June is the month for Iris in Japan. According to all the sites, these beautiful flowers only last about a month. Though not nearly as spectacular as Cherry Blossoms and not nearly as abundant, I love Iris and wanted to see a few before they disappear.
Monday we headed off to the Koishikawa Korakuen garden, and got out at the subway stop Korakuen, crossed the street, and followed along the wall of the garden for a good ten minutes until we came to the now familiar entrance.
The Professor and I concurred that these Japanese gardens have it figured out. We have been to this particular garden multiple times: in the fall for the colors, in the spring for the plum blossoms followed by the cherry blossoms a month later, then again in May for the wisteria, and now in June for the Iris. Can you say: ka-ching? Each time we go, it’s another entrance fee. Though the fee is only around $3, it adds up when you go five times and bring a friend. It’s a good racket because otherwise, we’d only visit once and call it good.
The garden is not that large, but the area where the irises are—though not that large—did not disappoint.
Monday was a beautiful sunny day, great for Iris viewing. Tuesday it rained, so we stayed home. But Wednesday promised to be rain free so we headed out to the Meiji Jingu Inner Garden within the Meiji Shrine area to see more irises.
Again, we have been to the Meiji Shrine area multiple times now and each time we have passed the entrance to this little park within a park—the Inner Garden. There are actually two entrances to this park—one right past the main Tori gate and another after the second Tori gate. Without the Iris posters to point this out, we had never even noticed the first entrance.
Thanks to the posters, this time we saw it, paid the 500 yen entrance fee and walked inside.
First stop was a beautiful pond filled with huge carp and lots of beautiful lily pads, some in bloom.
At the top of the hill and overlooking the pond is a teahouse that we walked up to see. This is apparently a favorite place for the Empress to hang out, according to the brochure. There was definitely a serene view from here—though sadly I don’t have a photo.
We followed the crowd along the path to the iris area. It was pretty. Not large and overly impressive, but still a nice pretty dose of color to brighten the day and our mood.
We then followed the crowd along the path some more, past the iris area, to the well where the water springs forth and is used to water the iris.
It had its own guard to make sure everyone formed a line and didn’t push as everyone walked up to the well.Not wanting to be the odd person out, we followed suite and stuck our hands in, too. The water was so clear and cold.
I told the Professor I was tempted to take a sip, but decided against it. No need to bring home any unwanted parasites—plus I’m horrible with pets. So much responsibility. I fought the feeling.
We then followed the crowd back out into the cacophony of Harajuku.