Thousands of Icelandic Poppies in Saitama Prefecture.
Information for the annual Icelandic Poppy Fields of Shinrin Park (Musashi Kyuryo National Government Park), Namegawa Town, Saitama. This post was originally about the horse riding event, that took place annually in the poppy fields, but has been adjusted and republished for these pandemic times!
There has been no horse riding event since 2019 due to the pandemic. For the record, most of the walking and related events were cancelled in 2020 and 2021, but several of them have come back in 2022. Unfortunately, the horse riding event remains off the calendar even in 2023. But the flowers have bloomed throughout! And Shinrin Park posted March 21st 2023 (a week earlier than in 2022) to say that the Icelandic poppies have started to bloom. In and around 700,000 of them!
The Icelandic poppies generally bloom from the end of March until the end of April in Shinrin Park. The poppies are grown by the Ponpoko Mountain, the large air trampoline in the center of the park. The Ponpoko Mountain was actually closed for most of 2023, but it reopened on March 18th.
The area is called the “undo hiroba hatake”. It is about a 20 minute walk, give or take, from both the West and Central gates of the park. It is the same field where they grow sunflowers in summer and kochia with cockscomb in autumn. (Occasionally they change the flower program for the park, so there is a chance in 2023 there will be another flower in place of the sunflowers and / or cockscomb).
Before the pandemic, the spring horse riding experience was on the third weekend of April in this field. These type of horse riding events are popular as there are only a handful of places in Saitama that you can casually experience riding a horse for a short period of time. Zoos such as Saitama Children’s Zoo and Chikozan Park zoo have a daily horse riding event and Midori no Mura in Ogano normally has a monthly event. Please note, most of these are still not available currently on account of the pandemic.
Also in bloom
Right now there are several other flowers in bloom in Shinrin Park. For example, cherry blossoms and Christmas roses. Also, you can currently see about 18,000 early blooming tulips in their prime. In addition, the baby blue eyes (nemophila) have also started to bloom. The lupine will hopefully start to grow around mid April.
Flower: Icelandic Poppies アイスランドポピー
Season: Very end of March to around the end of April
Hours: 9.30 am to 5 pm
Cost: 450 entrance to fee to the park, no extra charge to view the flowers. The 450 yen fee is for adults only. Children can enter for free. If you want to rent a bike it costs extra. More on that here.
Venue: West or Central Gate of Shinrin Park, officially called Musashi Kyuryo National Government Park, 1920 Yamata, Namegawa, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0802. View on Google Maps.
Access Shinrin Park
The nearest train station is Shinrin Koen Station on the Tobu Tojo line. You can get a bus to the park from the station. You can also get a bus from Kumagaya Station on the Takasaki line. Take the bus bound for Shinrin Koen station and alight at the Shinrin Koen West gate.
On foot the nearest entrance to Shinrin Koen station is the South exit which is about 3 kilometres from the station.
Parking is available at each of the five entrances to Shinrin Park. It is charged by the day: 600 yen. You can find cheaper independently run car parking at both the South and central gates.
More information on Shinrin Park:
Between 2008 and 2019 this post was about a horse trekking event in the flower fields in Shinrin Park in spring. In 2021 it was republished as an information post about the Icelandic Poppy Season at the park. In 2022 it was moved from the event calendar (which no longer exists) archives to the main blog. Last update: March 28th 2023.