The Kazo City Kisai Wisteria Festival needs little introduction to Saitama-jin, as it celebrates the 450 year old wisteria of Tamashiki Shrine. Elements of the festival were on in both 2022 and 2021, but this is the first time in four years the festival is on properly. The events the last two years were more part of the shrines spring festival, rather than the wisteria festival. The shrine’s spring festival generally overlaps with some of the dates of the wisteria festival.
Kisai Wisteria Festival 2023
First and foremost, please note that the wisteria were early to bloom this year and are already near full bloom. However, the festival is not on until Golden Week – April 29th, 30th, May 3rd to 5th. Thus, Kazo City expects that the wisteria themselves will be long passed their prime during the period of the festival and ask for your understanding.
However, even if the wisteria are passed their prime, this festival is worth visiting for the atmosphere. Moreover, there is a huge choice of live performances over the course of the festival. Performances include taiko drums, koto, Hawaiian dance, traditional dance including Yosakoi, and so many more. Each day there is something different on. I recommend you check the full schedule here.
In addition, on May 5th the shrine will also have its ‘shunki taisai’ spring festival on. Usually that festival culminates with a kagura performance. The kagura of Tamashiki Shrine is a designated important cultural property. The kagura was cancelled throughout the pandemic. It has not yet been confirmed for 2023, but it has not been cancelled either! More about the shrine’s spring festival here.
Event: Kazo City Kisai Wisteria Festival 2023
Dates: Saturday April 29th, Sunday April 30th, Wednesday May 3rd to Friday May 5th.
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Cost: free to enter the venue
The nearest train station is Kazo Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line. The shrine is about a 45 minute walk from the station. There is also a bus that you can get – bound for Konosu Station / License Center. Alight at Kisai I-chome bus stop. The shrine is about an eight minute walk from that bus stop. You can also get a bus from Konosu station, which is on the JR Takasaki line. Get an Asahi bus bound for Kazo Shako and alight at the Kisai 1-chome bus stop. Kisai Ichome = 騎西一丁目
The nearest Interchange is the Kazo Interchange of the Tohoku Expressway, about a 15 minute drive away. Shiraoka Shobu interchange on the Ken-o expressway is also only about a 20 minute drive away. Please note the main car park is not available during the festival. There is an overflow car park on the West side of the park that has plenty of parking if you are visiting out of season. However, during the festival that parking lot gets full very quickly.