Cherry blossoms and rapeseed, aka Sakura and Nanohana, Saitama Prefecture 2023.
There are so many somei yoshino cherry blossoms – here, there and everywhere. And indeed rapeseed, aka canola flower or nanohana, here, there and everywhere too. But the combination of both… a sight to behold! There are plenty of places to see them both blooming together, but some are more picturesque than others. In this post I introduce ten places you can see the contrast of the yellow rapeseed (or Canola Flowers) against the cherries in Saitama Prefecture, just an hour North of Tokyo.
This is like an index to organize the dozens of sakura spots on this blog! So all but one of these locations is linked to a post which has the finer details including address, map etc. Number ten on the list is from my “want to go” and as such doesn’t feature on this blog (yet!). In addition, all locations in this post are mapped on a Google MyMap at the bottom of the post.
Sakura and Nanohana
Cherry blossom and rapeseed scenery in Saitama Prefecture.
- Kumagaya Cherry Blossom Promenade
- Miharashi Park, Saitama City
- Gongendo Park, Satte
- Kinchakuda, Hidaka
- Yoshimi Cherry Blossom Promenade
- Jougaya Cherry Blossom Embankment, Kitamoto
- Sakitama, Gyoda
- Benten Bridge, Kawagoe
- Shinrin Park, Namegawa
- Azumagawa Cherry Blossom Walk, Tokorozawa
1. Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi
As one of the top 100 cherry blossom spots in all of Japan, Kumagaya needs little introduction to Kanto area locals. However, despite its fame and glory within Japan, it may not be that well known outside of Japan. The cherry blossoms and canola flowers stretch for about two kilometers. There are some other picturesque sakura spots in Kumagaya too, such as at Kumagaya Sakura Undo Park. Moreover, Kumagaya Air Base has beautiful mature trees and one of the best ‘sakura matsuri’.
2. Miharashi Park
Next, a former famous scene of Saitama, which for some reason is rarely used in recent years. When I first moved to Saitama in 2006 you’d see the image below everywhere in sakura season, but over the years they stopped using it in magazines and websites. As far as I know Miharashi Park is the only place in Saitama with a windmill, cherry blossoms and rapeseed! Please do correct me if I’m wrong. It is beside a larger park where there are even more cherry blossoms and even a chipmunk zoo. All the details here:
3. Gongendo Park, Satte
In recent years, perhaps Gongendo Park has become the main image used for showcasing rapeseed and cherry blossoms in Saitama Prefecture. Gongendo Park has really put itself on the map for cherry blossoms and rapeseed scenery. This park doesn’t have chipmunks, but it does have goats! It is quite a bit further from Tokyo, on the border of Ibaraki, but the beauty of the park makes the trip worth it! A 20 minute drive North of this park you can see peach blossoms in Koga City in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Kinchakuda, in Hidaka, is best known for its red spider lilies that bloom in September. However, the park is picturesque in spring too. Moreover, they have 40 different varieties of cherry blossoms in the park. Furthermore, they have about 100 Somei Yoshino that line the river and curve around the unique horse shoe shape of the park. Moreover, there are acres of rapeseed in the center of the horse shoe and around the park. In addition, there are some pretty purple flowers by Doremifa Bridge.
5. Yoshimi Cherry Blossom Promenade
One of my personal favorites, Yoshimi has the je ne sais quoi of both Kumagaya and Satte, on a smaller scale. But without the crowds. Its not quite as off the beaten path as it once was, but generally it is quieter than the other locations with sakura tunnels and rapeseed. The cherry blossoms are voluptuously mature trees. Moreover, the rapeseed (canola flower) stretch for miles. If you head east the rapeseed on the embankments continues all the way to neighboring Kawajima Town.
6. Jougaya Cherry Blossom Embankment
This one is quite famous within Saitama even though it is much smaller than all of the aforementioned locations. It is located beside the larger Kitamoto Nature Reserve. Kitamoto is one of the best places for cherry blossoms in Saitama Prefecture, in my humble opinion. There is a huge selection of places for hanami all relatively close to each other, by car at least, but manageable on foot if you are a good walker! Moreover, Kitamoto is home to one of the five great sakura of Japan.
7. Sakitama Kofun Park
For an atypical view its got to be Sakitama Kofun park in Gyoda! There are mature cherry blossoms atop the Maruhakayama mound and rapeseed grows at the base on one side. In addition, you can get an aeriel view of cherry blossoms below without a drone thanks to the height of the burial mounds. Moreover, there are two separate tunnels of cherry blossoms at this location. Its a particularly beautiful place for cherry blossom viewing.
8. Benten Bridge
The Shingashi River cherry blossoms at the back of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine are quite famous, even internationally at this stage. But there is also another section of the Shingashi River in Kawagoe that is very picturesque during the season. Moreover, rapeseed also grows along the river beds at this section. As you will see in the linked post, I have visited this location several times over the years, but I have yet to time it right! From what I can tell, the cherries bloom a little bit later than the ones by Hikawa Shrine.
9. Shinrin Park
Shinrin Park (Musashi Kyuro) is a massive national government park in Namegawa Town. The park has a beautiful cherry blossom grove. In part of the grove you can see nanohana / canola flowers in bloom beside the sakura. They have a hanami picnic service during the bloom period. It requires advance booking, which you can do here. They normally have a hanami barbecue too, but it doesn’t seem to be available during the pandemic. But another park where you can barbecue under cherry blossom trees is Maruyama Park.
10. Azumagawa Cherry Blossom Walk
Finally, sharing one on my list of “want to go”, but haven’t visited myself. Well, I kind of have! The spot is along the longer three kilometer Azumagawa Cherry Blossom Walk in Tokorozawa. However, the sakura actually extend for 5.4 kilometers in total. I did visit a small section of it many years ago, but missed this gem. Along the Azumagawa river you can see nanohana and sakura at the “Rapeseed and Cherry blossoms Field”, which is marked on Google Maps. But you can also see them at Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park which is along the walking route linked below.
Tokorozawa Azumagawa Rapeseed and Cherry Blossom Field
Address: 66-20 Matsugo, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-0027
Hours: 24 hours
Walking map in English from Tokorozawa City
This is not an exhaustive list. There are plenty of other places to see nanohana /rapeseed / canola flowers backdropped by sakura / cherry blossoms. Such as at Higashimatsuyama Agriculture park, where you can enjoy strawberry picking at an affordable price too. Is there anywhere you would add to this list? Please do comment if you have somewhere you’d like to share!
Editor’s note: initially published as a web story in 2020, republished as a post on 2022.3.21. Last republish March 18th 2023