Jomine Park (or Jyomine Park) on Mt Jomine, by Lake Kanna and the haunted Shimokubo dam in Kamikawa, Saitama on the border of Fujioka City, Gunma. Famed for its winter cherry blossoms that bloom at the same time as the autumn leaves…
It was a dream come true finally staying in Jomine Park Camping grounds during the winter cherry blossom and autumn leaf season. The camping grounds are located on 1038 meter high Mt Jomine. Sandwiched between Jobu Natural park and the West Chichibu natural park with the Kanna Lake and Shimokubo Dam in the valley below.
The park, camping grounds and mountain are scenic all year round, but due to weather conditions are often inaccessible in winter. I have always wanted to visit in Autumn, because Jyomine Park is one of only a few places in all of Japan that you can see winter cherries and autumn leaves at the same time. Moreover, it is one of the “three major winter cherry blossoms in Japan”.
Winter Cherry Blossoms
Jomine park is one of Japan’s top three winter cherry blossom locations. Along with Sakurayama Park in Fujioka City (Gunma) as well as the four seasons cherry blossoms in Obara in Toyama City (Aichi). Sakurayama Park is only a short drive from Jyomine Park, making the area an ideal location for winter cherry blossom viewing.
October Cherry Blossoms
There are approximately 600 winter cherry blossoms at the park. They are referred to generically as winter cherry blossoms. However, the variety at Jomine Park is actually called Jyugatsuzakura which translates to “October cherry blossoms”. Maybe once upon a time they bloomed mainly in October. But nowadays they bloom mostly in November with a week at the end of October and also the first week in December.
Unlike spring cherry blossoms, October cherry blossoms bloom in spurts cyclically. As such, there are always a few blooms on a tree. However, they don’t have the volume of spring cherry blossoms. They are very picturesque, more ‘pretty’ than their spring counterparts. But they are quite hard to photograph due to the sparsity on the trees. However, in Jomine Park thanks to the background of autumn leaves you can get some stunning shots of sakura and koyo if you time it right.
Staying on the last Saturday of October, we were a little early for the full impact of the autumn leaves. However, there were a few maple leaves that were already red and even more that were orange. But for the most part they were still green. I imagine from next week the scene will be breathtaking. We were lucky to have a beautiful view from the door of our cabin though.
Light up and festival
In a regular, non pandemic, year, they have a winter cherry blossom festival from the end of October to early December. However, in 2020 they only had light up / night illumination element of the festival. (Normally there are food booths, traditional performances and other events during the period). In 2020, the ‘fuyu sakura’ winter cherry blossoms and ‘kouyou‘ autumn leaves were lit up nightly to 8 pm. However, it would seem in 2021 there may not even be light up. The town’s official website announced on September 26th that there will be no festival in 2021. Unlike in 2020, they make no mention to light up. There may not be a festival, but the area is still scenic and a great place for an Autumn camp…
Jomine Park Camping Grounds
Jomine camping grounds has tent sites and cabins. The tent sites are at a lower elevation on the side of the cherry blossoms. The cabins are on the peak of the mountain on the side of the lake. Our cabin was nerve rackingly propped right on the top of a cliff, but ours was the only cabin with a clear view of the beautiful Kanna lake and Shimokubo dam. (There is also a public look out point in the park with a great view of the scenic Kanna lake and Shimokubo dam).
There are three different types of cabins. “A” that fits up to six people is compact with loft bedding and bunk beds for sleeping. “B” are the largest, fitting up to twelve people. It also has loft and bunk beds for sleeping. “C”, which is what we stayed in, is the only one that has a shower attached. It also fits up to six people. All cabins have a lovely decking area. You are actually allowed grill on the decking, which is quite unusual. We opted for safety to grill on a bit of land in front of the car parking space at the cabin.
The cabins are old so creepy crawlies can get in. We saw nothing dangerous and it was quite easy to get the little buggers back outside. But more than the insects my biggest (only) complaint is that the bedding is particularly musty and moldy. They do give you clean sheets to put on both the futon and the duvets. We had brought our own sleeping bags too so we slept in them on top of the clean sheets. On the flip side, the table, sink, fridge, toilet and shower were spotless. Its just a small thing, but worth mentioning for others who like to sleep in a clean bed! Also, not a complaint but something worth mentioning – the lighting in the cabin is really dim so it’d be no harm to have your own lamps with you. The outdoor / decking lights were bright.
We didn’t camp this time, but the sites looked quite nice. There is space for parking by your tent, but the problem is getting the car down the narrow steep road with a sharp turn. It is possible, we did see cars park, but we also saw people opting to park at the nearby car park and carry there stuff down to the site. The sites themselves are on levelled land. There are a couple of sinks for washing up. Toilets are a short walk away, but up a hill.
This time of year is actually considered “off season” and as such the tent sites only cost 2000 yen. Even in top season they are only 3000 yen. However, on top of that you also have to pay 500 yen per adult and 300 yen per child as an entry fee as such. This is only for the campsites, not the cabins.
Facilities / Services
- Playground equipment
- Two shops, one in the ‘rest house’ where you check in. They sell some necessities as well as some light meals such as udon. Ice-cream too!
- 24 hour drink vending machines in (at least) two locations
- Nursing / baby ‘station’ with diaper changing
- You can leave your rubbish in a designated area
- There is a fan in each cabin
- You can borrow a gas heater
- Shower rooms – cost 500 yen per person
- Early check in and late check out is available at 1000 yen extra per hour for cabins and 500 yen for tent sites
- There is a day camp area from 10 am to 5 pm, 500 yen per adult, 300 yen per child over six years old
- Plenty of public toilets, but they are all centered in the same area!
- Look out point for Kanna lake and Shimokubo dam
- Wild boar are often spotted in the area.
- The cabins are fairly sound proof, but at night when you are out on the deck you can hear the “dam savers” song play ALL night on repeat! More on that in a post to come.
2020 / 2021 Season
Usually the season is from March 1st to November 30th. However, on account of the Coronavirus, they are actually extending the season in 2020 / 2021. Due to the popularity this year they will not close on November 30th as planned. Camping / cabin stays are one of the few things we can do in relative safety during the pandemic. And due to this the campsite has been busier than ever this year. In the winter of 2020 – 2021 they will not close like normal and will remain open until November 2021. However, please note that due to ice, snow or other weather conditions, there will be times when they have to close temporarily.
Jomine Park Information
|Address:||1277 Yano, Kamikawa, Kodama District, Saitama 367-0313|
|Season:||Generally the season is from March 1st to November 30th. Please see the paragraph above this table too.|
|Hours:||Reception and shops 10 am to 5 pm |
Check in for guests: 1 pm
Check out: 10 am
|Cost:||The park and parking is free. However, donations are welcome.|
Tent site: from 2000 yen
Cabin: from 12000 yen
Please check with the official site for the most up-to-date charges
Information in English for the annual winter cherry blossom festival.
By car: Due to the location of the park / camping grounds there is only really one main road, route 462, into the area. And it goes through Fujioka City in Gunma. However, in other ways it is convenient. If you are using the Kanetsu expressway, the campsite is only about a 20 minute drive from the Honjo Kodama Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway.
By public transport: there is a train station in Kamikawa “Tansho Station” but there doesn’t seem to be a bus to the park from that station. There is a bus that goes from Honjo station to the bus stop in the park. From Honjo station get the bus bound for Jomine park 「城峯公園方面バス」. It takes about 45 minutes.