Information for the 2023 sakura boat ride on the Shingashi River at the back of Hikawa Shrine. One of the most popular events of the larger Koedo Kawagoe Spring Festival.
|Quick update 3.45 pm March 8th: the tickets for the boat ride sold out in less than two hours! There are no tickets left for the public boat ride day. But remember – you can still view the boat every fine day during the bloom period. Read on for more information.|
This post is exclusively for the boat ride. You can find the most recent updates on the condition of the cherry blossoms, the night light up and the river of pink on the main post about these stunning sakura along the Shingashi River in Kawagoe here.
Cherry Blossom Boat Ride Kawagoe
The scene of a boat beneath the cherry blossoms on Shingashi river in Kawagoe has become one of the most famous spring images in Saitama Prefecture. The boats go up and down the river every fine day during the cherry blossom season. There is no fixed schedule (except for the public event day) but you can generally get a photo of the boat x sakura between around 10 am and 3 pm on a fine day. However, for one day only can the general public ride the boat. But during the period of the cherry blossom season, hundreds, if not thousands, come to enjoy the sight of a man in a festival happi coat and a traditional sugegasa hat driving the ‘hiratafune’ boat down the river.
In 2023, the date has been set for Sunday March 26th. Between 11 am and 3 pm those who have secured a ticket can enjoy a 10 minute ride under the cherry blossoms. But please note it is not unusual for the date to be changed and / or the event to be cancelled last minute. Anyone who follows this event annually knows that the date often changes due to the condition of the sakura and / or the weather. In the past, it has even been cancelled on the morning of the event. For example in 2017, when there was unexpected snow. In 2020 and 2021 it was also cancelled, due to the pandemic. Please check in again nearer the date for any changes.
Post pandemic changes
This will be the first cherry blossom season that Japan is open to foreign tourists since the pandemic began. Before the pandemic this boat ride was hugely popular, for several reasons, not least due to the stunning beauty of the cherry blossoms on Shingashi River. However, unfortunately quite a lot has changed for this event since before the pandemic:
Tickets / Conditions for the Shingashi River Sakura Boat Ride
- First and foremost, this is no longer a free event. Moreover, the price has gone up since last year, from 500 yen to 800 yen per person. Only children two years old or under are free.
- So you no longer have to queue to pick up the tickets, like before the pandemic. But unfortunately only 320 tickets are available and you need to buy them in advance:
- Tickets need to be bought in advance from Family Mart. Tickets go on sale from noon on Wednesday March 8th.
- You can only buy a maximum of two tickets with each purchase.
- There is no longer free parking for this event as there was before the pandemic. Parking now costs 100 yen per half hour.
However, thankfully, unlike last year when only Kawagoe residents could ride the boat, this year the event is open to everyone. (Who can get to a Family Mart on March 8th!)
Some photos from over the years
Cherry Blossom Boat Ride Information
Event: Koedo Kawagoe Spring Boat trip 小江戸川越春の舟遊
Date: Sunday March 26th 2023
Time: between 11 am and 3 pm
Cost: 800 yen per person aged three years old or over. Children two years old or younger go free. Tickets need to be purchased in advance and go on sale March 8th. See “Tickets / Conditions for the Shingashi River Sakura Boat Ride” paragraph above for more information.
Venue: Shingashi River at the back of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, 108 Hikawacho, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0851. View on Google Maps.
From Tobu Tojo Line / JR Kawagoe Line “Kawagoe Station” or Seibu Shinjuku Line “Hon-Kawagoe Station”, take the Tobu Bus West bound for “Shinmeicho Shako” and get off at “Kitacho” and walk 10 minutes. You can also get buses bound for Saitama Medical University, and get off at the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine bus stop.
More on Hikawa Shrine on this blog:
- Visiting the Wind chimes at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
- Tanabata Festival at Hikawa Shrine
- Autumn Leaves at Hikawa Shrine
Another place you can take a boat under cherry blossoms is Fukiage in Konosu:
Editor’s note: the cherry blossom boat ride in Kawagoe event post was temporarily off the blog during the pandemic. I republished it on February 24th 2023. P2014. 1st R 20170317.