kumagaya sakura matsuri cherry blossoms and rapeseed

The Kumagaya Cherry Blossoms with rapeseed flowers along the riverbank is one of Saitama’s famous images. Furthermore, the cherry blossoms there have been celebrated since the Edo period. Moreover, the area is one of Japan’s top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots. In addition, the Kumagaya Cherry Blossoms are home to Saitama’s “index tree”. They use the tree as the signature / benchmark for the start of the sakura season in Saitama Prefecture. Changes were made to the dates of the festival, last minute. And the hot air balloon information was also released on short notice…

Kumagaya Sakura Season

Kumagaya Cherry Blossoms
From the official website

The sakura of Kumagaya are well known as one of the best places to enjoy “sakura matsuri” (cherry blossom festival) in Saitama. As such, the place can become very crowded. There are about 500 Yoshino cherry blossom trees along 2 kilometers of riverbank. Moreover, bright yellow rapeseed or canola flower fringe the sakura for part of the course. The cherry blossoms generally bloom the last week of March and the first week in April. It depends on several things:

🌸Current Condition

The earlier cherry blossom forecasts for 2024 were way off. They had predicted that the Kumagaya cherry blossoms would bloom early, then they said that they would almost be in line with an average year. Ultimately, all predictions were wrong. Update ⑤: According to the official update page, as of 9 am on April 9th, they are now in full bloom, on the windiest and rainiest day of April so far! Also, in case you missed it in update ④ – great news: the festival has been extended until April 14th.

Kumagaya Sakura Matsuri

The Kumagaya Cherry Blossom Festival was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021, but it went ahead in both 2022 and 2023. However, the dates of the festival were changed last minute due to the condition of the flowers. And the same has happened again in 2024. This is quite common, so its always best to check the official website for the most recent information. During the period of the festival there are festival lanterns up, festival stalls and the trees are lit up at night. Moreover, in 2024 they will have hot air balloon ride

Hot Air Balloon Ride

They only released the information publicly on Friday March 29th – the (moored) hot air balloon rides are on March 31st and April 1st. Due to strong winds on March 31st they actually cancelled Sunday’s event. But they are still planning to have it on Monday April 1st from 9 am to 3 pm. It costs 1000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children. The event space is at Kumagaya Arakawa Ryokuchi Undo Hiroba #3, the riverbed south of Sakuragi Elementary School. In Japanese: 熊谷荒川緑地 運動広場3(桜木小学校南の河川敷). View on Google Maps.

Don’t Miss…

>>Kumagaya has a “new” Jindai Akebono Cherry Blossom spot with 1000 trees<<

>>The Kumagaya Air Base’s amazing sakura matsuri<<

Information

Event: Kumagaya Cherry Blossom Festival 2024 令和6年熊谷さくら祭

Dates: from Friday March 22nd to Thursday April 4th Monday March 25th to Sunday April 7th 14th 2024.

Time: 10 am to 9 pm

Light up: from 6 pm to 9 pm.

Festival stalls: there is usually about 50 festival stalls on an average day and more on the peak weekends.

Related events: For example, there is often a hiking event and live performances. For many years, the Kumagaya Sakura Yosakoi performed at least once, but I’m sorry to report that the dance troupe retired in 2021.

Cost: there is no admission fee, bring some yennie for the festival stalls!

Access: By train it is close to both the JR Kumagaya and Chichibu Railway stations. By car it is about 30 minute drive from the Higashimatsuyama Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway.

Parking: It is advised to come by public transport, but there is a temporary car park. In previous years it has been free, but since 2023 they charge on specific dates. In 2024 the parking lot will have a fee of 1000 yen on Saturday March 30th and Sunday March 31st.

Official event page for 2024.

Other cherry blossom spots in Kumagaya

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