Lily Garden of Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture

Catching some lilies at the Lily Garden of Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture, easily reachable from central Tokyo in 45 minutes. Between mid-June to early July, enjoy the 50 varieties of 450,000 lilies at this garden.

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Meigetsu-in, the Ajisai-dera during the Hydrangea Season

A second trip to Meigetsu-in, the Ajisai-dera famous for its 2,500 over hydrangeas. Managed to avoid the crowds, going there on a weekday early in the morning. Now I understand why it is called the Meigetsuin Blue, for the mainly blue hues of the hydrangeas here.

Odawara Castle: The Last Resistance Against Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Unified Japan

Odawara Castle, once stronghold of Odawara-Hojo clan, one of the most powerful clans in the Kanto region during the Sengoku period, was subjected to multiple damages due to earthquakes and demolition during the Meiji Restoration. The structures here today were reconstructed over the years, with the 3 levels, 5 stories donjon being recently renovated in 2016. Located in close proximity to Hakone, Odawara Castle makes a good day trip from Tokyo or a combined visit with Hakone.