Category Archives: Cherry Blossoms

In anticipation

The festival lanterns hang, a promise of beautiful blooms to come. These paper lanterns are a common sight at festivals in Japan. Shiroyama park in Okegawa has hung these lanterns for the cherry blossoms, which are set to bloom any day now. It is a long practiced and much revered tradition to picnic under the cherry blossom trees in Japan.

My guest post: Cherry Blossom Viewing in Tokyo | K-A International Mothers in Japan

I guest posted on  K-A International Mothers in Japan for the 2nd ever. The first time was a strawberry picking article, so check that out if you are looking for somewhere to pick strawberries in the Kanto plain. This time its a list of places to view Cherry blossoms in Tokyo, with access and contact details as well as other information. Please check it out!

For a cherry blossom craft please see here: http://kajapan.org/general/cherry-blossom-craft/

Before the Cherry Blossoms 

February was particularly dismal this year and rain is forecast for most of this first week of March, but by the end of this month these barren trees will be dressed in their finest spring wear. We will have one of many “hanami” under these spreading Cherry Blossom trees.  Until then we will continue to enjoy the lesser known, but equally beautiful Ume or Japanese plum tree blooms.

If you are looking for ideas for where to enjoy hanami in Saitama, with young children, please take a look at the Cherry Blossom category on this blog. You will find information for some parks, such as Maruyama park and Kitamoto park, and other play areas such as Enomoto farm.

Best of Saitama: Chikozan Park | SAYAMA

Multi-purpose park with Campsite, BBQ, Zoo, Fishing, Sport facilities, Athletic Playground, Multi-use Playground, Beautiful Flora and Fauna.

Chikozan Park in Sayama is close to the controversial proposed site of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Golf Tournament. It is a beautiful vast park with lots of attractions for all types and ages.

There are two playgrounds in the park. Both are set in a wooded area which affords plenty of shade and protection from the elements. They are beside each other too, so kids can run between both and enjoy a couple of hours of fun. The athletic playground was undergoing work for our last 3 visits since the start of the year, but according to the website it is back open for public use. Update February 2017: most of the old equipment of the athletic playground has been removed and they are currently putting in new equipment. Two of the new pieces and one of the old are currently open for use.

The general playground is colourful with some unique equipment. About a 15 minute walk from these playgrounds is the zoo (more information on the zoo: Chikozan Park Zoo). Past the zoo is a marsh with a boardwalk running through it leading to the BBQ area and camping grounds. The camping grounds also has 2 wooden cottages, which are very reasonable to rent. There is other accommodation in Chikozan in the Welfare Center. The welfare center takes care of the BBQ facilities and this is where you can order BBQ food sets. You can barbecue from March.

Sporting facilities include a large sports hall with table tennis, training room, running course, martial arts dojo and many more. There are tennis courts near the children’s zoo. There is a club house in this area. Beside the tennis courts there is a family restaurant. It is a Japanese style restaurant with a raised tatami section which is useful with small kids. The kid’s meal is reasonably priced and quite nice too (pictured below).

The park and its parking are free, but you do need to pay into the zoo (which is very reasonable) and to use some of the facilities such as the tennis courts and camping grounds. You can book online, however their website is in Japanese only. I particularly recommend Autumn and Cherry Blossom season  as a prime time to visit Chikozan park. There is one garden in the park with a number of Cherry Blossoms around a lake. The zoo also has some lovely cherry blossoms pictured below.

Parts of the park can be accessed at all times, but the car parks and various facilities have varying opening and closing times. Generally speaking the park is most accessible between 9 am and 4.30 pm. There are toilets in various locations in the park.

For the Tokyo 2020 Olympics the area of Sayama may well be a pre-games training camp host for RUGBY. The training camp grounds are at Secom Rugby Field very near this park.

In the Area:

Cats Eye Play and Sports Centre | SAYAMA

Cats Eye play and sports centre is very like Spocha in Round 1, just not as classy or clean, and the limited number of staff leave a lot to be desired. There is a smell of stale smoke in the areas …

Source: insaitama.com/cats-eye-play-and-sports-centre-sayama/

Kinchakuda Red Spider Lily Festival | HIDAKA

The famous red spider lilies of Kinchakuda in Hidaka Saitama have begun to bloom and prime viewing is guestimated for the end of September. The season officially opens September 17th until the 2nd …

Source: insaitama.com/event/kinchakuda-red-spider-lily-festival-hidaka/

Hidaka Sougou Park

The Japanese sougou 総合 is used to indicate a multi-purpose park and that is exactly what Hidaka Sougou park is. The park is free in, with free parking.  Here is some of the attractions it has to of…

Source: insaitama.com/hidaka-sougou-park/

A fun day out in Saiboku; Hot springs and Ham! |HIDAKA

Today’s new location for the kids was Saiboku Hot Springs and Ham! We didn’t actually enter the hot springs today, but I have been there myself a few times and it is a nice hot spring. …

Source: insaitama.com/a-fun-day-out-in-saiboku-hot-springs-and-ham/

Related articles

Cherry Blossoms at Chikozan Park Children’s Zoo, Sayama

Chikozan Park in Sayama is a nice place for a family day out with toddlers. It has a small zoo, with the unique feature of fodder dispensing vending machines. It has a lovely walkway through a wooded marsh. There are gardens beside a large open space. There are two playgrounds within the woods; an adventure playground and a general playground with swings, slides and climbing equipment. There is a lake designated for fishing.  It is a lovely park in spring and the zoo looks particularly pretty with the cherry blossoms.  We had our first hanami picnic at the zoo last week.  Some photos after the information (specifically for the zoo) section below.

Chikozan Park ZOO information

ADDRESS: 864-1 Kashiwabara, Sayama City

TEL:04-2953-9779

URL: http://www.sayama-kousha.or.jp/zoo/

CHARGES: Children under the age of 6 free.  50 yen for school age children and 200 yen for adults. Discounts available for a group of over 30 people.  Parking is free.  The fodder dispensing machines cost money.   Horse riding is available at a charge.

FACILITIES / SERVICES:

  • Some playground equipment in the large opening where the cherry blossom trees are
  • It’s alright to bring your own food
  • 5 buggies/strollers available to rent
  • Nursing room
  • 2 nappy changing areas within toilets
  • There is a restaurant within Chikozan park, near the zoo
  • There is a petting corner

 

Cherry blossoms at Chikozan Zoo

Cherry blossoms behind the goat enclosure at Chikozan Park Zoo

Horse riding under the cherry blossom!

Hanami with toddlers, Maruyama Park, Ageo

Our cherry blossom viewing in Western Saitama continues.  Maruyama Park is a great park to view cherry blossoms with children.    It is one of many parks in Saitama that has various different things to do and/or see.  Walker magazine listed Maruyama Park in Ageo, Saitama, in its top three parks to visit as a family in Tokyo and the greater Tokyo area.




We had our elevenses by the waterfall, near the cement slide, which was abuzz with elementary school students on holidays.   We hadn’t found a free tree to sit under at that point, but the scenery was beautiful all the same.

Most of the cherry blossoms line the pathways and it was hard to find a tree suitable to sit under in true hanami fashion, but we did eventually find one in the open space behind the general playground in the South end of the park or in the photo below; the bottom left! You can see some of the blossom trees marked on this map too. Below the map there are some photos of the cherry blossoms.
Map of facilities in Maruyama Park Sakura at Maruyama Park

Cherry blossoms by playground

Sakura at the playground in Maruyama ParkSakura behind the duck pond in MaruyamaComing down the slide!Sakura at the waterfall

P1003680 P1003681

Open area by the cement slides
Open area by the cement slides

ACCESS

3326 Hirakata, Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

TEL: 048-781-0163

From JR Ageo Station;

Tobu bus for terminal “Maruyama Park”; West Exit No. 6 bus
City bus “Gurutto-kun” for hirakata-zyunkan; West Exit. Alight at “Maruyama Koen
Minamiguchi” bus stop or “Shizen gakusyu-kan iriguchi” bus stop

Hanami spot with toddlers; Enomoto Farm, Ageo

Another favourite spot for cherry blossom viewing in Western Saitama, with small children, is Enomoto Farm in Ageo City. The majority of the cherry blossoms are at the back of the farm, past the BBQ area, but with young toddlers the best place to enjoy the blossoms is in the main courtyard.



The main courtyard, at the front of the famous ice-cream shop, is home to dozens of push along rides. All free to use. There are a few benches and a couple of picnic tables you can sit at, but I don’t know if you can picnic here. You can of course eat their delicious ice-cream. Prices start at ¥262 for a cone or cup of fresh ice-cream. We stopped off for dessert after a picnic at the nearby Maruyama Park. Other than the cost of the ice-cream this was a cheap “date” as my 3 and 2 years old children played for 2 hours on the push alongs. They also played in the small play area past the pig pens. They would have played for longer, if we didn’t have to go home. For older children you can pay to milk the cows among other things.

The free push alongs at Enomoto Farm are quite old as are the play things in the BBQ area and its lacking in some areas, such as accessibility and baby facilities, but for a nice view of the cherry blossoms while your toddlers tire themselves out (FOR FREE!) it’s ideal! The family feel and the relaxed atmosphere make it an enjoyable place to visit any time of the year.

Cherry blossoms at Enomoto Farm
Cherry blossoms at Enomoto Farm

Push along toys at Enomoto Farm Cherry blossoms at Enomoto Cherry blossoms at Enomoto Farm

ACCESS:

Cherry Blossoms at Kitamoto Children’s Park

Cherry blossom viewing, or hanami in Japanese, is one of the highlights of Spring in Japan. There are some wonderful places to view cherry blossoms throughout Japan, but when you have children it is nice to visit a family orientated location. Kitamoto Children’s park in Saitama is just that.




Kitamoto Children’s park is only 70 minutes from Tokyo by car and it is free in with free parking. There is something for kids of all ages at this park and lots of places to picnic under the blossoms or at least in view of them.  Below are just a few images taken with my phone (2013). This is the area by the toddler playground, where we had our picnic on the grass with the flying carp for boys day in view!

For more detailed information on this park in English please see the linked blog post Kitamoto Children’s Park.  Another seasonal attraction of this park is the paddling pool that is available during the summer.

Cherry blossoms beneath the mountain trampoline at Kitamoto's Children Park Cherry blossoms by the peacocks enclosure at Kitamoto Children's park Cherry blossoms by the public stands and mini shop at Kitamoto Park Carp flying for boys day at Kitamoto Children's Park Cherry blossoms in the toddler section of Kitamoto Children's park Cherry blossoms at Kitamoto Children's park Cherry blossoms at Kitamoto Children's park

 

Best of Saitama | Maruyama Park, AGEO

Maruyama park is frequently listed in Saitama’s top 3 list of parks. It is personally one of my favourites.  I love that although the park isn’t massive, there is so much to do and see that you can spend a full day there. I particularly like that they have swings that toddlers can sit into with back and stomach support, which is a rarity in this area of Saitama.  The facilities and attractions in the park, even the zoo corner, are completely free.  Another benefit for families with young children is that the (free) parking is off road and right beside the toddler friendly playground. The only downside is that unless you drive, access is a bit difficult.  There is a bus from Ageo station (details below), but it is infrequent and often packed.

 




 

2013/11/18 13:41It is very pretty in the Spring, first with plum blossoms then with cherry blossoms. It is a popular place to do “Hanami” (Flower viewing picnic).  In summer the wading streams, fireflies and beetles draw families from afar. In Autumn many photographers come to capture the leaves vibrant colours.  You can collect acorns in early winter. On a rainy day you can enjoy free access to the nature education hall. The activities you can enjoy all year round are listed below.

 

 

 

Features

  • Lake, pond and other water features
  • A small “zoo” with petting hour
  • Playground
  • 23 metre roller slide
  • Adventure playground
  • Climbing wall
  • Large cement slide
  • BBQ Area
  • Fishing
  • Firefly dome
  • Nature Education Hall

2013/ 9/21 11:16Facilities

  • ☆Toilets in 3 different locations, each with a special needs toilet with changing mat
  • ☆Water drinking fountains
  • ☆Taps for washing your feet beside the wading river and ones for washing your hands in the petting zoo area
  • ☆A small shop that is open on weekends and holidays

Information

  • The park is open permanently
  • The zoo corner is open from 9am to 4pm; closed on Tuesdays
  • Petting hour is Wednesday through Sunday from 10 to 11am and 13.30 to 14.30 on Saturdays and holidays. In Winter (Dec through Feb) it is from 13.30 to 14.30 Wednesday through Sunday.
  • Free Parking for 500 cars

Access

3326 Hirakata, Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

TEL: 048-781-0163

From JR Ageo Station;

Tobu bus for terminal “Maruyama Park”; West Exit No. 6 bus
City bus “Gurutto-kun” for hirakata-zyunkan; West Exit. Alight at “Maruyama Koen
Minamiguchi” bus stop or “Shizen gakusyu-kan iriguchi” bus stop

 

 

Oisezuka Park | KAWAGOE

Oisezuka Park is a small park in Kawagoe, but very close to Tsurugashima. It has a lovely well groomed open lawn that is great for a picnic and / or playing ball, chasing or blowing bubbles. 🙂 Parts of the park are very picturesque and it is popular with local amateur photographers.  There is a lake in the park with some gorgeous cherry blossoms around it. There are also some cherry blossom trees in the playground too, you can see one beginning to bloom in the photo below. It is beside a river, with a nice walkway. 

The playground is basic, but it has some nice climbing and athletic equipment that will challenge elementary school age.  There is a combination unit that smaller children will enjoy.
The parking is limited, but free. The car park is quite narrow, but it takes a Japanese eight seater no problem. Ours is an American 7 seater so I find this car park quite hard to park in. There are toilets beside the car park.