Marigolds, night illumination, Moss phlox, sunflowers and other seasonal blooms at the scenic Marigold Hill in Honjo City, Northern Saitama.
Marigold Hill (no Oka)
Marigold no Oka, aka Marigold Hill, is a small park in Honjo City. Like really small. You can walk around the circumference of the park in five minutes. However, the attraction of it is in its seasonal blooms and illumination (winter). The seasonal flower field is about 4000 m². It is a hill it can be seen for miles around. Thus, the seasonal blooms look particularly picturesque. Moreover, it has beautiful trees right in the middle of the park that offset the blooms. The park is named for the marigold that grow there in autumn.
The other main feature of the park is the “Bell of Hope”. In 2023, they also added a heart statue (photo under moss phlox paragraph). There is no playground. However, there are toilets and two vending machines. There are some picnic benches and benches in the park. Unless you were picnicking at the park, you wouldn’t need a lot of time here. It is a really lovely place to picnic though, with a view of the flowers and a view of Mt Akagi and Mt Haruna in Gunma on a clear day. There is a shopping center across the road with a Beisia where you can buy bento, sandwiches and a choice of take away food.
Seasonal Blooms at Marigold Hill
- March – Cherry blossoms
- Golden Week – Moss Phlox
- June – Hydrangea
- July / August – Sunflowers
- October /November – Marigold
- Winter – Night illumination
More photos and information for the Marigold and the Moss Phlox below:
Approximately 11,000 of the eponymous flower bloom in Autumn. Normally, you can see them in October and November. However, like almost every flower in Saitama Prefecture in 2021, they were early to bloom and are already at peak and have been since the end of September. From what I can tell, that is about 3 weeks earlier than normal. Thus it is likely, just like the moss phlox earlier in the year, they will be gone much earlier than normal too and you probably won’t be able to see them in November in 2021.
Marigold 2023: the flowers are expected to bloom for the month of October. There will be a market in the park on Thursday October 12th from 10 am to 3 pm.
Moss Phlox / Shibazakura
The other flower I have kind-of-seen at the park is moss phlox! The first time I visited (the moss phlox) in 2021 I was too late, the second time, in 2023, I was too early! In 2021, the moss phlox (shibazakura) was weeks earlier than normal and by the time I visited at the end of April, they were pretty much gone. There were just two small sections of moss phlox (shibazakura) left. It was right before Golden week when I visited in spring and normally prime viewing is bang smack in the middle of Golden Week. Despite that, there were literally hundreds of people there. But they were altogether though on some sort of field trip!:
I visited again in April 2023 and this time I was too early! I specifically visited the third week of April in 2023 because I was too late in the fourth week of April 2021. And like 2021, all the other blooms have been early this year. Maybe next year will be a case of third times a charm! The pink / purple has started to bloom, but the white isn’t visible at all. Moreover, they have only grown the moss phlox on one small area of the hill. Before the pandemic Marigold Hill made a good alternative to the famous (and always crowded) moss phlox aka shibazakura of Hitsujiyama Park. However, this year as the section is quite small it doesn’t look quite as impressive as it has in the past. You can see what it looked like in the three grid photo from Honjo City website a few paragraphs up.
Go Go Halloween
For one year only, in 2021, Kita-Kanto’s largest Halloween event “GO GO Halloween” was held at Marigold Hill. This year, 2022, its back at its pre-pandemic location: Ginza Shopping Street near Honjo Station:
Marigold Hill’s night illumination will start on Saturday November 25th 2023. This year there is a whole new illumination section and a Christmas market, so I have moved the information to its own event post:
Marigold Hill Information
|Address:||1-13 Wasedanomori, Honjo, Saitama 367-0030|
|Hours:||24 hours, but the car park is only open from 9 am to 5 pm except during winter illumination.|
|Online:||Official web page on the Honjo City website|
The park is about 2.5 kilometers from the Honjo-Kodama Interchange of the Kanetsu Expressway. There is free parking for 36 cars. The car park is at the top of the hill, not the bottom where Google directs you to! The two spaces at the bottom of the hill are priority parking for people with lower mobility.
JR Takasaki Line’s Honjo station is about a 30 minute walk away (three kilometers). The Joetsu Shinkansen Honjo Waseda station is right by the park.