Mask wearing hina dolls holding disinfectant! At Konosu's bikkuri hina surprising dolls festival

Kakyu no Sato is a rose garden in the doll town of Konosu. Each year they have an Hina Dolls display, made extra special during the pandemic as even the dolls got with the mask wearing directive in Japan! I went out of my way to visit to add to a collection of photos chronicling the influence of the pandemic. However, it was a pleasant surprise to find several other cute and unique hina dolls at Kakyu no Sato. Moreover, I learned about the rose garden at the site while there. The main rose display is in May though, well after the hina dolls have been taken down. Information for both the hina dolls and the annual rose festivals is included in this post.

Kakyu no Sato

kakyu no sato guide map

Saitama Prefecture has four cities that are famous for hina dolls. Iwatsuki, Tokorozawa, Hanno and Konosu. Within the latter, Konosu, there is an area called “Ningyo Cho” or Dolls town in English. Kakyu no Sato is located within this dolls town. It is a period house with a Nagaya-mon (gate), Omoya building and an annex. I spotted the English name written on a guide map as ‘The House of Flower and Music Kawasato Kakyu no Sato’. But you can also see in the photo above that it is called the Pavilion of Flower and Music! It is so named, because the facility hosts several music events.

There is a rose garden on the grounds. It also has other seasonal flower displays. In late February, when the Konosu Hina Festival is on, rapeseed is in bloom. It is not particularly large, but it is nicely done. There are also a few plum blossoms on the grounds. The main house is home to a tea room and an udon restaurant. This is where the dolls are on display.

Dolls Festival

According to the website, they have a “Hina Matsuri” Dolls Festival every year. However, in 2021 when I visited the festival had been cancelled. Despite that, they actually had dozens of dolls on display as well as the beautiful colored hanging decorations called Tsurushi-bina. But they didn’t have a dolls pyramid, which is normally a staple of the festival. It is back since 2023 though:

2024 Information

Hina Dolls Pyramid at Kakyu no Sato

In 2024, the dolls will be displayed from Friday February 16th to Sunday March 10th. You can see them between 9 am and 5 pm. They have a hexagonal dolls pyramid as well as dozens of miniature dolls in various settings and the afore mentioned hanging tsurushi-bina hina dolls on display during the period of the festival. They usually have at least one performance on during the period of the festival, which will be scheduled nearer the time.

A Hina doll in bamboo in a flower pot in Kakyu no Sato

The gardens are free to roam and most of the dolls display are free too. However, they have a room full of hanging hina dolls, which unfortunately was still closed to the public in 2023. But you can see them from the outside. You can support the center by getting a tea or coffee, it costs just 200 yen. The lounge is big an airy and / or there is seating outdoors so it feels “safe” during this time with Covid. For customers of the udon restaurant you can see even more hina dolls on display in the dining area there.

Kakyu no Sato

I particularly loved the miniature dolls displayed in the bamboo, especially the ones in the rapeseed flower display. The dolls with masks holding disinfectant spray are class though. I wonder if any other displays showed this initiative during the pandemic. Very fitting!

emperor and empress hina dolls wearing masks

Konosu is famous for its main hina dolls display – the largest dolls pyramid in all of Japan:

Konosu Hina Car!

Konosu city has a “hina car” that was designed by students of the Kanto Industrial College, which is also located in Konosu. The first time I saw it was in 2022 after it was advertised on the Konosu City website. Unfortunately this year and last, they don’t seem to be openly advertising it on the city website. By sheer luck I got to see it Kakyu no Sato on March 2nd in 2023. The detail is amazing and the dolls display in the trunk / boot is certainly not something you see every day!

Update February 29th 2024: Konosu City Tourism association posted today that the Hina Car will be at Kakyu no Sato on Saturday March 2nd 2024. In addition you can see it on Thursday 29th, Friday March 1st and Saturday March 9th at Nigiwai Exchange Center Nikos, where they are currently selling a limited edition Hina dessert set. Enjoy your meal with a view of the car on the terrace!

Have toddlers? Check out this fun and easy hina matsuri paper cup craft with free materials provided.


Rose Festivals

The main feature of the gardens at Kakyu no Sato is the roses. There are five small rose gardens as well as other season flowers. They have about 1000 roses in total. Kakyu no Sato host a rose festival every May as part of a larger flower festival in Konosu city. The highlight of the Konosu flower festival is the poppy festival at Japan’s largest poppy field. Kakyu no Sato also have a smaller rose festival in October, when the autumn roses are in bloom.

In 2024, the spring rose festival is on from Saturday May 11th to Sunday May 19th. The Autumn rose festival dates are not yet available. During the period of the rose festival Kakyu no Sato is open everyday from 9 am to 5 pm. You can check the condition of the roses on the official website, linked below.

You can see other flowers at different times of the year in the garden. None are particularly large, but they add some color. They also have two small areas dedicated to seasonal flowers on the grounds of this quaint attraction.

Information

Kakyu no Sato
Address:Sekishinden, Konosu, Saitama 365-0004. View on Google Maps.
Phone:048-569-3811
Hours:9 am to 5 pm, closed on Tuesdays, unless it is a public holiday in which case they open and close on the Wednesday instead.
Cost:Garden and dolls display free
Tea / Coffee just 200 yen
Udon from 500 yen
Online:Official website

Access

Parking is free and plentiful – about 120 car spaces. The Konosu “flower bus” goes to the garden from the east exit of Konosu Station. Timetable here (the second image on the page is the times from the station). During the period of the Dolls Festival there will be a free ‘hina meguri’ shuttle bus between the six Konosu pyramid doll sites on select dates. In 2024 it will run on Saturday 17th, Sunday 18th, the 23rd to the 25th of February and on March 3rd. For more information in English.

In May, there is also normally a shuttle bus that connects the two different poppy festivals and the rose garden on weekends during the flower festival. But since the pandemic they have just been using the regular “flower” loop bus.

Other things to do in Konosu

20210227. Last update, March 3rd 2023.

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