Hanyu Riverside Park – Hanyu Suigo Park – is a beautiful park alongside the Tone River in Hanyu City in Saitama. It is best known for three main reasons. One, the Saitama Aquarium is located in the park. Two, there are some stunning cherry blossoms in the park. And three, in recent years the park has been put firmly on the map due to the annual Yuruchara Summit of Mascots.
Surprisingly what it is not known for, but should be in my opinion, is its fantastic playground. It is, in my opinion, one of the better playgrounds in Northern Saitama as it has a variety of playground equipment suited to various ages. Due to its proximity to Gunma and Ibaraki, the park attracts people from Gunma and Ibaraki as much, if not more than, as from Saitama.
Hanyu Riverside Park
- Massive playground
- Hanami with kids and seasonal scenery
- Canoeing and rent-a-cycle
- Bird Sanctuary
- Saitama Aquarium
The playground at Hanyu Riverside park is a particularly large one. It is more like four playgrounds rolled into one. Each of the four has one main piece as well as smaller pieces:
Animal shaped equipment
One of the pieces of equipment in the playground is reminiscent of the type of playgrounds I grew up with in Ireland. This is the first time I have seen a piece of playground equipment like this in Japan. It is challenging enough for my older children age nine and ten. The age recommendation on it is from six to twelve years old. It looks like a spider.
Near it is another piece of equipment that looks – to me – like a mammoth! This one is for smaller children aged between three and six years old.
Beside the spider like play equipment featured above there is a great climbing wall. It is quite like the wall in the Saitama Museum of Rivers, only larger and more challenging. The age recommendation on the climbing wall is also six to twelve years old. My five year old found it very manageable and with supervision a younger child could also play on it. At your own risk of course.
Close to both the animal shaped pieces of equipment and the climbing wall there is large play area in the shape of a pirate ship. The age recommendation on it is for children from three to twelve years old, but I doubt a child over seven would be very interested in or challenged by it.
Another one that was challenging enough for my older two kids, although they tired of it quickly, and also suitable for the younger two – aged five and seven – is the “Kobaton” piece of equipment. It is a multi purpose piece with climbing and slides.
There are smaller pieces of equipment dotted around the playground. For example, spring rides, play equipment for toddlers and balancing beams and a small cave.
There are battery cars at a couple of different locations in the park, including at the playground. The last time we visited it was raining and the previous time – years ago – they weren’t there, so I have no photos of them! You can see the space for the battery cars at the playground in the background of the “mammoth” photo above. The playgrounds have no cover charge, but the battery cars cost 100 yen per ride.
Hanami with Kids
The playground(s) are located close to the cherry blossoms of the park. And as such it is a great place to do hanami with kids. Their cherry blossom festival is usually the last week of March and the first week of April. However, this year, 2020, the sakura are expected to bloom a week earlier than normal AND due to Coronavirus outbreak, there will either be changes to or cancellations of planned events.
The park also has late blooming sakura that typically bloom in mid April. There are several different seasonal blooms throughout the year in different parts of the park. The sunflowers in July and August have been enjoying increasing fame in recent years. There is also a landscaped garden on one side of the playground and plum blossoms on another. However, the plum blossoms were only planted in recent years so their bloom isn’t that impressive yet.
Canoeing and Rent-a-cycle
You can rent a canoe and row boat or take a lake tour at the park on the weekends between the months of March and November. You can rent bikes every day of the week between March and November. The hours are from 10 am to 3 pm. Costs outlined below:
|Rent a bike||420 yen per bike per hour|
|Canoe experience||1,580 yen per boat per hour|
|Row boat||810 yen per boat per hour|
|Lake boat tour||630 yen for adults, 320 yen for children|
There are several water features in Hanyu Riverside Park, including a lake, marsh and rivers. Hozoji Pond / Marsh, the body of water closest to the aquarium, is a bird sanctuary and home to a critically endangered plant species. Supposedly there is Mujinamo in the park too. Mujinamo is an insectivorous waterwheel plant which used to be a national natural treasure of Japan.
There is a lovely boardwalk over the water / marsh. It only has very low railings and is tilted on one end – something to note if you are there with toddlers.
The Saitama Aquarium is a freshwater aquarium with fish, amphibians and reptiles from freshwater bodies of water such as rivers and lakes. They have a really good collection including pretty much all / any fish you can find in Saitama and more unusual species from overseas too. For even more information:
Hanyu Riverside Park Information
|Hanyu Riverside Park Information|
|Address:||Hanyu, Saitama 348-0011|
|Hours:||The park isn’t closed off at night so as such it is open 24 hours. However, the car park closes every evening.|
|Cost:||Both the park and the car park are free. However, the aquarium, canoeing and battery cars each have a charge.|
Information about the aquarium on this blog
Information about the mascot summit on this blog