Did you know that Kawagoe has a red spider lily shrine? Neither did I when I stumbled upon it a few years ago, while visiting another lesser known spot for red spider lilies in Kawagoe. I have since visited it several times each September, but have yet to see the flowers at their prime. I thought this year, might be the year. But as soon as I heard they started blooming, I visited again only to find a few of them are already withering.
Red spider lily Shrine in Kawagoe
First and foremost, I would not recommend going out of your way to visit this red spider lily shrine, this year anyway. There are far nicer red spider lily shrines in Saitama Prefecture, such as Hon Machi Hikawa Shrine or Shinooka Hachimandai Shrine, both in neighboring Saitama City. BUT, if you are going to be in Kawagoe this weekend and want to see spider lilies in some form of bloom, Senba Hikawa Shrine is the furthest along of the ones I’ve seen this week. I actually don’t think they will last much past the weekend. That’s the thing with spider lilies; they come and go so fast.
There is a little walkway through the spider lilies. But there was a massive killer hornet there today and every time I went to use the walkway it came at me, so I yielded! Above is a photo, where you can see part of the walkway, from 2021 when there weren’t quite in their prime. The rest of the photos are from today, September 22nd 2023.
Both the shrine and the red spider lilies have been around for a long time. But they are away from the main tourist area and maybe why they have evaded fame all these years. Although, this is the first year I’ve seen them on Instagram! Maybe they were on it before and I just didn’t notice. The shrine is Senba (or Semba) Hikawa Shrine. It is located across the road from Sembagashi Historic Park (or Senba Riverbank Heritage Park) where there are also some beautiful red spider lilies. But you can’t get up close to them as they are on a part of the marsh you can’t access.
Senba Hikawa Shrine
According to the shrine’s legend, it was founded in 1069 by a local samurai of the Senba clan. When the Edo Shogunate was established, almost the entire area of Senba was donated to Kita-in Temple and Toshogu Shrine, and was made into a Tenryo under the direct control of the Shogunate. Since then, it has been revered by local residents as one of the three Senba shrines, along with two other historical shrines in the vicinity. There is a hangar for the floats of the Kawagoe Hikawa Festival on the shrine grounds.
Flowers: Red spider lilies
Season: generally from around mid September to the end of September, but in 2023 they were late. They started blooming on September 20th. But as I said above, some of them are already withering. I doubt they will last longer than a few days from today.
Time: in theory the shrine grounds are open 24 hours
Cost: a contribution into the prayer box, which is through a hole in the window.
Venue: Senba Hikawa Shrine, 4-19-1 Senbamachi, Kawagoe, Saitama 〒350-0034 Saitama. View on Google Maps.
There is no parking at this shrine. On foot, it is about a fifteen minute walk from the JR and Tobu Tojo Kawagoe Stations.
There is no official website for this shrine. There is a page on the Kawagoe City website.