Considered one of Saitama’s most famous Cherry blossom spots. About 1000 cherry blossom trees. Approximately 100 festival stalls. They have night light up of the cherry blossom trees. The car park is open from 7 am to 10 pm.
Isanuma park in Kawagoe is a popular spot with locals. It also attracts professional photographers and bird lovers from further afar, who come to capture the wildlife on the lake. It is not a big park, but it has good facilities for its size.
In summer, the trees of the wood and its position by a river and lake make it a little cooler than central Kawagoe. There are some Gazebos in the woods too, affording extra shade. The main attraction for families is the water play: a splash pool and wading river. The paddling pool part is only partly in the shade, but the wading river enjoys good cover from the burning sun. Another attraction during summer is the BBQ facilities. However, you need to have a local in your group to be allowed book a coveted BBQ spot. In mid-July, every other year Kawagoe’s fireworks display are launched from this park.
Parking: Parking is available on two sides of the park. The most convenient and largest is the parking lot opposite the lake. There is also parking along the west side industrial area and by the small hotel and tennis courts on the North West side of the park.
By Bus: Take a bus for Kawagoe Green Park and alight at Isanuma Bouken no Mori, approximately 5 minutes walk from bus stop.
Isanuma park in Kawagoe is a popular spot to enjoy Hanami for locals. There are cherry blossoms along the river at the playground as well as cherry blossoms lining the street that separates the lake from the park. We have enjoyed hanami (picnic under the cherry blossom) along the river under the beautiful blooms. End of March and the first week of April is usually a good time to see the cherry blossoms and enjoy hanami in this park in Kawagoe.
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 offer.
This playground was installed in March 2013, replacing a wooden athletic playground. Now it is a colourful combination equipment playground that suits children of many ages. There are climbing nets, monkey bars, balancing beams, slides, spring rides and sand pits. All, but the sand pits, displayed in photos hereafter.
This park boasts a 165 metre long “babbling brook” (せせらぎ水路） with a paddling pool at the base.
The wading river is protected by the trees, which afford shade during the hot summer.
Exercise Equipment & Flying Fox
There is also exercise equipment and a flying fox in the wooded area beside the playground.
Sporting facilities and club house
There are tennis courts, a baseball pitch, a soccer pitch and 400 metre running track, that can be used at a charge. The club house manages bookings. There is a shower room and toilets in the club house. The website and contact details are here: http://www.city.hidaka.lg.jp/6,998,24,105.html
Hanami / Cherry Blossom Viewing Picnic Area
Hidaka Sougou Park is a popular spot during Japanese Cherry Blossom season. There is a long line of trees alongside the river with dedicated space for setting up picnic mats under the trees.
The wooded area in Hidaka is ripe with wildlife during the summer. It is possible to catch beetles and stag beetles to keep as pets; a popular hobby of young Japanese children.
Kids love to collect acorns in Japan. This is one of many parks in Saitama, where you can find acorns.
There are toilets in the park, two of which are right beside the playground. There is a drinking fountain. There are changing rooms and showers in the Club House, which can be used at a price.
By Car: Off route 407, near Musashi Takahagi train station, right beside Hidaka Country Club.
By Train: 15 minute walk from Musashi Takahagi Station on the Kawagoe line.
A DAY OUT IN HIDAKA
There are other nice parks and play areas near this park in Hidaka. I recommend Chikozan Park in neighbouring Sayama, with a small zoo and fun playground, and Saiboku Ham, which has a free play area, plus you can pay to enjoy an onsen there. The Saiboku onsen was recently reopened after a big reform.
There are two main ways you can celebrate the blooming of cherry blossoms in Japan; hanami, which involves picnicking under a cherry tree, or a Sakura matsuri, literallycherry blossom festival. We enjoyed the latter at the famous Kitain temple in Kawagoe, yesterday. Each year the Sakura Matsuri is held in Kitain Temple around the end of March to early April.
The kids had some festival food.
After walking around the various buildings and areas within the temple grounds they enjoyed the small, but colorful playground.
I was captivated by the cherry blossoms. I would have loved to attempt taking some artistic shots, but with 4 kids in tow that was not a possibility.
Access from Kawagoe Station
Koedo Kawagoe bus one day pass allows you unlimited travel on the Koedo Kawagoe buses. It costs 300 yen. In the bus they have a monitor with sightseeing information. Some tourist places give discounts on souvenirs or entrance tickets to people with a one day pass.
Koedo Meguri (Loop) Bus from Kawagoe station. You can buy a one day pass that allows you unlimited travel on the Meguri Bus. It stops at 16 different locations. 104 different shops, offer discount services such as souvenirs, food, and entrance fees to facilities for holders of this day pass. There are announcements in English and Chinese as well as Japanese so foreigners can feel at ease.
We’ve been hanging out in Shiroyama park quite a lot recently. Thanks to the Family Walker magazine featuring the new piece of playground equipment (pictured) and suggesting it as a hanami location. We had visited a few times in the past, but it didn’t make an impression. It does now.
The timing was convenient, too. The kids have taken turns bringing lurgy into the house; Shiroyama has the perfect playground for sick days. The playground (by the tennis courts, near the main parking area off route 12), isn’t too expansive, is in the sun, but surrounded by trees, and has a sandpit. Another benefit for our family is that there is something for each of their ages. 5 year old likes the flying fox and climbing bars. 4 year old likes the see saw and climbing wall. 2 year old likes the seesaw and climbing net. 4 month likes the view. They all love the sandpit that has two sliding tunnels (last photo); something we haven’t seen anywhere else below.
Shiroyama park also has an adventure playground, a paddling pool, and hanami, picnic and BBQ areas. The BBQ area is free to use, but you need to physically go into the park’s management area up to a day before to book a place. There is a cot in the toilet for the disabled for changing nappies, but to be honest the park’s toilets could do with an upgrade! It is five minutes by car from the Okegawa – Kitamoto interchange on the Ken-O Expressway. It takes one hour by car from Tokyo. Parking and all the facilities in Okegawa (excluding vending machines!) are free.
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 parkin Saitama is just that.
Kitamoto Children’s parkis 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.
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.
It 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.
☆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
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
3326 Hirakata, Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
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