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Wind chimes at Hikawa Shrine | KAWAGOE

Each summer, Hikawa Shrine displays hundreds of wind chimes during the months of July and August. Today, a storm was brewing up and I instantly thought of going to see the chimes! Last year (2014), when we went the air was so dead that the chimes were also lifeless. Today, we could enjoy their soothing sounds. (Video used with permission).

During the wind chime season, you can add your prayers to the wind chimes by buying an ema, a small wooden plaque, to write your prayer and tie to the chime. Some areas have coloured chimes, while others are clear. At night-time, it is particularly spectacular as the chimes are illuminated and there is a light show in the water feature at the front of the shrine grounds.  Occasionally, there is also live music to accompany the whole sensual experience.

Regular Ema for writing your prayers at Hikawa Shrine
Regular Ema for writing your prayers at Hikawa Shrine
The "ema" (wooden plaques for writing prayers) of Hikawa shrine wind chimes
The “ema” (wooden plaques for writing prayers) of Hikawa shrine wind chimes

During the wind chime period they also have their Tanabata “Star” Festival. It is held annually on the 7th of August:

Tanabata “Star” Festival at Hikawa Shrine


During the Tanabata (Star) Festival at Hikawa Shrine, you can see coloured strips of wishes tied to bamboo trees. You can also write your own wish to add to the bamboo shoots. They have some additional festival stalls and music on that day. The main event is in the evening, usually from 6 pm, when they have some special traditional music performances and they read kamishibai to children.

Information and Access

The wind chimes will be available from July 1st for the 2017 season.

The shrine is open from 9am to 9pm. The illumination starts from 7pm. The cafe next door, Musubi cafe, offers seasonal sweets in association with the event.  You can walk from Hon-kawagoe or Kawagoe stations along a tourist route, but it takes about 40 minutes. There is a tourist bus or a regular bus that will bring you close. There is free parking for 300 cars.  The event usually ends late August to early September.

Getting to Kawagoe from Tokyo

From Ikebukuro, cost and route from hyperdia.com;

From Shinjuku, cost and route from hyperdia.com;

 

Address: 2-11-3 Miyashita Machi, Kawagoe, Saitama

Phone: 049-224-0589

You can take a video tour of the wind chimes at the shrine at the official website: http://www.hikawa-fuurin.jp/

 

SUMMER POOL SEASON IS HERE! Kawagoe Water Park

Today (2015), our local summer pool opened for the season. Kawagoe Suijo Kouen, or Kawagoe Water or Aquatic Park, is one of the bigger summer pools in Saitama. Like all the other seasonal pools, it only opens for 7 weeks over the summer holidays. Last year we spent most weekends there. It’s a great way to get the kids to go to bed early, have a deep sleep and sleep later than normal in the morning! All that water play really tires them out and they really really love it.

One of the main attractions of Kawagoe’s water park is the pool with waves. It is inclined; the shallow end starts at 0 and the deep end is 1.6 metres. The waves come every 10 minutes.
http://www.parks.or.jp/kawagoesuijo/common/img/pool/category06.jpg

Another popular feature of the water park is the large ship in the centre of the park. (photo from the official website).

http://www.parks.or.jp/kawagoesuijo/common/img/pool/category03.jpg

Of course, the various slides are very popular too. (These photos taken from the official website).

For small children there is a pool that is only 30cm and it has 2 small slides. My kids are in this one, somewhere!  Nappies/ Diapers are ok in this pool.

Children's pool, 30cm deep with two slides
Children’s pool, 30cm deep with two slides

There is also a 60cm pool with a fountain that my older two kids (5 and 4) can enjoy and my 2 year old with a float.
Kawagoe Suijo Koen Children's pool 60cm fountain

Other features include fountains, jets, sprays and a wading river at different points in the park. There is also a simple pool. You can use a small pop up tent in the park, in fact, most Japanese people do. We may have been the only ones without, the first time we went! There is limited shaded areas in the park, so these pop up tents are very practical and for my Irish skin 100% essential!

A sea of tents
A sea of tents

During the summer there is a special bus that runs to the park from Kawagoe and Honkawagoe stations. There are 2 restaurants, 2 kiosks and a number of vans that sell food and drink. There is also a shop that sells pool goods. There is a shower and locker room and plenty of toilets. There is also tennis, futsal and soccer. There are a number of events held over the summer including snorkelling classes. There is a no tattoo policy (see photo below). You can get a full list, in Japanese, plus more information on the official website: http://www.parks.or.jp/kawagoesuijo/  Update July 2016 – new website: http://www.saitamasuijo.com/

Please check there for up-to-date charges. The prices last year (2014):

2014/ 8/17 10:40

Additional information:

Outside the aquatic park there is a free public park with a small playground and a lake with swan boats for hire. On this blog:  紅葉 Autumn leaves at Kawagoe Water Park

July Festivals in Saitama, 2015

Earlier in the week I shared the round up of the festivals this weekend in Saitama. Now I give you something even better; a Pinterest board with 30 Saitama festivals for the month of July.

My festival recommendation for this weekend:

Happy reading and happier festival-ing!! 🙂