Cherry Blossoms Shingashi River – Kawagoe is just 31 minutes from Ikebukuro, Tokyo, on the Tobu Tojo line (jump to access from Tokyo). It is a popular tourist town. One of Kawagoe’s most spectacular spots to enjoy “sakura” is out the back of Hikawa shrine, where the cherry blossoms line the Shingashi River. Until recent years it was mainly locals and off-the-beaten-track tourists who enjoyed its splendour, but nowadays the cherry blossom attract thousands of admirers.
Shingashi River, behind Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine in Saitama, just North of Tokyo
Shingashi River, behind Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, Saitama, just North of Tokyo
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. The image above is an official photo from Hikawa Shrine’s Facebook page. And while the cherry blossoms are in full bloom you can also view them at night until 10 pm as they light lanterns along the riverside walkway:
Currently, 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. The annual up-to-date event information is here. However, in both 2020 and 2021 the event was cancelled on account of the Coronavirus. When it is on, it is open to the public without a booking and is free. Tickets will be distributed, subject to availability, from in front of the Kita Kominkan on the far side of the bridge to the Hikawa shrine back entrance. In addition, they are marked on a map I made below the access map.
This year’s event information;
Here are some photos of the sakura I took on March 30th 2016.
And earlier in the week
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:
Information For Cherry Blossoms Shingashi River
Address:2-11-3 Miyashitamachi, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0052
Access from Kawagoe Station
Koedo Kawagoe bus one day pass allows you unlimited travel on the Koedo Kawagoe buses. It costs 300 yen. In addition, the buses have a monitor with sightseeing information. Moreover, 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. Also 104 different shops, offer discount services such as souvenirs, food, and entrance fees to facilities for holders of this day pass. In addition, there are announcements in English and Chinese as well as Japanese so foreigners can feel at ease. More information here:
Cherry Blossoms Shingashi River and the free parking area:
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 also 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.
More on Hikawa Shrine on this blog:
Other points of interest in Kawagoe
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