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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.**
Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival 2021
March 22, 2021 @ 00:00 – May 9, 2021 @ 23:59
The Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most popular in the whole of Saitama. It is also one of the longest, stretching from the end of March to the end of April, even early May some years. There are a total of 3000 cherry blossom trees in different locations throughout Nagatoro with two key areas of sakura lined tunnels.
Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival 2021
The Nagatoro Cherry blossom festival was cancelled in 2020 due to the State of Emergency. It was expected that they wouldn’t have a “festival” per se, in 2021. However, the official site has information up for their 2021 sakura festival. They maybe the only place in all of Saitama with a cherry blossom festival in 2021! However, elements of the “usual” festival will not be on. But they will light up the sakura in some locations.
They have set the dates as from Monday March 22nd to May 9th Sunday.
The below pamphlet from 2019 shows where the cherry blossom and the wisteria spots are in Nagatoro. The wisteria festival was cancelled in 2020. However, there is currently no news as to whether there will be a wisteria festival in 2021. But they actually cancelled the Nagatoro Wisteria festival due to damage in the area from typhoon Hagibis in 2019. Not from the Coronavirus. So in that regard, it maybe able to go ahead.
I have separated the blossoms into three groups by the rough time they bloom.
END OF MARCH CHERRY BLOSSOMS
First up is the cherry blossoms that bloom at the end of March such as the weeping cherry of Hozen Temple;
Next, Iwada. The stand alone sakura tree Iwada sakura also blooms end of March and early April.
The Iwada tree is lit up at night – all things being equal – from March 22nd to April 4th. Light up is from dusk to 9 pm.
EARLY APRIL CHERRY BLOSSOMS
The second group which bloom from early April includes the tunnel of cherry blossom trees on Kita sakura (Kitazakura) street. The cherry blossoms in this area are particularly well renowned. You can drive through them or walk under them. The area is very busy during the season. They typically bloom early April;
The Kita Sakura street trees light up schedule is for dusk to 9 pm from March 27th to April 11th.
MID TO LATE APRIL CHERRY BLOSSOMS
Third and last is the cherry blossoms at the foot of Mt Hodo. This area is known as the “Sakura Tree Lined Pathway”. the cherry blossoms here typically bloom from mid to late April.
The cherry blossom period for 2021 for Mt Hodo is from April 17th to 29th. Normally you have to pay to enter this area. (It is the only place that charges). However, in 2021 they seem to have waived the fee. They are not having light up again this year. They stopped the night illumination of the trees at Mt Hodo in 2019, nothing to do with Coronavirus.
There is an even more detailed breakdown of the locations (in English) here.
The cherry blossoms in Nagatoro are over a large geographic area. However, they came up with a fun way to get around the cherry blossom locations. You can hire a “mobitoro” for 1500 yen for one hour during the cherry blossom season:
The area also has a fun rope way ride that you can use to get from the base rope way station to the top station which is just 50 metres short of the mountain’s summit:
Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival Access
Nagatoro is accessible on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line or by using the Chichibu Railway. There are a couple of stations where you can alight, but probably the most central is Nagatoro station. Nagatoro Station is on the Chichibu Tetsudo and Steam Locomotive Paleo Express lines. It is about 2 hours from central Tokyo.
The main connecting stations to get the Chichibu Tetsudo line are Hanyu station on the Tobu Isesaki Line, Kumagaya Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen / JR Takasaki lines, Yorii station on the Tobu Tojo / JR Hachiko lines and Ohanabatake station on the Seibu Chichibu line.
The steam locomotive operates on weekends once a day. They often add extra days during spring break which is cherry blossom season. You can see the 2021 schedule and information here:
If you are looking for somewhere to stay the Nagatoro Autocamp is near the Kitazakura Street and has different accommodation choices.
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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.