANKURU
4 min readApr 26, 2024

The annual flower festival held in northern Tokyo at Nishiarai Daishi Temple kicks off with the bloom of cherry blossoms towards the end of March, but the real spectacle unfolds as April brings warmer weather to the city. It’s during those breezy spring days that the wisterias growing outside the temple’s main hall burst into a breathtaking display of color! While Nishiarai Daishi may not attract the same throngs as some of Tokyo’s more popular spring flower spots (like Kameido Tenjin Shrine), we’re letting you in on a local secret — this temple is a hidden gem when it comes to experiencing wisteria season in Tokyo.

Known formally as Gochisan Henjoin Sojiji, Nishiarai Daishi Temple boasts a storied history dating back to 826 AD, when Kobo Daishi (the esteemed founder of Japan’s Shingon Buddhist sect) is said to have journeyed to the area to combat a plague ravaging the local populace. The monk carved images of himself and the goddess Kannon, and by placing them in a dried-up well, burning offerings, and praying for a full three weeks, legend tells us that Kobo Daishi caused fresh water to spring from the well, curing the locals and giving the new temple its name at the same time. Nishiarai literally means “new western well”!

Nishiarai Daishi’s wisteria trees are their own testament to time, and they’re believed to be nearly as ancient as the temple itself, with local lore telling of Nishiarai Daishi’s wisterias as far as 700 years back. The carefully shaped boughs now wind along a sturdy pergola, sprawling out in a graceful tangle from the trunks, in a majestic canopy trailing long curtains of delicate purple blossoms. Visitors often come to sit quietly next to the tranquil koi pond, breathing in the wisterias’ strong perfume as they relax under the long tendrils of pretty flowers.

While the temple generally lets the whims of the flowers determine the beginning and end of the Nishiarai Daishi Spring Flower Festival instead of setting concrete dates, late April generally proves to be the best time for visitors looking to enjoy the temple’s seasonal festivities. Not only are the wisterias at their most resplendent, but the festival atmosphere is also boosted by cheery booths and stalls, selling street food like yakisoba and offering a chance to play some of Japan’s traditional festival games!

Of course, flower lovers shouldn’t miss Nishiarai Daishi’s peony garden while they’re at the temple! The bright and colorful spectacle is just across the street from the main hall, and the peonys also bloom during the Spring Flower Festival, complementing the purple and white wisterias with a whole rainbow of different shades and hues, coming from an array of different peony types.

Nishiarai Daishi may lie a little off the beaten path for the typical Tokyo sightseer, but its fragrant wisterias and dazzling peonies make it a great destination for flower lovers visiting Tokyo after the cherry blossom season, in late April and early May!

Nishiarai Daishi Temple (西新井大師)
1–15–1 Nishiarai, Adachi City, Tokyo
Access: Daishi-Mae Station (大師前)
Official Website (en)

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