Cherry blossoms along the Koma River at the Izumicho Sakura Embankment in Sakado City, Saitama.
Koma River Cherry Blossoms Sakado
There are several places you can see cherry blossoms along the Koma River in Saitama Prefecture. But perhaps the best known are those at the Izumicho Sakura embankment beside Sakura Junior High School in Sakado City. They are mature somei yoshino cherry blossoms. There are a handful of other varieties too, including a few weeping cherries.
The area isn’t particularly large (around 500 meters), but it is much loved. Furthermore, there are plenty of trees to hanami under. On the Koma River side there is a wide open space of green lawn. In addition, there is a small gazebo, as you can see in the photo above, and a couple of benches here and there. It even has a little see-saw type spring ride for children.
In addition, on the side by Sakura Junior High School, the cherry blossoms create a tunnel. Along this walk is where you will find a couple of other varieties of cherry blossom, including ones that are a darker pink. You can also see the beautiful cherry blossoms of Sakura Junior High from this walkway too, but you cannot access them. Just admire them from a distance!
What I love about this sakura location is that it has a dedicated parking area for cherry blossom viewers. Moreover, it is free. A lot of the sakura on embankments have no official parking lots. And its not just embankments; Sakado has a particularly stunning somei yoshino cherry blossom tunnel view, but there is no parking area.
After the sakura have turned to fresh green leaves, Sakado City host a bamboo lantern festival at the embankment. It is normally held on the last Sunday of April between 11 am and 8 pm. Hundreds of bamboo lanterns line the embankment for the festival. The exact number is not disclosed on the Sakado City website.
The Sakado Bamboo lantern festival is still a relatively unknown off-the-beaten-track festival. Although, it has been around for a few years already – it celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2019. In 2018, there were “only” about 3,000 people which sounds like a lot, but it is only just 3% of the total population of Sakado. However, it hasn’t been on since the pandemic began. When the festival does go ahead there are live performances and food / festival stalls throughout the duration of the festival.
There has been no official notification of cancellation for 2022 yet. Here is the official notification of cancellation in 2021.
The embankment has public free toilets in two areas.
Season: the cherry blossoms generally bloom late March to early April. The bamboo lantern festival is usually on the last Saturday of April.
Address: (of the parking lot which is right beside the sakura embankment) 〒350-0231 Saitama, Sakado, Izumicho, 3 Chome−２４−13
Hours: the cherry blossoms are accessible 24 hours, but the parking lot closes at 5 pm in March and at 6 pm in April. It opens from 8.30 am all year.
Cost: free and free parking.
Access Izumicho Sakura Embankment
Izumicho Sakura Embankment is a 15 minute walk from the West exit of the Kita Sakado station on the Tobu Tojo Line. You can also the “Sakacchi Wagon Sakado” line of the city’s loop bus to Sakura primary school and walk five minutes to the embankment area.
By car it is close to the Sakado Nishi Smart Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway. To use this interchange, like with all “Smart” Interchanges, you must have an ETC card. You can not pay with cash or credit card at this interchange. The map below is to the free parking area, which is right beside the embankment.