Each year in early April, we are absolutely spoiled for choice for things to see in Saitama. There are so many flowers and blossoms in bloom. And accordingly there are literally hundreds of flower festivals on. Usually the cherry blossoms steal the limelight, but their ‘sister’, the peach blossoms, are equally beautiful.
Moreover, in the family of prunus trees common in Japan, in the present day the peach blossom tree is the least revered and celebrated. This is a stark contrast to the position of peach blossoms in ancient Japan when they were an important feature of girls day celebrations. Today, the girls day festival, also called Hina Matsuri Dolls Festival, still uses peach blossoms as decorations. You can see decorative fabricated peach blossoms adorning hina dolls display.
Ever since the peach blossoms started blooming around the same time as cherry blossoms they have lost their position in the annual flower admiration calendar. In addition, there are much fewer peach blossom groves in Japan than cherry blossom or plum blossom groves. Here in Saitama I only know of three places to visit peach blossoms in Saitama. Yoshida in Chichibu, Ouchizawa in Higashi Chichibu and Tokigawa town. Only the latter two have peach blossom festivals. However, the peach blossom festival in Tokigawa has been cancelled for 2021.
Peach Blossoms Tokigawa
The peach blossoms in Tokigawa are in an area called “Hanamomo no Sato”, which loosely translates to village of the peach blossoms. Essentially the term ‘village of peach blossoms’ is quite misleading. There isn’t really a village of the peach blossoms, just a street around the Hachiman shrine. However, there are also two other places you can see peach blossoms in Tokigawa. One of those locations is relatively near by car, at Kunugi Mura.
The peach blossom festival at Hanamomo no Sato was cancelled in 2020. Even though the festival wasn’t on, I dropped by the shrine in 2020 to check out the ‘village’ for myself. Both the peach and cherry blossoms bloomed early in 2020. However, I visited on the 20th of March and it was still a little too early. Especially for the cherry blossoms, which were not yet blooming. But a couple of the peach were at around 60% and looked beautiful. I just didn’t photograph them very well! The best time to visit is normally the very end of March or early April. But there have been years when they have bloomed in early March!
Thankfully a visit to see the peach blossoms was not our main reason to be in Tokigawa, or quite frankly we may have been disappointed. Hachiman shrine does have a little playground which entertained the children. But its not the most exciting of shrines otherwise. Luckily, we were visiting the Sanba Gorge and this was just a side stop. The shrine and peach blossoms are just a short walk from the Sanba Gorge. There is a short cut on foot, but it would take just as long to drive as you have to go a roundabout way.
If the festival was on we would have happily stayed longer. Unfortunately it was cancelled that year and last year too and it looks like it is not scheduled for 2022 either. It is normally held the first Sunday of April (depending on the bloom).
|Hanamomo no Sato|
|Address:||307 Momonoki, Tokigawa, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0361|
|Online:||Tokigawa Town Official website|
Please note there is no parking at the shrine. There is free public parking by Sanba Gorge. While that car park is very busy in summer, it tends to be less used in March / April.
By public transport: the nearest station is the very picturesque Myokaku station, which is often listed in the top 100 picturesque stations in the Kanto region. Hanamomo no Sato and the Hachiman shrine are just under a 30 minute walk from Myokaku station.