Temporary Cover photo for Shingashi River
Hikawa shrine shingashi river cherry blossoms
River of pink cherry blossom petals on the Shingashi River from the official Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine Facebook page around 2015.

One of the reasons it is such a popular cherry blossom viewing spot is because you can get a photo of a paddle boat being steered down the river under the blossoms, by a man in a festival happi coat and a traditional sugegasa hat. Moreover, if you time it right you get to see a stunning river of pink petals, as per the above photo. There are some more pictures of the pink river near the bottom of the post. In addition, you can even see the cherry blossoms at night as they are lit up. The image above is from Hikawa Shrine’s Facebook page, circa 2015. 

Cherry Blossoms Shingashi River

  • Shingashi River Sakura at the back of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
    • History
    • The latest news
    • Current condition of the cherry blossoms
  • Boat ride
  • River of pink
  • Night Light up
  • Information and access

Shingashi River Sakura

9 other places for cherry blossoms in Kawagoe.


However, it was actually the then owner of Kameya Eisen, a shop established in 1783 and that still exists today, who planted the sakura in 1957. He planted 300 seeds in commemoration of the war dead (of which about 100 still exist today), including two of his own sons who never made it back from World War II. He did plant the sakura near the shrine intentionally though, as Kawagoe Hikawa shrine is the guardian shrine of Kawagoe. And he named the cherry blossoms “Homarezakura”. In Japanese, 誉桜 – homare means honorable, so “honorable cherry blossoms”.

The latest news

Full bloom

⑥ April 4th 2024 – on average the cherry blossoms are at more than 70%, which is considered full bloom. Photos above were taken tonight. It was very busy there tonight. I was so used to having these to myself at night the last four years, I got quite a surprise! I have not seen the boat personally yet this year. But my last visit and a drive by earlier in the week it was cloudy / rainy. I have seen the boat on cloudy and rainy days in the past, but when the blossoms were in full bloom.


Previous updates

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Boat ride

The boat ride on the Shingashi River under the cherry blossoms is one event during the larger Kawagoe Spring Festival. Normally, the Cherry Blossoms Shingashi River boat ride isn’t accessible to the general public, but each year on one day it is open to the public. However, in both 2020 and 2021 the event was cancelled on account of the Coronavirus. BUT in 2021 the boat did go up and down the river, sans passengers, during the peak period. Thus, you could get a photo of it. In 2022, the event was limited to Kawagoe residents only. In 2023, there were conditions again, but thankfully it was not restricted to Kawagoe-jin only. The same in 2024.


In 2024, the date that the general public (who have a ticket) can ride the boat is Saturday March 23rd. Please note that all the tickets have been sold for this event. But you can still enjoy the sight of a man in a festival happi coat and a traditional sugegasa hat driving the boat down the river. March 23rd is the one and only day that the general public can ride the Cherry Blossom Boat, but the boats go up and down the river every fine day. A lot has changed with this event since before the pandemic. For one, you didn’t need to buy a ticket in advance before the pandemic. The event was free and tickets were distributed on the morning of the event. Now, you have to pay 800 1000 yen and you have to buy a ticket well in advance. You can get all the details for the 2024 event information in the exclusive boat ride event post:

You might also like the free Sakura Boat Ride on the Motoara River in Konosu and / or the free Sakura Boat Ride on the Ando River in Kawajima Town (which is beside Kawagoe).

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River of pink

After many years of trying to time it right, I finally got to see the river completely decorated in pink petals with my own eyes on April 10th 2017. Regrettably I am not a photographer. Moreover, I didn’t have my Canon camera at the time so I couldn’t do it justice at all. However, this will give you an idea:

Night light up

Information For Cherry Blossoms Shingashi River

The cherry blossoms don’t ‘belong’ to Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, but they are often referred to as the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine cherry blossoms. Because the sakura and the Shingashi river are located behind the shrine. In 2022 for the centennial celebrations of the city, Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine displayed pinwheels from early March until at least the end of the sakura season. But please note, contrary to what you might see on Instagram, the pinwheels normally go up for the month of June only.

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

Address: 2-11-3 Miyashitamachi, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0052. Official website


Cherry blossoms and parking mapped. (However, please note since 2021 the parking is no longer free):

Scroll below the map for directions

By car

The cherry blossoms are about 21 kilometers 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. It is about a 20 minute drive from both the Kawagoe Interchange of the Kan-etsu expressway AND the Kawajima Interchange of the Ken-o expressway to the car park.

By Public Transport

Access from Kawagoe Station

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is off route 254 close to where it merges with route 16. Please note there is no longer a parking lot at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. The old dai ni car park still exists, but it is now run by a separate entity and is charged. It costs 100 yen for half an hour.

By public transport

Kawagoe station is only 29 minutes from Ikebukuro on the Tobu Tojo Line. From Shinjuku it takes about 45 minutes to Kawagoe station on the Seibu Shinjuku line. Up to date routes and fares are available on hyperdia.com (I have no affiliation to this site). You can walk from Hon-kawagoe or Kawagoe stations along a tourist route, it takes about 25 to 35 minutes. You can also get a tourist bus and alight at the shrine’s bus stop.

More on Hikawa Shrine on this blog:

Other points of interest in Kawagoe

The below is just a small sample, use the Kawagoe tag to find even more posts about Kawagoe!

Editor’s note: the original date of this post was lost due to frequent updates! But it was republished on March 31st 2016 with the latest information for that year. Between 2016 and 2023 I updated it annually, but never republished. I opted to republish in on March 20th 2023, so the information would be visible to new followers and older subscribers who haven’t gotten a notification for this post in 7 years!


    1. Thank you so much for commenting. It was really stunning. Next year I hope to get a photo by night. 🙂

  1. That’s so funny. We were just there! We made a special wish at Hikawa. <3

    1. Author

      Hi! Thank you so much for commenting… your comment was hidden in my spam box, so I only saw it now, sorry about that. Hikawa is a good place to make wishes; everyone I ever made there came true. 🙂 Thanks for reading. <3

    1. Author

      Thank you so much. This is the one and only sakura location I’ve gone to every singl year since I discovered it – its become a tradition!

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