Red spider lilies at Kinchakuda Park

The Kinchakuda Red Spider Lily Park also known as Higanbana field or Manjushage in Saitama’s Hidaka city has over 5 million red spider lilies growing wild, making it the largest of its kind in Japan.

The plant higanbana is originally from China and traditionally it has been grown alongside paddy fields and graveyards to keep rodents away with the plant’s poisonous qualities. That’s why Higanbana Flowers are considered as exceptionally beautiful in Japan but their beauty comes with a decidedly dark side.

It always blooms in the second half of September and considered to be the most famous of the three red spider lily festivals of Saitama. However, there are also smaller red spider lily fields and viewing spots in various locations around Saitama. Kinchakuda is by far the largest with half a million red spider lilies. Red spider lilies are called Higanbana in Japanese.

The date for the corresponding festival is always set close to the time they bloom. Usually, the best time to view the flowers is around a week after the flowers are officially declared open.

Expect large crowds, though, especially on weekends and national holidays. Seibu Railways, the company running the railway line from Tokyo to here, is heavily advertising the flowers in all their trains during the season.

Not all visitors are Tokyo weekenders in leisure clothes. The dark beauty of the higanbana flowers is also a magnet for Tokyo cosplay girls. They like to dress up in their weirdest fashion and come out here in full costume to contrast their Shibuya and Harajuku outfits with the brightly-colored red flowers.

Come and see the spider lilies, a sight remains breathtaking and serene despite the crowds it draws.

How to Get There

By car: Drive Highway 299 from Hanno city towards Chichibu, turn right at Dai (台) intersection, then turn right at Rokudaibashi (鹿台橋) junction. Kinchakuda is a few hundred meters down the road. Turn right after the Seven-Eleven convenience store to enter its parking area. The free parking lot also serves Hiwadayama.

By train: From Ikebukuro Station: Take the Seibu Ikebukuro Line to Hanno, change to the Seibu Chichibu Line local train, get off at Koma Station. Total journey time on the train is just under an hour to cover the approximately 50km. The fare is presently 530 yen (2014). Then walk about 15 minutes to Kinchakuda.

Google map of Kinchakuda. The Hiwadayama is not marked on the map, it is however only a little walk up from Kotohira Shrine (which is on the map)..

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