Kounosu Poppy Festival is an annual event held in May in the Poppy Happy Square – Kōnosu City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. It is part of a larger Kounosu Flower festival with open gardens. The poppy festival usually occurs from the middle of May until the end of the month. This year, 2020, the 30 million poppies are unfortunately off limits due to Saitama being under a coronavirus induced State of Emergency. We will have to wait until 2021 to see the largest poppy field in Japan again.
This is a report on our 2019 visit to the Poppy Happy Square, Konosu poppy fields. **The city is intermittently called Kounosu, Konosu or Kōnosu**
Kounosu Poppy Festival
The poppy festival in Konosu is actually split over two areas; Fukiage Poppy Field and Mamuro Poppy Field. The Fukiage poppy field has mainly red poppies. It is back dropped by Japan’s longest water pipe bridge. The Mamuro Poppy Field “Poppy Happy Square” also has one of Japan’s longest accolades framing the scene: Japan’s longest riverbed width embankment and bridge.
You can easily commute between both fields by car, but it takes over an hour on foot. The Fukiage field only has a two day festival. The poppy field in Mamuro is the famous one that is referred to as Poppy Happy Square. It boasts beautiful California and red poppies.
–Places to see poppies in Saitama–
Poppy Flower Picking
On our last visit, just before the 2019 poppy festival started, they were pitching flags and signs for the festival, including the one above advertising the flower picking event. You can pick up to five flowers in a designated area for 100 yen.
Japan’s Largest Poppy Field
Mamuro poppy field is acclaimed because it is the largest poppy field in the whole of Japan. It is also thanks to this that the Kounosu Poppy Festival is famous throughout the Kanto plain. The Mamuro poppy field is most commonly referred to as Poppy Happy Square.
It is approximately 12.5 hectares or 125,000 square meters and has over 30,000,000 poppies of the California and Common variety. The common variety are the red poppies also referred to frequently as the remembrance poppy in English. Japan does not mark remembrance day except for in one location in Yokohama, at the Commonwealth War Cemetery. The red poppy does not have the same significance here and I have personally never seen anyone wear a remembrance poppy.
–Places to see poppies in Saitama–
Poppy Happy Square
This morning we visited the Poppy Happy Square. The orange and cream California Poppies are currently in full bloom (May 13th 2019).
Although the festival hasn’t officially started yet there were festival food stalls at the Poppy Happy Square this morning. But because the festival hasn’t official opened yet we didn’t have to pay for parking which costs 500 yen during the festival.
Konosu’s Japan Best List
It’s largest poppy fields are just one of eight of Kounosu’s “Japan best” claims to fame.
Kounosu’s EIGHT “Japan best / largest / biggest / # one” claims:
1. Kounosu is home to Japan’s largest hina doll pyramid display
2 & 3 & 4. Konosu grows and ships the most Salvia, marigold and primula in all of Japan
5. Konosu has the longest water bridge pipe in Japan
6. You can cross the widest riverbed width of all Japan in Konosu
7. Konosu City launched the largest firework ever in Japan
8. The largest poppy fields of Japan are in Kōnosu…
So if you come to the Kounosu Poppy Festival you can see three of Japan’s best in the one area: the largest poppy field, the longest water bridge and the widest riverbed.
Konosu Poppies Information
Poppies Saitama and poppy flower festival at the Poppy Happy Square in Konosu.
Festival dates: second half of May
Hours: not specified – we were there before 9 am and the car park wasn’t roped off
Cost: free for the festival, parking costs 500 yen at both of the poppy sites.
The official website claims that parking is only available at the Poppy Happy Square during the festival period, but we were there out of the festival period and parking was not a problem. You do have to use narrow roads to get to the car park that only fit one car width wise. We were lucky we didn’t meet another vehicle – if we did, one or other of us would have had to have backed up.
By public transport: Take the “Flower Go” 「フラワー号」Mamuro course 「馬室コース」bus from JR Konosu Station’s west exit to the kyuushoku sentaa 「給食センター」. The poppy fields are about a 5 minute walk from this bus stop. There is a free shuttle bus during the festival season only.