- The Fuji Shibazakura Festival: thousands of flowers at the foot of Mount Fuji
This ephemeral event takes place only a few weeks a year, in the middle of spring, when the famous Japanese small flowers, the shibazakura (or Phlox subulata), are in bloom. From about mid-April to the end of May, they hatch, tinting the meadows they occupy with pink, violet and white.
1Thousands of flowers facing Mount Fuji: a postcard decoration
Facing the imposing Mount Fuji, a park has been laid out and approximately 800,000 shibazakura have been planted there. As the Fuji Shibazakura Festival (富士芝桜まつり) opens its doors and offers visitors an incredible walk among the flowers. The nearby Mount Fuji is the master of the place, and with such a beautiful flowery foreground, you can only come back with incredible photos that will make you dream of more than one!
This event has a national reputation, and we understand why. Every year, thousands of visitors come to admire this fantastic scenery. The flowerbeds are as usual very well maintained and delineated. A small lake brings a touch of romance, a mini Mount Fuji has been erected, also covered with pretty flowers. Finally, a wood lookout point has been set up, allowing the entire site to be overlooked.
The site being very popular, sanitary facilities (worksite cabins) are installed in several places, and stands offer food and drink. Prefer a visit on weekdays, and out of the Golden Weekend, because the site is extremely popular during the holidays and weekends. We went there on Thursday 21 May 2015 in the early morning. We were still able to take nice pictures without too many people, even if the lanes were quite crowded. However, as the season was already well advanced, some areas were already faded.
2An ephemeral festival
Note that not all flowers in the park bloom at the same time. Some parts are early, some are late. When you come, don't expect to have all the flowerbeds. But the areas are quite large, so you'll probably find enough flowers to take great pictures! The most favourable period is usually the first fortnight of May, but dates may change from year to year. If the season is late, the first flowers could not bloom until early May. Flo had a bitter experience in mid-April 2010.
However, don't come outside the festival period as you may be disappointed, as the site looks more like a field of muddy potatoes than a nice garden.
3How to get to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival
Access to the park is easy, and is located near Highway 139. There are two different entries. A short walk of about 5 minutes allows access to the site from the car parks. It is also accessible by public transport (train and bus). Access is possible from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
You will find all the access information, the dates of the next season as well as the site map on: http://www.shibazakura.jp/eng/. A very comprehensive FAQ will also answer all your questions: http://www.shibazakura.jp/eng/faq/