Motoara River Cherry Blossom Festival

The Fukiage Motoara River Cherry Blossom festival, also known as the Fukiage Cherry Blossom Festival, is another of Saitama’s well known ‘sakura matsuri’ spots! Initially with locals, but it started drawing crowds from further afield after going viral on social media. Moreover, it was added to the official list of the best 500 places for cherry blossoms in Japan. In addition, it also ranks high in the prefecture’s top cherry blossom spots. They list it as one of Saitama’s 100 most scenic spots. The festival was actually scheduled last year, but they ended up having to cancel it. So this year, 2024, will be the first time in five years the festival will be on (all things equal).

Motoara River Cherry Blossoms

Fukiage Motoara River Cherry blossoms 2024

The Motoara river in Fukiage (Konosu) is lined with cherry blossoms mainly of the somei yoshino variety. They stretch for approximately 2.5 kilometers. There are about 700 cherry blossom trees in total of which about 500 are in the festival area. They typically bloom early April, but for the last three years they have started to bloom in March. They put the pink sakura lanterns on the trees and light them up nightly from mid March until early April. In addition there is a two day festival during the period of the bloom:

Konosu Cherry Blossom Festival Fukiage Site, 2024

The Fukiage Cherry Blossoms are one of three sites that comprise the larger “Konosu Cherry Blossom Festival”. The other two sites are Konosu Park and Akagi Park. The larger “Konosu Cherry Blossom Festival” is on for the last week of March and the first week of April, but the Fukiage site festival is only on for two days:

Fukiage Cherry Blossom Festival

Motoara River Fukiage Cherry blossoms in Konosu lit up at night.
Cherry blossoms lit up at night

For many years the Fukiage Cherry blossom festival was on the first weekend of April. However, since 2020 the cherry blossoms have bloomed early so the festival was set for the last weekend of March. In 2024 it is on even earlier, probably the earliest its ever been on, on Saturday March 23rd and Sunday March 24th.

For those two days they have some festival stalls. They also usually have live stage performances, which are planned for 2023. Before the pandemic, one of the most popular elements of this festival was the Yakatabune, a boat ride under the sakura. However, unfortunately for the fifth year in a row they are currently not planning that boat ride in 2024. Shingashi River in Kawagoe will have theirs and there is also a sakura boat ride in Shiki city.

Boat ride under the sakura on the Motoarakawa – not in 2024

Leaving this here for future reference, but unfortunately this special event is not planned for 2024. A Yakatabune is a unique Japanese-style wooden tour boat. Traditionally they were essentially a party boat. Before the pandemic, you could enjoy the stunning scenery of arches of cherry blossoms as you cruise down the river.

Fukiage Motoara River Cherry blossoms in Konosu for the fukiage cherry blossom festival

Information

Event: Konosu Cherry Blossom Festival Fukiage Venue 鴻巣さくら祭り吹上会場

Date: Saturday March 23rd and Sunday March 24th 2024

Time: the festival is on from 10 am to 4 pm. Before the pandemic the light up was on until around 9 pm, but it is only on until 8 pm in 2024.

Cost: there is no admission fee

Venue: Motoara River Cherry Blossom Avenue, Motoarakawa Square, 8 Kamatsuka, Konosu, Saitama 369-0112. View on Google Maps.

Access

One of the appeals of this cherry blossom spot is its easy access by public transport. It is just a five to ten minute walk from the North exit of JR Takasaki Line’s Fukiage station. However, on the flip side, there is no parking. They request that you come by public transport or use a coin parking lot in the area. They kindly request that you do not park in the parking lot of shops or private businesses.

Official website

Another place you can enjoy a boat ride under cherry blossoms is in Kawagoe:

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2 Comments

  1. this year the cherry blossoms might just herald that we are finally getting out of the pandemic. we can only hope!

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