Every year on children’s day, May 5th, there is a local children’s festival in Heisei no Mori park, home to Japan’s longest rose tunnel,
in the town of Kawajima. Kawajima isn’t a particularly well known town, except among skydivers as it is the home to Tokyo Skydiving club, but it has a few points of interest that make it worth a visit, particularly when this free, but fun
festival is on.
Crowds lining up for the very popular fish catching event at Heisei no Mori children’s festival
The festival attracts mainly locals, but they come out in force and the park is extremely lively on the day. There is a great atmosphere and although we have only been a handful of times it is one of my kids favourite festivals in Saitama. There are lots of different events and offerings, some of which are outlined below. Also, while some of the playground is closed off for the festival, children can play in parts of the playground. The excellent wading river is open on the day too.
Boat ride on the lake at Children’s Festival Kawajima
The very first time we visited this festival it was more a flea market with mainly food and toy stalls. They still have food stalls, traditional festival stalls as well as food vans, as well as shops and booths. However, in the last few years they’ve really upped their game. They now have live stage performances, character appearances, a boat ride, bouncy castles, various crafts and activities for the kids, and the main reason why kids really love this festival: the fish catching event. They always hang carp streamers in the park for children’s day.
Fish catching at Heisei No Mori Park Children’s Festival
Dozens of primary school aged children trying to catch fish
One of the highlights of the festival is the extremely popular FREE fish catching event in the park’s large pond. The fish are released into the pond and children catch them by any means they can. They get to bring the fish home. The pond is separated into three parts and they use two of them. The larger segment is used for older children and another section is used for children of preschool age or younger. The latter only has about 20 ~ 30 centimeters of water.
Smaller pond for smaller children to catch fish
You need to bring something for the children to catch and hold the fish in. However, the staff usually have a few spare large bags for the children to use. There are a lot of volunteer staff and even a couple of police that supervise this event. I recommend you bring a towel and change of clothes, at least bottom wear, as the children will get at least their legs wet. Be warned; if your children are anything like mine, once your child participates in this event they will want to go every year!
Live performances at Heisei No Mori Children’s Festival
Live performances include music performances by children and adults alike. There is also a character show and in previous years they had music and dance too. The line up for 2018 is not yet available, but I will update when it is.
Hands on experiences at the Children’s Festival
There are tents with volunteers and Scouts offering children different experiences and teaching them crafts. The Scout’s tent was one of the most popular last year, with children lining up to make wari bashi depo (a type of catapult) and to try tightrope walking or to make survival crafts. There was a balloon artist in this area too, making animals out of balloons and giving them to children for free.
In the Community Sports Hall beside the park there is a maze made out of cardboard on both May 4th and 5th between 10 am and 3 pm. This activity costs money: a 100 yen per person. They also have curling in the hall o both days.
This is just a summation of some of the things on offer. It really is a fun day for young kids. And apart from all the festival attractions they can also enjoy some of the park’s equipment:
Heisei no Mori Park
You can read more about Japan’s longest rose tunnel and all the park has to offer here:
Japan’s longest rose tunnel at Heisei no Mori | KAWAJIMA
Access the children’s festival at Heisei No Mori park
By train and bus
– Take a bus, from East exit of Tobu Tojo line Kawagoe station, bound for Konosu. 20 minute walk from 「川島農協前」(Kawajima Nokyou mae) bus stop.
– 5 minute drive from the Kawajima exit of the Ken-O expressway. Free parking for about 150 cars, but they also open an overflow car park for the festival.
MAP IN THE GREY DETAILS BOX AT BOTTOM OF POST.