The “Hanachozu Week” in Gyoda often features on local and even national news, as well as on social media platforms. The “Hanachozu Week” is actually two weeks long monthly. It is usually on the first two weeks of each month, except August, when there is no Hanachozu event. Also, in the months of November and January the event is on the last two weeks of the month. Therefore, there is a month long hanachozu ‘week’ from the 15th to the 14th of the next month.
During the period of the hanachozu “week” there are dozens of “hanachozu” floral water fonts around Gyoda. Various shrines, shops and even cafes participate. Hanachozu are sometimes called “floating flowers” in English. It is possibly just a coincidence, but Gyoda’s famous Oshi Castle is lovingly nicknamed the floating castle. Some of the floating flowers and the floating castle are lit up once a month, for an event called “Light of Hope”, during Hanachozu week.
As you can see on the map below, there are about 50 places that display floating flowers during the Hanachozu week. Below the map you will find a selection of seven, of which the first five are also recommended by Gyoda tourism association. They are marked by the larger sized, deeper colored flower marks on the map below.
Walking map of the floral fonts (daytime):
A selection of 7
(Numbers one to three are linked to more detailed information)
- Buratto Gyoda is a shop that sells local produce. There is a rest area with shade outside the shop, where they blow cool mist in summer.
- Oshi Castle Bus Terminal – from May to September there is a small water play area relatively near this bus terminal
- Plaza Tashiro is a shop that sells bedding. The floral font is beside the entrance and a “tanuki” statue.
- A house next door to Plaza Tashiro – a few private residences participate in the floating flower event and put displays outside their house for the public to enjoy on a walk around Gyoda.
Light of Hope 2023
For one night during the period of the hanachozu week three locations participate in a light up event “Light of Hope”. The three locations are Oshi Castle, Gyoda Hachiman Shrine and Sakitama Shrine. It is on once a month (except August) from dusk to 8 pm. (Or 8.30 pm when there is no restrictions due to the pandemic). Generally speaking the light up is on the first Saturday of the month, but there are some exceptions. Currently there is no light scheduled for January 2023, but there was light up last January. It maybe a scheduling error. The confirmed dates for 2023 light up Light of Hope are:
- February 4th 2023
- March 4th 2023
The nearest station is Gyodashi station on the Chichibu Tetsudo line. The station is close to some of the locations, but some of them are further out. As such it is quite a walk if you want to see them all, so comfortable shoes are advised!
If you are coming by car, there is free parking at several locations including at the Gyoda City Hall, Sakitama Shrine and Gyoda Hachiman Shrine. For the daytime fonts, Gyoda City Hall is quite central and within walking distance of many of the main floral font locations. For the night time events you can park at each of the three sites.