John Deere tractor at park in Hatoyama Town, HIki District, Saitama prefecture

The John Deere Park is a work in progress, but it has huge potential. It is a “Satoyama” flower park in rural Hatoyama. A place unscathed by telephone or electrical wires, which is rare even in the Hiki District which is largely countryside. The ‘real’ name of the park is “Utsukushi noson to miryoku aru Satoyama”, 美しい農村と魅力ある里山, which loosely means beautiful and attractive farm village. I call it the John Deere park, because there is a John Deere tractor in the car park of the park! Moreover, I really can’t see Utsukushi noson to miryoku aru Satoyama sticking as the colloquial name!

The John Deere Park

Heart statue Utsukushi noson to miryoku aru Satoyama 美しい農村と魅力ある里山 aka the John Deere park
Heart photo spot at “Utsukushi noson to miryoku aru Satoyama”, 美しい農村と魅力ある里山

I am not sure when they started developing the John Deere park in the Akanuma area of Hatoyama. It feels like it has been kept very hush hush. I can’t even find an official web page, never mind a website, for this charming “satoyama” flower park. It maybe that they are waiting until the park is completed to give it a website or page of its own. However, part of the park has been around for a long time. 愛郷の里, presumably pronounced Aigo (or Aigyo) no Sato, is somewhat known within the Hiki District for its lotus flowers. It is also the name of a small goat pen at the park. Aigo means “love for one’s hometown” and sato denotes a village. Thus, the original satoyama.

Hatoyama Satoyama

Satoyama in Japanese is a whole concept that is hard to define in a couple of words. You often see it translated as a ‘farm village’. But at its core it means people living in harmony with nature, often a town or village on the cusp of mountains or a forest. But it can just denote a rural area within a large or populous city. Such as the Kawagoe Satoyama.

swings at the top of a hill looking out on a rural area

In Hatoyama it is a bit of both, a flower park at the bottom and side of a forested hill (rather than a mountain) near a housing area. However, the housing area is tucked away behind the hill. Thus you can enjoy an unadulterated view of nature from most of the park. There are swings at the top of part of the hill that is not forested, affording a nice view. They are developing a blueberry farm beside it. So in the future this will make a nice place for blueberry picking in (geographically) central Saitama. In addition, they also have a mushroom forest where you can pick up to 10 mushrooms for free.

Flowers

Apart from lotus, the park plans to have several different flowers, including iris and lily to bloom in summer. The iris, like the lotus, actually preexist the John Deere park. I originally went to see the iris and the lotus. On that first visit I was too late for the former and too early for the latter. Furthermore, the lilies which are a new addition to the park, haven’t really grown yet. As I said, a work in progress with “huge potential!”

Lotus

Currently the lotus are blooming. I visited mid June and they weren’t flowering, but I visited again on June 27th and they had started to bloom. Typically though, they bloom from early July to early September. The best time to see lotus generally is early morning as they close up as the day goes on. There are at least three different types of lotus that are pink or white in color. The pink were further along on Monday. Beside the lotus there is a double heart statue which makes a nice photo spot.

Iris

The iris are behind / past the lotus. They have both an ayame and shobu iris patch. They ayame iris in Hatoyama bloom from around mid May to June. Normally the shobu iris bloom from June to mid July, but they were finished early this year. Probably due to the excessive heat. The great thing about the park is that they have large photo banners of what the flowers look like in full bloom. Thus, if you miss them – as I did with both the ayama and shobu iris – you can still get an idea of what the flowers look like in bloom.

Others

Sasayuri Japanese lilies in Hatoyama town at the John Deere Park

As aforementioned, there are lilies in the park, but they haven’t really taken off yet. They plan to grow them to bloom from May to July. They are the Japanese lily, Sasayuri, variety.

※This is a park I plan to revisit in each of the seasons so I will be updating this section as I discover more!

John Deere Park Information

Address: 465 Akanuma, Hatoyama, Hiki District, Saitama 350-0321

Phone: 049-296-2193

Hours: 24 hours

Cost: free, even mushroom picking is free. However, there maybe charges for blueberry picking. There is currently no information available.

Online: currently no official website or web page. This is a website for the “Hato Hills” which has information in Japanese about walking events at the park.

Access

Plus code: X8HV+2M Hatoyama, Saitama. On Google Maps.

The nearest highway is the Kanetsu. And the nearest interchange is the Sakado Nishi Interchange, its about a ten minute drive from the park. However, you can’t use that interchange unless you have an ETC card. Without an ETC card you would need to use either the Higashimatsuyama or Tsurugashima Interchange. Both are about a 20 minute drive from John Deere park.

There is no train station in Hatoyama town. The nearest train station is probably Ogose Station on the Hachiko line, which is about 15 minutes away in a taxi. Buses are also infrequent in Hatoyama. But for what its worth, Akanuma bus stop is about a ten minute walk from Utsukushi noson to miryoku aru Satoyama, aka John Deere park.

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