Nanbata¹ Castle Park in Fujimi City. In Saitama‘s oldest post (that is still published in 2022)! First published in 2008 and still going strong in 2022, thank you very much for your readership and support. Over the years I have added new photos and information, and since Autumn 2021 events at the park are added in this post, rather than in the events calendar² as in the past.
¹Nanbata is often written Nambata, I use both in this post so either is searchable. ²The events calendar was removed from In Saitama in Autumn 2021.
Nambata Castle Park
When you search for things to do in Fujimi, or indeed ask somebody for recommendations, Lalaport Fujimi is probably the most common answer you’ll get. But before Lalaport opened, the recommendation was – in my memory anyway – Nanbata Castle Park. We ended up visiting there on such a recommendation. And we weren’t disappointed.
The park is at the site of a former castle which unfortunately no longer exists. But some of the moat has been reconstructed. The park is made up of a visitor’s center and two main period homes as well as several smaller outhouses including a “kura” storehouse. You will also find dozens of paraphernalia from days of yore, such as farm equipment and work tools. You can explore everything free of charge. Furthermore, they normally have some traditional Japanese toys for kids to try out / play with. Toys include kendama, hanetsuki and stilts made from wood block and rope. However, during the pandemic they don’t seem to be doing this.
The Nambata or Nanbata Castle Park isn’t a particularly large park and / or attraction, but if you like time slip locations, this is one that you might find nice to visit. And the garden is picturesque…
Nambata Castle Garden
The garden is particularly beautiful in May when you can see water lilies and June through July when you can see lotus flowers (see next paragraph). If you are looking for somewhere quiet to see / photograph water lilies or lotus that is relatively close to Tokyo, this might be a suitable spot for you. There is also a small display of iris that you can see in early June. If you are visiting in early June, you can also see iris nearby (7 minute drive) at Sesearagi Iris Garden in Yamazaki Park.
The mysterious lotus of Nanbata Castle Park
Saitama Shinbun (Newspaper) reported on July 1st 2022 that the lotus in Nanbata Castle Park have started to bloom. Source Article.
The lotus in Nanbata Castle park were transplanted from the famous ancient lotus of Gyoda in 2009. The lotus pond is about 300 square meters. Mysteriously, each lotus at Nanbata Castle park only blooms for four days. However, they don’t all bloom at the same time. They bloom in succession so you can actually enjoy lotus in the park for a long time. The best time to see them is early morning. Until July 9th the park will open at 6.30 am on Saturdays so you can view the lotus at their prime time. According to Nanbata Castle park, this year (2022) the leaves are low, affording a better view than normal of the lotus flowers.
The park also hosts a number of events during the year, including, for example, a Dolls’ Festival display in spring. You will find more information about that below the musket shooting festival information. Between mid April and mid May you can see “koinobori” carp streamers flying in the courtyard and Kabuto samurai dolls displayed in the period house. In summer there is a Samurai Musket Shooting Festival. Below a version of the original account of visiting the musket shooting festival written on this blog in 2008:
Samurai Musket Shooting Festival
The Nanbata Castle park in Fujimi has a musket shooting festival every year on the first Sunday of the month of June. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been on during the pandemic so far. However, they haven’t officially cancelled it for 2022… yet! The musket shooting display is by a troupe that travel around Saitama performing this type of Samurai display.
There is a Samurai Musket Festival in Fujimi City in Saitama Prefecture, about 40 minutes from Tokyo, annually in June.
Samurai Musket Shooters
Last year, 2007, we had the fortuitous opportunity to witness this rare display of samurai clad musket shooters at Nanbata Castle park. The shooters parade through the crowd ceremoniously before positioning themselves in front of the crowds and shoot the muskets in to the air. This is done a handful of times with an emcee explaining the significance. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch much of it on camera! After the ceremony, the men in the warrior costumes, complete with Kabuto (warrior helmets), are available for photographs!
Dolls’ Festival display
In one of our earliest visits, around 2006, the period house had a dolls display. At the time, I was quite awed, but I hadn’t seen Konosu’s display by then. Most pale in comparison after seeing Japan’s largest pyramid display in Konosu! Not to knock the display in Fujimi, because it is a traditional type display, but it is not as big as most. Still its bigger than what you will see in a private home. The Toyama Memorial Museum in Kawajima has a large one, but you have to pay into that. The one in Fujimi is free. Actually there are multiple places you can see dolls displayed throughout Saitama, some more noteworthy than others! And then there is of course the new dolls museum in Iwatsuki, that opened in 2020.
Nambata Castle Park Information
|Address:||568-1 Shimonanbata, Fujimi.|
|Hours:||9 am to 5 pm seven days a week for the garden, but the buildings close on Mondays.|
|Online:||Japanese language only|
Nanbata Castle Park Access
There is a bus that stops just a five minute walk from the castle, but it is very infrequent. You can get a more frequently operated bus that stops a 13 minute walk from the park. But probably the handiest is the bus from Tobu Tojo Line Shiki station east exit bound for Lalaport. That stops at “Nanbata Castle Park South Gate” , about a 7 minute walk from the park.
There is a small car park for about six cars. Nanbata Castle Park is located close to the Lalaport so you can combine the two! (If travelling by car).
Update July 1st 2019. There is a new official webpage for Nanbata Castle Park. Also, as of today the whole park is non smoking.