While it may seem like the Wisteria Tunnel in Kawachi Fujien Gardens in Kitakyushu City is a magical dreamland with no place in reality, the flower covered pathway is, in fact, very real and has become a major annual destination for locals and tourists alike.
Wisteria is one of Japan’s native plants and grows all over the island— it’s beloved for its dramatic vines that drip with colorful blooms every spring. The Wisteria Tunnel is a particularly lovely destination as its branches have been planted and trained to fall in an ombre pattern of varying degrees of pastels along its length.
There is another major Wisteria destination in Japan called Ashikaga that brings in even larger crowds and has even more blooms than Kawachi. The Kawachi Gardens are a bit lesser known and locals are somewhat hesitant to advertise the garden for fear of its serenity and beauty getting overrun by visitors.
The best time to visit this fantastical wonderland is usually from late April to mid May, though the blooms are subject to weather variabilities. Peak time comes during the last week of April which has been dubbed the “Golden Week.” And while that may bring on the best blooms, it also brings on the biggest number of visitors and the tunnel will feel like a traffic jam.
You can get to the gardens in five hours from Tokyo by taking the Nozomi high speed train. Once you’re at the train station you can get on the number #56 bus and get off at Kawachi elementary school stop and walk the 10 minutes to the garden entrance. The cost is about $20 and the park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.