Kitaasaba Kanzakura 2022

The Nissai Sakura Matsuri will be on in 2024 for the first time in five years. This post contains information for the festival and general information for the cherry blossoms at this location, called the Kitaasaba Sakura Zutsumi, in Sakado City. The cherry blossoms are an early blooming variety known as Kanzakura.

All of the photos in this post were taken by the author between 2018 and 2023 and are the copyright of insaitama.com.

Kitaasaba Sakura Zutsumi

Kanzakura at the Kitaasaba Sakura Tsutsumi in Nissai Sakado
In the rain in 2022

Less than 50 kilometers north west of Tokyo you can walk under this 1.2 kilometer avenue or ‘tunnel’ of approximately 200 beautiful kanzakura, in Sakado city. As early as the start of March. It takes less than an hour by car and just over an hour by public transport to the Kita Asaba Sakura Embankment. Not to be confused with the early blooming kawazuzakura in Sumiyoshi, also in Sakado! The latter bloom even earlier than the Kanzakura.

Kanzakura

There are over 100 varieties of cherry blossom trees in Japan. Yamazakura cherry blossoms are native to Japan. But the vast majority of cherry blossoms in Japan have been intentionally cultivated in gardens and parks. The most commonly known are the Somei Yoshino that typically bloom the end of March to the start of April. The Kanzakura variety of this post can bloom as early as mid to late February. In Sakado, beside Tokyo, they tend to bloom from early to mid March. That is, about two weeks before the Somei Yoshino variety.

early blooming cherry blossom mid march sakura in sakado saitama
March 17th 2019

Sakado Kanzakura

The Kanzakura in Sakado are in area called Nissai, hence the festival is called the Nissai Sakura Matsuri (Nissai Cherry Blossom festival). However, the cherry blossom ‘park’ is called Kitaasaba Sakura Zutsumi. It is not a park in the typical sense. Apart from the trees there are just toilets, vending machines and a makeshift parking lot! Other than that, an avenue of approximately 200 beautiful kanzakura trees stretching about 1.2 kilometers. They create a beautiful lush tunnel of pink in season, which is generally around mid March.

When do they bloom?

In my experience, having visited them annually for five years, the best time to see them is in the middle of March. However, in 2020 the blooms were early, with some popping through as early as mid February and full bloom by March 6th 2020. In 2021 and 2022, they started to bloom more like an “average” year around the 7th of March. But, full bloom was different – mid March in 2021 but they actually ended up being ‘late’ to reach full bloom in 2022 as they were in 2019 and 2023 too. In 2024 – it remains to be seen!

For nine days during the blooming period this cherry blossom park has a festival called the Nissai Sakura Festival. However, there is only live entertainment and food stalls on one day. The festival hasn’t been on since 2019, but this year they are planning to go ahead. You will find the dates and more information below. Last year, they had the benches back out so you could sit under the trees (which you couldn’t do between 2020 and 2022), but they still discouraged people from picnicking under the trees. However, currently no such restriction is mentioned for 2024.

The 10th Sakado Nissai Sakura Festival 2024

Nissai Sakado Sakura festival early blooming sakura cherry blossoms

The Nissai cherry blossom festival generally falls around the second / third week of March annually. In 2024, it starts on March Saturday March 9th and is on until Sunday March 17th. However, there is only a festival in the typical sense on one day – the first day. On that day there is yosakoi and live performances under the avenue of trees. Mascots from neighboring towns and cities pop by too.

early blooming sakura cherry blossoms at Kita Asaba cherry blossom embankment in Nissai Sakado

Information

Event: Sakado Nissai Cherry Blossom Festival 2024 第10回坂戸にっさい桜まつり

Dates: from Saturday March 9th until Sunday March 17th 2024. (Main day is March 9th)

Hours: The events on the 9th start at 10 am. The embankment is open 24 hours, but there is no lighting along the embankment and / or the avenue of sakura. The parking lot is manned between 9 am and 5 pm on the weekends.

Cost: there is no admission fee and parking is free too.

Venue: Kitaasaba Sakura Zutsumi, 149 Kitaasaba, Sakado-shi, Saitama-ken 350-0266. View on Google Maps.

Official event web page.

Access

Get the Sakado city loop bus “Sakacchi Wagon” from the north exit of Sakado station to the Imanishi station. The embankment is about a five minute walk from the bus stop. A Kawagoe Kanko bus also goes to Imanishi bus stop, but on the opposite side of the road, from the west exit of Kitasakado station. So the walk is a little longer from the bus stop. There is currently no mention of a free shuttle bus like they used to have before you-know-what!

By car it is about 5 minutes from the Sakado Nishi SMART interchange. You have to have an ETC card in your car to use a SMART interchange. There is parking for up to 300 cars, but only 80 of those are right by the embankment. The rest are in a temporary parking lot in Akanuma, Hatoyama town. If you come by car you have to follow the signs to the parking lot. They forbid public traffic accessing the small streets that run along the side of the embankment. The parking is free.

2019 kanzakura-sakado

6 Comments

  1. Hello,
    So all of the sakura festival including kawazu festival has been cancelled due to corona virus? during this corona virus outbreak, is there any safer place to enjoy early sakura bloom in Japan? Thanks you

    1. Hi, thank you for your query. We’re still waiting for confirmation from many locations. But even though some festivals have been cancelled you can still visit the locations and do hanami there. At your own risk of course. It is likely, but not guaranteed, that locations will be less busy than usual so a little bit safer. It is still early days so there are likely to be changes, but hopefully we can confirm everything closer to the time.

      1. Thank you for your helpfull information, we are from Indonesia, actually plan to visit kawazu for the festival on March 8, hope the outbreak will be over soon and won’t continue spread widely.

        1. Author

          Hi! I am not sure if you’ve seen all the updates in the past 24 hours, but there has been a dramatic change; basically almost all events and even museums and attractions are shutting down for the next two weeks. ;-( Schools finished up three weeks early (today) for spring break. Disney, Universal Studios, Ghibli, TeamLab Borderless and Planets among hundreds of locations have announced they are closing for around two weeks. You may need to check with your airline if they are still planning on flying to Japan and also checking any bookings you have made here to see if they are still okay. The very best of luck to you. I am very sorry that your trip will be very different than what you planned.

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