autumn colors / leaves at sai no mori iruma park

Sai no Mori Iruma Park is a park that is always buzzing – in both senses of the word. For one, you have the constant hum of aircraft, a sound I personally love. Moreover, anytime I have ever visited it, no matter what time of year, the park is always buzzing with people. People walking, playing, shooting hoops, chatting on the benches or lounged on the grass. It’s location in a highly populated suburb, close to Johnson Town, no doubt plays a part in its popularity with locals. In addition, the aesthetics of the park probably add to the appeal.

Sai no Mori Iruma Park

Sai no Mori Iruma Park is located right beside the Japan Air Self Defense Force Iruma Air Base, famed for its annual air show*. If you come by car and are using the official car park you will pass a section of the air base where you can see old planes and air force paraphernalia. You can’t go in to the base (without special permission), but there is a clear view from outside and you can even get a photo.

*The 2023 Iruma Air Base Air Show is on in January 2024!!

When you visit the park during the day, you can constantly hear planes coming and going. But amazingly you can’t really see them due to the flight path they take. The area around the air base and Sainomori Iruma Park is known for its aviation history. Once upon a time, the American forces operated the Iruma Air Base. However, it was known as Johnson Base at the time. It was returned to Japan in 1973. Just a five minute walk from the park there are remnants of that period in Johnson Town. A short drive away Inariyama Park replaced the former residential area of Johnson Base.

Iruma City’s Oasis

Current day Sai no Mori, which was founded in 1998 as a place for locals to ‘refresh’ in nature. The park is very picturesque with trees in abundance and two lakes, both with fountains in them. However, the fountains aren’t on constantly. They are turned on four times a day for fifteen minutes each time. The park certainly seems to be loved by the locals. Anytime, I’ve ever visited the park is throbbing with people. Its always a lovely feeling to see a park in full use.

But as it is quite small and it has little for children, it is not a park that I visited much when my children were smaller. It does have one small area for kids with two climbing hills suited to toddlers. If I was visiting with children now, I would combine a trip to nearby Fujimi Park which has a great playground. And the kids always love an ice-cream or treat from Johnson Town, which is just across the road. Furthermore, there are plenty of other parks within driving distance.


Sainomori Iruma Park in Autumn

However, with all my children in school now, I finally have time to explore places that are not necessarily child friendly. I always wanted to see Sainormoi in Autumn as there are so many beautiful mature trees in the park including poplar trees and metasequoia. Today, I finally got to cross it off my list of places to see in the Autumn in Saitama. The vibrant colors and the buzz in the park certainly made the traffic I encountered on the way worth it! It is expected that the autumn leaves will be good to the end of November.

After offering to take a photo of a couple by one of the two lakes in the park and we got chatting. They had travelled from Tokyo after seeing the park live on TV this morning. As a long termer in Saitama, I do know the park is renowned by locals for its autumn leaves. If it wasn’t known outside Saitama before today, it certainly is now! It is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. However, unless you are planning to visit Johnson Town or another nearby attraction, I’m not really sure its worth coming a long distance for. I suppose though, Tokyo is just down the road thanks to the Ken-o expressway.

Spring at Saino Mori Park

Tulips at Sainomori Park
Image from the official site, date unknown.

Tulips and cherry blossoms bloom around the end of March at the park. In 2023, the tulips reportedly opened on March 14th. There is an Handmade and Food “Hello Spring” Festival scheduled for April 16th at the park.

Summer in Sai no Mori park

hydrangea at Sai no mori park

There are water lilies in the park. They bloom around mid June. The park has quite a few hydrangea around the large lake and also a few around the smaller lake where the water lilies are. As of June 17th 2022, the hydrangea around the larger lake weren’t really blooming. But the Annabelle (white) hydrangea around the smaller lake and the colorful hydrangea near the park entrance were in full bloom.


Winter in Sai no Mori

Event information: One’s Market
One’s Market is on several times a year in Sainomori Park. The next Ones Market is on Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th of May 2024. There are more than 30 stalls with goods for dogs as well as kitchen cars, food stalls and handmade goods. Official Instagram account.

Each year in January, Sai no Mori hosts the annual Iruma Dezome Shiki. The Iruma Dezome Shiki usually takes place on the second Sunday of January. However, in 2024 it will be on the first Sunday – January 7th – weather permitting, from 10 am to noon. It has been cancelled due to the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

First time for a Dezome Shiki? A dezome shiki is a New Year event of the fire brigades in Japan. It involves a blessing / ceremony and different type of entertainment, usually some type of demonstration of the fire brigade’s skills and capabilities. At the Iruma Dezome Shiki they usually have a parade of rescue vehicles, acrobatic bamboo ladder performances, fire fighting demonstrations and taiko drums. You can find out what to expect in this first hand account. And here are 19 other places for Dezome Shiki in Saitama Prefecture.

Official event page.


Facilities

There are a few things in the park though. For example, there is a barbecue area in the park. It opens from mid March to early November annually. You need to book a place in advance. There is also a nice little rest house in the park which has a food van and a nice area to sit outdoors. Here you will find several vending machines. Like almost every park in Japan, there are toilets.

Information

On Google Maps it is written as Sainomori (one word) Iruma Park.

Address: 2 Chome-2 Koyodai, Iruma, Saitama 358-0001

Phone: 04-2960-1664

Hours: open 24 hours, but the parking lot closes overnight. The official hours are from 6 am to 7 pm.

Cost: Free and parking free

Official website

Access

Sai no Mori park is about a twelve minute drive from the Ken-o expressway’s Sayama-Hidaka Interchange. There were lots of turns to take, but Google did a good job of directing me. If there weren’t so many traffic lights and so much traffic, it would be quicker as its only a distance of about five kilometers. Parking is free and plentiful.

By public transport you can walk from Seibu Ikebukuro Line’s Irumashi station. It takes about 15 minutes on foot from the station to the park.

Sai no Mori Iruma Park is a prefectural (not municipal) park. Other prefectural parks in Saitama include Wako Jurin Park and Inariyama Park.

2 Comments

    1. Author

      Thanks Andy. I was really happy with those shots. The vibrant colour of the trees made it easy!

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