Safflower in Okegawa 2021

The “Benibana” Safflower Festival of Okegawa is coming back in 2022. Okegawa didn’t even grow the safflower in 2020, but in 2021 they did and even penciled in a date for the festival. But ultimately it was cancelled due to the pandemic. This year, 2022, they have even made the brochure for the festival so it looks very promising that it will go ahead as planned. It is slightly different to previous years, but not because of the pandemic. But because they are currently building a roadside station in the area close to the main safflower field.

Okegawa Safflowers

Okegawa safflowers

Safflowers are the flowers of Okegawa. Even the city’s mall is named after the flower: Apita’s Benibana Walk. Furthermore, you can find Safflower Manhole covers in the city too. And In addition, even the bus has safflower motifs on it (pictured in “access”). There are three main safflower fields in Okegawa. They are actually quite spread out, but two of them are close enough to each other to walk between them.

Benibana safflower festival manhole cover
©insaitama.com Safflower Manhole Cover in Okegawa

Unfortunately, in 2020 they didn’t even grow the safflowers. In 2021, they only grew them in one field, which is the picking field. But in 2022 they have grown them in all fields and they have scheduled the safflower festival, or “benibana matsuri” 紅花祭り, for the first time in three years.


Safflower Festival 2022

a field of safflowers
The picking field

The safflower festival is held annually on a weekend in the middle of June. However, in 2022 there are two separate festivals, one at the Benibana Furusato Kan and one near the largest two fields. That is the main festival and, in 2022, that is on Saturday June 18th and Sunday June 19th. The festival is on between 9.30 am to 4 pm on both days. The Benibana Furusato kan will have their own, smaller, festival on a separate day – Saturday June 11th from 10 am to 3 pm.


Benibana Furusato Kan Festival – June 11th

Poster for the Okegawa Furusato Kan safflower festival

The Benibana Furusato Kan Festival is on a week earlier than the main festival. On Saturday June 11th from 10 am to 3 pm. However, please note as of Wednesday June 8th 2022, the safflowers are not yet in bloom! But there will still be stage events, food vans and events for the kids.


The main festival – June 18th and 19th

In previous years the main site was the Okegawa Agricultural center, but in 2022 it will be at Shiroyama Park. Although, there are no safflowers in Shiroyama park itself. There is a viewing field and a picking field. Both fields are within walking distance of Shiroyama park. If walking to the main field look out for the stunning hydrangea nearby! There is also a third field beside the Benibana Furusato kan. That used to be a lot larger, but it is just a small field now. As above, the festival at Benibana Furusato kan is on June 11th, but you can see the safflowers at the Furusato Kan on the weekend of the main festival too. It is quite a distance from the other two fields though.

Benibana Safflower festival in Okegawa Saitama PRefecture in 2022

For the main festival on the 18th and 19th, there will be live entertainment in Shiroyama Park. In addition, they will have food stalls. There are also children events, but they are at different locations. For example, they will have art and crafts at the Kawataya Gakushu Center. The festival is free, but a few of the events are charged. For example, it costs 50 yen to pick a safflower.

Access the Benibana Festival

The main festival area is at Shiroyama Park in 2022.  All parking is at Shiroyama Park. The south car park is near to the main field, while the east parking is near the picking fields. By car it is 5 minutes from the Okegawa – Kitamoto interchange on the Ken-O Expressway. It takes one hour by car from Tokyo.

Safflower festival okegawa go bus
By 金士明 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4521480

There is a free shuttle bus to the festival in 2022, from Okegawa Station’s west exit. There will be one every 20 minutes or so, between 9 am and 4 pm. The bus will stop at the main site, the main safflower field and the picking field.

Also in the area:

Official event web page.

Updated annually. Last republish May 28th 2022. All information was accurate and up-to-date to the best of my knowledge at the time of publishing. However, due to the pandemic, all events are subject to change.

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