Saitama Day Trip: Spider Lilies, Vegan Cafe and Moomin Park

Seibu Pass ItineraryDate Visited: September 30, 2017

Fall is my favorite season, and my first fall trip of the year happens to be in the neighboring prefecture of Saitama. For this one-day trip, we made use of the SEIBU Pass, a one-day free ticket which you can use on all SEIBU Lines with the exception of the Tamagawa Line. Foreign visitors as well as non-Japanese residents of Japan can avail of this discounted ticket.

Our trip began at Ikebukuro Station. We booked our tickets through VELTRA, so once we got to the SEIBU Tourist Information Center inside the station, we showed the staff our mobile vouchers and got our tickets in return. After that, it’s off to our first stop: Koma Station.

Kinchakuda Manjushage Park (巾着田曼珠沙華公園)

Google Maps URL
Business Hours: 08:00 – 17:00
Free Entrance

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My friend Chiara being fab.

Higanbana (spider lilies) usually bloom from mid-September to mid-October. They are the main attraction of Kinchakuda Manjushage Park, with the flowers carpeting its grounds in melancholic red. The park is an 11-minute walk from Koma Station, and the walk is as lovely as the destination.

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Higanbana or spider lilies at Kinchakuda Manjushage Park

It was already past peak season when we visited the park, but we were still able to see these famed red beauties. Spider lilies signal the end of summer and carry with them a somewhat sad meaning. Long ago, these flowers were planted around graveyards to protect them from pests and wild animals, and have since been associated with death and separation. In Chinese mythology, it is also said that whenever a couple breaks up, a spider lily grows along the banks of the Mong Chuen, the river of forgetfulness in the underworld. Sad as they may be, these stories add to the flower’s allure.

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A bridge overlooking spider lilies.

Alishan Cafe (阿里山カフェ)

Google Maps URL
Business Hours: 11:30-18:00 (Closed on Tue & Wed)

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Vegan guru Chiara, author of the Tokyo Vegan Guide, standing at the entrance of Alishan Cafe.

Also near Koma Station is the delightful Alishan Cafe, popular for its vegetarian and vegan offerings. I’m not vegan (my love for chicken makes that impossible), but I enjoy vegetables just the same.

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A wooden terrace surrounded by trees.

One of the wonderful things about Alishan is that you can dine at a wooden terrace overlooking the river. Perfect on an autumn afternoon when the weather is just right.

Alishan also has a shop that sells organic goods.

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It looks like Chiara is happy with the selection.

Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park

Google Maps URL
Business Hours: 09:00 – 17:00 (Closed on Mondays)
Free Entrance

Dubbed Moomin Park for short, this charming playground is known for its quirky buildings fashioned after Tove Jannsen’s beloved work Moomin. With lush trees and a calm atmosphere, the place is ideal for some quiet time with friends and family. On weekends, however, the park can get a bit crowded with children.

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Straight from Moominvalley.

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Enjoying komorebi (sunlight filtering through trees)

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Well aren’t you a strange thing?

The SEIBU Pass is one good option to spend a day out of Tokyo. For more ideas on places you can visit with your SEIBU Pass, check out this guide here.

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