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A Round Trip to Saitama Prefecture’s Gyoda for a Visit to Ravishing Ancient Lotuses, Tumulus Clusters and the Historic Castle in One Day!

Writer : makoa187jp

It is only a 1-hour train ride from Tokyo’s Ueno Station on the Takasaki Line (JR East) to Saitama Prefecture’s Gyoda, where ancient lotuses are in full bloom! Besides, there are Saitama Kofun (tumuli, ancient burial mounds) Park and Oshi Castle, which are rarely seen in other cities in Japan. Here is an account of my one-day round trip to Gyoda and I hope it could be helpful to you.

Ancient Lotus Park

To complete the trip in one day, I must get up early in the morning.
I got on a train for Takasaki at Ueno Station on the Takasaki Line at 6:28 and got off at Gyoda Station at 7:28. At the east exit, I took a temporary bus that left the station at 7:40 and headed for Ancient Lotus Park.

※ The Japanese pronunciation of Ancient Lotus Park is Kodai Hasu no Sato.

Ancient Lotus Park
Ancient Lotus Park

Ancient lotus flowers, which will shrink to buds in the afternoon, are most nice-looking around nine o’clock in the morning, when the flowers with ethereal layers of pink petals vie to display their charm over the pond. The largest of these graceful and stately flowers can be 20 cm in diameter.

Ancient lotus
Ancient lotus

「Ancient lotuses, natural monuments designated by Gyoda, allegedly grow from seeds estimated to date back 1400 to 3000 years, which were sprouting or blooming when found by accident during an excavation nearby. The news soon got around and attracted many visitors. So, Gyoda reconstructed the area into an ancient lotus themed park for people to view the growing ancient lotuses.
Ancient lotuses bloom between late June and early August.

Basic information on Ancient Lotus Park

OPEN
Address
2375, Kobari, Gyoda, Saitama Prefecture[MAP]
Telephone
048-559-0770 (Ancient Lotus Park)
Time to view flowers late June and early August every year; the morning is the best time to view flowers. ♪
Open
7:00~16:30 (last entry: 16:00)
Closed
During the flowering season, the Park is open daily
Public transportation
Bus between Gyoda Station on JR East’ Takasaki Line and Ancient Lotus Park
(available between June 15 and July 21、July27、July28)
※ July 22nd-26th Public transportation stop service
WEB
Official website (in Japanese and English)

Saitama Kofun Park

After saying goodbye to Ancient Lotus Park, I took a bus to the next scenic spot. Five minutes later, I arrived at Saitama Kofun Park, which was in harmony with the nature.

※ The Japanese pronunciation of Saitama Kofun Park is Sakitama Kofun Goen.

Saitama Kofun Park
Saitama Kofun Park

There are nine large ancient tombs in the Park. The top of the Maruhakayama Burial Mound, the biggest circular burial mound in Japan, commanded a panoramic view of the whole kofun and the streetscape of Gyoda. The park was also a well-known hanami spot in spring.

The Inariyama Burial Mound, a keyhole-shaped mound, was built in the late 5th century. It is said that some sacrificial articles not subjected to robbing were unearthed from its upper part.

Saitama Kofun Park
Saitama Kofun Park

Some believe that Sakitama is the origin of Saitama Prefecture's name.

Basic information on Saitama Kofun Park

OPEN
Address
Oazasama, Watariyanagi, Higami, Tsutsumine and Saitama in Gyoda, Saitama Prefecture[MAP]
Telephone
048-559-1111 (Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds)
Opening hours
Always
Admission
Free
Access
① Get off at Fukiage Station on JR East’s Takasaki Line.
Take an Asahi bus, get off at the "Sangyo Doro" stop and walk for 15 minutes.
② Get off at Gyoda Station on JR East’s Takasaki Line. Take a circular tour bus and get off at the “Saitama Kofun Park Front” stop.
③ Get off at Gyodashi Station on the Chichibu Main Line. Take a circular tour bus and get off at the “Saitama Kofun Park Front” stop.
WEB
Official website

Oshi Castle

Then I took a bus to visit Oshi Castle, one of the seven famous strongholds of the Kanto region.

※ The Japanese pronunciation of Oshi Castle is Oshi-jo.

Oshi Castle
Oshi Castle

Oshi Castle, located in Gyoda, Saitama Prefecture, was the center of the Oshi Domain during the Edo period. The site has been designated as a historic heritage by Saitama Prefecture.

It is said that during the Sengoku period, Oshi Castle was considered impregnable during the wars with the Uesugi clan and the Hojo clan, and held out against the flood attack organized by Ishida Mitsunari as well, thus Oshi Castle won great fame among the seven major strongholds in the Kanto region.
It is not only a historic castle and a sacred site for castle devotees, but also a picturesque hanami spot when cherries are in bloom.

Basic information on Oshi Castle

OPEN
Address
17-23, Honmaru, Gyoda, Saitama Prefecture[MAP]
Telephone
048-553-4951
Access
① Get off at Fukiage Station on JR East’s Takasaki Line.
Take an Asahi bus and get off at the “Oshi Castle” stop.
② Get off at Gyoda Station on JR East’s Takasaki Line. Take a circular tour bus and get off at the “Oshi Castle and Local History Museum Front” stop.
③ Get off at Gyodashi Station on the Chichibu Main Line and walk for 15 minutes.
Opening hours
9:00-16:30 (last entry: 16:00)
Admission
Adults: 200 yen; high school students, 100 yen; middle school or elementary school students: 50 yen
Closed
The 4th Friday of each month

Departing from Ueno in the early morning, I had returned to Ueno at dusk.
I can complete a round trip to Saitama Prefecture’s Gyoda in one day for a visit to ancient lotuses and historic sites, and this tour is highly recommended!