5 million red spider lilies in Saitama

Red spider lilies were at Kinchakuda Manjushage Park. Have you heard of that place? I didn’t think so. It’s far from Tokyo. I went there in late September 2022, and it was an adventure. But, the flower photography made up for the hardships of getting there.

When I talk about hardships, I’m exaggerating of course. Well, it was a two-hour trip! I haven’t traveled so far in recent memory. And I got to travel on a train line I’d never used before. That is something I always enjoy.

Do you remember me photographing Nogawa Park’s red spider lilies a few articles ago? I was so impressed that I wanted to photograph them again. The internet recommended Kinchakuda Manjushage Park in Saitama. It claimed there were five million plants. That was an incredible number.

Well, let me tell you about that journey. My train trip started innocently, but the closer I got to my destination, the worse it got! Why? I went on a Sunday, and it seemed like every man, woman, and child in Tokyo joined me. So many people were on the Seibu Chichibu Line. It was standing-room only.

Finally, we arrived at Koma Station. It was small. Actually, it didn’t even have toilets inside. You had to go out the gates to find them. That is how tiny it was. And the line of people to use them? That extended back about fifty meters. I guess they get used most during the red spider lily festival!

We then had a fifteen-minute walk to Kinchakuda Manjushage Park. The route twisted and turned. But, luckily I didn’t have to use my phone’s map app. I just followed the crowd. The sea of people went as far as I could see, forwards and behind.

After paying the entrance fee at the gate, I joined the crowd inside. The paths had so many people on them. When I took photos, I had to wait and wait. I took photographs when the number of people in each frame was minimal.

And the claim for five million spider lilies? It was probably right on! The floors of the forest were red. The lilies covered them like a blanket in many areas.

In the end, it was a good day of flower photography. But, it wasn’t great. The crowd was far too big for that. I couldn’t find a rhythm. But I will put it down as a learning experience, so I didn’t leave disappointed. I got some reasonable photos.

Lessons learned from red spider lilies at Kinchakuda Manjushage Park

  • Many plants close to the walkway were crushed due to the crowds. Some good ones were there, but most of the best ones were in the middle. You needed a long zoom to reach those. 
  • The park has enormous areas of light and shadow. A flash can be handy but work with available light if you don’t have one.
  • On Sunday, the crowd was huge. Some people had pets (no joke, they are allowed). And there were photographers with their models. Avoid going on weekends and public holidays!
  • You must be creative if you don’t want people in your photos.
  • Koma Station is local. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant there if you don’t research before you go. The 7-eleven convenience store is easier to find. It’s near the park.

Wrapping up

The red spider lilies at Kinchakuda Manjushage Park were good. Even though it can be extremely crowded, I recommend it. There are so many of the plants, it is incredible. Some of them get crushed, but overall the fields were superb. If possible, go on a weekday. There should be fewer people then.

And yes, the park is very far from central Tokyo. But for flower photographers, they are worth it. I must admit my technique at photographing red spider lilies isn’t great. If I can find more, I’ll go again this year. And if I don’t, there will be 2023. Anyway, I will improve one day!

September 25, 2022

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