The Fukuda area of Kawagoe is the main home of the Kawagoe Satoyama Initiative. As part of the initiative they have several seasonal events in the area. Most of which are free. I wrote about the Strawberry Candle and Lotus grass before, but I didn’t get around to writing (in real time) about the sunflowers I went to see there in Autumn. It is one of the few places you can see sunflowers back-dropped by red spider lilies. But right now, and annually, there is a small winter illumination display in the fields. This one I will disseminate in real time, for anyone living in or close to the Fukuda area of Kawagoe.
The Fukuda fields are very much “local Kawagoe“, not tourist Kawagoe. Fukuda is located on the outskirts of the city, by Ochiabashi that leads into Kawajima Town. As such though, if you have come to Kawagoe by way of the Ken-o expressway and alighted at Kawajima Interchange, you will pass these interesting “satoyama initiative” fields on your way into downtown Kawagoe. However, there is nowhere to park in the area. Thus it is more suited to people within walking or cycling distance. Or you can get a bus to the area. A couple of my Instagram followers went to the fields by bus, after I shared information for the Strawberry Candle flowers, and reported back they were happy they did!
Kawagoe Satoyama Initiative
There is plenty already online in English about the Satoyama initiative, so I won’t go into it in detail. Basically, the Satoyama Initiative is Japan’s response to the global biodiversity crises. It was started by the Ministry of Environment of Japan and the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability. There is detailed information in English about the concept and exercises of the project on the official Satoyama Initiative website. The ministry also has an online brochure (pdf) in English. The Kawagoe Satoyama Initiative is, as the name suggests, the Kawagoe branch of the larger Satoyama initiative. In Kawagoe city the run a number of projects as part of the Satoyama Initiative, the vast majority of them seem to be in the Fukuda area of Kawagoe.
The Fukuda Fields in winter
Right now, December 2021, there is a small Christmas illumination display in one of the paddy fields in the Fukuda area of Kawagoe. It is beside the Akagi Shrine, in front of a farm house. Although not very big, it is one that kids really appreciate as it has several moving parts. There are at least two trains, including a Thomas the Tank Engine train, that move around the track. There is a flying Santa Claus. In addition, there is a Santa Claus that climbs up and down a chimney. They are timed to light up at different times illustrating different scenes. Furthermore, on the quarter hour, music plays. It is definitely one to bring small children to, if you live in the area.
Autumn at the Fukuda Fields
Around the end of September you can see both sunflowers and red spider lilies in the Fukuda area of Kawagoe. These sunflower fields are not as large as the sunflower fields in the Isanuma area of Kawagoe. But there are two different fields. Moreover, one is backdropped by red spider lilies. So if you want to see sunflowers and spider lilies growing together, this is a place to bookmark for future reference. Unfortunately this year, 2021, due to the State of Emergency, Kawagoe City did not mow the grass and wild growth on the embankments in early September, like they normally do. So when the spider lilies arrived you couldn’t see the red spider lilies due to the overgrowth. You can kind of make them out in the photo above.
In addition, the Kawagoe Satoyama Initiative put up scarecrows in autumn every year. Once upon a time, it was a large display by the old Toysrus on route 254, but they stopped doing that when the Toysrus was closed. Now it is only a small display, by the Fukuda flower garden. Which is also very small, with an equally small – but quaint – cosmos flower display in Autumn. The scarecrow display is about a 3 minute walk from the sunflowers. On the scarecrow of the featured photo at the top of the post during September 2022 says “welcome to Fukuda-chu”. Fukuda chu is the name of a Junior High School in Kawagoe!
Summer at the Fukuda Fields in Kawagoe
In 2022, the summer sunflowers are blooming in the same area as the autumn sunflowers mentioned above. However, the second field beside the embankment has fewer sunflowers than in Autumn. They have been in full bloom since at least August 19th 2022. The photo above was taken on August 20th and due to the rain, the sunflowers were tilting down, but they still looked beautiful.
Spring at the Fukuda Fields
Spring is when the beautiful Strawberry Candle Flowers and Lotus Grass grow in Fukuda. More information in this post (the photo is linked to the post):
Throughout the year there are dozens of agricultural events held in the Fukuda area of Kawagoe. For example, this past weekend they had an event making New Year decorations from the land. It is not unusual for their events to involve using farmed materials to make something practical and / or useful. They also have several hands on experiences such as planting and / or harvesting rice. Bee keeping is another priority of the Kawagoe branch of the Satoyama Initiative. They run seminars and provide information on farming practices too. Community is central to the theme of the Satoyama initiative.
Address: Fukuda, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0821. Most of the flower displays and events are held south of the Iruma river, west of route 254. None of the exact locations are currently on Google maps!
Official website of the Kawagoe Satoyama Initiative.
As there is no parking or additional facilities this location best suited to locals and / or cyclists. There isn’t even a public toilet, which is rare in Saitama Prefecture! There is a bus that you can get from Kawagoe Station heading to “Hachiman danchi” in Kawajima. Alight at the Josai HS bus stop and walk west. Please note there is really very little in the immediate area. However, if you walk over Ochiabashi and walk North west along the Northern most embankment, north of the Oppei river, you will reach the Fueki Shoyu factory and Kinbue Soy Sauce Park. Alternatively, a ten minute walk South along route 254 will bring you to Monolith bouldering gym.