Tokigawa Town in the Hiki District of Saitama Prefecture is just over an hour from Tokyo. The town is famed for a rarer type of Iris; Iris Japonica or Butterfly flowers in English. However, there is also a small Iris garden in the town with the “hanashobu” variety of Iris:
Tokigawa Iris Garden
The Iris Garden in Tokigawa is quite small and only requires a half hour or so to appreciate. In 2021 that turned out quite convenient as due to the coronavirus the town requested that people spend no longer than 30 minutes in the garden. Also, as it is rainy season, if it is raining you might not want to stay out too long anyway! However, despite its relatively small size it is popular for iris viewing. It also helps that the garden is located close to several other tourist attractions. Including the famous Showa Retro Hot springs – a good spot to warm up after being caught out in the rain!
The garden was actually very badly damaged by typhoon Hagibis in Autumn 2019. Before the typhoon there were about 8200 iris in the park annually. However, since the typhoon, the local volunteers plant about 5000 irises over a 7000 m² area. Moreover, some of the boardwalks didn’t survive the storm, but they have since been replaced. I visited before the typhoon, in June 2019. There have been improvements since I visited, but I will stress that even still, this is the type of place you’d add onto other plans, not go out of your way to visit. Thankfully, there is plenty to do in Tokigawa. You will find some suggestions below the map at the bottom of the post.
The Iris in Tokigawa generally bloom for the month of June. But given that all other blooms were early this year, it is likely that the Iris in Tokigawa’s Iris garden will also be early this year. Which means they may start to bloom as early as late May. If that is the case, they will also finish early too. They generally bloom for about three to four weeks. Please note, as outlined in the next paragraph, they are doing things quite differently this year:
Tokigawa Iris Festival
The festival is usually held on a Sunday in early or mid June. However, in both 2020 and 2021 there was no festival on account of the Coronavirus outbreak. But great news for 2022 – they have adapted to the current pandemic situation and are hosting a very different type of festival than pre-Covid! Previously, it was just one day during the bloom period. However, this year the festival is a couple of weeks. Essentially, the “festival” period refers to the expected period of bloom. But there will be some events during that period:
Festival period: Saturday June 4th to Sunday June 19th.
Hours: In previous years the park was open 24 hours all year round. But under the new system, the garden will be accessible between 9 am and 4 pm only.
Cost: In previous years, it was free to enter but they did welcome donations. From this year, they will charge each person 100 yen.
Events: the specifics have not been released yet, they said they will post them on the Tokigawa town tourism website at a later date.
The Tokigawa Iris Garden is about a 13 minutes walk from the quaint JR Myōkaku Station on the Hachiko Line. You can also take a bus from this station, it takes about 3 minutes by bus. You can take a bus from the west exit of Musashi Ranzan station on the Tobu Tojo line to the Sesaragi Bus Center. From there you can either get another bus to the town hall or walk 30 minutes.
The garden is 20 minutes by car from the Kanetsu Expressway’s Higashimatsuyama Interchange. You can park in the town hall’s car park. There is no fee for the car park.
Things to do in Tokigawa
- Make a night of it!? The Kinomura Campsite has cabins as well as tents for rent. It is one of the most scenic campsites in all of Saitama!
- The Tokigawa Totoro is commutable by car. If you are visiting late May or early June, the poppies and cornflowers may well be still in bloom at this location.
- If you are visiting the iris around mid June, I recommend visiting the nearby lavender festival also. Although the lavender festival is in Ranzan, if you are travelling by car they are relatively close.
- For those visiting later in June, the hydrangea at Suzumegawa sabo dam should also be in bloom.
- If you are lucky to get a sunny day, I recommend Komonoyasan for a coffee along the Toki River.
- The aforementioned Showa Retro hot springs usually have a seasonal event on in summer.
First published in April 2018. Updated annually. Last full republish (due to significant changes in the festival) was May 15th 2022.