Safflowers outside Benibana Furusato Kan

Benibana means safflower: it is the flower of Okegawa where this Furusato Kan is located. A Furusato Kan is a type of folk museum and you can find a furusato kan in hundreds of towns around Japan.

Benibana Furusato Kan

Benibana Furusato Kan main building

The Furusato kan in Okegawa was once a private home of an industrialist. It was restored and preserved as an example of a Meiji period country town house. The Nagayamon, literally ‘long house gate’, (or gate house as we might say) is particularly beautiful. There a few other buildings on the grounds that showcase Japanese architecture from the period.

Flowers

It is probably no surprise to hear you can see safflowers at this location, given that its name in English is the Safflower Folk Museum! In June each year there are potted safflowers along the entrance path and you can also see a field of safflower across the road from the facility.

Hydrangea X bamboo in Okegawa City
Hydrangea X Bamboo in June

Hydrangea also bloom on the grounds. Unfortunately, when I last visited in June they had the hydrangea area closed off for some reason. You could see a small section of them and they looked really beautiful as they are set in a small bamboo grove.

Restaurant & Udon Making

You can get a Japanese style udon or soba lunch on the second floor of the furusato kan. The noodles here are homemade from 100% local flour.

Flea market

There is a flea market in the courtyard on the third Sunday of (almost) every month from 9 am to 2 pm. The upcoming dates:

  • February 18th 2024
  • March 17th 2024
  • May 19th 2024
  • June 16th 2024
  • July 21st 2024
  • September 15th 2024

They also hold different types of markets at other times of the year. For example, they will have a handmade market on June 2nd 2024, from 10 am to 3 pm. Official event page.


Benibana Furusato Kan Festival

As part of the larger Safflower Festival, Benibana Furusato Kan have a one day festival in June. Please note, it is always on a different day to the main festival which is held at Shiroyama Park. In 2023, the Furusato Kan Festival is on Sunday June 11th from 10 am to 3 pm.


Fireworks

For their summer festival in 2023, Benibana Furusato Kan in Okegawa will have a fireworks display on Saturday August 19th. The festival is on from 4 pm to 8 pm and climaxes with the fireworks, from around 7.30 pm. Other events that you can enjoy at this local festival is “suikawari”, a traditional summer activity in Japan similar to how you play with a pinata. However, the watermelon is on the ground, not suspended from the air. There will also be food trucks in the court yard on the day. The information is not yet on their website (as of August 7th 2023), but they have posted it to their Instagram:


Okegawa Furusato Festival

The Okegawa Furusasto festival is held at the furusato kan each year in November. In 2023 it will be on Saturday November 25th and Sunday November 26th from 10 am to 3 pm. There are stage performances and food booths at the furusato kan each day. Official event page.


Information

Attraction: Seasonal events and facilities at Okegawa City Benibana Furusato Kan 桶川市べに花ふるさと館

Season: all year round, but June for safflowers, hydrangea and the Furusato kan festival.

Hours: 9.30 am to 8 pm, but the restaurant is only open from 11 am to 3 pm.

Cost: there is no entry charge into the courtyard or to events (workshops have charges though), but if you want to rent any of the facilities (stage, Japanese tea room, workshop etc) you have to pay a nominal fee.

Venue: Benibana Furusato kan, 桶川市べに花ふるさと館, 419-1 Kano, Okegawa, Saitama 363-0001. View on Google Maps.

Access

The Furusato Kan is about a 30 to 35 minute walk from Okegawa Station. You can also use the dinky little Okegawa loop bus, easy identifiable by its orange color and safflower motifs, to get the folk museum. The bus stop is just outside the premises. There is free parking for around 12 cars in front of the gate house.

Official website

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