Lavender Kuki at the Blue Festival

Information for the Blue Festival in 2023 in Kuki City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan.

Kuki Blue Festival

No, it’s not missing an “s” and its nothing to do with music; the blue festival in Kuki is in celebration of “blue” flowers that bloom at this time of year. However, in all truth, the flowers it celebrates are more purple than blue! The Blue Festival combined and replaced two long running flower festivals – the Iris festival at Shobu Castle and a Lavender festival in thes Shobu area.

The “festival” is held annually in June. However, in both 2020 and 2021 the event was cancelled on account of the pandemic. But it came back in 2022 and is scheduled again for 2023. The festival will start on Sunday June 11th and runs until Sunday June 25th. The main area of the festival is around the Kuki City hall Shobu branch office car park, which is where the lavender is. (Map below)

Events

The event dates really indicate the period of the bloom rather than an actual event in the typical sense of the word. However, there are some events on the weekends during the festival period. They take place around the Kuki City Hall Shobu Branch Office. Kuki City have not yet released the line up for 2023. Normally there are dance performances, such as yosakoi, and live music including taiko drum performances.

Information

Event: Blue Festival 2023 ブルーフェスティバル

Date: Sunday June 11th and runs until Sunday June 25th 2023

Time: 10 am to 3 pm (but viewing is 24 hours)

Cost: free

Venue: see next paragraph (access is below the map)

Blue Festival Kuki Locations

Shobu Castle Iris Castle, Kuki City Hall Shobu Branch Office (main festival site), Shobu branch office lavender fields, Shirasagi Park mapped:

Access

The festival area is approximately a seven minute drive from the Shiraoka Shobu exit of the Ken-o expressway. There is a small free car park that fits around 10 cars at Shobu Castle. Before the pandemic they had parking for the festival, for up to 700 cars, at the nearby Shobu Junior High School. However, in 2022 and again this year there is currently no mention of that. In 2022 the parking was halved – for 350 cars around the Shobu Branch Office.

By public transport, pre pandemic there was a special bus and temporary bus stop during the period of the festival only. However, that has not been available since 2019. You can get a regular “Asahi” bus from either Kuki Station or Okegawa station. The bus from JR Takasaki Line’s Okegawa station (east exit) stops at the Shobu Castle Garden. The main festival area is about a ten minute walk from the iris garden.

The official website has not yet been updated for 2023 (as of May 22nd)

Check out even more Iris locations here.

Saitama’s largest lavender fields here.

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