Summer in Saitama 2022 – In 2020 and 2021 summer was quite different to life before the pandemic. And although we are still in the shadow of the pandemic in 2022, life does feel somewhat more ‘normal’ than the past two years. For example, several water play areas and pools are open/ing this summer. In addition, there are some festivals and fireworks on this year. Nowhere near as many as pre-pandemic, but enough to give us to something look forward to and make life feel a bit more normal. Also, there are special events and seasonal offerings this year. It has been an absolute joy to write “for the first time in three years” on so many events these past few weeks.
Here is a selection of events, activities and seasonal offerings you can enjoy in Saitama Prefecture in the summer of 2022…
Summer in Saitama 2022
- Water play
- Natural Rivers
- Fruit Picking
- Flower Viewing
- Fireworks and Festivals
- Other events
- New Attractions
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Unfortunately, during the last three years Saitama Prefecture 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 in 2022. They are Kawagoe Water Park, Shirakobato and Kazo Hanasaki Aqua Park. I compiled a full list of the pools that are closed, either temporarily or permanently, with information for those that are open here. You will also find that some of the pools in hotels are opening in 2022, such as the extremely popular Sunpia pools.
Summer in Saitama 2022
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, thankfully there are quite a few more opening. Moreover, Shiki’s new and very fun looking water play area is supposed to open this month, July 2022. Shinrin Park initially hadn’t planned to open their water play areas, but shortly after publishing this post they announced they will open them! Moreover, there are actually at least twenty water play areas open this summer. Some are already operating since May, you can see which ones here. Then there is always the real deal – natural rivers which are abundant in Saitama Prefecture….
A 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 in Saitama 2022*
Actually all of the locations mentioned in the river play section above also allow barbecues. On top of that there are several other places you can enjoy barbecue in Saitama Prefecture. I collated fifteen of the most popular BBQ spots in Saitama based on customer reviews on sites like Jalan and Rurubu.
Due to the pandemic it is advised that you book in advance. Actually some of the locations will not let you in without a prior reservation. Also, given that fluid situation of the pandemic, I strongly recommend that you check the official sites directly for the most up-to-date information.
- Shinrin Park (Namegawa) – Official site | General information in English
- Mangan village (Chichibu) – Official site | Basic Information in English
- Saiko Doman Green park (Toda) – Official site | Basic Information in English
- Misato Park – Official site | Basic Information in English
- Kazo Hanasaki Park – Official site | General Information in English
- Warabi City Park – Official web page | Page translated into English
- Soka park – Official web page | General Information in English
- Akiha no mori Park (Nishi Ward) – Official site | Information in English
- Shirakobato Park (Koshigaya) – Official site | Information in English (The pools are closed, but some of the others services have started again. You will need to contact the park directly as their website is not up to date.)
- Kawagoe Water Park – Official site | Information in English
- Ageo Maruyama – Official site | Information in English
- Sagiyama Kinen Park (Minami Ward) – Official site | Unfortunately I can’t find any English information anywhere online. On the official page they have a phone number for direct contact.
- Inariyama Park (Sayama) – Official site | Information in English
- Shiroyama park (Okegawa) – Official site | Information in English. I haven’t had time to update the blog post yet, but the park opened a brand new barbecue area earlier this year. And actually in 2021 this is was of the few parks that had their “Jyabu Jyabu” water play area open. It is also open again this year.
- Hanno-gawara – Official site | Information in English. Along the Irumagawa, famous for its red bridge.
*Summer in Saitama 2022*
There are five main fruits ripe for the picking in Saitama in summer. Blueberries, cherries, peaches, melon and grapes. Blueberry and cherry picking is generally from around mid June to mid July. 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. I haven’t included all those fruits in this post, but you will find suggestions for places to pick blueberries, melons and grapes.
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. They even have an English language website. Their blueberry season is generally from around mid June to mid July.
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. Blueberry picking is very reasonably priced. Official website here.
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. Their picking season tends to start earlier than most, but in 2022 it was late to start. 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.
Melon picking Summer in Saitama 2022
Ibaraki Prefecture has several water melon picking farms, but here in Saitama we only have a handful. At Kamisato Strawberry and Tomato Picking farm there is generally an opportunity to pick melons from the end of July to early August. However, they have not yet confirmed if they will have this event in summer in Saitama 2022.
Tokorozawa is one of the better known places for grape picking in Saitama Prefecture. In 2021, a couple of the farms didn’t open to the public on account of the pandemic. Tokorozawa Vineyard opened in 2021 and they will open from early August in 2022 too.
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 after / before picking as well as choose another activity such as fishing, mushroom picking or sweet potato picking. Also, this farm has nagashi somen in summer. However, there is a chance that may not be available due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
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).
Normally you can still see hydrangea in early July in many parts of Saitama. But due to the lack of rain and the heat wave at the end of June, the hydrangea season ended abruptly. Minoyama Park blooms until mid July usually. In addition, they have a light up event for about a week during the prime viewing season of the hydrangea.
Summer in Saitama 2022
There are quite a few blooms that flower during the months of July and August, a sample hereafter:
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:
- Shinrin Park in Namegawa (they also have other large summer flower displays)
- Sunflower maze among 1,000,000 sunflower on the border of Gunma
- Mikajima Himawari Batake aka Tokorozawa Sunflowers
- Higashimatsuyama Norin Park
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!
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.
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.
Saitama is the largest producer of Salvia in Japan. The Salvia in Omiya Hana no Oka generally bloom around the end of July. In 2021 they were actually well early, blooming in June. They have already started in 2022 too, but will need another week or two to look picture perfect! They should be in bloom until around early October.
Summer in Saitama 2022
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.
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, 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 water 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…
Fireworks and Festivals
For the first time in three years, there are several fireworks and festivals scheduled for this summer. Here is a small sample of fifteen of the festivals and fireworks on this summer in Saitama:
- For the first time in 3 years: Fukaya Tanabata Festival (July)
- One of the principal Star festivals: Ogawa Tanabata Festival (July)
- One of the three great Star Festivals: Irumagawa Tanabata Festival (August)
- The hugely popular Asaka City Festival ‘Saikasai’ in 2022 (August)
- For the first time in three years, the Million Lights Festival (July)
- After three long years: Ageo Summer Festival (July)
- The 70th annual Warabi Hata Festival in celebration of Tanabata (August)
- Tatara Festival scheduled in 2022 (August)
- Omiya Nisshin Tanabata Festival in support of the Ukraine (August)
And fireworks, which are scarcer than festivals:
- Bursting into the Sky in 2022: Kawagoe Fireworks (August)
- Kumagaya Mini Watch from Home Fireworks Display in 2022 (August)
- The only guaranteed fireworks this summer (July and August)
- Join the Moomin Day celebrations with fireworks at Metsa (August)
- One of the most popular: Seibuen Amusement Park Fireworks (July and August)
- Yorii Tamayodo Suitenguusai Fireworks and Festival online in 2022 (August)
Normally, in summer there are hundreds of events on. There are definitely more on than in 2020 or 2021, but we’re still not back to ‘normal’ in this regard. A selection of 10 events on this summer:
- The Umbrella Sky Project at Moominvalley park until July 18th
- Immersive Van Gogh
- A must see in Saitama: Gyoda’s Rice Paddy Art
- Wind chimes at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine.
- Thomas Steam Adventure EJ Anime Museum
- Laketown Boat Park in Japan’s largest shopping mall – Aeon Laketown.
- Hot Air Balloon Rides in Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park.
- A seasonal afternoon tea we want to dive into!
- ”Sayama De Yokai” the summer exhibition at Sayama City Museum
- Sayama Ski Resort Water Fes Summer 2022
Several new attractions opened in Saitama Prefecture in the last two years. This summer might be a chance to check them out! Here is a small sample:
- Crayon Shinchan play area. Read more…
- Starbucks with an outdoor terrace and playground in Sayama. Read more…
- Oh Hanno! “Fermentation, Health, Food Magic!!” Read more…
- The Acorn Forest from Team Lab. Read more…
- The Kadokawa Musashino Museum. Read more…
- Nolla Naguri. Read more…
- New water play area opening in Shiki. Read more…
Is there anything else you would add to this list for Summer in Saitama 2022? Whatever you do this summer, I hope you have a great and safe one.