In this article you will find ten places for gingko trees in Saitama Prefecture, close to Tokyo. They are divided into two sections: 1) gingko tree avenues and 2) sacred or ancient gingko trees at a shrine or temple. The best time for viewing varies greatly between location. For example: currently at least two of the gingko tree avenues are already yellow, but on the other hand some of these location’s trees will not turn yellow until December.
Section I : Avenue of Gingko trees
Five places you can see an avenue of yellow in Saitama Prefecture
- Chichibu Muse Park
- Kazo Hanasaki Park
- Kawagoe Park
- Besshonuma Park
- Top secret spot!
And an honorary mention to Hikarigaoka park which is officially in Tokyo, but right beside Wako City in Saitama Prefecture. It is one of the most famous places for gingko in the Tokyo area.
Section II : Ancient / Sacred Gingko trees
In addition, five places you can see ancient gingko trees in Saitama Prefecture
- “Gingko” Inari
- Tamashiki Shrine
Bonus section: Light up Information
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, there maybe limited autumn leaf light up this year, but there are a couple of places. And in a “normal” year there are dozens of places you can see the trees lit up at night. Scroll down to the paragraph on “light up” for even more information.
Section I : Avenue of gingko trees
1. Chichibu Muse Park
Chichibu Muse Park straddles Chichibu City and Ogano town in the Chichibu district of Saitama. According to Chichibu Keizai newspaper the famous avenue of gingko trees at Chichibu Muse Park have already turned yellow since October 17th. That’s ten days earlier than an average year. There are approximately 500 gingko trees lining the three kilometer long avenue. It is one of Saitama’s most famous spots for gingko. Further information including map, access, phone etc:
2. Kazo Hanasaki Park
In my experience, Kazo Hanasaki’s park are one of the first to change color in the Saitama area. Last year, they were already starting to turn yellow by this stage. So I’ve know doubt you can see some vibrant colors at Kazo Hanasaki Park already. The park also has some kochia which are red at the moment. You can get a photo of the kochia with the avenue of gingko in the background at this park. Further information including map, access etc: Kazo Hanasaki Water Park.
3. Kawagoe Park
Kawagoe Park is well known for its late blooming cherry blossoms, but the park is actually quite picturesque in most seasons. The gingko trees are by the tennis courts near the embankment where you can see spider lilies in September. Moreover, Kawagoe has several other trees that change color in the autumn. Such as the large Metasequoia (Redwood) trees around the lake. More information:
4. Besshonuma Park
Besshonuma Park is located in the Urawa area of Saitama City. It is a great park for families with a lovely playground and convenient facilities. The park also has maple trees as well as Metasequoia trees. Rather than an avenue of gingko its more a wooded area of gingko. There is an avenue of metasequoia that also turn yellow and lead to the wood of gingko. The gingko generally turn golden around the mid to end of November. Information including address, map etc:
5. An off the beaten path spot in Okegawa
I’m sorry I am clandestine about this spot. But I have had a lot of large websites copy my content over the years, especially when I do “top tens”. They just cull the posts for the places and then write up their own list. Got to make them at least work for the information! This spot currently has no other English information online and very little in Japanese either. Unlike the others, it is not in a park. If you want an off the tourist trail place for gingko, look no further! The best time to see them is in November. Just leave a comment below and I will send you the details, by private message, for this off the beaten path gingko avenue in Okegawa city.
Section II : Ancient and / or sacred trees
Next up, gingko trees that are either ancient, sacred or both. Each of these locations is at a temple or shrine in Saitama Prefecture. Firstup, my personal favorite gingko tree in the whole world!
6. Shoboji aka Iwadono Kannon
The featured photo (photo at the top of the post) is also from Shoboji Temple. It is the most magnificent gingko tree in the world in my humble opinion! In recent years, Shoboji temple needs little introduction as the temple (also called Iwadono Temple) is a renowned “power spot”. The famed and revered gingko tree at Shoboji temple is approximately 700 years old. Furthermore, it is a designated municipal natural monument. You can pick up all the information you need about the gingko tree in the post linked below:
If you have visited Kinsenji for its famed hydrangea, you probably noticed the giant gingko tree in front of the temple. Its hard to miss as it is absolutely gigantic. Supposedly the main purpose of the gingko tree at Kinsenji was practical not aesthetic. The tree was planted to protect the temple from the winds that Ranzan is known for. The tree is approximately 300 years old. Furthermore, the circumference is approximately 3.5 meters wide making it the widest trunk in the area. Moreover, it is a whopping 31 meters tall, which is about four times taller than what I had guessed when I first saw it! Information for the temple:
The second natural monument of Saitama Prefecture on the list, Kunikami is located in the Minano area of Chichibu District. The width of the tree is more than eight meters and it is at least 22 meters high. Some say its more than 800 years old, others say 700 years old. Whichever, its ancient! Best viewing of this gigantic gingko tree is said to be from mid to the end of November. Unfortunately, there is no English online about this spot and I haven’t had a chance to write something up yet either. Furthermore, its not even on Google Maps in English. But it is on maps in Japanese:
9. “Gingko” Inari
Shusse Inari in Kawagoe city is also known as Ichou or “Gingko” Inari. The “Gingko” shrine is home to a pair of gingko trees said to be at least 600 years old. The shrine is otherwise unassuming, but given its central location in the tourist area of Kawagoe and the history of the shrine, it is a popular spot to admire gingko trees in their finest yellow.
10. Tamashiki Shrine
Tamashiki Shrine is best known for its wisteria that blooms around Golden Week annually. However, the gingko at Tamashiki shrine is also very beautiful. Moreover, the gingko grows right by the temple. The temple is particularly stunning when its gilded roof is dressed in golden leaves from the gingko tree, which is usually around the first week in December. Map, access etc:
Bonus section: light up information
In a “usual” year you can see gingko trees lit up at night at a few select locations around Saitama Prefecture. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic many of those places will not have a light up event in 2021. I will update this section for a usual year once things have gone back to normal, but for this year, a short list of places that have confirmed they will have autumn leaf light up this year:
- Nagatoro Autumn Leaves Festival in 2021
- Autumn leaves at Shinrin Koen
- (Not confirmed yet for 2021, but was on in 2020: Winter cherry blossom and Autumn leaf season, Jomine Park)
Thankfully there are dozens of other places to see gingko around Saitama Prefecture. Most of them are individual or paired gingko trees at a temple or shrine. There are a few other places with gingko lined avenues that are not on this list, such as in Kumagaya, Niiza or Tsurugashima. Is there anywhere you would add? Generally speaking the best time for viewing gingko is mid to the end of November. But, as I said above, there are some places that turn yellow as early as October and others that wait until December to don their golden shroud. Autumn is such a beautiful time of year to get out and about in nature. I hope you can enjoy some Autumn leaves this year.