Hatchoko Park is the park around the eponymous Lake Hatcho in Yoshimi town in the Hiki District of Saitama. Lake Hatcho is a man-made lake in a natural woody hillside in the Prefectural Hiki Nature Park. Since I published this post, in spring 2022, the park has opened a campsite in the park. The camping ground can also be used by motorhomes / camper vans / RVs. Its quite basic and there are no cherry blossoms in the camping area, but it is right beside the entrance to the lake where there are dozens of sakura.
In my personal opinion there is nothing exceptional about Hatchoko park. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with it either. And it is a lovely place for a walk or a jog. However, as it is highly regarded by locals and is the pride of the town, I was expecting it to be a bit more than average. Moreover, it is much smaller than I anticipated. However, the park does branch out into several different hiking courses, extending the size and the possibilities for the park.
The park is particularly beloved by bird watchers and there are a great many types of birds and ducks, even rarely seen varieties, that frequent the lake. They provide information in the park about the wildlife, as per the photo above.
The park also has a large population of abandoned and feral cats. They seem to be well looked after. But there are signs up all over the park warning people there is a hefty fine for abandoning cats in the park. Including a very poignant one “abandoning a cat is killing a cat”.
There are only very basic facilities in the park, such as toilets, water drinking fountains and a couple of places to sit. However, since the campsite opened, there maybe more now in 2022. Also, there is no playground or sporting equipment. There used to be a kiosk shop, but judging by its condition I’d say it closed a long time ago. It seems to be the base for the cats now.
The biggest draw of the park (other than birds) is the seasonal scenery. There are parts of it that are picturesque all year round, but in both Spring and Autumn the park transforms into something worthy of the local’s adoration. And now in 2022 it is a potential Cherry Blossom or Autumn leaves camping spot!
Furthermore, if you want to watch a large fireworks display while camping, you can see the Konosu Fireworks from the park! (Or at least you could in previous years, I cannot guarantee it). Or you can walk to the Yoshimi viewing area of the Konosu fireworks from the campsite, which is what we did in 2022. (We didn’t stay overnight, just parked and walked down because we wouldn’t get parking anywhere closer!)
Autumn Leaves at Hatchoko Park
In November 2019 we visited for Autumn Leaves. However, it was still a little early for the ripe autumn leaves. But there was enough color to tantalize us. It was just before the “Healing Night” – a two night light up and music event that is usually held in conjunction with the stunning Anrakuji also known as the Yoshimi Kannon. However, in 2023, there is no information for light up in Hatchoko Park (as of November 15th), but Yoshimi Kannon will be lit up on November 25th and 26th 2023. More information in English here.
Hatchoko Park in the Spring
The park has some beautiful cherry blossoms (sakura). The park was a good location for “hanami” this year with the Coronavirus outbreak. There were actually quite a few people there, but not as many as the better known sakura spots. The sakura typically bloom end of March to early April.
If you are in Yoshimi during cherry blossom season I highly recommend the Yoshimi Sakura Tsutsumi for stunning sakura and rapeseed scenery:
Walking and Jogging Courses and hiking trails
The park has distances marked so people can keep track of how far they’ve walked or jogged. They also have courses mapped. You can choose an shorter or longer course. Also, outside of the scope of the map, within the forest, you can hike to further attractions. Such as the Kuroiwa Yoko Ana (not to be confused with the 100 caves of Yoshimi).
|Anrakuji / Yoshimi Kannon|
|Address:||Kuroiwa, Yoshimi, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0166|
|Hours:||In theory the park is open 24 hours, no hours specified for the car park|
The campsite only operates from Thursday to Sunday except in high season, such as summer holidays, Golden Week and New Years.
|Cost:||Free and free parking|
|Online:||Official web page on the Yoshimi town website|
Hatchoko Park campsite
By public transport: the nearest station is Higashimatsuyama station on the Tobu Tojo line. The park is about an hour on foot. Unfortunately, there is no regular bus. There is a bus stop near the lake, but it hasn’t been in service for the last two years. The town unfortunately stopped the “meguri” bus service permanently in 2018. The nearest bus stops are all around a 20 minute walk.
By car: Parking is on the east side of the park. There are no roads from the west connected to the park, so you need to approach it from either the south or east.
In the area:
- Anrakuji Yoshimi Kannon
- Red, Orange, Yellow and White Spider Lilies
- Cherry blossoms and Rapeseed Yoshimi
- Natural Cafe Sora | YOSHIMI
- Ghibli-esque Herbal House | YOSHIMI
- Roadside station splash festival
- Playground at Ichigo no Sato | Yoshimi
- Strawberry Picking in Yoshimi, Saitama
- Yoshimi Town Friendship Athletic Ground
- Fresa Yoshimi night illumination for kids
Find even more things to do in Yoshimi here…