Flowers have begun blooming at gorgeous park in Tochigi.

If you asked people what some of the most beautiful things in Japan are, and someone answered “Fuji,” you’d probably nod your head in agreement. But while there’s no arguing that Japan’s tallest mountain is a sight to see, they might not be talking about Fuji the mountain, but about fuji the flower,

Written with a different kanji character than Mt, Fuji, fuji is the Japanese word for wisteria. And while the cherry blossoms get the most attention of Japan’s springtime flowering flora, the wisteria have now started to bloom, and they can be absolutely breathtaking.

One of the best places in Japan to see wisteria is at Tochigi Prefecture’s Ashikaga Flower Park. Among its many types of fuji, the most impressive is the Ofuji, or Great Wisteria, whose branches spread so far from the tree’s single trunk that they cover and area of 1,094 square meters (11,776 square feet).

A tree doesn’t grow that big in one night of course. The Ofuji has been in that spot for over a century, and is now thought to be 160 years old.

The Ofuji is far from the only dynamic backdrop for otherworldly beautiful photos, though. Stretching over a pond in the park is an arched bridge, and above it is a canopy of usubeni fuji (pale crimson wisteria).

▼ A portion of the Ofuji also stretches over the water, allowing for mystical looking reflective photos like this.

Elsewhere in the park you’ll find the yaekokuryu fuji, which translates to “layered black dragon wisteria.” This is a rare type of wisteria in which the flowers bloom in an overlapping pattern.

Other highlights include an 80-meter-long (262-foot) wisteria tunnel

…and the park’s thousand-plus azalea bushes.

In most years, the park says the peak flowering times are:
● Ofuji: Late April – Early May
● Usubeni fuji Mid – Late April
● Yaekokuryu fuji: Late April – Early May
● Wisteria tunnel: Early May
● Azaleas: Mid-April – Early May

However, much like how the cherry blossoms bloomed early this year, Ashikaga Flower Park says that the wisteria have started to flower early as well, so you might want to try to visit before the tail end of the regular peak times listed above.

As for all these beautiful nighttime photos, ordinarily the park isn’t open after dark, but they make an exception during wisteria season, so the facility will be open until 6 p.m. between April 12 and 14, until 8:30 p.m. April 15-21, until 9 p.m. April 22-May 7, and until 8:30 p.m. May 8-14.

Related: Ashikaga Flower Park official website
Source, images: PR Times
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