Minoyama Park straddles both Minano and Chichibu cities with 41 hectares of sprawling nature. Furthermore, it is just one part of the larger Prefectural Nature Park. Moreover, the park is located on a 581 meter high ridge which affords magnificent panorama views. The park has become increasingly well known for two things: its night view and a place where you can see a sea of clouds. In fact, the park has been named as one of Japan’s top 100 night view locations. However, for Saitama-jin the cherry blossoms in the park have long been famous and fondly nicknamed the “Mt Yoshino of the Kanto region“.
Minoyama Cherry Blossoms
In Minoyama Park, there are approximately 8000 sakura trees of various varieties including the Yoshino variety which bloom from about mid April in Minoyama Park. (Yoshino bloom late March on the flatlands of Saitama). The prefecture claims there are 70 different varieties of sakura in the park. Other sources put it at 97 different varieties, but the park itself says there are 55 varieties! Of those, there are about 250 sakura trees of the Sato cherry blossom variety that normally bloom in May. Because the park has many different varieties, you can generally see some cherry blossoms in the park from mid April to about mid May.
The cherry blossom season of Minoyama park in the Chichibu area usually opens around the 8th of April with best viewing at the end of April, even early May. However, in 2020 and 2021, like most other places around the Kanto plain, the cherry blossoms were early blooming. The Somei Yoshino variety bloomed a whole two weeks early. In addition, the yamazakura were also considerably earlier than the average bloom period. In 2022 they are predicting that the cherry blossoms will be early again, so do bear that in mind when making travel plans.
Minoyama is also called the “forest of flowers“. Apart from the sakura cherry blossoms there are many other flowers that bloom in the park. As the sakura finish up, the azalea start to bloom. After that the hydrangea, which are becoming increasingly well known. They bloom later than other hydrangea spots in Saitama, from around the very end of June to mid July. The view from the park is amazing throughout the seasons. I didn’t put it on the 2022 list, but Minoyama is also a great spot for hatsuhinode. Moreover, you can often see a sea of clouds from the top of Minoyama.
Hours: The park is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
Access Minoyama Sakura
Address: Minano, Chichibu District, Saitama 369-1412
The hike from the nearest train station, Minano (or Oyahana) station on the Chichibu Railway, is a long one in the best of circumstances, but particularly now with some of the trails still closed due to damage from typhoon Hagibis in 2019. It would take about an hour and a half on foot. By car it is about 20 minutes from the station.
By car it takes about an hour from the Hanazono Interchange of the Kanetsu Expressway. Please note that due to severe damage during Typhoon #19 aka Hagibis, in 2019, some of the roads were inaccessible in the area for the last few years. They did actually reopen the Minano Iriguchi Intersection, but only in part. Anything larger than a car is forbidden from using the road. For this reason, tour buses are still not permitted to visit Minoyama Park in 2022. Furthermore, it looks like they are starting work on the roads again in spring of 2022. Please do take care when planning your route. Official notification of the road works in 2022.
In the area
There are also late blooming cherry blossoms in Nagatoro. More information here.
Waterpark Nagatoro is also in Minano and it has river activities. If you want to stay overnight they have wood trailers of various sizes.