Famous Saitama sakura – the cherry blossom tree in Ishito Kitamoto is one of Japan’s five designated “great” sakura. It is approximately 800 years old. Although there are not many cherry blossoms directly around the famous tree, people come from all over Japan to visit the revered tree. Because apart from being old, it is the only one of its kind in the entire world (click to find out why!).
The type of cherry blossom that Ishito is, typically blooms early to mid April. Each year they hold a small festival when the sakura is in bloom; or at least they try to. Last year (2017) you might remember the sakura opened early, but they due to a cold spot didn’t progress for a week. In the end full bloom was much later than expected or forecasted. The Ishito cherry blossom festival was one of many that was affected by this and the tree wasn’t in full bloom in time for the festival.
Kitamoto Ishito Kabazakura Cherry blossom Festival stalls
This year the festival is scheduled for April 7th and 8th. The tree will be lit up at night
during the festival.
I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see the tree in full majesty, however, I was not disappointed we made the trip. The tree is a both a living legend and a relic, and you can sense it’s power when you get close up. Despite not being in full bloom there was a constant flow of people coming and going. There is little else to do directly around the tree so you only need to allocate about half an hour to viewing. When we were there, there were only a few stalls, but I think there are more when the festival falls when the tree is in full bloom.
In full bloom courtesy of Kitamoto City’s official website, click on be redirected there.
Map, website and other details in the grey details box at the bottom of the article.
More sakura events can be found in Saitama’s Sakura guide
or on the main events calendar