You only have to glance at Instagram to see that the wisteria season is in full swing in Saitama and all over Japan. For many, the emergence of the delicately hanging flowers make up for the end of sakura season. They are one of about a dozen ornamental flowers that bloom in April in Saitama Prefecture. There are plenty of places to see them. The wisteria in Kasukabe and Kumagaya are particularly famous in Saitama Prefecture. You will also find wisteria in many temples, shrines and even parks. Below is a particularly scenic wisteria spot which has somehow managed to stay off the tourist radar!
When I first wrote this post in 2021, there was no information in English anywhere online for this park. Moreover, there was also limited information in any other language. So I didn’t disclose the location openly within the post, but – as you will see below – privately messaged anyone who was interested in knowing the location. However, in 2023, there is an active drive to promote the location – it is Daitenbaku Park in Hanyu. And Hanyu city have even made available a small piece about the park in English. Interestingly, it was written in 2013, presumably it was offline between 2020 and 2022. Did anyone else notice that several cities and towns around Japan temporarily removed their English language pages during the pandemic?
Wisteria are called Fuji in Japanese. A completely different “fuji” to Mount Fuji! Mt Fuji is spelt with two kanji characters. The flower fuji has just one character. Wisteria are a twisting vine flowering plant with hanging blooms of shades of purple. Although there are also white and pink wisteria too. They are from the legume family like the beautiful lupine flowers of the previous post. Lupine are actually nicknamed “upright wisteria” in Japan. Wisteria are native to Japan.
In the English language wisteria generally means good luck. It can also mean a welcoming, which is a meaning they share with Japanese. In the Japanese hanakotaba they can also mean “gentleness” and/ or “intoxicated in love”. I can see why so many are intoxicated in love with wisteria! I am also in awe of the way they grow and even more deferent to the gnarling tree trunks. One trunk can sprout thousands of clusters of the flower. Trellis are used to help the tree support the volume and weight of the clusters.
Wisteria bloom from mid-April until early May in Japan. They used to reach their prime in Golden Week. But like so many flowers these days they have started to bloom and peak earlier in the last couple of years. This year, 2021, they are about a week earlier than “average” but on par with last year. This location usually has a wisteria festival but there was none during the pandemic. It will be on in 2023 though. Scroll down for more.
This wisteria spot in the North East of Saitama (official classification is Eastern Saitama) has thus far managed to stay off the beaten path. However, these days few places stay secret for long. I have taken a look online, including Instagram, and there are no posts in English about this spot. Furthermore, there are only a handful of vlogs and a few posts in Japanese. On Instagram the location has less than 100 posts. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you’ll know by now that I am all about sharing. I don’t believe in keeping a location secret. However, I am trying something new today. A little experiment of sorts. If you would like the location and details of this secret spot,
please comment below¹.
¹No longer necessary in 2023 as I have added the location’s details to this post.
What I will say; the park has about 60 wisteria including daruma and standing wisteria. So your talking thousands of blooms. They are mainly purple, but there is also some white and pink wisteria too. It is a small park and the “fuji” are the main attraction. But there are a handful of other plants, trees and flowers, including some cherry blossom trees. One of the trees has currently a few blooms on it. There is also a picturesque fountain in the park. The park is adjacent to a shrine which is famous for child rearing, so locally the wisteria are sometimes called the child rearing wisteria!
There are Japanese style squatter toilets in the park. I didn’t notice any vending machines, but truthfully I forgot to look to see if there are any. There were a few other people at the park while I was there, about three teams of four and about four pairs. One of the groups and two of the duos were eating bento under the blooms so I assume it is okay to eat on the grounds.
If you would like the details for this location (access, address, map etc) please leave a comment below.
Wisteria Festival 2023
The wisteria festival will be on in 2023 for the first time in four years. They are also planning to light up the wisteria at night. On April 29th there will be a spring festival at the shrine simultaneously.
Event: Daitenbaku Wisteria Festival 大天白藤まつり
Date: Wednesday April 26th to
Sunday May 7th Friday May 5th 2023 (end date brought forward because the wisteria bloomed early)
Time: from 10 am to nightfall!
Venue: Daitenbaku Shrine / Daitenbaku Park, 2 Chome-8-32 Kita, Hanyu, Saitama 348-0057. View on Google Maps.
The park it is about a 15 to 20 minute walk from Tobu Isesaki / Chichibu Railway’s Hanyu Station. It is about a ten minute drive from the Tohoku Hanyu highway interchange. There is free parking for about six cars.
All of the photos in this post were taken at this secret spot in April 2021.