Autumn Leaves Night, The Story of the Forest and Lights Chapter 2 is the official name of the middle of three light up events at Shinrin park every year. It follows the Halloween Night in the Forest illumination, which finished up on Sunday, October 30th 2022. Shinrin Park, also called Musashi Kyuryo National Government Park, is located in Namegawa Town in the Hiki District of Saitama Prefecture. It is famed for its playgrounds, its seasonal flowers and the autumn illumination in particular. Information specific to 2022 (dates, bus etc) near the bottom of the post.
The ‘Autumn Leaves Night’ is now finished for 2022. But never fear, up next they have their “Starlight” illumination which starts in December. You might also like nine other places for winter illumination here.
Autumn Leaves Night, The Story of the Forest and the Lights
The park is huge at 304 hectares, but the light up is only in one section of the park, by the central gate. Still at that it is quite a large size with different sections along the route that is just over a kilometer round trip. The route winds it way from the central gate to the Urban Arboretum. Along the way there are all sorts of illumination and some art displays. The highlight is the park of maple trees.
The November light up of Shinrin Park coincides with “koyo” – autumn leaves or fall foliage in English. You can see some maple trees of orange and red lit up. They create a river among the trees with blue lights. They also have the rest area among the trees decorated in fairy and hanging lights.
For the kids
Since 2019, the Autumn leaf illumination has some new features that make it very appealing to kids too. For one, they have a stamp rally challenge. And we all know how much kids love stamp rallies. Secondly, they have made the exhibits more child friendly. Thirdly, they have a blackboard, that kids can right on with fluorescent chalk. Finally, they have mini automated shows especially for children. Two of them are outlined hereafter:
Captain Bubbles Pirate Ship
The Captain Bubbles ship is a large wooden boat designed like a pirates ship. It is on the left hand side as you come in the gate. There is a show at intervals during the night and the ship actually blows out bubbles, from a canon, accompanied by light and music.
Another key feature of the the light up at Shinrin Park since 2019 is the Talking Tree. It is located at the end point, the Urban Arboretum, where you can sit indoors for a rest or to eat or join in a craft. Like the pirate ship it is an automated show at intervals during the night. A tree comes to life and talks to the audience while changing the color of the lights around him.
Places to Eat / Drink / Take a break
There are three main areas where you can purchase food or a drink during the night illumination. At the central gate there is a little shop. It has vending machines and a food van outside it too. There are also rest areas throughout the park, such as the one pictured above. They are just sheltered places to sit though.
Just over halfway through the route there is an udon restaurant that opens late for the occasion. It sells fluorescent candy floss. (The stick in the candy floss illuminates). At the end point there is a cafe in the Urban Arboretum. There are vending machines here too.
Each of these places have somewhere to sit outdoors and the gate shop and arboretum cafe have places to sit indoors. They also have public rest rooms. The arboretum has a small play area for toddlers.
The Story of the Forest and the Lights Information 2022
The Story of the Forest and Lights is run yearly during November. It follows the Halloween light up of October. And a week after it finishes the Christmas illumination “Starlight” starts. Normally, it is the only one of the three light ups that you can see the light up daily (weather permitting). The others only run on weekends. In 2021, due to the pandemic, the event was only on weekdays, but thankfully in 2022 there are no such restrictions. However, they have kept the earlier start time of 4.30 pm this year (5 pm before the pandemic). But unlike in 2020 and 2021, when it ended at 8 pm, this year the light up will be on until the pre-pandemic time of 8.30 pm.
|Date:||Saturday November 12th to Sunday November 27th.|
|Hours:||4.30 pm to 8.30 pm, last entry 8 pm.|
|Location:||Shinrin Park Central Gate (no other gate or car park is open at night)|
|Address:||1920 Yamata, Namegawa, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0802|
|Cost:||450 yen entry for adults only (children go free), 210 yen for seniors (65+), 300 yen for parking|
|Online:||Information in English for all 3 illumination events at Shinrin Park.|
Official Park Website
The Higashimatsuyama Interchange of the Kanetsu Expressway is approximately six kilometers from the central gate. Parking costs 300 yen for the night. (It costs 500 yen during the day). There are cheaper private car parks nearby. I noticed that the 200 yen one was open at night last year as I drove by. It is 200 yen for the whole day.
Plus code for maps: 39PC+4J Namegawa, Saitama
They run a night shuttle bus from Shinrinkoen station on the Tobu Tojo Line the nights the autumn leaves night event is on. Once upon a time, just like the car park (at night), it was free, but nowadays they charge for the bus. Moreover, the prices have gone up again in 2022 – 250 yen per adult and they are now charging, 130 yen, for teenagers over 12 years old (it was 15 last year). The timetable – the yellow box is weekdays, the green is weekends. The left hand side times in each box are from the station, right hand side from the park:
The first post about the autumn light up in Shinrin Park was written in 2013. In 2019 this – a brand new post – replaced the 2013 version. In 2021, the blog post and the annual event post were merged into one post and republished as new. R211029