Iroha Shinsui Water Park koinobori in Shiki City, Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo

Iroha water park (Iroha Shinsui Park) is located along the Shingashi River in Shiki City, Saitama Prefecture. There are sections of the park straddling either side of the river South of Iroha bridge. Apart from beautiful walkways and lanes, the Iroha Water Park area of Shiki has some significant points of interest. For one, right now there are hydrangea in bloom. In addition, you can see fireflies in the area (in season). In Spring, the area is awash with cherry blossoms. Moreover, a short climb, through a leafy lane, from the picturesque Fujishimo Bridge brings you to possibly the most interesting mini Mt Fuji in Saitama.

Iroha Water Park (Iroha Shinsui Park)

When I accidentally came across a photo of Fujishimo Bridge with hydrangea on Google Maps, I took it as a sign, from wherever signs come from, to get in the car and go. Despite the rain and wind and plans to get a couple of draft posts published today, I followed my gut – and my car’s navi – to the free parking lot for Iroha Water Park. I was so glad I went despite the rain (even if I still struggle greatly to take photos properly in the rain!). Because not only is the bridge beautiful all in itself, but there is a whole “hydrangea road” West of the bridge. And North East of it a “fujizuka”. Moreover, not just any aul’ fujizuka, but one that is considered “exceptionally superior” to other Fujizuka and is a designated significant tangible folk cultural asset.

The highlights

  • Fujishimo Bridge – The Fujishimo Bridge is a picturesque foot bridge south of Iroha bridge. More so in spring when you can see it with cherry blossoms and in June with hydrangea.
  • Shiki Shingashi River Hydrangea Road – west of the Fujishimo bridge on the south banks of the Shingashi river hydrangea frame a walkway for about 350 meters.
  • Cherry blossom promenade – on the south banks. Iroha Shinsui park hosts the Shiki Cherry Blossom Festa annually at the end of March. During that festival you can take a boat down the river:
Iroha Shinsui park boat ride during the cherry blossom season
From Saitama Prefecture
  • Fountain of love – as you come off the bridge on the west side you see a new boardwalk that winds down a hill, before walking up again. At the bottom by the rest area there is a pond which is known as the fountain of love.
  • “Komorebi no Komichi” – a narrow nature trail through trees. Komorebi means ‘sunlight filtering down to trees’. Do we have a good word for that in English!?
  • Avenue of cherry blossoms – from end of March to early April.
  • Koinobori (flying carp streamers) from mid April to mid May. They usually fly about 60 koinobori, but reportedly in 2024 there are 90. In 2024, the koinobori will be up from Saturday April 20th to Saturday May 18th. On one day during that period they will have a boat ride under the carp streamers. More on that below.
  • The former Murayama Kaisaido – an historic site. The building is a former storehouse from the 19th century, but very different to the “kura” of Kawagoe fame with a unique design structure. Hence it was preserved. In February and March you can see beautiful hanging hina decorations and in April and May you can see decorations for boy’s / children’s day. Further information for both.
  • Playgrounds – if you are visiting with children, there is a small playground by the car park. There is also an area with exercise equipment. In addition, there is a playground on the grounds of Tagoyama Fujizuka. Moreover, as of August 1st 2022 there is a water playground!
  • There is a bicycle rental service “daichari”. You can use your phone to rent a bike on demand.
bicycle rental at Iroha water park in Shiki City

New in summer 2022

New water play area in Shiki Iroha Water Park

Update 2022: a new “water park” – think water play not aqua park – opened on August 1st 2022. Featured image from management company. From 2023 it will open annually on July 1st for the summer season. When it is not a water play area, you can use it like a regular playground.


Shiki Tagoyama Fujizuka

Finally, a highlight or probably thee highlight for many, is the Tagoyama Fujizuka. A Fujizuka is more than just a mini Mt Fuji in reality. There are several conditions a Fuji mound must meet to be deemed a Fujizuka. Including, but not limited to, being able to see the actual Mt Fuji from the summit and to have a shrine on the summit. Tagoyama has several shrines on the grounds including the Komitake shrine. Mt Komitake was the Mt Fuji prelude! To this day it is still there, but “in” Mt Fuji. The whole history of Fujizuka is incredibly interesting to me. And Shiki Tagoyama Fujizuka exceeded my expectations. Its definitely the best one I’ve seen to date. In time hopefully I will be able to give it a post all of its own.


Events at Iroha Shinsui Park in Shiki

Sakura festa

The Sakura festa boat ride has a post of its own:

Koinobori Boat Ride

Each year on one day during the period that the koinobori are flying they have a special boat event. You can enjoy a 30 minute boat ride along the river, taking in the koinbori on the way. In 2024 it will be on May 5th from 10 am to 3 pm. It costs 200 yen per person over 12 years old and is limited to the first 140 people. Children must be 100 centimeters or over to take part. Life vests are provided. Official event page.

Shiki Citizen Festival

The Shiki Citizen Festival is held at the park and at the neighboring city hall annually. In 2023, it will be on the first Sunday of December, the 3rd, from 10 am to 3 pm. Kaparu and other mascots will perform at the festival. There will also be other live performances. In addition, there a gourmet contest with food stalls, a flea market, farmer’s market and a few other events. Official event page.


I am sure people who live in Shiki City are quite familiar with this unusual little park. But it may not be as known outside the city. If you are looking for somewhere nice to walk and / or explore in Shiki City, this is definitely worth considering. Also, for tourists looking for somewhere to see cherry blossoms on a daytrip from Tokyo this park has a lot to offer. Especially as you can see an incredible Fujizuka. Moreover if you want to see fireflies but can’t get to the countryside, Iroha Water Park is a convenient location. Lastly, if for whatever reason (like me!) you want a photo of hydrangea backdropped by a scenic bridge, this is one option close to Tokyo.

Information

Iroha Water Park
Address:5 Chome-2 Nakamuneoka, Shiki, Saitama 353-0002
Phone:+81484731111
Hours:24 hours, but the car parks may close.
Cost:Free
Online:Official webpage on the Shiki City website

Access

Iroha Water park is located along the Shingashi River close to the Shiki City Office. I realized after the fact that there is a large car park on the North end of the park. The car park I used only has six places, but I chose it because it was clearly marked on Google Maps, right by the playground. I was quite glad it was raining, because otherwise I thought it would be hard to secure a spot as I could tell from Maps that it was small. However, it turns out on the other side of the embankment that you drive on to get to the small car park by the playground, there is a much larger car park.

Both of those car parks are on the far side of the river to the hydrangea and Fujizuka. You need to walk up on the embankment to cross over Fujishimo bridge. There is also a car park by the former Murayama Storehouse.

By public transport the closest station appears to be Yanasegawa Station on the Tobu Tojo line. Using the backroads and laneways you can get to the Fujishimo bridge in about 20 minutes on foot. However, if you have a stroller or prefer a more direct route, you can use main route 113. It takes about 30 minutes on foot that way. Another option is to get a bus from Shiki station, also on the Tobu Tojo line, that is bound for the city office. The park is a short walk from the city office grounds.

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