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. Updated with new information on March 23rd 2023.
The festival is on in 2023, information below…
Kumagaya Sakura Season
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.
The current cherry blossom forecast for 2023 is predicting that they Kumagaya cherry blossoms will start to bloom in line with an average year. They are currently saying the cherry blossoms will open on March 25th. They predict that the sakura will be at about 50% bloom on March 29th and full bloom around April 3rd. Finally, they are expecting the blossoms to start falling from the trees around April 7th. Of course, all of this can and will be effected by weather patterns between now and then.
Update March 23rd: as of today, the cherry blossoms are currently at about 30%. The festival was brought forward a day and started today rather than the 24th as was first reported.
Update March 26th: according to the various sakura tracking weather apps, the cherry blossoms are now at full bloom.
>>Kumagaya has a “new” Jindai Akebono Cherry Blossom spot with 1000 trees<<
>>The Kumagaya Air Base’s amazing sakura matsuri<<
Kumagaya Cherry Blossom Festival
The Kumagaya Cherry Blossom Festival was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021, but it actually went ahead in 2022. It is also scheduled for 2023:
Friday March 24th Thursday March 23rd to Thursday April 6th Wednesday April 5th (brought forward a day)
Time: 10 am to 9 pm
Light up: from 6 pm to
8 pm 9 pm.
Festival stalls: In a ‘normal year’ there is usually about 50 festival stalls on an average day. While they have confirmed that there will be festival stalls this year, they haven’t said how many.
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.
Entrance Fee: NONE
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
that has yet to be confirmed for this year unfortunately in 2023 they are charging on specific dates. Update March 23rd 2023: It will cost 1000 yen to use the Arakawa Kasenjiki temporary parking lot on Sunday March 26th, Saturday April 1st and Sunday April 2nd.
Updated: Official event page