A Scarlet Sea in Saitama

Red spider lilies are on everyone’s lips right now! These gorgeous, bright red flowers signify the start of autumn and are now in full bloom.

Interestingly, these flowers are actually also associated with death in Japan. You’ll see lots of spider lilies around graves, where they represent the souls of the dead. Also, farmers make the most of the poisonous bulbs by planting them around their fields to keep pests away! But, as is the Japanese way, they like to celebrate everything, even if it’s a flower symbolising death!

Wednesday was Autumnal Equinox Day, a public holiday here in Japan, so to make the most of this day off work, I met up with a friend and headed to the most famous place in the country to see these lilies.

Kinchakuda is a park in Hidaka, Saitama prefecture, about an hour north-west of Tokyo. A cool, shallow river runs around the circumference of the park, in a horseshoe-shape, almost making it feel like an island. While the outer edge of the horseshoe is dense forest, the inner edge is packed with a sea of scarlet! It is an absolute crazy sight!

Five million spider lilies, in fact, cover the park like a warm blanket. The flowers themselves do remind me of spiders with their long, lanky legs! Butterflies and dragonflies fluttered around from flower to flower. The afternoon sun flickered through the forest canopy, lighting up the bright green stalks of the lilies. The sea of red flowers made for the perfect photo shoot background, and we saw many ‘photo shoots’ going on! I loved one couple in particular, dressed in cosplay – the guy reminded me of the Mad Hatter, and the girl of Little Red Riding Hood. The perfect couple, maybe!?

After wandering around the park in a daydream, we picked up some delicious yakisoba from one of the many local produce stalls and sat by the river, feet in the water, cool breeze washing over our faces. It was a great day!

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18 thoughts on “A Scarlet Sea in Saitama

  1. Hi Celia,
    I didn’t know spider lilies are celebrated, but I shouldn’t be surprised :). It looks like an amazing sight and I particularly liked your shots including the bridge and the artist’s easel. Enjoy autumn and I wish we had a public holiday for the Equinox, but we get one next Friday for Grand Final eve. Cheers …John

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    • Thank you! Yeah, Japan does have a lot of public holidays… I’m not complaining!

      I heard about the Grand Final being a holiday!! That’s so crazy, but I guess the Melbourne Cup is also a non-work day. Just shows how much Aussies value their sport. Will you be watching the game?

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  2. Beautiful pictures Celia! Especially loved the pollen, the butterfly and the painting – nice shots. And what a beautiful way to spend the day, sitting by the river side with that cool breeze and a sea of red flowers to keep you company.

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    • Thanks so much, Krithya! Hehe yes, I think you and I both are huge lovers of the great outdoors. I love living in the city, but I just feel so recharged after spending time in places like this :)

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  3. ひがん花のさきみだれる 秋の野原(のはら)は すばらしいですね。
    信じられないほど うつくしい!
    ファンシーな衣装(いしょう)を まとって あるく カップルは
    観光客の目を 引いたことでしょう。アニメから 飛び出した 
    キャレックターの ようです。おとぎばなしのキャレクターが 
    日本の風流(ふりゅう)な ひがんの日に うつくしい自然の中を 
    散歩しているようです。日本は とても 不思議(ふしぎ)な国ですね。
     

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    • とても印象的ですね!機会があれば、ぜひ行ってみてください!
      この花畑にはコスプレをしている人が見た時これは日本だけで見えるものなと思いました。笑 普通の日本人はどう思うでしょうか。

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    • Thanks, Carl! I get a bit carried away with descriptive writing sometimes, but I love the challenge of trying to transport an image/experience in my mind to the mind of another person through words! :)

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    • Hey Tom! This place went far beyond my expectations and is definitely one of those places where no photo can do it justice! So if you get the chance, I really recommend it. I don’t think they bloom for too long. I would give it to the end of the week, otherwise try next year! Yes, really easy to get to. Ikebukuro > Hanno > Koma, then a ~10min walk :)

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