Monomi Hill / Monomiyama Park in Higashimatsuyama in Autumn and Spring
The Monomiyama* Park is a hilltop park in the Iwadono area of Higashimatsuyama. The park was initially just a viewpoint. Higashimatsuyama city developed a park around it in recent years. Moreover, it is also part of a larger (4,638 hectares!) park, the “Prefectural Hiki Nature Park” or what we might call a nature reserve in English. Some of the park’s flora and fauna is newly planted, but they also worked with a lot of the nature that has been in existence for hundreds of years. The result: a park that has made a mark for its scenery.
*Update December 2nd 2021: I noticed today that they have updated the English sign post for the park! It now reads “Monomi Hill” rather than monomiyama in English. So there you go: the official English for the park is Monomi Hill Park.
Fewer places in the Hiki district of Saitama have such vibrant rustic colors. The park is particularly known for its momoji maple leaves and their majestic reds. If you time it right, and the weather and other conditions permit, you can see red, orange, yellow, green and brown, even purple, all at the same time. By the end of November the paths and tracks are blanketed with a soft and crunchy carpet of colored autumn leaves.
The park has little in it in way of attractions. There is no playground equipment and no sporting facilities. However, there are some tunnels made from flower rows, that children enjoy exploring. There are water features in the base of the valley of the park, which are very picturesque and in summer you can see children wading through the river. It is a great place to introduce wee children to hiking.
There are plenty of places where you can sit and enjoy the view dotted throughout the park. And it is a spectacular view.
On two sides you can look out for miles on various towns and cities of Saitama. On another side you have a view of Higashimatsuyama and the valley of the park. And behind you is the Peace Museum‘s tower hugged by vibrant mature trees. If you go up into the observation tower you get a birds eye view of nature’s collage of color.
The park is famed for its azalea. But there are also some cherry blossoms in the park. And thankfully for us, the cherry blossoms aren’t that well known in the park. In 2020, I brought my kids here for an off the beaten path hanami. There were only 3 other people there the whole time we were there.
However, by the end of April and early May, thousands of people visit the park to see the 40,000 azalea. They are red, pink and purple. They normally bloom from mid April until just after Golden Week. In 2020 they were a bit early, like most of the blooms that year, thus we were able to see azalea and cherry blossoms together.
On JALAN they rank 24th in Saitama’s most scenic floral spots in the month of April. Considering that “floral” includes cherry blossoms and moss phlox, that is a pretty high ranking.
Usually there is a azalea festival in the month of April or early May, but the festival hasn’t been on since 2019 due to the pandemic. There is currently (April 8th 2022) no information yet available for 2022. However, Higashimatsuyama have already released the information for there two other big April / May festivals, so its looking like there won’t be a festival at Monomi Hill Park again in 2022. The other two flower festivals are: Botanen which is a famous peony garden and Yakyu Inari – aka the baseball shrine – which has peony, azalea and wisteria. For more April flowers in Japan, don’t miss this article.
There are some hydrangea in Monomiyama park too. They typically bloom in June. If I can ever find my photos of them, I will add to the post!
Monomiyama / Monomi Hill Park Information
The park has toilets and a vending machine on the lower entrance beside a Udon shop (see map below) and there are some bike stands there too. As much as the area is popular with hikers, it is also popular with cyclists.
|Address:||241-17 Iwadono, Higashimatsuyama, Saitama 355-0065|
|Hours:||The park is open 24 hours. Car park hours are not specified.|
|Cost:||Free and free parking|
|Online:||Official web page|
Monomiyama Park Access
By public transport: a bus goes from Takasaka Station on the Tobu Tojo Line. Take a bus for Daito Bunka University and alight at the university and walk to the park. It is a ten minute walk uphill, but double that if you are pushing a buggy or have children walking with you.
By car: the park is on the same road that the main entrance to the zoo is on, route 212. You pass the zoo and Daito Bunka University if you are coming from the direction of downtown Higashimatsuyama going toward Hatoyama.
By highway you can use either the Higashimatsuyama or Sakado Nishi Smart Interchange exits on the Kanetsu expressway. Please note that you must have an ETC card to use the latter, Sakado Nishi Smart Interchange, exit.
The main car park is actually on the far side of the road to the viewpoint and park. It is free. You can also park in the very small parking area for Shoboji Temple. Also on the opposite side of the road, but there is a zebra crossing right at this car park. Moreover, you can park at the peace museum and walk into the park from that end.
Other attractions in the area
- Shoboji Temple’s Legendary Gingko Tree
- Peace Museum of Saitama 2020 | HIGASHIMATSUYAMA
- Saitama Children’s Zoo 2021 | HIGASHIMATSUYAMA
- A drive to and around the JAXA Earth Observation Center
- Family Friendly Peony Walk | HIGASHIMATSUYAMA
- Garden and Cafe Prunus | HIGASHIMATSUYAMA
- Higashimatsuyama Agriculture Park and Heuvel Cafe
ahhh yes it’s autumn in Japan right now! Such beautiful colours!
A great month to coincide with NaBloPoMo – lots of material for a daily post. Ganbaru!!!
FYI something weird going on with the photos when you look at this through explorer – but just checked for you on chrome and it looks fine! Huh?
Thanks a million SF. I’m using the new Gutenberg block editor on WP, so it’s my own fault – they did caution that it was only for testing and not live posts. But the new WP rollout is only two weeks away and once that goes live this post is going to look frigging amazing. 😉 Haha!!