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!