Early spring festa a spring letter at Shinrin Park

This post contains information for flowers and events at Shinrin Park, aka Musashi Kyuryo National Government Park, for their ‘Early Spring Festa“. In English, they call it a “Spring Letter”. The highlight, for many, of early spring at the park is the early blooming tulips which bloom in March. Among the larger events during the period is the “Happy Spring Park” on two days in March…

Table of Contents
1. Early Spring Festa
2. Plum Blossoms
3. Witch Hazel
4. Early blooming tulips
5. Christmas roses
6. Camellia
7. Katakuri
8. Other early spring flowers
9. Happy Spring Park
10. Information

1. Early Spring Festa

The period of the early spring festa is from today, February 1st, to Sunday March 31st 2024. The biggest event on during the period is the Happy Spring Park and that is on March 16th and 17th. During the period of the Early Spring Festa, or Spring Letter as they call it in English, thousands of flowers bloom. Currently, the camellia and wintersweet are in bloom. In addition, some of the plum blossoms, fukujusou and Christmas rose are blooming. The early blooming tulips, which are a highlight of the festa, are currently under tarp.

2. Plum blossoms

There are approximately 500 plum blossom trees, of 120 varieties, in the plum blossom grove. The grove is located in a wider area known as the “tree flower garden” where later in spring you can see cherry blossoms. At the time of publishing this post, there are already some plum blossoms in bloom, but generally the best time to see them is from around mid February to early March. Even more information:

3. Witch Hazel

Apart from the plum blossoms, you can also see Witch Hazel in Shinrin Park in February. Shinrin Park has one of the largest selection of Witch Hazel trees in Saitama with 70 trees of 40 different varieties. They all bloom at different times, with many of them blooming in winter. The varieties shown in the photos above, bloom from around the end of January to mid February.

4. Early blooming tulips

Normally, the early blooming tulips bloom for the month of March and into early April. However, in 2022, they were actually late to bloom and didn’t start blooming until the end of March. There are approximately 18,000 early blooming tulips, of 12 different varieties. They are grown near the Central Gate. The area is part of the Urban Botanical Garden, but it is near the babbling brook, the newer of two water play areas in the park.

5. Christmas Roses

Christmas rose at Shinrin Park in spring
Christmas Rose at Shinrin Park

Beside the tulips there are approximately 1000 Christmas roses bloom. They have started to bloom already, but they are generally best seen from the end of February to about the end of March. In addition, from February 10th to March 10th there is an exhibition of Christmas Roses in the arboretum.

6. Tsubaki

There are approximately 500 tsubaki (camellia / sasanqua) in the park. You can actually see tsubaki in the park from November right through to April. If you are using the flower app for the park it directs you to the various locations you can see them.

7. Katakuri

Shinrin Park has a relatively large display of Katakuri or Japanese Dogwood Violets. One of thee most beloved spring flowers in Japan. They are considered endangered by many, so nowadays they are not harvested. But once upon a time, people would pick and cook Katakuri. They are a very interesting flower that goes through growth phases. They start with their flower closed, much like a closed umbrella. Then the petals slowly start to lift upwards. Finally, they curve upwards. By the end of March most should be open, and hopefully curved upwards.

8. Other early spring flowers

Mimosa and kawazuzakura are among the other tree flowers you can see in early spring (around end of February, early to mid March). And in March approximately 40,000 crocus bloom in the aforementioned babbling brook area, near the Christmas roses. The wild azalea start to bloom around the end of March. Currently (February 1st) you can also still see some winter flowers such as wintersweet.

9. Happy Spring Park

The Happy Spring Park is an outdoor event annually (except in 2023 and 2020!) during the period of the early spring festa. They have food vans and various activities over the two days. In 2024 that will be Saturday March 16th and Sunday March 17th:

10. Information

Event: Early Spring Festa 早春フェスタ、including Happy Spring Park ハピースプリングパーク and early blooming tulips 早咲きチューリップ

Dates: from Thursday February 1st to Sunday March 31st 2024.

Hours: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm in February and until 5 pm in March.

Cost: entry to the park is 450 yen per adult. There is no charge for children.

Venue: South Gate for the plum blossoms and Central Gate for most of the other flowers. Central Gate Shinrin Park, 1920 Yamata, Namegawa, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0802. View on Google Maps. If you enter from another gate, you can either rent a bike, take the park bus or walk to the central area.

Access

A bus goes to the south gate of the park from both JR Kumagaya Station and Tobu Tojo Line Shinrinkoen station. However, the bus from Shinrinkoen station only goes on Saturdays and Sundays. There is also a bus to the west exit from Kumagaya Station. For the south exit (from Kumagaya station) get a bus bound for Namegawa Junior High School and alight at Shinrin Park south gate. For the west gate (from Kumagaya station), get a bus bound for Shinrin Park west gate. If you come by car parking is also charged; 700 yen for the day.

Official brochure for the Early Spring Festa. 

You can use the Shinrin Park tag to find even more posts about the seasonal events and flowers at the park on this blog.

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