Seasonal blooms including daffodils, cherry blossoms, hydrangea, sunflowers and spider lilies at Gongendo Park, Satte, Saitama
Gongendo is a prefectural park located in Satte city in the North East of Saitama Prefecture. The park has three separate parts. Currently there is a number 1, 3 and 4 park. All of the flowers and blooms are in the latter, the number four (#4) park.
There is a cafe in the park, right by the main car park. Only the main car park is open all year round. Car park #2 and other overflow car parks are only open during busy periods such as the cherry blossom and hydrangea seasons. There are plenty of toilets in the park. And there is a selection of vending machines in the main car park.
There is a wee little goat “farm” in the park. Its not really a farm, but it is home to four goats. They are out in the court yard between 10 am and 4 pm on a dry day. You can’t feed them or anything, but they seem quite friendly. Its free to drop by and see them.
Parks 1 and 3
Park number 3 is on the opposite side of the Naka river to this, the flower park. But the two parks are connected by a bridge. The playground is in park #1 which is North of both park #3 and the flower park. Officially, its address is Kuki! You also have to cross the river to get to it. And on foot it is a good 30 minute walk. Even by car, its six minutes away. But there is another car park at the #1 park.
Seasonal blooms at Gongendo Park
Flowers bloom at the park all year round, but there are four principle flower displays – one in each season. In winter daffodils bloom. In spring, cherry blossoms grow. The cherry blossoms are probably the most famous bloom of the park. Moreover, they grow with rapeseed creating a beautiful contrast of yellow and pink. In summer, the hydrangea bloom. In addition, since 2020 you can also see sunflowers at Satte Gongendo Park. And finally, in Autumn the spider lilies color the park red. The spider lilies are also quite famous in the Kanto plain. There is plenty of information online, and indeed this blog, about both the cherry blossoms and spider lilies in the park. Below, some information for the two lesser known floral displays: daffodils and hydrangea.
There are a few places renowned for their daffodils in Saitama, but I think Gongendo park is probably the best known of them all. It is one of the larger displays anyhow, with half a million daffodils grown in the park in a normal year. The daffodils were first planted in 2005 and over the years they increased the size of the display to 500,000 daffodils. There are at least three different varieties, including beautiful yellow daffodils.
The park normally has a festival during the bloom period. The Satte Daffodil Festival (also known as the Narcissus Festival) is generally held from early January to mid February. However, this year with the Coronavirus Outbreak and a State of Emergency, there was no festival. The daffodils, or narcissus as they are also called, did grow and the park was open to the public. When I visited to see the daffodils, there were also a few other blooms in the park. For example, today there were some wintersweet blooming. There are only about a dozen trees, enough to give off the divine sweet smell that wintersweet is renowned for.
In more recent years the hydrangea are also enjoying acclaim, especially the Annabelle variety which the park is renowned for. There are about 16,000 hydrangea of 100 different varieties in total at Satte Gongendo Park, of which approximately 3000 are of the Annabelle variety. The main Annabelle display is right by the main car park. Near the goat enclosure you’ll find two promenades of colorful hydrangea. Due to the large quantity of varieties you can see hydrangea for about a month – the month of June – at the park. However, generally the middle two weeks of June are the best for the dramatic view of thousands of hydrangea in bloom together.
The hydrangea festival at Gongendo Park is on annually from June 1st to 30th. However, in both 2020 and 2021 the festival was cancelled on account of the Coronavirus. Moreover, due to the pandemic preventative measures employed by the prefecture, the parking lot is unfortunately closed until June 20th 2021. However, the hydrangea are in bloom and the park is open to the public. In addition, there are some summer cosmos and mini sunflowers in bloom in June too. The little cafe is also open.
The sunflowers are the latest addition to the park, but it looks like they are gearing up to make it another “highlight” of the park. Last year, 2020, was actually the first ever year the park had a large sunflower display. Approximately 30,000 sunflowers were planted in the inaugural year. Due to the success of cultivating them and the interest in and popularity of them, this year, 2021, they planted three times the amount of sunflowers. In 2021, there are approximately 100,000 sunflowers over 16500 hectares. A few opened on July 29th, but they started to bloom in earnest on August 1st! By August 7th they were in full bloom. There is a lot of rain on the way, so no guarantees, but you should be able to see them for another couple of weeks.
As the sunflowers have only ever bloomed during the pandemic, to date there is no talk of a sunflower festival. However, it is highly likely that in the future there will be a sunflower festival during the period of bloom. Watch this space!
The spider lilies in Gongendo park have a post (event post) of their own:
The cherry blossoms at Gongendo Park also have a post (event post) of their own:
https://insaitama.com/cherry-blossom-festival-at-gongendo-park-satte/ (temporarily unavailable as the blog goes through a transition).
Other seasonal blooms
Apart from the flowers and blossoms outlined above, there are other smaller displays of flowers at Satte Gongendo park. They include, but are not limited to:
- Wintersweet in winter
- Mini sunflowers in summer
- Summer cosmos
- Kochia in summer / autumn
Access Gongendo Park
By public transport; You can take a bus from Satte Station on the Tobu Nikko line. It is the Asahi Bus bound for Goka Machi Yakuba. Alight at “Gongendo” bus stop. It costs 170 yen one way. (Please do confirm this route as there maybe changes due to the State of Emergency). The bus stop is on the South end of the park.
By car, the park is about a ten minute drive from the Satte Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. One thing to note is that Google Maps automatically brought me in from the West, along route 371. However, you’re not supposed to turn into the park from here as you are on the “wrong” side of the road. If you actually come onto route 371 from the North, using the Nikko Kaido aka National Route 4, it is safer and legal!