June’s Flower is the Hydrangea
June is the time of the rainy season, but don't let that stop you from enjoying Kyoto. The rainy days tend to be cooler, around 25C or less, but the humidity is very high. Make sure you a have a water proof camera or some way of protecting it from the rain, if you intent taking photos on rainy days. While it doesn't rain everyday of the rainy season, some times it can rain for 2 or 3 days non stop. However if you get a sunny day in June, if the humidity doesn't drop by much, you'll be wishing for the rainy days again!
What truly makes the rainy season special though, are the hydrangeas that thrive in these conditions. While there are many Hydrangeas (known in Japanese as "Ajisai") blooming around Kyoto in June, one of the best places in Kyoto prefecture to see a large variety of them is at Mimuroto-ji (a Buddhist Temple) in Uji city which is just south of Kyoto city. There are literally thousands of Hydrangeas in the gardens of Mimuroto-ji of diverse kinds and colours.
Given that this temple is known for it's Hydrangeas it can be very crowded in June, especially if it's not raining. However with the crowds come the temporary stalls that set up outside the temple, meaning you don't have to go far to get snacks or drinks, actually there's even a (rather overpriced) cafe inside the gardens.
During the Hydrangea blooming there are some special night openings of this temple, normally the temple closes at 4pm. I've not yet been to a night opening, because I'm usually teaching English classes at night, but I believe the Hydrangeas are lit up beautifully. Expect it to be very crowded though!
Mimuroto-ji is a 16 minute walk from Mimurodo station on the Keihan Uji Line. I believe there are also buses which take you pretty much to the front gate of Mimuroto-ji from the JR Obaku Station on the JR Nara line. However that JR station is more than twice as far from Mimuroto-ji, so unless you really want the exercise don't plan walking from there. I'm not sure on the bus schedules, I've either walked from Keihan's Mimorodo station or gotten a ride there with a friend. There doesn't seem to be any taxi stands around Keihan's Mimorodo station, the best spot for getting a taxi would probably be from Keihan's Uji station which is a 1.8km trip, so it shouldn't cost anymore than the flag fall (usually it covers you for the first 2km). In the busy times I've seen taxis waiting outside the gate of Mimuroto-ji, but in the off season you might need to get the people at the temple ticket office to help you call for one if you don't speak Japanese.
This photo was taken with a Nikon D700 camera and an AF Nikkor 35f/2D lens. No post processing has been done on this image.