summer in Saitama 2020

Summer Holidays / Summer in Saitama 2023 – In 2020 and 2021 summer was quite different to life before the pandemic. In 2022 things were a bit better with some fireworks and festivals on and even a few water play areas and pools open. But not all of them by any means and more fireworks and festivals remained cancelled than were on. Moreover, dozens of the usual special summer events remained cancelled. However, in 2023, things are more like a ‘normal’ year. But we are not quite at a 100% normal yet either. The selection is much better this year than in 2022 and dozens of fireworks and festivals are already scheduled for the summer of 2023, but some have once again opted to remain cancelled this year.

Here is a selection of events, activities and seasonal offerings you can enjoy in Saitama Prefecture in the summer of 2023…

Summer in Saitama 2023

  1. Pools
  2. Water play
  3. Natural Rivers
  4. Barbecue
  5. Fruit Picking
  6. Flower Viewing
  7. Camping
  8. Fireworks and Festivals
  9. Summer season activities
  10. New Attractions
As there is quite a lot to share, some of the sections below act more like an index and are linked to posts or pages with even more detail. If you would like to support this blog for free, please share this post with a friend, thank you.

1. Pools

Unfortunately, during the pandemic Saitama Prefecture permanently lost several of our pools and / or aqua parks. For example, the Saitama Water Park, Fujimi Beach Garden, Owada Family Pools and Kumagaya Sakura Undo Koen closed their seasonal pools permanently. However, thankfully there are still three prefectural aqua parks and they are planning to open again in 2023. They are Kawagoe Water Park, Shirakobato and Kazo Hanasaki Aqua Park. As of June 18th 2023 it is not yet known if you will need to purchase a ticket in advance, like last year. However, Saitama City have said that for their five municipal outdoor pools, you will need to buy a ticket in advance.

In addition, you will also find that some of the pools in hotels are opening again in 2023, such as the extremely popular Sunpia pools. Moreover, some pools are opening for the first time in four years. Such as the outdoor pools in Chichibu Muse Park. You can check this full list of the pools that were closed, either temporarily or permanently in 2022 and, where available, it also includes information for 2023.

Saitama Summer Holidays 2023


2. Water Play

In 2020 and 2021 more water play areas were closed than were open. Water play refers to artificially created water areas that children are allowed to play in, such as paddling pools, splash pads, manmade wading rivers and ‘pop jets’. In 2022, quite a few more opened, but much later in the year and with restrictions. But in 2023 more are open than closed and few have restriction in places. Moreover, Shiki’s excellent water play area is celebrating its one year anniversary in July. Shinrin Park are also opening in 2023, but for a shorter period than normal. Some water play areas are already operating since Golden Week; you can see which ones here. Then there is always the real deal – natural rivers which are abundant in Saitama Prefecture….

3. Rivers

Unfortunately, one of Saitama’s most popular river areas, at the Kurakake Clear Stream Village, is closed this year (2023) for river work. But there is still a great selection of fresh water rivers that are suitable for water play in Saitama Prefecture. You can also fish in some and enjoy a riverside BBQ too.

*Summer holidays in Saitama 2023*


4. Barbecue

Most of the locations mentioned in the river play section above also allow barbecues. In addition, there are several other places you can enjoy barbecue in the Prefecture. I collated fifteen of the most popular BBQ spots in Saitama, based on customer reviews on sites like Jalan and Rurubu. For the ones in the list below, it is advised that you book in advance. In fact, some of the locations will not let you in without a prior reservation. Also, please note, although rare, a couple of them do require that you have someone from the city or town in your party. Most of these sites changed their website during the pandemic! Links have been updated for 2023.

Barbecue sites

  1. Shinrin Park (Namegawa) – Official site | General information in English
  2. Mangan village (Chichibu) – Official site | Basic Information in English
  3. Saiko Doman Green park (Toda) – Official site | Basic Information in English
  4. Misato Park – Official site | Basic Information in English
  5. Kazo Hanasaki Park – Official site | General Information in English
  6. Warabi City Park – Official web page | In English on Tripadvisor (Please note Tripadvisor is not great in Japan)
  7. Soka park – Official web page | General Information in English
  8. Akiha no mori Park (Nishi Ward) – Official site | Information in English
  9. Shirakobato Park (Koshigaya) – Official site | Information in English
  10. Kawagoe Water Park – Official site | Information in English
  11. Ageo Maruyama – Official site | Information in English
  12. Sagiyama Kinen Park (Minami Ward) – Official site | Information in English
  13. Inariyama Park (Sayama) – Official site | Information in English
  14. Shiroyama park (Okegawa) – Official site | Information in English
  15. Hanno-gawara – Official site | Information in English. Along the Irumagawa, famous for its red bridge.

*Summer in Saitama 2023*

5. Fruit Picking

There are five main fruits ripe for the picking in Saitama in summer. Blueberries, cherries, peaches, melon and grapes. Blueberry picking can start as early as the end of May and, in some places, last until the end of August. Cherry picking is generally from around mid June to mid July in Saitama, so before the summer holidays start. Peaches can be picked from around end of June to early September. Melon picking is generally around July. Finally, grapes have a long picking season which starts in summer and goes right through to October. Below some suggestions for places to pick blueberries and grapes.

Blueberry Picking

The most famous place for Blueberry Picking in Saitama Prefecture is Sayama Berryland. It is also one of the largest blueberry picking farms in all of Japan. Their blueberry season is in full swing already. Information for blueberry picking at Sayama Berryland.

One of the cooler places to pick blueberries, and I mean that in both senses of the word, is at the 876 meter high Dodaira Observatory. The Dodaira Observatory is a popular place for stargazing. It was once Japan’s National Astronomical Observatory. The season opens early July and picking is reasonably priced here. Official website here.

blueberry picking hilltop farm june saitama rainy season summer in saitama 2020

For the amateur photographer and / or the cafe lover, Hilltop Farm in Namegawa is a nice spot for early morning blueberry picking. You can combine picking with a treat in their rustic cafe. In 2023, they will start the season from the later time of July 1st (it used to be June 1st). More information in English here.

Farm Fumi is located in Kumagaya City in Northern Saitama. The season for blueberries is from July to late August (in late autumn you can pick oranges here). Please note that Kumagaya is notoriously the hottest city in Saitama, so taking necessary precautions against sunburn and heat stroke is advised. Information in English can be found here.

Grape Picking

Tokorozawa is one of the better known places for grape picking in Saitama Prefecture. Between 2020 and 2022 a few of the farms didn’t open to the public on account of the pandemic. Tokorozawa Vineyard opened in both 2021 and 2022 and will open in 2023 too. The season starts early August.

Komatsuzawa Leisure farm is a really lovely place to visit, especially in summer when you can try many different activities. They actually have a blueberry picking plan where you can have a barbecue as well as choose another activity such as fishing, mushroom picking or sweet potato picking. Also, this farm has nagashi somen in summer.

Chichibu Fruit farm is a tourist picking farm. In winter and spring you can pick strawberries and in August you can pick grapes. Grape picking actually carries into Autumn when different varieties are ripe for picking. There is comprehensive information available in English on the Way of Japan website (here). (I have no affiliation to this site).


Summer Holidays Japan 2023

6. Flower Viewing

There are quite a few blooms that flower during the months of July and August, a sample hereafter:

Sunflowers

One of my personal favorites – sunflowers – bloom in July and August in Saitama. You can actually see them in several locations around the prefecture, but if you want to see a full field of sunflowers here are a few recommendations:

Himawari Hiroba in Kasukabe has approximately 240,000 sunflowers . Unfortunately I have no personal experience with this location, but I do have an event post up for the sunflowers in Ushijima in Kasukabe!

Lotus

If you like lotus, Kodai Hasu no Sato is a must visit. Not only because the flowers and park are beautiful, but because the lotus have a fascinating history. Read more here. You can see an absolutely mind blowing rice art display (planted, not painted) here in August too.

A close up of a lotus flower from the side taken at the ancient lotus park in Kodai Hasu no Sato
Lotus at Gyoda Kodai Hasu no Sato in summer 2021

Heisei no Mori Park in Kawajima has a smaller lotus pond, but across the road they also have a sunflower field. The park is famous for its roses. Its past rose season, but sometimes you can see a few growing here and there. For a completely off the beaten path, but really scenic lotus pond, I recommend the John Deere park in Hatoyama. There are also lotus in Kawagoe and Fujimi, to name but a few.

Salvia

Salvia Omiya Hana no Oka Park

Saitama is the largest producer of Salvia in Japan. The Salvia in Omiya Hana no Oka generally bloom around the end of July. But in the last few years they’ve been visible from early July. They generally bloom until around early October.

The above is only a sample, there are also marigold, lilies, Yamayuri, Coleus, Petuna, Water hyacinth and several other flowers that bloom in summer in Saitama.

Summer in Saitama 2023


7. Camping

For me personally there are only a handful of places I can camp comfortably in summer. It depends on your tolerance for heat. However, even if you aren’t up to tenting it in summer, there are plenty of places where you can stay in a log cabin or glamp with some extra cooling comforts to evade the summer heat. There are so many campsites in Saitama, I’ve just chosen a sample (of dozens) in the Chichibu District.

Chichibu District

By and large the Chichibu district is cooler than the rest of Saitama Prefecture. Particularly if you are staying by a river. Furthermore, several of the campsites in Chichibu have cabins, trailers, cottages or some form of accommodation with air conditioning.

Nagatoro Autocamp summer in Saitama 2020
Beautiful Chichibu: Nagatoro Autocamp tents on the Arakawa River

Nagatoro Autocamp, one of Saitama’s best known campsites, covers all bases with a variety of accommodation options. Rough it out wild style to luxurious glamping options with most of the comforts of home. There are several activities and facilities for children with river play a big draw in summer.

Waterpark Nagatoro, which is actually in Minano not Nagatoro!, is a similar set up, but with less options and lacking a bit of the je ne sais quoi of Autocamp. But it is also more reasonably priced and easier to get a booking.

Forest Sons Nagatoro is particularly popular despite its hiked prices. But it has a great water play area for kids that keeps them coming back! Their accommodation choices are also more limited, but their trailers are spotlessly clean and designed very well for a comfortable stay.

Midori no Mura only offers cabin accommodation, but due to its high altitude in a natural forest tends to be a good bit cooler than anywhere else. They even have a kotatsu in the room in case it gets cold! In the height of summer that is unlikely, but who knows!

Another place with just cabins is Yoshida Genki Mura. But they are really awesome cabins! Yoshida Genki Mura is located along a river that is popular for river play in the summer. There is air conditioning in the kitchen / dining area and in the bedroom. It is particularly good value for money so it tends to book up fast. Bonus: beautiful orange and marigold are in bloom all over the town in summer…

marigold in yoshida genki mura chichibu august summer in Saitama
Marigold in bloom at Yoshida Genki Mura summer 2020

8. Fireworks and Festivals

There are a lot more festivals and fireworks scheduled in 2023 than in 2022. However, there are still some that are cancelled. For example, Higashimatsuyama Fireworks will not be on this year, but their summer festival will. There are countless examples like that, so less focus on what is on. The below post also includes summer events, not just fireworks and festivals:

July 2023 information

The August event round up here:


9. Summer season activities

wind chimes summer in saitama 2020
Wind chimes at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
  1. Try the ever so fun and memorable “Nagashi somen”
  2. Make your own wind chime
  3. Fish your own lunch / barbecue
  4. Receive a summer blessing
  5. Tube down giant water slide
  6. Taste famous natural ice Kakigori
  7. Be mesmerised by wild fireflies
  8. Pick up a stunning limited edition temple seal
  9. Roll down the River on the Line Kudari
  10. Take a boat out on the lake

New Attractions

Team lab acorn forest tokorozawa
The Acorn Forest

Several new attractions and eateries opened in Saitama Prefecture during the pandemic. This summer might be a chance to check them out! Here is a selection of 10:

  1. The cutest Miffy bakery. Read more…
  2. A campsite in Saitama City. Read more…
  3. Instabae (Instagrammable) goldfish themed cafe. Read more…
  4. Crayon Shinchan play area. Read more…
  5. Starbucks with an outdoor terrace and playground in Sayama. Read more…
  6. Oh Hanno! “Fermentation, Health, Food Magic!!” Read more…
  7. The Acorn Forest from Team Lab. Read more…
  8. The Kadokawa Musashino Museum. Read more…
  9. Instabae cube like cheese cake. Read more…
  10. Delicious and instagrammable Wagyu beef slider restaurant. Read more…

Is there anything else you would add to this list for Summer in Saitama 2023? Whatever you do this summer, I hope you have a great and safe one.

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