Chichibu Highland Ranch, also known as Sai No Kuni Fureai Farm, is a free prefectural farm on top of a 766 meter high mountain ridge in Higashichichibu village. It affords a particularly beautiful view and is a great spot for watching both the sunset and the sunrise. Located on an old mountain route that connects Ogawa and Higashichichibu to the Chichibu District, the drive itself is both beautiful and exhilarating! It is home to the famous “Sky of Poppies”.
Chichibu Highland Ranch
Chichibu Highland Ranch (aka Sai no Kuni Fureai Farm) is probably best known for its Poppies in the Sky, which bloom annually in May to early June. It is amazing to visit in spring when the ten million poppies are in bloom. However, there is more to the farm than just the poppies and the farm itself is “in the sky” too. It is a lovely place to spend a morning or afternoon. However, it is also a very popular view spot and its not unusual for the road to be congested during holiday periods.
On top of the world!
We particularly like it in summer when the temperatures up there are much cooler than where we live in the flatland’s of Saitama. Especially as the top of the mountain gets a good breeze thanks to its altitude. The farm stretches along a ridge line from Atogayama to Ogiriyama. The farm buildings are at around 580 meters above sea level and the farm itself stretches from 270 meter above sea level at its lowest to 766 meters at is highest. On average the temperature at Chichibu Highland Ranch is at least 3 degrees lower than the average temperatures for Saitama in a given day.
“This too is Saitama” Views
The main buildings are right on the top of the mountain. The animals and poppy field are on the slopes both west and east of the main entrance. The farm is spread over 352 hectares. The view is amazing all year round, especially if you have a clear day to see it. The views are more like something from Nagano or Shizuoka, “this too is Saitama” comes to mind each time. And the view on the east side and the west side are quite different. You can often see a sea of clouds from the peak where the main car park and entrance to the farm is. Moreover, it is a great spot for watching a sunset or sunrise and is quite popular for hatsuhinode – viewing of the first sunrise of the year.
Sai no Kuni Fureai Farm
The farm has cows, sheep, goats and rabbits too. They offer several hands on experiences such as cow milking and butter making in the “Moo Moo house”. There is an indoor play area, a small reading area, and an information area. And there are some shops and eateries, most of which have outdoor seating that offer great views. However, right now during the Coronavirus outbreak things are a little different. For example, there is no cow milking.
Visiting when the farm is closed
Even when the farm is closed people off stop off on there way to / from Chichibu just for the view alone. (And possibly for the cooler temperatures!) On the east side you can look out over Higashichichibu, Saitama and even Tokyo. On a clear day you can even see the Skytree.
There are two small shops just before the main farm buildings that tend to open everyday over the summer, even when the farm is closed. One sells ice-cream. There is a covered outdoor seating area beside it and it just across the road from the view points.
The farm buildings and most of the fields are closed when the farm is, but you can walk in by one of the goat and one of the rabbit enclosures. The farm’s bell is here and a free binoculars. You can use the table and chairs. There are a couple of gazebos that you can also use. On the South West side you can see the cows on the hills.
Azalea bloom from the end of April to early May. There are some wild wisteria too. In June you can see hydrangea. But of course the most famous is the poppies:
Chichibu Highland Poppies
The farm is at its busiest when the poppies are in bloom. They didn’t grow them in 2020 to deter people coming to visit during the Coronavirus outbreak and the stay home period. Please note that the poppy area is quite a distance from the farm area. During the poppy season they open an interior road that links the farm to the field. As of May 4th 2021 the poppies are not yet in bloom. Update May 23rd: the sky of poppies event was cancelled last minute on May 21st 2021, the day before it was supposed to start. The car parks are also closed and there is no direct public transport to this location. You can see more details on the event post linked here.
Chichibu Highland Ranch Information
|Address:||2951 Sakamoto, Higashichichibu, Chichibu District, Saitama 355-0372|
|Hours:||The park is open from 8.30 am to 5.15 pm.|
The farm is open from 9 am to 4 pm.
It closes on Mondays, or in the case that a Monday falls on a public holiday it closes on a Tuesday instead.
|Cost:||Free (events generally cost 200 yen per person)|
All roads to the farm are steep and curvy mountain roads. The farm itself is on route 361, which is only accessible from the South at the moment. The north end is still closed (May 5th 2021) due to considerable damage it suffered during typhoon Hagibis in Autumn 2019. Therefore you can only access the farm from Higashichichibu in the south and Minano in the West. The poppies are further down the mountain, nearer Minano. There is a separate parking lot by the poppy fields.
By public transport unfortunately it is quite tricky. Unless you are prepared to hike 90 minutes to the ranch from the bottom of the mountain, the best way to get here is by car or taxi. (The mountain road isn’t suited to large buses either.) Oyahana station and Seibu Chichibu station have buses that go to Misawa Post Office which is the nearest point to which you can get a bus. From there its a 90 minute hike on steep routes to the farm.
Other places you can see animals in Saitama:
- Saitama Children’s Zoo
- Tobu Zoo
- Musashi No Mura Amusement Park | KAZO
- Chikouzan Park Zoo
- Hodosan Zoo | NAGATORO
- Omiya Park | SAITAMA CITY
- Enomoto Dairy Farm Saitama 2020
- Saitama Aquarium in Hanyu
- Dog Shelter Cafe Bokuranote | KAWAJIMA
- Best of Saitama Maruyama Park | AGEO
- Protection Cat Cafe Neko Katsu | KAWAGOE