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 splendor, but nowadays the cherry blossom attract thousands of admirers.
Update March 25th 2021: the cherry blossoms are pretty much in full bloom. Furthermore the boat is on the river. You can’t ride it, but it is going up and down the river so you can get a photo of it. Moreover, the night light up is actually going ahead and has started already.
Update March 19th 2021: the cherry blossoms on the Shingashi River are now “open”. Photos here. More than 50% of the trees have some blooms on them. A few of the trees have about 40% blooms on them. They may pop over the weekend. By Monday the 22nd – all things being equal – they should be nearing full bloom.
Update March 15th 2021: the trees now have buds on them.
Cherry Blossoms Shingashi River
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. Pictures of that near the bottom of the post. 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. BUT in 2021 the boat is going up and down the river during the peak period so you can get a photo of it. 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 when they were only at about 40%:
And on various dates over the years! –
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
Cherry blossoms and free parking mapped:
Scroll below the map for directions
Its 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.
By Public Transport
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:
Getting to Kawagoe from Tokyo and Omiya
- It takes just 31 minutes from Ikebukuro on a express train on the Tobu Tojo Line. 470 yen
- However, from Seibu Shinjuku it takes 44 minutes 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.
Shingashi River, behind Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine in Saitama, just North of Tokyo
Shingashi River, behind Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, Saitama, just North of Tokyo
More on Hikawa Shrine on this blog:
- Early bloomers on the Shingashi River and a randoseru blessing!
- Wind chimes (Furin) at Hikawa Shrine
- Autumn Leaves at Hikawa Shrine
Other points of interest in Kawagoe
The below is just a small sample, use the Kawagoe tag to find even more posts about Kawagoe!