Satte Cherry Blossom Festival at Gongendo Park

Information for the 91st annual Satte cherry blossom festival at the beautiful Gongendo Park. This post also contains information for the early blooming Kawazuzakura variety, which should start to bloom around the end of February. You will find that information below the festival information. You can find general information for the park and information for other seasonal blooms here. Updated on April 6th with news of the extension of the festival period.

Gongendo Cherry Blossoms

tunnel of cherry blossoms Gongendo park where the Satte Cherry Blossom Festival is held

The stunning scene of mature cherry blossoms contrasted with canola flowers at Satte Gongendo Park, is synonymous with spring in Saitama. And apart from offering the stunning contrast of sakura x nanohana (cherry blossoms x canoloa flowers), you can also see a tunnel of cherry blossoms here.

There are about 1000 yoshino cherry blossoms at Satte Gongendo Park (#4 park) that stretch a kilometer along the riverbank. Incredibly, these cherry blossoms were planted in 1920. At that time, 3000 were planted and they stretched for six kilometers. It made national news and so began their fame. They bloomed for the first time in 1922. By the following year, the word had spread and since 1923 this cherry blossom spot has enjoyed great acclaim. In recent years, they also added Kawazuzakura, so you can see cherry blossoms in this park from around the end of February to early April on average.

Satte Cherry Blossom Festival

gongendo cherry blossoms during the cherry blossom festival

Although not in the top 100 sakura locations like Omiya, Nagatoro or Kumagaya, Satte cherry blossoms are very highly regarded. And the Satte Cherry Blossom Festival in Gongendo park is one of the most popular within Saitama Prefecture. Moreover, the Satte Cherry blossom festival has a long history. 2020 should have been the 90th anniversary of the Satte Cherry Blossom Festival. Moreover, they’ve been blooming for more than 100 years! The festival was initially due to finish on the 7th of April, but as the sakura ended up being late to bloom, they’ve extended it to the 14th. The park’s website has not yet been updated to reflect this, but they have added the information to the Satte Tourism website.

Gongendo cherry blossoms

The 1000 (give or take) somei yoshino cherry blossoms typically bloom the last week of March and first week of April. The festival dates have been decided on the expected bloom period, but please note the dates maybe changed closer to the time. It will depend on whether the initial forecasts were accurate or not. Currently, they are planning to have the festival from Wednesday March 20th to Sunday April 7th 14th 2024. During that period the cherry blossoms will also be lit up at night. They usually light them up until 10 pm at night.

Additional events

During the period of the festival pink lanterns line the trees and festival stalls line the pathways. In 2023, there was about a 100 festival stalls. They will also have several other special events, usually on weekends, which will be scheduled nearer the time.


Other blooms at Satte Gongendo Park in spring

Kawazuzakura

Kawazu cherry blossom at Gongendo Park March 2022
Kawazuzakura a type of early blooming cherry blossom that is pink in color

Before the Somei Yoshino cherries bloom, the kawazuzakura – a type of early blooming cherry – bloom from around the end of February. Although, the Somei Yoshino Cherry Blossoms are famous, the Kawazuzakura are not (yet anyway!). They are close to the parking lot of the number four park, which is also where the Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms are. The kawazuzakura are in the “Omoide Hiroba” on the North end of the park. There are approximately 70 trees in total and in one area they form a tunnel.

The Kawazuzakura were planted in commemoration of the park’s volunteers receiving an award for their work in the park from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Amazingly and commendably, the volunteers themselves donated the Kawazu to be planted. They were planted in 2013 making them relatively new to the park.

Rapeseed

One of the reasons this cherry blossom spot is so popular is because you can also see rapeseed aka canola flowers. Approximately 19,000 square meters of rapeseed! The cherry blossoms behind a field of yellow makes a beautiful contrast of color and an incredible scene of natural beauty. In addition, the park also has some early blooming rapeseed that start from as early as January. But the main display is in its prime around the same time as the Somei Yoshino.

Gongendo Park

Gongendo park

The park and much of the flora have existed for many years, but the area was only officially made a park in 2011. The principal objective of the park is to maintain the natural beauty in the area. They have added some facilities too, to make it practical as well as beautiful. For example, there is a cafe near the main car park, right by the sakura. The playground is fairly new and a nice addition for kids. However, it is a good half hour walk from where the cherry blossoms are. However, close to the sakura there is a little goat farm. More information:


Information

Event: the 91st annual Satte Cherry Blossom Festival 第91回幸手桜まつり

Dates: from Wednesday March 20th to Sunday April 7th 14th 2024. They extended the period by a full week as the cherry blossoms were late to start blooming.

Hours: 24 hours, but the car park closes overnight (see access).

Cost: free

Venue: Gongendo Park (Gongendo Tsutusmi), 887-3 Uchigouma, Satte, Saitama 340-0103. View on Google Maps.

Access

By public transport; You can take a bus from Satte Station on the Tobu Nikko line. It is the Asahi Bus bound for Goka Machi Yakuba. Alight at “Gongendo” bus stop. It costs 170 yen one way. The bus stop is on the South end of the park. If you are coming by train, check out Jyuman Goku Satte for some cherry blossom themed Japanese desserts near the station.  They actually use extract from the cherry blossom for their cherry blossom pudding!

By car, the park is about a ten minute drive from the Satte Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. One thing to note is that Google Maps automatically brought me in from the West, along route 371. However, you’re not supposed to turn into the park from here as you are on the “wrong” side of the road. If you actually come onto route 371 from the North, using the Nikko Kaido aka National Route 4, it is safer and legal! Pets are allowed. The car park is normally open from 7 am to 10 pm. Please note that during the official period of the festival, parking is charged.

Official website

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