Summer sunflowers AND Autumn sunflowers, Ancient Lotus, Cosmos and Hydrangea in the Isanuma area of Kawagoe. At Isa Marsh and the Isa marsh East Bank Flower Garden or Isanuma Tōgan Hanabatake in Japanese. Jump to Autumn Sunflowers. New cafe with a great outdoor seating area added to the post in spring 2021. Most recent update: September 1st 2022 – the summer (mini) sunflowers are now finished. However, the end of August sunflowers are looking great, but will be opened up for picking from Saturday September 3rd. The cosmos continue to come along nicely. Moreover, the autumn sunflowers have started to bloom.
Isanuma is an area in Kawagoe. Numa means marsh or swamp. The area is named after the Isa marsh. The marsh is particularly well known and beloved by avid bird watchers. I am in the area a lot and there are always dozens of bird photographers around the marsh. To the West of the marsh is the Isanuma Park which is quite popular with locals for summer fun and for hanami picnicking under the cherry blossoms.
At the North of the marsh itself is a lotus pond. From about mid June until the end of July you can see ancient lotus in bloom. They say the best time to visit them is early morning, because they open up when the weather is cooler. Even in the afternoon today (July 16th) quite a few were open because the temperatures were cooler than normal.
Isa Marsh East Bank Flower Garden
On the east side of the marsh there is a community flower garden. It isn’t particularly big, but it is done very well. I visited specifically to see the sunflowers, but it looks like they were only planted very recently. If you’ve read my other posts about sunflowers you’ll know the large sunflower fields aren’t opening to the public this year. So community fields / gardens are the way to go.
Sunflowers and Cosmos August 1st 2021:
There are both summer sunflowers and autumn sunflowers at the East bank garden. New in 2022: there are also sunflowers at the Kawagoe City Agriculture Interaction Center. They bloom at the end of August.
What I love about this flower garden is that there is a path among the sunflowers. Most of the community fields you can actually walk into the field even if there isn’t a path; so long as you take due care not to damage the flowers. However, as most of them are as natural as natural can be you do have to be weary of snakes. In Isanuma the grass is kept short on the paths so you can see if a snake is passing. Do take care of the thousands of frogs that live in these fields though, they are not as easy to see.
As far as I know this community flower garden doesn’t have an official website. I usually get my information on the Kawagoe City website, but they didn’t update information for the flower garden for 2020 or 2021 (so far anyway), so I just went myself each time to check on the conditions. I was particularly lucky on August 1st 2021 as both the August sunflowers and cosmos were in bloom.
New in 2022: Late August Sunflowers
When I say “new”, I mean new to the blog. These sunflowers have been around for a while, but this is the first year I got a photo of them. They are North of Isa marsh (Isanuma) past the farmer’s market, behind the Kawagoe City Agriculture Interaction center. The Agriculture Interaction center is unfortunately closed so you can’t park there. You would need to walk up from the parking at Isa Marsh East Bank Garden. Its not far, about a 10 minute walk. You cannot walk among these sunflowers until Saturday September 3rd when they will open up the fields for picking.
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The garden grows sunflowers in Autumn too. And the autumn sunflower field is about ten times the size of the summer sunflower display. It looks like a sea of sunflowers. They are across a small dirt road that leads to the car park for the garden. Update: September 1st 2022 – they have started to bloom.
Cosmos usually bloom around the end of September and October in Saitama. But the ones at Isanuma East Bank Flower Garden bloom earlier. In 2020 they bloomed in September. But in 2021, they were already in bloom from August 1st. On my last visit on September 1st 2022 they were coming along nicely.
August 4th 2020: on a subsequent visit (today August 4th) the sulfur cosmos were in bloom. And so beautiful, particularly the red tinged ones. There were some workers at the site today and they were scything some of the sulfur cosmos though. Unfortunately, I don’t know why and if they planned to take them all.
The hydrangea bloom around mid June to early July. On a visit on July 17th 2019, they were still in bloom but past their prime – well past it – but they still looked very picturesque. Particularly against the new green and with the picturesque fence and in the background.
There is a lovely little seating area along the river with a few other blooms and lots of butterflies as well as the inhabitant frogs! Among the flowers in bloom is what I believe to be what they call false sunflowers! Please correct me if I am wrong!
Visiting during the Coronavirus Outbreak
I was very impressed that at the marsh, where the lotus are in bloom, absolutely everybody was wearing a mask. Even though we were outdoors. It was a good bit cooler than normal today, which meant you could wear one comfortably. However, exactly because it was cooler there were a lot more visitors than usual. It was hard to maintain social distancing on the boardwalk with so many people coming and going.
As the hydrangea are past their prime and the other flowers haven’t started blooming yet, there was nobody at all at the East Coast Flower Garden for each of my summer visits. Just me and thousands of gorgeous little frogs. However, as always, there were dozens of photographers along the marsh’s east flank, a stone’s throw away so to speak! However, the Autumn sunflowers attract a lot more people. For each of my visits in Autumn there have been dozens of people.
New in Spring 2021: A new cafe “Smiley Isanuma” opened in a Kominka – period house – in spring 2021, on the North East corner of the marsh. Smiley Isanuma is located near the lotus. The has a lovely outdoor seating area in a lawn garden. In the photo above there are no sun umbrellas, but they normally do put them up on hot sunny days.
The Kominka opens Wednesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The cafe only opens in the afternoon between 2.30 and 5 pm. It opens again as a restaurant from 6 to 10 pm on select nights. Pets and smoking allowed on the terrace. There is no official website, but they use Instagram to share updates.
Access Isa Marsh / Flower Garden
There is a large car park right on the south end of the flower garden by the sunflowers. You can walk to the marsh from there or move your car to the Isa Marsh North end car park. There is also parking on the West side by the Isanuma Adventure playground.