Every now and then somebody will tell me of a new-to-me spot in Saitama Prefecture. Occasionally, its my husband! Yesterday, while looking up something up entirely different on the net, he came across a newspaper article about a relatively new azalea spot. The article was on Saitama Shinbun, which every now and then showcases an off the beaten path spot. Like this hillside of azalea in Sayama City.
Hillside of Azalea in Sayama City
For all I know, this is a well known spot? Personally, I had never heard of it. It is down a back street that backs on to Inariyama Park, so I imagine it would also be hard to spot it in passing from the nearest main road, which is route 16. If I wasn’t looking for it, I’d never have found it. Moreover, even though I actually was looking for it, it took me an hour to find it! The reason being a misunderstanding. Both my (Japanese) husband and I, thought from the way the newspaper article was worded that the azalea were in Inariyama Park. They are actually completely separate.
However, geographically speaking, they can be described as North of Inariyama Park. They are quite a walk from the nearest side entrance to the park though. At least it felt that way today, after doing two laps of the park – in the heat – looking for the azalea! I am glad I had parked in Inariyama though, as there is no parking for this flower spot…
Inariyama Green Conservation Area
A map at the site of the azalea explains that the hillside is part of Inariyama Green Conservation area, which is about 2 hectares in total. Furthermore, according to the Saitama Shinbun article a group of volunteers have been maintaining the area since 2016. Moreover, they have been planting flowers over the last seven years. They have planted more than 1000 mountain azalea (Rhododendron japonicum) on the hillside.
Like the cherry blossoms, the azalea were also early to bloom this year. According to the newspaper article, prime viewing is from tomorrow until about the end of the week at this particular location. There were a few other people there today. Whether they too knew about it from the newspaper or whether this is actually a well known spot, I do not know.
Apart from azalea you can see dogtooth violets and cherry blossoms earlier in spring. Some of the trees in the photos of this post have cherry blossoms in them, with fresh green leaves. According to the information at the site, in summer, they grow yamayuri (mountain lilies). There is an observation deck at the top of the hill, which affords a panoramic view of Sayama city and beyond.
Spot: Inariyama Green Conservation Area 稲荷山緑地保全地区内
Address: 4-chōme-14 Irumagawa, Sayama, Saitama 350-1305. View on Google Maps. The azalea nor the conservation are on maps, so I added a pin on maps. It automatically defaults to a church, which is right beside the bottom of the azalea, but completely unrelated. This observation deck that is on maps, is at the top of the hill of azalea.
Hours: 24 hours in theory, but no lighting at night
The azalea are about a 15 minute walk from Inariyama Koen Station and as such, about the same from the parking lot of Inariyama Park. Both the parking lot and the station are right beside Sayama museum where there is currently a fun trick art exhibition.