Heisei no Mori – or Heiseinomori – is a park in West Saitama in a town that has recently become better known, due to its exit on the Ken-o Expressway. Kawajima town, also referred to as Kawashima town, is beside the cities of Sakado, Kawagoe, Higashimatsuyama and Okegawa. The park has started to make its mark and become more popular and famous due to its claim on having the longest rose tunnel in Japan. 日本一長いバラのトンネル. Apart from roses, the park has other seasonal blooms such as kanhizakura and yaezakura, both pink varieties of cherry blossoms you can see in spring. In addition, in summer you can see iris in the park.
This rose spot is most suited to Saitama locals, rather than international travelers. For one, it isn’t a huge park. Furthermore, the rose garden isn’t as large as other rose gardens in Saitama. But it is very pretty. Moreover, it is quite difficult to get to by public transport. In addition, there is little else in the immediate vicinity, except for the town’s library and municipal facilities. But a short drive away there are several points of interest. All that being said, if you are interested to see what a local rural public park looks like, this is a good spot!
The rose tunnel of the park is perhaps the most famous. It is about
330.5 340 meters long and growing. They’ve added sections over the years. Their annual park festivals are also becoming more known and popular in the last few years. The wading pool and river is often listed in summer travel magazines for kids, adding to it’s increasing popularity. The drive-thru Starbucks I pass on route, is an added attraction for me. However, lack of public transport to the park and it’s distance from a train station ensures that the park is never too crowded.
In this post
- Cherry Blossoms
- Weeping cherries
- Other flowers
- The playground
- Wading river
- During the pandemic
- Park details including access
Roses at Heisei no Mori Park
The park claim to have the longest rose tunnel. It is approximately 340 meters long, formed with close to 60 different varieties of 500 rambling roses resulting in thousands of blooms. In addition, there are 109 tree roses and rose bushes. The smell of the roses is divine, even through a mask! Masks are required to visit this park, and most public parks in Saitama Prefecture, during rose season and beyond. If you are visiting during May to see the roses, you could easily add a visit to Japan’s largest poppy field, which is only a 17 minute drive away.
There are roses that bloom in spring, autumn and even some in winter. Moreover, the park also has Christmas roses which bloom in late February or early March, depending on the year. They bloom around the same time as the kanhizakura:
Cherry Blossoms at Heisei no Mori Park
The park has different varieties of cherry blossoms. Of them, three of them are of note – the kanhizakura, the weeping cherries and the yaezakura.
First, the kanhizakura, an early blooming cherry blossom also known as the Taiwan Cherry, bloom around mid March. Although, sometimes they bloom in February. I think historically they bloomed in February, hence the name which means “cold scarlet cherry”. They are very different to what you would normally associate with cherry blossoms. That is, they have a very different type of petal, they are more like little bell flowers. They are actually sometimes called a bellflower cherry. In addition they are a deep pink.
There aren’t that many at Heisei no mori, but as a variety that isn’t very common in the Kanto plain, they actually have more than most. There are about twelve. One group of them is by the rose tunnel beside the Christmas roses. The other group of them is near the main car park.
There are only a handful of weeping cherries, but they are very beautiful. Moreover, you can get a photo with a picturesque bridge in the background. In addition, there are other settings with the weeping cherry with rocks in the background. They usually bloom around early April.
The park has some beautiful yaezakura, late blooming cherry blossoms. They bloom around mid April.
The Iris of Heisei no Mori
There are approximately 2,600 iris flowers in Heiseinomori park. Iris is the flower of Kawajima Town. The iris in the park are of the “hanashobu” variety, specifically Edo Hanashobu, Ise Hanasobu and Higo Hanashobu. The Edo Hanashobu bloom is horizontal, the Ise Hanashobu are pendent and the Higo Hanashobu type are arched. The Japan Iris organization website has detailed information in English about these varieties of iris. Heisei no Mori iris are shades of white, purple and yellow.
Even more blooms at Heiseinomori Park
Around the Iris pond there are some hydrangea which bloom around the same time. In addition, there are also lotus that bloom around mid June to early July. In Autumn, apart from the roses, you can see some Autumn leaves. In early winter the gingko becomes brilliant yellow. In winter you can see, daffodils and tsubaki. There are actually quite a few tsubaki trees in the park. They look particularly pretty in December 2022. Moreover, the bunch daffodils and narcissus are already blooming in mid December 2022.
The Tsubaki actually bloom twice a year. So if you miss them in December you can usually see them again around March. There is also some yukiyanagi in the park which blooms around March. Furthermore, there are even more seasonal blooms in a community field beside the park. That field allows picking toward the end of bloom for each flower. That field – Yatsubayashi community field – grows rapeseed in spring, sunflowers in summer and cosmos in autumn.
Heisei no Mori Playground
Heiseinomori park has a large playground with combination equipment including, but not limited to, a long slide, climbing walls and nets, and smaller slides. There is also a sandpit, spring rides, a flying fox and a smaller combination unit for young children. Beside the rose tunnel there is also a small playground for younger children. There is no shade in the large playground and limited shade in the small playground.
Wading River and Paddling Pool Gallery
The park has a particularly nice splash pool and wading river, the latter of which is shaded in many parts. The wading river normally starts running at the weekends first, during the month of May and eventually is available daily. However, during the pandemic the wading river is not filled.
Events at Heiseinomori Park
Until 2019 there were two festivals in May in Heiseinomori Park. The first was on children’s day. The second the rose festival around mid May. In 2019 they merged them into one “Kawajima Spring Festival” that happens in mid May. During the spring festival they normally light up the rose tunnel at night. And in 2022 they also decided, last minute, to light up the roses at night too. The roses will be lit up nightly (weather permitting) from Friday May 13th to Tuesday May 31st between 7 and 9 pm.
There is also light up in the park in winter, in the form of night illumination. However, there hasn’t been night illumination in the park for three years now. In addition, there is normally a one day festival in November too.
During the pandemic
In 2020 the rose tunnel was closed to the public during the State of Emergency. The car park was also closed. The tunnel was also closed in 2021, but the park was open as was the parking lot. The tunnel is open in 2022 and the park have their annual spring festival and rose light up. However, the wading river will probably not be open again in 2022. We’ll have to wait and see. (As of May 7th 2022, the wading river is not in operation).
Heisei no Mori Park Information
There is no restaurant or shop on the premises, but there is a nice cafe “Smile Cafe 1/2 (Half)” at one exit of the park. Unfortunately, it has been closed for much of the pandemic. The park also has a library and public hall beside it. There are 3 toilets in the park. Parking is free. The park is quite pretty throughout the seasons. You will see artists and photographers alike capturing the beauty of the flowers in this park. There are some sporting facilities in the park including a running track, soccer field and fishing.
Address: 920 Shimoyatsubayashi, Kawajima, Hiki District, Saitama 350-0122
By train and bus – Unfortunately, Heisei No Mori is a little difficult to get to by public transport. However, you can take a bus from the East exit of Tobu Tojo line Kawagoe station, bound for Konosu. 20 minute walk from 「川島農協前」(Kawajima Nokyou mae) bus stop.
By car – 5 minute drive from the Kawajima exit of the Ken-O expressway.
Originally posted as Autumn leaves at Heisei no mori park in November 2013. Completely revamped and republished in 2015 and updated annually since then. Last update December 18th 2022.