Cherry blossom viewing in Saitama in 2020. At the time of writing this post on March 18th 2020 cherry blossoms around the prefecture have started to open. Some are more advanced the others, some are in full bloom and most of the early blooming Kawazuzakura are finished.
The Government has extended the period of closures in Japan due to Covid-19. They had initially requested that public venues and events be closed / cancelled until March 15th. However, they have now requested that places that draw large crowds remain closed for another ten days.
Earlier in the month they also appealed to the public not eat and / or drink while cherry blossom viewing in 2020 due to the risk of the novel Coronavirus spreading. Between that and appeals from the individual municipalities dozens if not hundreds of events in Saitama have been cancelled as far forward as the middle of April.
Cherry Blossom Viewing
However, the parks and cherry blossom locations are still open for cherry blossom viewing. They have just cancelled their festivals. Which means that there will be no food and / or festival stalls at the locations, but you can still enjoy viewing the cherry blossom festival.
Update March 22nd: Some places are reconsidering the cancellation of their cherry blossom events. Also, others who initially said they would not have night light up this year because of the restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak, have reconsidered.
After the Government gave the impression that life can go back to normal at a press conference on March 19th, some places subsequently decided to go ahead with night illumination such as the Shingashi River and Nakain in Kawagoe. Others such as the Saitama Tourism and International Bureau have yet to decide for places like Iwatsuki Castle.
At this moment in time events later in April such as the moss phlox festival in Hijitsuyama Park in Chichibu, are scheduled to go ahead with both their festivals and their flower viewing.
I have yet to find even one cherry blossom festival that is scheduled to go ahead as usual, BUT Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival will be carried out in part. And Minoyama and Iwatsuki Castle Park have yet to definitely decide either way. There maybe somewhere else I am not yet aware of that plan to go ahead as scheduled, so I am reluctant to make the sweeping statement that all of the festivals have been effected.
Also, please note there are two places who refuse to use the word “cancelled” all though for all intents and purposes their festivals are cancelled. Its just the flower viewing that will go ahead. Those places are Omiya Park and Kitain Temple.
Here is the list of fully confirmed cherry blossom locations that will not have festival stalls this year, but where you can still enjoy cherry blossom viewing in 2020. The festivals are listed in order of relative size and / or popularity. Where further information is available in English I have hyperlinked the name of the viewing spot in the table below.
Famous Cherry Blossom Viewing spots
|Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot||Location||Expected |
|Omiya Park Cherry Blossoms||Omiya Ward|
|End of March|
|Gongendo Park Cherry Blossoms||Satte City||End of March|
|Kumagaya Cherry Blossoms||Kumagaya City||End of March|
|Kabazakura||Kitamoto City||End of March|
|Kita Asaba Sakura Tsutsumi||Sakado City||This week|
March 15th – 21st
|Shingashi River Sakura||Kawagoe City||End of March|
(See paragraph below table)
|Motoara River Fukiage||Konosu City||End of March|
|Ranzan Cherry Blossoms||Ranzan Town|
|End of March|
|Inariyama Park||Sayama||Early April|
|Minoyama Cherry Blossoms||Minano|
|Mid to end April|
|Yanasegawa Sakura||Shiki City||End of March|
|Tsurugashima Sakura||Tsurugashima City||End of March|
|100 Caves of Yoshimi||Yoshimi Town|
|End of March|
|Musenyama Sakura Festival||Ina City||End of March|
|Kita Koshigaya Sakura||Koshigaya||Early April|
|Hanyu Cherry Blossoms||Hanyu City||End of March|
|Shiki Sakura Festa||Shiki City||End of March|
|Takao Sakura Park||Kitamoto City||End of March|
|Kitamoto Children’s Park||Kitamoto City||End of March|
|Kumagaya Air Base||Kumagaya City||Early April|
|Maruyama Park||Ageo City||End of March|
|Former Shimozato School||Ogawa Town||Early April|
You will find even more cherry blossom, flower and spring festivals on the Saitama event calendar.
The Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival was initially scheduled for the period from March 21st to April 29th. Today, March 15th, they released a further update on the situation of events in Nagatoro due to Covid-19, in which they stated they plan to hold part of the annual sakura matsuri in 2020.
The festival will now start from April 13th. Anything planned for before that is cancelled. But like above, you can still enjoy viewing the cherry blossoms, there will just be no added special events before April 13th. They have not yet released further details, but have a note on their website to say they are on the way.
There are likely to be further changes since the Government relaxed measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus. Similarly, if the number of cases increase, as is expected in the coming weeks, there could be extensions and further cancellations.