Cosmos flowers at Aina Water Park, October in Saitama.
Aina Water Park
Aina water park is a riverside park used by locals in Kawagoe. It is along the Iruma river. For the most part, this stretch of the Iruma river is not suited to water play. However, there is another, smaller, river in the park where you can paddle your feet.
Aina water park is a sports park more than anything else, with pitches for baseball and soccer. There are tennis courts also. People use it for walking and cycling too. And on weekends you can see dozens of people fishing. They put in a dog run in recent years which has proved very popular. Years ago it was a popular spot for a BBQ, but barbecues are now forbidden in the park. Please note the toilets in this park are porta-loo squatters!
What brought me to the park yesterday, October 10th, was the cosmos flowers. I hadn’t been in the park in years, like about ten of them! Not since they stopped letting people barbecue there. It used to be our go to for an annual November barbecue with friends. It hasn’t changed much except for the cosmos. Although, in fairness the cosmos might have been there even ten years ago and I was just unaware!
On the east end ⇈ the cosmos are back dropped by a picturesque water pipe bridge. There are a few places in Saitama where you can see flowers back dropped by a water pipe bridge, such as at the spider lilies at Tenjinbashi in Kawajima or the cosmos fields in Konosu. On the west end ⇊ there is a beautiful building in the distance that reminds me of a cathedral. I believe it is one of the buildings in Bunri’s (Bunri University / private J/HS).
The cosmos bloom in the month of October. From what I could tell today, they are not in their prime yet. There were quite a few buds without flowers. The flowers were trampled in some places. Not by humans – there is a proper paved foot path between the cosmos ⇊. I don’t think it was because of the 24 hours of heavy rain. It looked more like a wild animal, possibly a boar, had run through them last night.
The annual Kawagoe fireworks are actually held in two different parks. They rotate between the two every second year. Aina Water Park is one of the two. The other is Isanuma Park. Information for those fireworks – updated annually – can be found here (click). They were cancelled in 2020, but here’s hoping they can go ahead in 2021.
A seven minute drive from the park is another larger park; Kawagoe water park. You can take swan boats out on the lake in a usual year – during Covid-19 there have been many changes. Japan’s second ever temple to openly perform same sex marriage ceremonies is next door to Kawagoe water park. The Saimyouji temple has some beautiful floral water fonts that maybe of interest to instagrammers and / or photographers.
The site of the Olympics Golf Tournament is also close by. And although the address is “Hidaka”, Saiboku food park and hot spring, AND the new barbecue area and athletic playground, is only a few minutes drive away too. Beside that is the excellent Chikozan park which has lots of things to do for families. It even has a small but cheap children’s zoo. There is a big fishing pond center in that park too.
Aina Water Park Information
|Address:||〒350-1173 Saitama, Kawagoe, Aina Shinden, 字下屋舗附 140番−1地先|
|Hours:||8 am to 5.15 pm (but there are no gates for pedestrians so in theory you can walk in it 24 hours a day!)|
|Online:||Official web page on the Kawagoe City Website|
Its a little tricky to find the entrance to the car park, but thankfully Google Maps will direct you correctly. Once you pull into the car park, if you go left and park beside the tennis courts you will be very near the cosmos. The cosmos flowers are on the far side of the tennis courts.
By public transport, the nearest bus stop is probably Kasumigaseki Minami Byoin Iriguchi . The bus goes to and from the North exit of Shin-sayama station, which is on the Seibu Shinjuku line. That line currently has the Doraemon train! On foot that station is about a 40 minute walk away. If you are walking the nearest station is actually Kasahata Station on the JR Kawagoe Line.