Off the beaten path cherry blossoms and canola flowers along the Koaze River in Kawagoe.
Kawagoe has dozens of cherry blossom spots. Many of them I have already introduced on the blog. But there are many more to share! Moreover, most of the ones I have left to share are completely off the beaten path to tourists, but popular with locals. Like this spot on the outskirts of Kawagoe, along the Koaze River, amid miles of paddy fields.
Koaze River Cherry Blossoms & Canola Flowers
Cherry blossoms and canola flower color the embankments of the Koaze River in the Pikoa Naguwashi Park. The park is built around the Konami Gym, which is a convenient and popular sports center with swimming pool for locals. The gym is relatively new, celebrating 10 years this year, but the cherry blossoms have been around for years. Unfortunately, I don’t know exactly how many – more than 10, but less than 30, judging (probably poorly) from their tree trunks!
The cherry blossoms line the Koaze River for about 400 meters. On the east side canola flower grow wild on the embankment by the sakura, creating a beautiful contrast. On the west side (and all around) there is also canola flowers, but they grow lower down the embankment. There is a reservoir on the North East of the park. The sakura by the reservoir also creates a nice photo. Moreover, there is a short avenue of sakura behind the reservoir that is on the same land as Pikoa Naguwashi Park.
Pikoa Naguwashi Park
The park itself is quite small, with most of it taken up with the Konami gym and parking. If you are local to Kawagoe and looking for somewhere for swimming lessons, Konami is very popular. They also have various different classes, including dance classes, and activities for locals. In the outdoor section, they have a small but nice piece of playground equipment suited to smaller children.
As a local, I can tell you that the parking lot is really busy on a weekday during sakura season. And even out of sakura season. The Konami sports gym is well used! Konami is closed on Wednesdays meaning it is much easier to get a parking spot. Moreover, there are much less people around if you want a quieter hanami.
Mt Fuji View
On a clear day the Koaze cherry blossoms are backdropped by Mt Fuji in the distance. You can frame Mt Fuji with this line of sakura – in theory! I have not been that lucky yet – I see Mt Fuji there all the time in winter, but it has always been hidden by clouds when I visit during cherry blossom season. I have actually waited a couple of years to share this post, because I was trying to get a snap with the cherries and Mt Fuji for the featured photo! Its not to be, for now. If I ever get that coveted shot, I’ll be sure to add it.
Address: 1216 Kujirai, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0815
Hours: the park itself is open 24 hours and in my experience the parking lots are open during the day, even when Konami is closed. Konami is closed on Wednesdays.
Cost: free, free parking.
There is a free shuttle bus for Konami members from Kasumigaseki Station on the Tobu Tojo line to Naguwashi park. It takes about ten minutes. On foot it takes about 30 minutes from Kasumigaseki Station.
By car: It is about a 10 minute drive to the Koaze cherry blossoms from the Sakado Smart Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. Please note for a smart interchange you must have an ETC card. Tsurugashima Interchange is also about a ten to fifteen minute drive away.