Saitama Cherry Blossoms – Hanami and cherry blossom season 2022. At the time of updating this on January 13th 2022, the very first cherry blossom forecast has just been released at 11.08 this morning. Once again, the cherry blossoms were expected to be earlier blooming than an average year. Initially Kumagaya sakura were predicted to “open” for the season (50% bloom) around March 20th. However, subsequent forecasts have pushed the date back to between March 24th and 26th, making it a few days later than last year and about 3 to 5 days earlier than an average year.
Unfortunately, once again in 2022, it seems like Japan maybe still closed to foreign tourists in sakura season. But who knows! It would be nice to have been able to once again welcome international tourists in time for cherry blossom season. Without a doubt it is one of the best times to visit Japan. If you have been in Japan for cherry blossom season in the past, you will know why. If you are planning to celebrate cherry blossom season in Japan in the future: the hype is real, the cherry blossoms are stunning, and the events and festivals are amazing. In the meantime, we can only hope and pray for an “open” season in 2023.
Saitama Cherry Blossoms
In this post a list of some of Saitama’s better known cherry blossom areas with a link to more information in English. Some of the links are internal links, to articles on Saitama with Kids, and some are external, to other blogs or websites.
3 of Japan’s Top 100
First up, Saitama’s most famous. Japan has a list of the top 100 places to see cherry blossoms nationwide. Three of Saitama’s cherry blossoms spots are featured on that list: Omiya Park, Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi and Nagatoro:
Needs little introduction to those living in Japan. However, for those living abroad it might not be as well known. One of the merits of this park is that it is close to and easily commutable from Tokyo. Moreover, while busy, it is much less crowded than places like Ueno Park. The event details on this blog, updated annually:
Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi
Kumagaya is not as close to Tokyo as Omiya Park as the crow flies, but thanks to being on a bullet train line it is relatively easy and quick to get to this beautiful rural cherry blossom spot:
Nagatoro is one of the most beautiful areas in Saitama. Furthermore, it has dozens of things to do. Also, you can get a train from aforementioned Kumagaya to this idyllic scenic town. In addition, you can get a steam locomotive, the closest steam locomotive to Tokyo. Moreover, in 2021 it is actually one of the only places that had a sakura matsuri:
Only one in the world
Apart from the three that made it into the top 100 list for all of Japan, there are also other places that are renowned within Saitama itself. Moreover, a very special, one of a kind, cherry blossom in Kitamoto:
Kitamoto Ishito Kabazakura
The Kitamoto Ishito Kabazakura is the only one of its kind of the world. However, they are currently trying to grow another one in Kitamoto Takao Sakura Park too. Moreover, it is one of Japan’s official “five great” cherry blossoms. If you do visit this world-only cherry blossom tree, there are also several other cherry blossom viewing spots nearby, such as Jougaya, Kitamoto Children’s Park and Takao Sakura Park.
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
Nowadays, the cherry blossoms on the Shingashi River behind Hikawa Shrine need little introduction. Social media helped launched these stunning cherries to national and even international acclaim:
Sakitama Kofun Park
Sakitama Kofun Park was one of our favorite cherry blossom viewing spots of 2020. It is a great place for getting a variety of different cherry blossom shots. For example, cherry blossoms with rapeseed, cherry blossoms on a mound and a tunnel of sakura.
Should be famous
Two lesser known locations and one incredible cherry blossom festival that should – in my humble opinion – be better known:
Minoyama Park, Chichibu
In more recent years, the 8000 cherry blossoms in Minoyama Park in Minano, Chichibu, have become famous throughout the kanto plain. Moreover, the area has been nicknamed the “Mt Yoshino of the Kanto Region. However, I am not sure they are nationally famous quite yet. Moreover, the great thing about the area is that sakura bloom later than the majority of the places in this article. Furthermore, you can see cherry blossoms from early / mid April right up to early May. More information:
Senbonzakura Park is an incredibly stunning hillside cherry blossom spot with 2000 cherry blossom trees. And it was also one of our favorite hanami locations in 2020. Furthermore, it is pretty much off the beaten path for the most part. However, it is well known among cosplayers. You can see cosplayers pose under the cherry trees daily during the sakura period.
Ranzan Cherry Blossom Festival
More than the Ranzan cherry blossoms should be famous, its the festival here that really should be better known. Where else in Saitama can you see fireworks launched over cherry blossoms that are lit up? Not only is it currently the only place you can see fireworks and cherry blossoms in Saitama, its one of the few places throughout the Kanto plain with this magical mix. Moreover, only at Ranzan Festival can you see horseback archers charge down a line of sakura while shooting arrows in a traditional display of yabusame like no other.
The cherry blossoms at Satte’s Gongendo Park have been enjoying an increase in visitors year on year. The park is relatively new, but the cherry blossoms and the festival have been around for more than 90 years. Like Kumagaya, this is another place you can see fields of yellow rapeseed contrasted with the Somei Yoshino cherries. In addition, another place for that type of scenery is at Yoshimi Sakura Tsutsumi. In recent years, the scene of cherry blossoms and rapeseed at Gongendo Park has become one of Saitama’s best known spring scenes within the prefecture.
Motoara River Cherries
Another place that is also rising in popularity and fame is the cherry blossoms along the Motoara River in Konosu (or Kounosu) City. You can also enjoy a river boat cruise under sakura at this location. In addition, apart from the boat ride, there is a great sakura festival here annually. The cherry blossoms and festival have become better known, but the boat ride here is much lesser known than the one in Kawagoe. The cherry blossoms are conveniently located relatively close to a train station.
In addition, here are even more “instagenic” sakura spots in Saitama Prefecture Japan:
- Sakura light up and festival at the 100 Caves of Yoshimi
- Cherry blossoms and Rapeseed Yoshimi
- Yono Park
- Shinrin Park cherry blossoms in Japanese language, in addition general information in English
- Honjo City Wakaizumi Dai Ichi and Dai Ni Parks
- Saitama Suijo Park cherry blossoms in Japanese language, general information in English
- Iwatsuki Castle Ruins Park
- Hitsujiyama Park (Moss Phlox)
- Tokorozawa Cherry Blossoms
- Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park (General information for the park)
- Akigase Park (Japanese language only)
- Shimin no Mori / Minuma Green Center (Japanese language) and neighboring Miharashi park (English language)
- Isanuma Park
- Higashimatsuyama Norin Park
- Saitama Norin Park
- Sakuranoyama Park
- Jougaya Embankment Cherry Blossom Bank
- Kawagoe Water Park
Moreover, there are more than 80 on the insaitama.com Saitama Sakura Map:
Bonus Content 2022