Water hyacinth at Gyoda Suijo Park

Water hyacinth flowers grow in Gyoda Suijo Park each year in Autumn. They are a very interesting flower and not that common in Saitama Prefecture. Reportedly, water hyacinth were brought to Japan from the Amazon Basin during the Meiji period, for ornamental purposes. The most famous place for them is in Kazo City, where you can see them for a much longer period of time – from summer into Autumn. But in Gyoda Suijo Park they tend to bloom in September.

Gyoda Suijo Park

The Suijo of Gyoda Suijo Park, means “water castle” and is used represent a castle that was built on a swamp or lake for defense purposes. No surprise given the history of the ‘floating castle’, Oshi Castle, which is located near the park. The park is centered on two lakes, which were part of the outer moat of the castle, known as the ‘sotobori’.

The park isn’t that big and its quite lacklustre. There is a small playground on one side, but there is a better playground in the adjacent Gyoda bus terminal, where there is also an old steam locomotive engine on display. The park is perhaps most popular for fishing. Thankfully there is plenty more to do and see in the area of the park. And there is a lovely cafe in the park, Vert Cafe, a cultural property:

I have visited the park a few times over the years. There is only two times of the year it is worth a visit, in my humble opinion (unless you are going to the excellent Vert Cafe). That is, spring for the cherry blossoms, and September for the water hyacinth.

Water hyacinth

Beautiful light purple Water hyacinth

Water hyacinth is an aquatic plant with pale purple flowers. I think they are beautiful and fascinating – they make a popping almost squelching sound from the water beneath! Their name in Japanese ”Hotei Aoi” ホテイアオイ is pretty interesting – named after the laughing Buddha “Hotei”! In the language of flowers they are said to represent a “swaying heart”, because of the way the flower floats on the water. In addition, it is said they represent “sadness of love”. This reportedly is related to a Greek Myth about hyacinth.

I don’t know how many flowers there are, but they grow over a period of 1700 square meters. They have been grown in the park for over 40 years. There is a nice low stone bridge in the area, which creates a focal point. In my experience, the water hyacinth start to bloom in around around the 10th of September. I have only ever seen them as they have just started to bloom. I would like to see them in full bloom. According to Gyoda City, they typically stay in bloom until early October. So twice during that period you can see stunning hanachozu (flower fonts) at the excellent hanachozu event in Gyoda:


Information

Flower: Water Hyacinth ホテイアオイ

Season: generally from around September 10th to early October.

Time: the park is open 24 hours, but parking closes overnight.

Cost: there is no admission fee

Venue: Gyoda Suijo Koen 行田水城公園 , 1249 Suijokoen, Gyoda, Saitama 361-0053. View on Google Maps.

Access

The flowers are located next to Suijo Koen bus stop. The nearest station is Gyodashi station on the Chichibu line. It is about a 15 minute walk. Gyoda and Fukiage station on the Takasaki and Ueno-Tokyo shinkansen lines are about 15 minutes by bus.

By car, the park is relatively close to Kumagaya Bypass route 17. There is no official parking, but you can use the car parks of the Gyoda City Shinobu Community Centre and the Gyoda City community center. Both are beside the park.

Official website

1 Comment

  1. i saw some ‘aquatic plants’ before when in Japan (although I didnt know they were called that). It’s a special look the way they cover lakes and ponds! 🙂

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