Saitama Cherry Blossoms – Hanami and cherry blossom season 2023. The very first cherry blossom forecast for 2023 was released on January 11th 2023. Last year, the first forecast predicted an early start to the season. But in later forecasts they pushed the date back to later in March. This year the forecast initially looked to more like an “average year”, but the 6th forecast of the year, released on March 2nd, is now forecasting an earlier than average start to the season.
On the map index on the right of the photo the 3/16 is the expected date for Tokyo, which is now six days earlier than the first forecast. Kumagaya, the marker city for Saitama, is not mapped, but is listed on the official website as expected to start blooming around March 21st and full bloom around March 28th 2023. Which is five days earlier than the first forecast. The national map is available from the Japan Meteorological Corporation.
Without a doubt cherry blossom season 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. Thankfully, many of the festivals seem to be coming back in 2023 after three long years!
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 this website, 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, throughout the pandemic this was one of only a handful of 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. For example, this very special, one of a kind, cherry blossom in Kitamoto that is one of the official five great cherry blossoms of Japan:
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, as aforementioned, 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 too, such as Jougaya, Kitamoto Children’s Park and Takao Sakura Park.
Japan’s longest cherry blossom corridor
Surprisingly a little known fact is that Saitama Prefecture is home to Japan’s longest cherry blossom walk. Stretching TWENTY kilometers with several key viewing spots along the way, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Japan’s longest “Sakura Kairo”;
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
Three places (two locations + one 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
Ranzan cherry blossoms are stunning, but 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:
- 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 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:
A scenic spot for cherry blossoms and tulips in Saitama. Learn More…
A stunning contrast of yellow and pink at this central sakura spot. Learn More…