Kitain Temple Cherry Blossoms in Kawagoe City, Saitama, Japan. Kitain is a stunning Buddhist temple with pagoda in the tourist city of Kawagoe – a popular day trip destination from Tokyo. It is an ideal location for combining Japanese culture, history and cherry blossom viewing.
Kitain Cherry Blossoms
Kitian has some really gorgeous cherry blossoms. And one of the best “sakura matsuri” cherry blossom festivals annually. Its one of my personal favorites. It is normally held at the end of March to early April each year. In 2020, the festival actually went ahead in part. Unfortunately, in 2021 it will not be held. You can still visit the temple grounds for the cherry blossoms, but hanami / picnicking is not allowed.
The cherry blossom season is actually quite long at Kitain, starting in mid March. They have several different varieties. However, the festival and main cherry blossom viewing time is when the Somei Yoshino bloom. Hence the festival is held from the end of March to early April. This year, 2021, the Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms at Kitain Temple are expected to open on Monday March 22nd.
In a “normal” year when the festival is on, they put blue sheets under the cherry blossom trees for people to picnic on. There is always food available on the grounds of Kitain, but during the cherry blossom season there are also food vans. They also have live performances and other special events.
Our experience at Kitain Sakura festival
We have visited the sakura matsuri in Kitain several times in the past. Generally we buy food there as a treat for the kids. They enjoy eating festival food and shaved ice. It is a shame they will have neither in 2020 (and again 2021) due to Coronavirus. Usually, apart from blue sheets under the trees to sit on, they also have tables and chairs in tent like eating areas made from tarp covers.
When my kids were smaller they also liked playing in the colorful playground at the temple. Its small, but its away from the main area and relatively quiet and a good place for kids to chill out.
But even without a festival, the cherry blossoms at Kitain are stunning. I would have loved to attempt taking some artistic shots, but with 4 kids in tow that was not a possibility. But even for the non photographer like myself, with such mature rich cherry blossoms its easy to get a decent shot of the captivating blooms.
Hours: 9 am to 4 pm, the temple usually opens late for the festival until 9 pm.
Dates: open seven days a week
KITAIN TEMPLE OFFICIAL SITES
In English: https://www.kawagoe.com/kitain/english/
In Japanese: https://www.kawagoe.com/kitain/
Access from Kawagoe Station
All prices from 2015.
Koedo Kawagoe bus one day pass allows you unlimited travel on the Koedo Kawagoe buses. It costs 300 yen. In the bus they have a monitor with sightseeing information. Some tourist places give discounts on souvenirs or entrance tickets to people with a one day pass.
Koedo Meguri (Loop) Bus from Kawagoe station. You can buy a one day pass that allows you unlimited travel on the Meguri Bus. It stops at 16 different locations. 104 different shops, offer discount services such as souvenirs, food, and entrance fees to facilities for holders of this day pass. There are announcements in English and Chinese as well as Japanese so foreigners can feel at ease.
More information here:
Kawagoe Access by train from Tokyo and Omiya
- 31 minutes from Ikebukuro on a express train on the Tobu Tojo Line. 470 yen
- 44 minutes from Seibu Shinjuku on a Red Arrow Limited Express. 420 yen for the express ticket, plus base fare.
- 66 minutes from Shinjuku or 62 minutes from Takadanobaba on Seibu Shinjuku Line. You can buy one round trip ticket for 700 yen for either of those stations.
- 54 minutes from JR Shinjuku on a rapid train of the Saikyo/Kawagoe line. 760 yen.
- 28 minutes on a regular train from Omiya on the Saikyo/Kawagoe Line or 22 minutes on the rapid train.
- The Fukutoshin and Yurakucho subways connect to the Tobu Tojo line at Wako-shi. Some of them go all the way to Kawagoe (and beyond) too.
Access by Car
About 21 kilometres from Nerima to Kawagoe using the Kanetsu Expressway. The toll for the expressway is about 840 yen.
About 40 kilometres from Hinode using the Ken-o highway. The toll is about 1400 yen.
Other seasonal information about Kitain
First written in 2015 and updated annually. Last update, March 21st 2021.