2023 information for the Hydrangea Festival at Satte Gongendo Park.
Since the dawn of Instagram Satte Gongendo Park has become one of the most famous and popular places to see hydrangea flowers not just in Saitama Prefecture, but in the Greater Tokyo Area. Before the pandemic their hydrangea festival was one of the highlights of June in Japan. It used to be on for the full month of June. In both 2020 and 2021 the festival was not only cancelled, the parking lots were closed for much of the hydrangea season. In 2022, the festival was on, but for a shorter period. And that is the situation again in 2023.
Gongendo is a prefectural park in Satte, renowned for its seasonal flowers. The park opened officially in 2011. The park is actually still a work in progress! All the flowers are in what is called “park #4”! There is also a park 1 and 3. But 2 doesn’t exist yet! It is in the plans though. Some of the flora and fauna, including the cherry blossoms, have existed long before the park was formed. The park has other seasonal blooms, including red spider lilies in September and daffodils and narcissus in January.
There is a playground in park #1 which is a good half hour walk from the hydrangea. There is a goat pen in park #4 though, near where the flowers bloom. In addition, there is a cafe near the main car park for the flower viewing. For a full round up of what the park has to offer, please see the detailed information page on this blog here.
There are approximately 16,000 hydrangea of 100 different varieties in the park. The park is particularly renowned for the Annabel variety, pictured above. There are approximately 3000 Annabel hydrangea. They typically bloom for the month of June. However, in recent years the colored hydrangea have started to bloom at the end of May. In 2022, Gongendo Park posted on May 24th, to say the colored hydrangea had started to bloom. The white Annabel variety typically start to bloom later than the colored ones. But by about mid June you can see all varieties at some stage of bloom.
An estimated 563,000 people come to see the hydrangea in Satte over the course of the flower festival in a regular year. In 2021, I visited on June 21st, the day the parking lot opened back up after six weeks of closure. The park was buzzing with people who had come to see the beautiful flowers, but it was nowhere near as busy as a ‘regular’ year. The Annabel were in their prime, but a lot of the colored hydrangea were passed their prime.
Satte Hydrangea Festival
Like last year, the 2023 will be on for just three weeks rather than the full month of June. From Saturday June 3rd to Sunday June 25th. They don’t have a flyer yet for 2023 nor have they announced any additional events. But they usually schedule them closer to the time. Touge no Cha, the cafe and shop near the parking lot, will be open. You can purchase Satte city products there as well as things like ice-cream and coffee! They normally sell flowers on the weekends of the period of the hydrangea festival too.
Dates: Saturday June 3rd to Sunday June 25th 2023
Hours: not specified, but the park is open 24 hours. However, the parking lot closes overnight. During the pandemic they didn’t open the overflow parking lots, but they did this year for the cherry blossom festival. Presumably they will do the same for the hydrangea festival.
Address: Gongendo Park 権現堂公園, 887-3 Uchigouma, Satte, Saitama 340-0103
Access Gongendo Park
Getting to Gongendo Park from Tokyo.
It takes just over an hour to get to Gongendo park from Kitasenju Station in the Adachi ward of Tokyo. If you can get on a shared Tobu Skytree and Nikko line you don’t have to transfer. Otherwise get the skytree line to Minami kurihashi station and transfer to the Tobu Nikko line. Alight at Satte station. From the station it takes about 35 minutes on foot to the park or you can get an Asahi bus bound for “Goka machi yakuba” 五霞町役場. Alight at the “Gongendo” 権現堂 bus stop.
By car it takes about one hour by car to get to Satte Gongendo Park from downtown Tokyo, using the Kanetsu expressway. At Shiraoka Junction switch to the Ken-o expressway and get off the highway at the Satte Interchange. There are four different zones in the park, the one you want to go to is Park #3, which is sometimes listed as “Gongendo Tsutsumi” on maps. If you can’t find that, look for “Satteshi kouminkan” that is just across the road from the car park. Or use the address (provided in previous paragraph).