The Motoara River Cherry Blossom festival, also known as the Fukiage Cherry Blossom Festival, is another of Saitama’s well known locations for celebrating sakura! Especially with locals. The Motoara River in Fukiage may not be in the official top 100 spots in Japan to view cherry blossoms, but it is in the best 500 list! Moreover, it also ranks high in the prefecture’s top cherry blossom spots. They list it as one of Saitama’s 100 most scenic spots. Unfortunately, on March 23rd Konosu City announced that the Fukiage Cherry Blossom Festival is cancelled. But they will still have cherry blossoms and light up!
Motoara River Cherry Blossoms
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.
Konosu Cherry Blossom Festivals in 2023
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 Konosu Cherry Blossom Festival is on for the last week of March and the first week of April. Konosu City hang cherry blossom lanterns from the sakura during the bloom period. Moreover, they light the sakura up at night. At Fukiage Motoara River they have two days of events during the festival period:
Fukiage Cherry Blossom Festival
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 2023, it is the same. The main festival at Fukiage aka Motoara River (Motoarakawa Riverside) was scheduled for Saturday March 25th and Sunday March 26th 2023. However, on March 23rd they announced that the festival is cancelled.
For those two days they have some festival stalls. They also usually have live stage performances, which are planned for 2023. They normally light up the trees at night also, but that has not yet been confirmed for 2023. One of the most popular elements of this festival is the Yakatabune, a boat ride under the sakura (much like the one on Shingashi River in Kawagoe). This element of the sakura matsuri unfortunately has not yet been confirmed for 2023:
Boat ride under the sakura on the Motoarakawa
A Yakatabune is a unique Japanese-style wooden tour boat. Traditionally they were essentially a party boat. You may not be able to have a party on the boat at the Motoara River Cherry Blossom Festival, but you can enjoy the stunning scenery as you cruise down the river. It is not yet known if they will have the sakura boat ride in 2023. They did not have it between 2020 and 2022.
Information Motoarakawa River Cherry Blossom Festival
You can bring pets to this sakura spot. The organizers ask that you refrain from securing a place to picnic, i.e. you can’t put a mat down with no people at it.
Saturday March 25th and Sunday March 26th 2023 cancelled, but they will have light up.
Time: the festival is on from 10 am to 4 pm. Before the pandemic the light up was on until around 9 pm. Even if they have light up in 2023, it may well be for a shorter period, for example until 8 pm, due to the pandemic.
Venue: Motoarakawa Square, 8 Kamatsuka, Konosu, Saitama 369-0112
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.
There is no official parking for this event. They request that you come by public transport.
Another place you can enjoy a boat ride under cherry blossoms is in Kawagoe:
this year the cherry blossoms might just herald that we are finally getting out of the pandemic. we can only hope!
Wouldn’t that be amazing. Fingers crossed!