Higashimatsuyama Agriculture Park, fruit and vegetable picking, food farming, farm product processing experiences and seasonal flowers.
Higashimatsuyama Agriculture Park
The Higashimatsuyama Agriculture Park, or Higashimatsuyama Norin Park, re-opened on August 1st 2019 after a year of work and renovations. There was a lot of discourse about the changes, mainly negative, as the upgrade involved destroying a field of poppy flowers and some mature cherry blossom trees.
I never did get to see the park before they updated it, but looking at the photos online it seemed to be an off the tourist trail spot to enjoy seasonal flowers. What it is now, is quite different, but thankfully the avenue of cherry blossom trees survived the redesign.
Fruit and Vegetable Picking
One of the main draws of the agriculture park is seasonal fruit and vegetable picking. Below is a table showing fruits and vegetables which are currently set up for picking over the next 12 months. There is also an orchard on terraced fields which is still too young for picking. They also haven’t disclosed yet what type of orchard it is.
Schedule of fruit and vegetable picking
|January to May||Strawberry Picking|
|October||Sweet Potato Picking|
Higashimatsuyama Agriculture Strawberry Picking
Strawberry picking is one of the main offerings of the park. It will start in either December or January, depending on weather between this and then. The price also hasn’t been fixed, but as it is a municipal facility it is bound to be cheaper than a private strawberry picking farm.
Higashimatsuyama Agriculture Park Botany
Cherry blossoms bloom late March to early April in an average year. Rapeseed and gillyflowers bloom around the same time as you can see in the Instagram post below. Sunflowers bloom from the end of July to early September. They plant approximately 7000 sunflowers each year. 2021 update: they opened on August 6th and a few started to bloom on August 7th. It will be another few days before they have that dramatic effect.
The playground is quite small and currently has only two pieces of equipment: a flying fox (zip line) and spider web climbing frame. They are located half way up the hill with a view of Higashimatsuyama below. You can see the playground from the cafe:
Heuvel Cafe on the Hill
The cafe stood on the hill for almost two years before the cafe opened. However, during that time you were allowed use it as a rest area on weekends only. They finally opened it as a cafe in August 2020. The image with the text on it above from the official website, shows the cafe with sunflowers in bloom. However, in 2020 they actually didn’t start to bloom until two weeks after the cafe was opened!
Cafe Heuvel is a beautiful bungalow with natural wood and great views. You can see out over Higashimatsuyama and Kumagaya. There are also views of the mature cherry blossoms of the park in spring and of the sunflowers in summer. This cafe is ideal in this time with Covid as you can sit outdoors. There are tables on the patio with a sunshade. In addition, there are benches in other areas of the park which have shade.
Throughout the day, from 9 am, you can get drinks and a strawberry dessert like kakigori as well as delicious French Toast. Between 11 am and 2 pm they have a small light lunch menu, drinks and desserts on offer. And from 2 pm to 5 pm they have an afternoon menu. The last order for the afternoon menu is 4 pm for eating in and 4.30 pm for take out.
Hours of Heuvel Cafe
The cafe opens from 9 am to 5 pm, with last order at 4 pm, from Tuesdays to Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.
Check out another gorgeous cafe (and garden) “Prunus” in Higashimatsuyama here. And the instacafe “Kitchen Cafe Cranbon” here.
- Research center
- Agricultural product processing experience facility
- Several multipurpose toilets
- Vending machines
- Drinking water fountain
Agriculture Park Information
|Address:||〒355-0008 Saitama, Higashimatsuyama, Ōya, 4212−１|
|Hours:||the park is “open” 24 hours, but the facilities and car park operate from 9 am to 5 pm, Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Mondays. If a public holiday falls on a Monday they open and close on the Tuesday instead.|
|Cost:||free to use the park and playground, picking and use of research facilities have varying costs.|
Higashimatsuyama Agriculture Park Access
The park is located close to main route 407. It is in Higashimatsuyama just before Kumagaya and close to the North exit of Shinrin Park, also known as Musashi Kyuro National Government Park.
The closest expressway is the Kanetsu expressway. The Higashimatsuyama Interchange is about seven kilometres or a 20 minute drive from the park. There are two main car parks which are close to the facilities. The first one you pass is an uphill walk, but they have a ramp built in to the hill that can be used by wheelchairs or strollers. There are also priority car spaces for wheelchair users and pregnant women right beside the facilities.
By public transport you can get bus from Tobu Tojo Line’s Higashimatsuyama station’s south exit bound for Kumagaya and alight at Shinkotani「神光谷」bus stop . The park is a ten minute walk from the bus stop.