Ruri Peony Garden Honjo City in the North of Saitama

I’ve taken quite a shine to Honjo City in the last few years. Even though its at least forty kilometers from my house (and about eighty kilometers from Tokyo)! I’ve still a lot to discover, as well as places that I’ve bookmarked to return to in a different season! But I can already see why this city was once one of the principal cities on the Nakasendo. In fact, it was reportedly the largest post town of the route back in the Edo period.

Ruri Peony Garden

Ruri Peony Garden Honjo in Northern Saitama
Shorakuji Temple in the background

Ruri Peony Garden is located in the Kodama area of Honjo City. As far as I am aware, the garden belongs to Shorakuji (Shoraku Temple). But it is lovingly maintained by a group of local volunteers. Not only do they take care of the peonies, they have volunteers on site during the period of the bloom to answer any questions. Or just have a chit chat with visiting tourists! There were two people there on my visit today. Such lovely warm easy to talk to people. I can see why they – the volunteers – were awarded the prestigious Sirakobato Award from the Prefecture (in 2019). An award the recognizes the contributions of individuals or groups to the community.

Ruri Peony garden in the Kodama area of Honjo City

The garden is not particularly large, but it has about 1300 peony flowers of 70 different varieties. They normally bloom from around mid April, but they were early to bloom this year (2023). There is a box by the entrance to the garden where you can contribute 100 yen to the upkeep of the peonies. On the way out one of the volunteer staff gave me a little present or toothpicks in an intricate holder. From what I can tell this is standard ‘omotenashi’ (Japanese hospitality) at the garden.

Pagoda among the botan peony flowers in Ruri Peony Garden Honjo
Pagoda in the peony garden

Unless you are going to sit in the pagoda in the garden, you would only need about twenty minutes on the location. I visited on my way from Marigold Hill (to see the shibazakura) on my way to the ‘village of hidden gems‘. I was also visited some ancient wisteria in the area – more on that to come soon!

Information

Flower spot: Ruri Peony Garden 瑠璃ぼたん園

Season: around mid April

Hours: not specified / day time

Cost: voluntary 100 yen contribution

Venue: Ruri Peony Garden at Shoraku-ji, Kodamacho Kamimashimo, Honjo, Saitama 367-0205

Access

Free parking for about 14 cars. Kodama Station on the Hachiko Line is about a 30 minute walk from the peony garden. The nearest bus stop, as far as I am aware, is about a 20 minute walk away!

Official web page

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