Sightseeing in Saitama: Pink Moss (芝桜) Viewing in Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park (秩父羊山公園) - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sightseeing in Saitama: Pink Moss (芝桜) Viewing in Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park (秩父羊山公園)

If your visit to Japan is too late for the hanami season you might want to take a trip to some of the country's pink moss parks to make up for the missed sakura. Although Japan is more well-known for its elegant cherry blossoms (sakura) the pink moss will not disappoint you with its dazzling beauty. In fact, in Japanese this pink moss is known as Shibazakura, a word that can be translated to something like "lawn of cherry blossoms".

Welcome sign at the train station
One of the places in the vicinity of Tokyo that is known for its pink moss fields is the Yamanaga Park. Yamanaga is situated in Saitama Prefecture's Chichibu region, about 70 minutes by train from Ikebukuro in Tokyo. 
The entrance ticket comes with a free postcard
I went to Chichibu this weekend with my boyfriend to take a look at the Shibazakura before the flowering season comes to an end. We were however by far the only tourists visiting the park that day.. Japan celebrates Golden Week this week (April 29 - May 5), so as you can see a lot of people had taken the trip out to Chichibu to see the Shibazakura. 
A lot of people took the trip to Chichibu to see the Shibazakura
Although it is nice to have some days off during Golden Week I wish that it would have been possible to choose which week to take out holiday.. The park almost looked like an anthill, haha..
The Hitsujiyama Koen seen from behind some trees
It was almost impossible to get a photo without a bunch of people in the foreground.

Purple among white
A close up
Flowers in different colors
Part of the park with a mountain in the background
Along with access to the park the entrance ticket also gave us the opportunity to enter a small market in the back of the park selling local specialities. Among the things one could buy in the market was locally produced wine, green tea and honey.

There was for instance one booth that sold honey, and as you can see from the picture below their collection included some pretty weird honey jars with wasps inside them. Apparently the wasps are inserted into the honey jar while they still are alive.. No wonder they call it「スズメバチの地獄漬け」(which is practically impossible to translate into meaningful English.. At best it would be something like "wasp's hell - pickles").. This honey is also one of Chichibu's local specialities, a so-called meibutsu (名物).
Wasp's hell
Although it is nice to bring home some local specialities the wasp's hell honey wasn't really the right thing for us. We settled with some locally produced wine and green tea instead.
Container filled with Japanese tea for 1000 yen.
To get to Hitsujiyama Park, take the Seibu Ltd. Exp. Chichibu 9 train from Ikebukuro (740 yen one way). The train ride takes about 70 minutes, and you you can reach the park by foot, as its only a short walk from the Yokoze Station or the Seibu-Chichibu Station.
Basic Info
  • ・Name of Place: Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park (秩父羊山公園)
  • ・Address:Japan, 〒368-0023 Saitama Prefecture, Chichibu, Omiya, 6360
    ・Phone: +81 494-25-5209 
  • ・Opening Hours:  08:00 AM – 17:00 PM
  • ・Official Home Page:

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Nagatoro Choseikan Ryokan
Nagatoro Choseikan
Wadoh Ryokan
Ikoi no Mura Heritage Minoyama
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Heritage Minoyama

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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