Hannomori kawazuzakura Fukaya Northern Saitama

Although I’ve never seen them in their prime, Hannomori Park is my absolute favorite place for Kawazuzakura in Saitama Prefecture! But it also has Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms too. I have wanted to introduce them on the blog for a long time now. But I just didn’t have the right photos to do this off the beaten path early blooming sakura spot justice. Unfortunately this year, I once again visited both too early and too late. Thankfully, the area is still very quaint even with partial blossoms. Moreover, at least this time I finally got a few photos that (hopefully) hint at the charm of this off the beaten path gem in Fukaya City.

Kawazakura on a hill

Of all the kawazuzakura places I have visited in Saitama, I think its fair to say that Washinomiya’s (Kuki City) are the best. They are one of the largest displays, the bloom annually and hold their bloom, and you can get a mixture of photographs. For example, kawazu cherries with a bridge or a river, a water pipe or a train track, daffodils or rapeseed etc. However, although not very built up, it is a suburban area. Furthermore, there’s only a small area where you can actually walk under the trees. Moreover, the river is a small narrow river, more like a canal through a bustling town.

Kawazuzakura on a hill in Fukaya Han no mori park

However, for me personally, the bucolic setting of Hannomori (Fukaya City) is more appealing. A wide wild river on one side, and vegetable fields on the other. Moreover, I just love the view of dozens of kawazuzakura perched on a hill. The river is Shido river, right where it meets the Toji River. There are more kawazakura along the riverbed, well its more an embankment really. In addition its high and meters from the actual river, but if you cross the river you can get a wide shot with both the kawazu and river.

Kawazuzakura season in Hannomori, Fukaya City

Han no mori kawazu cherry blossoms
March 15th 2022

In an average year the kawazu start to bloom around mid February and last until mid March in a good year. However, this year they have only just started to bloom in the first week of March. I first visited on March 4th and it was way too early. They were only at about 20%. The following week, on the 11th they were only at about 70%. But sometime between then and yesterday, March 15th they went not only to full bloom, but started turning to green leaves too.

kawazuzakura along the shido river at Hannomori Park Fukaya
Along the Shido River the kawazuzakura are finishing up already (March 15th). Can you make out the shinkansen tracks in the distance!

However, I finally got somewhat decent photos on the 15th. From a distance, they look good and the ones on the top of the hill were still in full bloom. But unfortunately the ones along the river are finished. They are the ones I have been waiting to photograph – I have a shot in mind – and I have yet to see them in good condition. Thankfully, the park has a Facebook page, where you can see photos of what they do look like in their prime.

Hannomori Park

Canola flower with kawazuzakura in the background Hannomori Park in Fukaya, Northern Saitama

Hannomori is almost entirely surrounded by nature. However, you can actually see and hear the shinkansen from the East of the park. Hannomori Park is made up of three small hills. Two hills have kawazu cherry blossoms on them. The other has exercise equipment and somei yoshino cherry blossoms on it. There is a walking course in the park and its just 585 meters long. The park really is quite small, but you can walk along the river embankment too. In addition, there are also stepping stones so you can cross to the other side.

stepping stones over the Shido River in Hannomori Park Fukaya

The main “purpose” of the park seems to be exercise. Other than that, the only thing the park really has going for it is its flowers. Such as the beautiful early blooming cherries as well as Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms in spring and spider lilies in Autumn. There are also several wild flowers that grow under the kawazu. The river and shinkansen view is probably a draw for some too. If you lived in the area it would be a nice place to walk, particularly when the kawazu bloom.

early blooming pink cherry blossoms at Hannomori or Han no Mori Park in Fukaya Saitama Prefecture

The kanji 榛 can also be read “hashibami” which means hazel, specifically Asian Hazel (as in the tree) , in English. The “no” の denotes possession and “mori” 森 means woods or forest. The forest of Asian Hazel trees. An interesting name choice for a park made up of Kawazu and Somei Yoshino cherry blossom trees! Maybe I’m missing the connection? Please do share if you know.

Hannomori Information

Hannomori (Han no Mori) is written on Google as Hashibaminomori in English.

Address: 571-1 Ushirohanzawa, Fukaya, Saitama 369-0222

Phone: none provided

Hours: 24 hours

Cost: free and free parking

Official website

Access

The park is about a ten to fifteen minute drive from the Honjo-Kodama Interchange of the Kan-etsu expressway. Head east. Depending on which route you take, you might pass Marigold Hill. There is nothing in bloom there right now, but next month the shibazakura will start to bloom. I recommend that if you are coming off the expressway at Honjo-kodama you also stop by Honjo Park where there are more cherry blossoms and plum blossoms too.

By public transport, Okabe station on the Takasaki line is probably the closest train station. But its a good 40 minute walk from the station to the park.

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