Nagatoro Cherry Blossoms – Nagatoro is easily one of Saitama’s most beautiful locations. Thus it enjoys tourists all year round due to the abundance of stunning natural scenery. Spring is no exception when thousands flock to see the famous cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Nagatoro Cherry Blossoms
The Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most popular sakura matsuri in the whole of Saitama. It is also one of the longest, stretching from the end of March to the end of April, even early May some years. There are approximately 3000 cherry blossom trees in different locations throughout Nagatoro with two key areas of sakura lined tunnels. Kita Sakura Street and Minami Sakura street both have cherry blossom tunnels. Moreover, around Hodosan you can see quaint tree lined lanes and around Hodosan Shrine there are 30 different kinds of cherry blossoms creating an explosion of pink during prime viewing.
Furthermore, the Nagatoro cherry blossoms are one of just three cherry blossom locations in Saitama that are listed in Japan’s top 100 places to see sakura in Japan. Nagatoro Tourist Association recommend April as the best time to see the sakura in the area. Moreover, some of the cherry blossoms are lit up at night during prime viewing for a stunning night view. I have split the sakura into three groups by period of bloom. First up, cherries that bloom at the end of March in Nagatoro:
End of March Blooms
The weeping cherry of Hozenji or Hozen Temple typically blooms around the end of March:
Currently, the light up information is not available for Hozenji in 2022. But it is available for Iwada:
The stand alone Iwada Sakura tree. It is further out than the rest. The closest station is Higuchi Station. It is opposite Dokoji Temple. The Iwada Sakura typically blooms end of March. In 2022 it will be lit up at night from March 23rd to April 3rd. Typically light up is from dusk to 9 pm.
EARLY APRIL CHERRY BLOSSOMS
The second group which bloom from early April includes the tunnel of cherry blossom trees on Kita sakura (Kitazakura) street. The cherry blossoms in this area are particularly well renowned. You can drive through them or walk under them. The area is very busy during the season. They typically bloom early April;
Kita Sakura Street
The tunnel of cherry blossom trees on Kita Sakura (Kitazakura) street are particularly renowned. You can drive through them or also walk under them. However, the area is very busy during the season. Which for this particular stretch of cherry blossoms is early April. The night light up in 2022 on Kita Sakura Dori will be from March 26th to April 10th.
The road stretches for over 2 kilometers from near Nagatoro Station down to Takasago bridge which is close to Nogami station.
Furthermore, the road runs parallel to the Arakawa river where you can see river boats ferrying tourists downstream:
Moreover, the street is quite picturesque even when the cherry blossoms are not in bloom.
There are wide footpaths and in places there are railings with pretty motifs on them.
Along the path you will also spot some impressive architecture.
And also this foot bridge↑ that leads to Nagatoro Autocamp.
Minami Sakura Dori
Minami Sakura street is another of the popular places to view a tunnel of cherry blossoms. There are about 200 cherry blossoms stretching approximately 1.5 kilometers. They bloom from early to mid April. The street runs from Kami-nagatoro station and merges into Kitazakura Street. In addition, the Saitama Prefectural Museum of Nature is along the route.
Avenue of Hodosan Shrine
The Hodosan shrine is worth a visit anytime of the year. But with the sakura its as majestic as it is mystical. The cherry blossoms as you approach Hodosan shrine bloom from around early to mid April:
Moreover, there is a ropeway at the back of Hodosan shrine, up a mountain path, that brings you to the top of Hodosan:
MID TO LATE APRIL CHERRY BLOSSOMS
Third and last is the cherry blossoms at the foot of Mt Hodo. This area is known as the “Sakura Tree Lined Pathway”. the cherry blossoms here typically bloom from mid to late April.
Torinuke no Sakura
The Sakura lined foot path at the bottom of Hodo-san, south of the Hodosan ropeway. There are approximately 500 trees of 31 different varieties. However, this grove has a cover charge – a 200 yen entrance fee for adults, 100 yen for children. But they didn’t charge in 2021.
The cherry blossoms here bloom from the middle to end of April. In addition, during the bloom period they normally have a light up event. However, that has not been on for the last couple of years and doesn’t appear to be scheduled for 2022 either.
Hana no Sato
Hana No Sato which bloom around mid April :
Official Nagatoro Tourist Association Site (Japanese): https://www.nagatoro.gr.jp/
Official English language portal: https://www.nagatoro.gr.jp/en/
Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival 2022
In 2020, the Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival was cancelled as there was a State of Emergency in the Prefecture at the time. However, in 2021, the sakura matsuri went ahead, despite the pandemic. They even lit up the sakura at night. Currently, the 2022 Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival is planned for March 23rd to May 8th.
Recap of the night light up:
- Iwada area from March 23rd to April 3rd
- Kita Sakura Street from March 26th to April 10th
- Hodosan area will probably not have light up in 2022 for the 3rd year in a row
- “New Green” light up is planned for 2022 again. This will be only the second year ever that they light up the new green leaves on the cherry blossom trees after all blooms have turned green.
The cherry blossoms in Nagatoro are over a large geographic area. However, they came up with a fun way to get around the cherry blossom locations. You can hire a “mobitoro” for 1500 yen for one hour during the cherry blossom season:
Nagatoro Cherry Blossoms Access
Nagatoro is accessible on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line or by using the Chichibu Railway. There are a couple of stations where you can alight. But probably the most central is Nagatoro station. Nagatoro Station is on the Chichibu Tetsudo and Steam Locomotive Paleo Express lines. Moreover, it is only about 2 hours from central Tokyo. However, if you are taking the steam locomotive it does take considerably longer. The main connecting stations to get the Chichibu Tetsudo line are Hanyu station on the Tobu Isesaki Line, Kumagaya Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen / JR Takasaki lines, Yorii station on the Tobu Tojo / JR Hachiko lines and Ohanabatake station on the Seibu Chichibu line.
More on the Paleo Express: