Hanazono Roadside Station is close to the Hanazono Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway. It is not on the highway, but a short distance on route 140 from the Hanazono exit / entrance of the highway, in the direction of the Saitama Museum of Rivers.
Roadside station (Michi no eki 道の駅) is the term used in Japan for a rest / service / parking area. In my experience roadside stations are generally the rest areas that are not on a high or expressway. Those are referred to as parking and/or service areas. Wikipedia tells me that roadside stations are not only rest areas, but they also function as an information and promotion center too. Hanazono Roadside Station in Fukaya certainly accomplishes that.
The roadside station is like a shrine to Fukaya. It not only promotes local produce, but local merchandise and even tourist attractions too. And I don’t mean by form of brochures. There are three actual festival floats displayed in the main building of the rest area. And there is a Fukkachan, the mascot of Fukaya, shop on the upper floor in the main building.
Festival floats in Hanazono Roadside Station
The festival floats are the actual floats used in the Omaeda festival every year on October 15th. They are protected behind glass, but you can see them from three different points inside the building. You can even see them being refurbished and cleaned if you are there on a day that they are working on them. Currently, one of them has been totally dismantled for a refurbishment and you can see the work being done on it.
Fukkachan Museum in Hanazono Roadside Station
They called it the Fukkucham museum, but it is really just a store that sells novelty goods of the Fukaya’s city character. As you can see above they sell Fukkachan teddy bears as well as T-shirts, tote bags, towels, keyrings, confectionary and other novelty items. All with the character Fukkuchan embellished on them. A highlight of the shop though is that the city mascot often drops by. Kids also like the chalk wall on one end of the shop where they can draw.
Indoor Play Area
The indoor play area is on the upper floor of the main building beside the Fukkachan museum. It is just a small play area, but it has a some books and a TV too. There are even some English books.
The playground is small, but there is an open space beside it where kids can run around. It has a couple of slides, spring rides, a sandpit and some climbing. You can also walk over to the neighbouring Garden Forest which has a nice playground too (also small).
Eateries at Hanazono Roadside Station
There is a very popular bakery on the upper floor which always seems to have a queue. They give complimentary coffee with purchases. There is no eating space inside in this area, but they have a nice terrace area.
On the lower floor is a souvenir shop and a small shop selling take out food such as onigiri and yakisoba. They have an area here where you can sit too. And in a separate smaller building there is also somewhere you can sit and eat too. They have a couple of benches near the playground and a couple out the front of the main building.
Outside there is an ice-cream van and some vending machines. And across the road there is an udon and soba restaurant, a farmers market and another bakery. If you walk in the opposite direction of those buildings, past the playground, you can also connect with Garden Forest Hanazono where there is various produce and more eateries. The eateries include a restaurant and a tofu speciality cafe.
Other points of interest
The shop on the ground level of the main building sells some really nice local produce and souvenirs.
Behind the main building there is a gardening shop that sells, among other things, reasonably priced bonsai.
On the other side, also behind the main building, is a strawberry farm. According to the billboard you can also pick strawberries here.
The rest area beside the toilets has somewhere to sit and eat as well as lots of information brochures and pamphlets.
Summary of what’s available
- Take out
- Ice cream van
- Indoor play area
- Gardening Center
- Fukkachan shop
- Festival floats on display
- Dog Run
- Farmers Market
- Garden Forest Hanazono
- Strawberry Picking
- Smoking Area
- Vending machines
- Information point
Fukaya Roadside Station Information
Hours: The main car park is open 24 hours, but “dai ni” (2nd) car park is open the same as the main building and eateries: 7 am to 7 pm
Address: 458-1 Omaeda, Fukaya-shi, Saitama-ken 369-1246
Plus code: 46CG+QW Fukaya, Saitama Prefecture
Minutes drive from the Hanazono Interchange of the Kanetsu Expressway.
Parking for 42 large vehicles and 367 cars plus 9 priority parking spots for persons with lower mobility and/or wheelchair users.
The Saitama Museum of rivers is only minutes away by car:
Check out two of Saitama’s unique “Only in Saitama” themed parking areas: