Hot Pink Hydrangea
We are very much into the "tsuyu" (aka "summer monsoon" or "rainy season") now in Kyoto and Hydrangeas are in bloom everywhere. Tsuyu (梅雨) literally translates to "plum rains", as these rains come at time of the ripening of the plums in Japan. This photo was taken in the tsuyu of 2011 at Mimuroto-ji (Mimuroto temple), in one of Kyoto's biggest Hydrangea ("Ajisai" in Japanese) gardens.
According to Mimuroto-ji's website (in Japanese), the Hydrangeas are now in bloom. The gardens are open 8:30am to 4:30pm. Until June 26, they're also open at night from 7pm to 9pm. The flowers are lit up with special lighting at night.
Mimuroto-ji is a 16 minute walk from Mimurodo station on the Keihan Uji Line. If you're coming from Kyoto's downtown area catch a train on Keihan's Main line and change to the the Uji line at Chushojima. While there's no JR station nearby, there are buses from JR's Obaku station (on JR's Nara line) to just outside Mimoroto-ji (I'm not sure on their frequency though). The JR plus bus option is good if you're coming from around the Kyoto station area.
Another temple in Kyoto famous for Hydrangeas is Yokoku-ji. They will be holding their annual Ajisai Matsuri (Hydrangea Festival) on June 25th and 26th. During the festival there will be regular shuttle buses from the west side of JR Nagaokakyo Station. The buses will also stop near Hankyu Railway's Nagaoka Tenjin Station and the Nagaokakyo City Cultural Centre (near the Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine). Unfortunately there's no public transport to Yokoku-ji on other days, so you either need to go there by car or taxi. It's about 4.4km mostly up hill from Nagaoka Tenjin Station (the nearest station) to Yokoku-ji, not really walking distance during the summer monsoon, even if it's not raining!
This photo was taken with a Nikon D700 camera and an AF Nikkor 35f/2D lens. The following post processing edits were done in DxO Optics Pro: Default Camera and Lens corrections applied; DxO Smart Lighting applied (25%); DxO ClearView applied (50%); Highlights reduced (-10%); Contrast increased (50%); Microcontrast decreased (-25%);and Vibrancy increased (50%).