Stunning Kawazuzakura spot in Kuki City Saitama

Saitama’s best Kawazu zakura spot? Its funny, all these years I thought Saitama didn’t really have a particularly head turning kawazu z/sakura spot. And then in 2020, I realized that we do, its just not been marketed very well. I have dozens of books about Saitama – not one has this gem listed. I only heard about it after the season in 2020. So I waited almost a year to see with my own two eyes just how beautiful this under marketed location is. We have all these beautiful nature spots that go unheard of. Maybe the locals prefer it that way. But Mother Nature made these type of scenes for us all to enjoy. >>Fast forward to 2024 – these cherry blossoms are now famous!

Saitama Kawazu zakura

Saitama Kawazu zakura
Miyamae Bridge and Kawazu zakura

There are several places to see ‘nice’ kawazu zakura in Saitama. They mightn’t win any scenery awards, but the trees are beautiful. There are several places I think are stunning, for example this secret spot in Fukaya, but it is not a tourist destination as such. Others that are large scale and look particularly beautiful when they bloom are Sumiyoshi (Sakado) and Rakusato no Kai Okegawa. But the problem is the kawazu at both those locations don’t bloom every year. For example, the ones at Sumiyoshi in Sakado only tend to bloom once every four years! Sakado also has another variety of early blooming cherry blossoms called Kanzakura. They do bloom annually, a little later than the kawazu zakura.

>>Even more Kawazuzakura spots in Saitama Prefecture.

Washinomiya Kawazu Zakura

The heavenly cherry blossoms in this post are in the Washinomiya area of Kuki City, Saitama Prefecture. Beside Washinomiya Shrine of anime Lucky Star fame (circled green in the map photo in access). They could win a scenery award! They bloom along the Aogebori River¹ from the end of February to early March. Starting from Washinomiya Shrine the Kuki Kawazuzakura stretch for about two and a half kilometers south to the Tohoku train tracks in the Koguki area. There are approximately 335 trees along the 2.5 kilometers. Thankfully Kuki City post updates about the bloom, so you can check the prime viewing period live annually:

2024 bloom information
BUT FIRST: a request from the Kuki City Hall – they ask that you do not climb over the guard rail onto the embankment. The guard rail is there for a reason! Because it is dangerous to walk on the embankment. There is one small section, as per the featured photo, where there is no guard rail, but caution is still advised.

The trees started budding around February 13th and started opening on the 19th of February. As of February 29th 2024 they are at 80% bloom. Full bloom this weekend and there will be kitchen cars on site on Saturday March 2nd.
Official updates on the Kuki City website

¹Aogebori River is also called Aogehori River. There is very little in English online about “Aogebori” or “Washinomiya” early blooming cherry blossoms. However, if you are looking for stock photos you can find some by searching Aoi Horikawa cherry blossoms!! Automatic translation at its finest!

Key spots

kawazu zakura in Washinomiya area of Kuki city with a picturesque water bridge
Washinomiya Water Pipe, Cherry blossoms and rapeseed
  • Miyamae Bridge – shown as a black line in the map photo in access section
  • Washinomiya Water Pipe – shown as a pink line in the map in access

There are areas where they bloom with rapeseed. In 2021, the rapeseed was to late to bloom in Saitama, but in 2022 they were blooming beautifully at the same time as the kawazu. I also found quite a few daffodil on the walk. Please note that the North end of the walk there are barriers so you can’t go down on the embankment to take photos. However, further south there is an area without barriers. Its just by the water pipe too, so you can get a pretty photo from down on the riverside.

Saitama kawazu zakura washinomiya kuki
Loved how the cherry blossoms were reflected in the river

Take a look at the tag “青毛堀川の河津桜” on Instagram to see how pretty the sakura are in full bloom. Of the various kawazuzakura spots I’ve been to in Saitama, I think this one is probably the most appealing for the majority of people, because of its photogenically and relatively easy access. (But my favorite is this one). Moreover, it is a very nice walk. However, you can only really walk along the East side of the river as the West side is not pedestrianized.


Washinomiya Early Blooming Cherry Blossom Festival

These cherry blossoms don’t have a festival per se, but on one day there are food trucks along the street by the cherry blossoms. In 2024 that will be on Saturday March 2nd between 10 am and 3 pm.


Access

The nearest station is Washinomiya Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line, circled purple in the above photo. It takes about an hour from Ikebukuro, with a transfer at Kuki Station. You can enjoy the beautiful sight of the cherry blossoms soon after alighting at the East exit, as the sakura walk is close to the station. The Higashi-Washinomiya Station on the Tohoku Main Line is also relatively near to the south end of the cherry blossoms. It is circled in yellow in the above photo. As you can see, you could alight at one station and board at the other!

By car: the nearest interchange is “Kuki” on the Tohoku Expressway. The city request that people park at the Washiomiya branch of city hall. Address: 6 Chome-1-1 Washinomiya, Kuki, Saitama 340-0217 (view on Google maps). The cherry blossoms are about a 15 minute walk from that parking lot.

The featured photo of this post was taken on Friday 11th of March 2022, but they were late to bloom that year.

close up of a kawazu zakura in Kuki, Saitama
Close up of the Kuki Kawazuzakura

2 Comments

    1. Author

      Right? But just yesterday a friend living here said to me its all a little too orchestrated and convenient. True that – I get culture shock when I hike in another country and the mountain has no toilet!!! Haha!

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