Every year, between late April and early May, Kawachi Fujien Wisteria Garden dresses up in a royal purple garb. More than one 150 wisteria trees color up the blue sky and infuse the air with their intoxicating perfume. Kawachi Fujien’s private garden, established—in 1997—in pre-existing parkland, is located on the outskirts of Kitakyushu City. A short ride from Fukuoka Airport followed by another 15 minutes’ walk will take you to a world of fantasy. Beware of traffic congestion during the peak hours, which could cause a delay of up to a couple of hours. Public transport is infrequent, and rented car seems to be the best option for reaching there.
The shortness of the blooming season coupled with its increasing popularity draws people from across the globe to this corner of Japan. But be assured that an exhilarating scene dominated by drooping blossoms from century-old wisteria vines will dissipate the weariness of your journey if any. Many young lovebirds come here to take their sacred vows under the enchanting shade of these trees.
Hundreds of wisteria vines decorate a couple of extensive walkways creating beautiful arches. Large trellises are built to support the vines and create a most delicate canopy of flowers. Each tunnel opens up to a huge dome also decked up with blooming wisterias. Though the luster of pink and purple seem to be the magical colors of the amazing wisteria vines, those are not the only shades you’ll experience here. Close to two dozen different species lights up the bucolic terrain. Shades of blue, white, lilac, purple, pink and mauve create a most sumptuous chromatic feast.
Hanami or flower viewing is a well known Japanese tradition. Though nowadays it is mostly associated with viewing cherry, almond, and plum blossoms, wisterias also have a particular significance in the country’s culture. Through their work, artists like Katsushika Hokusai, Ogata Korin, and Shoson Ohara often pay homage to the beauty of wisterias. Japanese pottery and porcelain are frequently embellished with the most meticulously painted wisteria vines. Fuji Musume or Wisteria Maiden is still performed in Japan’s Kabuki Theater.
Sitting on rustic benches at Kawachi Fuji Garden, you will feel overwhelmed by the ethereal, perfumed reality all around you. Soak in the beauty of the atmosphere as long as possible. This will certainly be one of your most memorable journeys to an earthly fairyland.
The park remains open only for a brief period during springtime. It reopens for a similarly short span of time in autumn. The blush of wisteria vines is then replaced with the intense colors of over 700 maple trees—another marvel of nature, another sight to behold.■