Minoyama CHerry blossoms

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 several different varieties including the Yoshino variety which bloom from about early April in Minoyama Park. Yoshino bloom late March on the flatlands of Saitama. The Yamazakura bloom a little later than on the flatlands too, about mid April. 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 the last few years, like most other places around the Kanto plain, the cherry blossoms were early blooming. And the season was declared open at the end of March. In 2023 too. However, 2024 is more like an average year, if anything they are later than normal. As of April 3rd 2024 the Somei Yoshino are still buds. In addition, the yamazakura don’t seem to have started. They will light up the sakura at night once the Somei Yoshino have reached about 30%:

Cherry Blossom Light Up 2024

The cherry blossom light up was initially scheduled to start on April 4th. However, as the somei yoshino hadn’t even started to bloom on April 2nd, they decided to postpone the event. Update April 10th: They announced today that they will start the light up tonight, Wednesday April 10th 2024. The cherry blossoms are approaching full bloom now.

Event: Minoyama Cherry Blossom Light up 美の山桜のライトアップ

Dates: new dates – Wednesday April 10th to Tuesday April 16th 2024, on dry nights only (i.e. its not on if its raining).

Hours: 6 pm to 9 pm

Cost: free

Venue: Minoyama Park ↴

Park Information

Park: Minoyama Park 身の山公園

Address: Minano, Chichibu District, Saitama 369-1412

Hours: 24 hours

Cost: free

Forest of flowers

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. I’ve been to see the hydrangea and they are stunning. 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. Furthermore, Minoyama is also a great spot for hatsuhinode. Moreover, you can often see a sea of clouds from the top of Minoyama.

Official website

Official Light Up event page

Access Minoyama Sakura

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 since typhoon Hagibis. Some of the trails have remained 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. Between Autumn 2019 and Spring 2023, one of the access roads to the park was closed. First, due to damage from typhoon Hagibis and then road works to fix that damage. During the period tour buses were not permitted to visit Minoyama Park. However, all road works are finished now.

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.

 

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