Information for both the stunning Konan Wisteria and blueberry picking at the adjacent Oshima Blueberry farm. The wisteria blooms around the end of April until early May. Blueberry picking is generally from June to July.
The wisteria flowers were well early this year. In many places they are already wilting. It must have come as a great disappointment to many who planned a trip to Japan to see the wisteria at the end of April or early May, only to find they are no longer in bloom. HOWEVER, great news for anyone based in the Greater Tokyo area: just North West of Tokyo, there are at least two places you can see wisteria for the next week. That is, from today April 28th to until around May 5th – more or less the period of Golden Week. One I have already introduced, one of my personal favourites; an ancient wisteria in Honjo. The other is in the garden of a private residence in Kumagaya…
Konan Wisteria is another of Saitama’s locally famous wisteria. If you ask anyone native to, or living long term in, Saitama Prefecture for wisteria suggestions, chances are they’ll list Konan. Probably alongside Ushijima no Fuji, Saitama’s 1200 year old wisteria, Tamashiki Shrine’s wisteria and Aobaen’s. The aforementioned wisteria of Chosenji, named Kotsuhada, is another that features high on most lists. Personally, I think Daitenbaku should be high up on anyone’s list too! After that it really depends on where someone lives. Shobu is famous in Eastern Saitama, Heirinji in the West and Hisaizu near Tokyo.
Of all the wisteria named above, I think Konan is probably the youngest, at around 140 years old. However, reportedly its branches span the widest ( 35 m x 15 m) in all of Saitama Prefecture. Although, I’m pretty sure Kotsuhada’s branching width has exceeded that now, which may mean Konan will lose the honor. Regardless, we can still say that the wisteria of Konan officially had the widest branch spread for many years. The trunk is one of the most impressive I’ve seen. Its much thicker than most wisteria. Furthermore, the flower clusters can reach a length of about 140 centimeters.
Wisteria in bloom over Golden Week
The wisteria of Konan is in the garden of the private residence of Oshima blueberry farm. Quite a few of the popular wisteria are on the grounds of somebody’s home or business. The owner of the Konan wisteria is usually in the garden, under the wisteria, during the day! Content among the hundreds (thousands?) of bees while keenly scouring for caterpillars who could ruin the wisteria from their munching. He told me that he expects the wisteria to bloom until at least May 6th. However, he said, the clusters that spend most of the day in direct sunlight will start to wilt before that. There were just one or two clusters drying up today. So if you are looking for wisteria in bloom over Golden Week, put Konan Wisteria on your map!
On May 3rd, weather permitting, there is a one day wisteria festival from 10 am until around 3 pm. It is a small local festival, but it is really popular. There are some live performances, many of which are traditional cultural performances such as taiko, sword dance and chanting. There is always a 300 yen voluntary fee into the garden, including during the festival.
Oshima Blueberry Farm
The blueberry farm sells blueberries from around early June to around early September. Moreover, you can pick blueberries and eat them on site at this farm. According to Saitama Newspaper on June 1st 2023, the season has already started at Oshima farm and is expected to last until the end of July. So if you are looking for somewhere to pick blueberries in Kumagaya…
There are approximately 1,150 blueberry bushes at Oshima Farm. The farmer has been raising blueberries for about 30 years. Varieties include Eureka, Spartan Glow, Early Blue and Chandler. The Chandler are not ripe yet, but they should be ready for picking around the 20th of June. According to the newspaper, some of them grow to the size of a 500 yen coin!
>>Another place for blueberry picking in Saitama Prefecture.<<
Currently, there are several varieties ripe for the picking. You can either pick as many as you like in 30 minutes or pick blueberries to bring home. To bring them home costs an additional 300 yen per 100 grams. Phone to Mr. Oshima at 048-536-5455 for booking and / or further information. The address and access instructions are the same as for the wisteria, outlined below.
Event: Konan Wisteria Festival 江南の春祭り
Date: Wednesday May 3rd 2023
Time: from 10 am to about 2.30 / 3 pm
Cost: 300 entry fee into the garden for adults.
Venue: Konan Wisteria, 1625-8 Itai, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0105. View on Google Maps.
The Saitama Cardiovascular and Respiratory Center is relatively near to the farm / wisteria. The Saitama Cardiovascular and Respiratory Center bus stop is about a five minute walk from Konan Wisteria. There is a bus that goes from Kumagaya Station to the center. It takes about 30 minutes on the bus.