It’s practically impossible to walk through the pastel-colored passageway of wisteria flowers at the Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu without imagining an elegant fairy princess and her one-horned white steed prancing alongside you.
A member of the pea family, wisteria is an ornamental vine, wildly popular in both Eastern and Western gardens for its graceful hanging flowers and its ornate, winding branches. Easily trained, the woody vines tend to reach maturity within a few years, at which point they bloom in cascades of long, lavender flowers of varying pastel shades. There are about 150 flowering wisteria plants of roughly 20 species that create this famous colorful flower tunnel.
Make sure to visit in late April or Early May, during the “Fuji Matsuri,” or “Wisteria Festival,” when the magical tunnel is in full bloom. Because many visitors come to the gardens during the blooming season, you need to book your time slot in advance.
Arrive at any other time of year, and its appearance will be a disheartening mass of lifeless, twisted branches.
Know Before You Go
Take the Shinkansen to Kokura station. Change to the JR Kagoshima line for Yahata station. From Yahata station, take the Nishitetsu bus to Kawachi Syougakou mae (Kawachi Elementary School). Buses only run once an hour or so, and the stop is not close. A taxi might be a better, though expensive, option.