In 2020, the Higanbana festival in Satte’s Gongendo Park was cancelled on account of the Coronavirus outbreak. The other large spider lily festivals in Saitama, such as at Kinchakuda, were also cancelled. However, in 2021, Gongendo Park has been open for all other seasonal blooms – daffodils, cherry blossoms, hydrangea and sunflowers. So it is likely that, even if the festival isn’t on, the park will be open this year.
In the event that Gongendo Park is closed off nearer the time (I will update) there are always they smaller spider lily locations, where the higanbana grow wild. You can view spider lilies in these locations that never have flower festivals even during a “normal” year are always open to the public.
Image from the official website.
Satte Higanbana Festival
The Satte Higanbana (Red Spider Lily) Festival starts mid September in Gongendo Park in Satte. The Higanbanas are quite famous there as are the cherry blossoms and rape flowers in Spring. There are over 3 MILLION red spider lilies in Gongendo Park, Satte.
You can picnic in the park. There are benches. And a little shop too. In addition, there is also a tourist information area. They have a playground in the park, but in a completely different section to the flowers and it is a good 30 minute walk. However, there are some goats that kids (pun not intended!) can interact with, near the flowers.
In a regular year the Satte spider lilies bloom from around the 8th of September. And the Higanbana festival starts a week later from the middle of September. The Higanbana or red spider lilies of Satte and the festival usually finish up the first week of October. However, seasonal blooms have been early the last two years so do bear that in mind.
Satte Higanbana Festival Access
The park is a ten minute drive from the Satte Interchange on Ken-O expressway. 20 minutes from the Kuki Interchange of the Tohoku Expressway. Free parking available from 8.30 am to 7 pm this month and to 5 pm from October.
Only 45 minutes from Kita-Senju Station or an hour from Asakusa Station in Tokyo. You need to take a shuttle bus from Satte station. It costs 180 yen one way. However, the shuttle bus may not be available due to the pandemic. You can walk, but it takes at least 30 minutes on foot from the station.
Another famous Higanbana / Red Spider Lily festival in Saitama. However, they cut the spider lilies down in 2020 to prevent people from visiting –
If you want a more off the beaten path location to see red spider lilies aka cluster amaryllis, and photograph some terraced rice fields while you’re at it there is a great spot in Yokoze. HOWEVER, in 2020 they cut the spider lilies to prevent people coming during the pandemic.