Last night I happened to see a tweet from Ranzan Town for this beautiful poppy field. It was really lucky I came upon it, as I am least active on my Twitter of all the ‘In Saitama’ social media accounts. Furthermore, it was at a time of the night that I am rarely on any social media. Moreover, Ranzan rarely post anything and when they do it doesn’t normally go into my notifications! But it did last night. Serendipity, you might say.
Poppy Field Ranzan
I had no idea that Ranzan grows poppies in this area at this time of the year. A bit of online sleuthing suggests that they had poppies last year too. This maybe only the second year ever? They currently don’t even have anything on the Ranzan Tourism website yet, so I can only speculate. We have definitely been in the area at this time of year several times in the past, for either a barbecue or river play in Ranzan Valley or a treat in Fukurou no Mori. Maybe I just overlooked them? Maybe they are blooming earlier than normal? Regardless, I am so happy to have learned about them. Its a particularly scenic poppy field, even if its much much smaller than Fukiage’s, Konosu’s or Minano’s.
The poppies in Ranzan are Shirley Poppies, i.e. predominantly red poppies (with some pinks and whites in the mix). You can see them backdropped by a picturesque forested hill to the West, which is behind the lavender fields. The Sennen no Sono lavender fields are raised, so you can’t actually see them from the poppy field. The Ranzan valley barbecue area is behind Sennen no Sono, but you also can’t see it from the poppy field even though its a stone’s throw away! To the North and West Ranzan’s famous cherry blossoms (now with fresh green leaves) frame the poppy field in the distance. And to the south, you can see a wood in the background.
The poppy field is located beside Sennen No Sono, where there is a lavender festival each June. The poppies are in a field that was actually used for lavender in the past, in 2019. For that one and only year Sennen No Sono enjoyed the title of Japan’s largest lavender field! In 2018 it was the largest in the Kanto area, but in 2019 they grew 50,000 lavender across eight hectares to make it the largest in Japan. In 2023, I presume it will be back to 2018 size, seen as this field is being used for poppies instead. And you can see that all the lavender have already been planted in Sennen no Sono next door.
There are actually some early blooming lavender already blooming. You can see them from the road as you pass Sennen No Sono. But please note, you are not allowed into Sennen no Sono lavender fields outside the festival period. The festival is usually on the second and third week of June or thereabouts. However, thankfully, there are some lavender in the poppy field too. They haven’t started blooming yet though, but they look about ready to start.
Event: Ranzan Poppy Field 嵐山町シャーレーポピー園
Date: late April to early May?
Hours: 24 hours
Cost: free. (The lavender used to be free too. I wonder if they will eventually charge to enter the poppy field, like they did with the lavender fields.)
Venue: Ranzan Poppy Field, beside Sennen no Sono, 2326 Kamagata, Ranzan, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0225. View on Google Maps.
This area of Ranzan Town is about 90 minutes from Tokyo by public transport. You can get a Tobu Tojo Line train from Ikebukuro to Musashi Ranzan station. From the station you can either take the long, but scenic forty minute walk to the fields, or you can take a 20 minute bus ride. If you ask at the station they will direct you to the bus stop and if you tell the bus driver you want to go to Sennen no Sono or Ranzan Valley Barbecue area s/he will let you know when to get off. The bus stop is about a ten minute walk away.
The tweet said to use the parking for “Sennen no Sono”. However, the Sennen no Sono parking lot is really small. Moreover it was closed today! In addition, the official free parking lot for Sennen no Sono at B&G indoor pool was also closed today! There is parking at Ranzan Valley BBQ area, but it costs 1000 yen.
The tweet by Ranzan town that clued me into the poppy field!
Ranzan Tourism official website – however, currently there is nothing about the poppies on the site!