Poppies in the sky! Information for the annual poppy flower field in Chichibu Highland Ranch, Saitama Prefecture

One of Saitama’s most famous scenes, nationally, is the “Poppies in the Sky”. The poppies at the Chichibu Poppy Festival at the prefectural farm known as both Chichibu Highland Ranch and Sai no Kuni Fureai Center. The farm / ranch is also known for its views and occasionally you can see a sea of clouds. Moreover, sometimes you can even be IN the clouds, as we had the great pleasure of experiencing here a few years ago!

Poppies in the Sky postponed

Important update May 13th 2024: according to Higashichichibu Village, the Poppies in the Sky start date has been postponed, due to lack of flowers. The official website, Twitter and Facebook pages were updated on May 14th to reflect these changes. The new dates are below↴

Poppies in the Sky

The poppy festival in Chichibu is just one of many famous and acclaimed events held annually in Chichibu. As aforementioned, the poppy sky has become one of Saitama’s most famous scenes. The farm is located in Saitama’s last remaining village: Higashichichibu. But the plateau where the poppies grow, known as Tenku no Poppy (天空のポピー) or “Poppies in the Sky”, straddles both Higashichichibu and Minano Town.

Shirley Poppies

Each year thousands of people navigate the crowded mountain roads to witness the spectacular scene of (approximately!) ten million red shirley poppies across five hectares on the plateau. The shirley poppies typically bloom from mid May to early June annually in Chichibu. Shirley Poppies are predominantly red with some pink and whites in the mix.

>>Check this post for Shirley Poppies in bloom right now; during Golden Week (early May) 2024<<

Poppies in the Sky Chichibu Highland Ranch Sky of poppies Tenku no poppy
Prepping the walkway of the poppy fields, May 3rd 2021

Historically, the best time to see them was the end of May to early June. However, in recent years flowers have been early, but this year – so far – it seems flowers are blooming more in line, if not later, than cumulative averages. In 2024, the festival was initially planned to start on Thursday May 16th. However, due to the lack of flowers by May 13th, they decided to push back the start day a week, to May 23rd. The end date is currently still set as Sunday June 2nd. That may change depending on how well the flowers bloom. The poppy field is open to the public between 9 am and 5 pm. However, this year they will have one late opening night – on Saturday May 25th. On that night only you can access the poppies until 7 pm.

As of May 2nd 2024 they have not yet started updating on the condition of the poppies, which is unusual. They normally start updates the last week in April disclosing the stage of growth of the poppies and an estimate on the expected prime viewing period. I had been waiting for those updates to update this annual event post with the 2024 information, but its getting too close to the date to wait any longer – the festival starts two weeks from today!


Daytrip from Tokyo

Due to the relative proximity to Tokyo, the festival draws not only domestic tourists, but international tourists too. It is a manageable daytrip from Tokyo, but there is so much to do in the area it might be worth considering staying in one of the dozens of campsites in the Chichibu area. They have cabin options too if you are not up for roughing it! Some places also rent out tents and all the equipment you need. Therefore, if you are in Japan sans camping supplies it doesn’t have to stop you experiencing camping in Japan. I will say though, that this area is best travelled by car as the land area is expansive and mountainous. Thus it is harder to get around by public transport.


Information

Event: Poppies in the Sky 天空のポピー

Dates: Thursday May 16th 23rd to Sunday June 2nd 2024.

Time: 9 am to 5 pm (last entry at 4.30 pm) except for May 25th when it will open until 7 pm.

Cost: 500 yen admission fee. However, there is no charge for children under 12 years old. (It is normally free to enter the farm, but during the period of the poppies there is a fee.)

Venue: Poppy in the Sky Field, Chichibu Highland Ranch, Misawa, Minano, Chichibu District 〒369-1411. View on Google Maps.

Access

The sky of poppies are about 21 kilometers from the Hanazono exit of the Kanetsu expressway. 「天空のポピー」(tenku no popi-)「秩父高原牧場」(chichibu kogen bokujyo)「彩の国ふれあい牧場」(sainokuni fureai bokujyo) or the phone number 0494-65-0311 in the car navi should bring up the location. There two parking lots for the farm and a separate car park for the poppies too. Please note that there is only one (windy mountainous) road in and out of the area and it gets very congested during the period of the poppies. (And also during Golden Week too.)

If you are driving to the poppies from Ogawa / Ranzan, taking route 254 to route 11, Washi no Sato is a nice place to stop. They have an outdoor food court. Moreover, you can make your own washi paper!

More about Chichibu Kogen farm: official prefectural Chichibu Kogen Farm website and in English on this blog.

Official event website.

Editor’s note: WP12704.R1.20180417 R2.20230429. The Chichibu Poppy Festival wasn’t on between 2020 and 2022. In 2021 the day before the festival was due to start they had to cancel it! The flowers weren’t maintained in 2020 or 2022.

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