Yesterday, I had a wonderful trip to Kinchakuda Park in Saitama with two other friends at Rikkyo in order to see the red carpet of Higanbana (red spider lily). I have heard about the place even before I came to Japan and have been wanting to go for years. The flowers are only in full bloom for a short period of time in beginning of autumn (mid to late September for most of recent years), so if you happen to be in Tokyo during this time, you should not miss it.
Access to the park is easy but takes time. From Ikebukuto station, it takes about an hour by train to Koma station, the nearest station to Kinchakuda. As long as we arrived in the Koma station, there were a lot of banners and signs to Kinchakuda. There was also a tourist information table that gave out map of the park and flyers of upcoming events in Kichakuda. From the station, it takes about 15 minutes of walking until we reached the park’s entrance. On our way from the station to the park, we can see higanbana every where on the street and kept saying how beautiful they are. However, when we actually see the red carpet of flowers inside the forest, all we could say was “this is unreal.”
It was Saturday so there were quite a number of people coming to Kinchakuda. However, thanks to the large size of the park, it never got overwhelm. It seems that the place is not very well-known among foreigners at all. In fact, none of my friends were aware of the place until I mentioned it. Among the visitors, I did not see anyone seemed to be foreigners. Most of them were families with young kids, groups of elders, and couples, etc. There were also some cosplayers wearing interesting outfits who came to take photos (but I did not see them out of place at all).
We ended up spending more than two hours at Kinchakuda, but I thought there were still some places we had not been to. I would love to stay until after sunset to see how the flowers would look like in the dark, but the park was closed at 5 pm so we had to leave. The full bloom last only for a few days so I probably won’t be able to see it again this season. All I can say is that the higanbana at Kinchakuda is amazing, and you should not miss your chance to see it.