Watch as Japan Turns Red at the Red Spider Lily Festival in Saitama This Summer

  • Japan is home for literally hundreds of floral festivals you could possibly imagine. The Japanese people adore flowers. Summer in the country, which usually starts in June and continues until mid to late September, is the time to witness more colorful flowers. There is a lily variety called the “red spider lily” which blooms in late summer at the start of autumn around mid-September, making the gardens in Japan turn red.

    Red Spider Lily

    The red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) is called by many unique names in different parts of the world. For example, it is called the “death flower” in China and Japan as it grows predominantly in graveyards and paddy fields. Sometimes it is called as “hurricane lily” as it blooms during the hurricane season in the US.

    Native to China, this flower was brought to Japan with Buddhism as it is seen as a symbol of heaven. It is also called as “equinox flower” or “surprise flower” as it blooms in late summer, brightening up gardens with an explosion of red. Known as “higanbana (彼岸花)” or “manjushage (曼珠沙華),” this flower grows more in rural areas of Japan than in big cities.

    If you would like to see these flowers near Tokyo (東京), you should head to the area of Koma (高麗) that comes on the way to Chichibu (秩父) on the Seibu Ikebukuro Red Arrow Line (西武池袋 レッドアロー号).

    Manjushage Festival

    Hidaka (日高) in Saitama (埼玉) is probably one of the least known areas that have plenty of paddy fields and flower gardens. However, around the 20th of September, the gardens of Kinchakuda (巾着田) turn bright red, attracting plenty of visitors from different parts of Japan. The red spider lilies usually line up along the banks of Koma River, thus making Koma a perfect place for capturing the beauty of the flowers. There is a small entrance fee of 300 yen to spend as much time as you want in the fields.

    Koma is a beautiful place with hiking trails, riverside views, bridges, gardens filled with birds, and much more. The festival committee sets up food stalls, souvenir shops selling handicrafts, and many more during the event for you to stroll around.

    The red spider lilies grow like a bright red carpet across the venue which is mainly the Kinchakuda flatland that spreads about 22 hectares along the river. It is also a great camping site perfect for a nice family weekend.

    How to Get There

    If you want to visit Koma, you should catch a local train instead of an express train. However, the Seibu Line has a limited period, from mid-September to early October, when express trains stop at Koma Station as well, for visitors to view the Manjushage and Chestnut Festivals that take place in town.

    Koma is an old area in Japan with more than 1,300 years of history. It is located nearly 48 kilometers from Ikebukuro Station on the Seibu Limited Express Line. You can get more information at the Seibu Office about the festival and some of the famous Koma restaurants such as Alishan Cafe (阿里山カフェ) during the flowering season. Alishan Cafe is run by an organic food center preparing vegan dishes with vegetables grown by local agriculturists. You can also buy their products from their online store for reasonable prices.

    Do pay a visit to Koma to witness these unique red spider lilies. Even in non-seasons, you can still visit the place as it has a lot of great hiking and camping sites.

    Hidaka City Kinchakuda Official Site *Japanese only

    Would you like to stay in Hidaka? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

    Related article
    77 Things to Do in Ikebukuro to Make the Most of Your Visit to Tokyo in 2018!