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**During the 2021 State of Emergency and Coronavirus Outbreak, events are subject to change and cancellation at a moment’s notice. Please do always check with the official website for any last minute changes or cancellations.**

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Boat Ride on Shingashi River Hikawa Shrine 2021

April 3, 2021 @ 11:30 18:00

Cherry Blossom Boat Ride, Night light up and river of pink petals at Shingashi River at the back of Hikawa Shrine

February 18th 2021 – it was announced today that the public will not be able to take the boat ride in 2021 on account of the Coronavirus. However, at a later date they decided to still have the boat go up and down the river for photos. The Kawagoe Spring Festival has also been cancelled. However, the night light up of the blooms on Shingashi River is going ahead. For more general information.

2020 Information

The tentative date for the Cherry Blossom Boat Ride down the Shingashi River at the back of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine has been set for Saturday April 4th 2020. News that they are cancelling this event due to the Coronavirus outbreak came through on February 28th 2020. 

Anyone who follows this event annually knows that the date often changes due to the condition of the sakura (cherry blossom) and / or the weather. And in 2017, the event was even cancelled last minute due to snow. Please check in again nearer the date for any changes.

🌸Update… February 18th 2021 it has been officially announced that there will be no boat ride on the Shingashi river in 2021 on account of the coronavirus🌸

boat ride on the Shingashi river

Until recent years it was mainly locals and off-the-beaten-track tourists who enjoyed this magnificent event, but nowadays the boat ride down Shingashi river in Kawagoe attracts hundreds, if not thousands from near and far. Due to this reason, you need to queue to get one of the golden tickets that will secure you passage on a short, but FREE boat ride under the blossoms.

boat ride on the shingashi river kawagoe

Before and after the event, 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, but it is only once a year that the Cherry Blossom Boat Ride is open to the general public and free.

Night light up

Shingashi sakura light up
Sakura lit up at night on Shingashi River April 2018

You can also enjoy the cherry blossoms lit up at night (until 10 pm) while the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. As the cherry blossom petals start to fall, the Shingashi river becomes even more beautiful as it turns pink.

More about the cherry blossoms at the back of Hikawa Shrine on this blog.

Cherry Blossom boat ride tickets

The full details for 2021 have not yet been released, but it is expected that it will be the same as previous years: the tickets will be distributed, subject to availability,  in front of the Kita Kominkan on the far side of the bridge to the Hikawa shrine back entrance. (MyMap below with area marked in pink).

The tickets are usually distributed to the first 700 customers in line from 9 am on the morning of the ride.  A maximum of 2 tickets will be given to a person in line. Children too small for a life vest are not allowed ride (generally speaking under 6 years old). It is forbidden to queue from the previous night. The place of distribution, Kita Kominkan, is marked on a Google My Map below.

Some photos of Shingashi River in 2016.

Cherry Blossom Boat Ride Information

At Hikawa Shrine

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

Access from Kawagoe Station

Koedo Kawagoe Loop Bus

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:

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 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:

**PLEASE NOTE, as with all events, changes may occur due to weather or blossom conditions. Please do check the official website, provided in the grey details box at the bottom of the post, for updates before your departure.**

Another place you can take a boat under cherry blossoms is Fukiage in Konosu:

Motoara River Cherry Blossom Season



Hikawa Shrine

2 Chome-11-3 Miyashitamachi, 宮下町
Kawagoe-shi,, Saitama-ken 350-0052 Japan
+ Google Map
View Venue Website


April 3
11:30 – 18:00
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Koedo Kawagoe Kankou
View Organizer Website


  1. Thanks for all of the great information! Do you know if there are set hours to see just the man on the boat (not including April 1st)?

    1. Author

      Hi Celia, unfortunately I can’t say for sure, but from my own experience there is usually a boat during daylight hours on the days the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. I was down there tonight and the petals are beginning to fall, so I would guess the blooms will be gone by Monday or Tuesday. Tomorrow is the opening day / ceremony of the Koedo Kawagoe Spring festival. The celebrations are around the main tourist strip. But I’m fairly confident there will be a boat on the river tomorrow in conjunction with the opening of this year’s festival. I hope you get a chance to see it. 🙂

  2. i’m a bit confused. does the boat ride run on only one day or does it also run for other days? if it runs for multiple days, is the date given (e.g. 31st march this year) the first day the boat rides start? or will there also be boat rides before and after 31st march? thank you!

    1. Author

      The boat does go up and down the river on other days, but on those days it is *generally* only for people with an invite. I do know one person who got “invited” while walking along the river one weekday! But it has never happened to me and I’m down there a lot! There is only the one day that it is open to the public for anyone (with a ticket) to ride – this year March 31st. Hope that helps

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Events by their very nature are tentative. Please do check with the official sources for any last minute changes due to weather or other mitigating factors, particularly with the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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