Senbonzakura Torayama Higashichichibu close to the earthly paradise of ouchizawa

Senbonzakura, the name of a famous song, is the Japanese for a thousand cherry blossoms. There are many spots or parks in Japan called Senbonzakura. In Saitama, one of the most stunning Senbonzakura locations is on Mt Torayama in Higashichichibu. Not to be confused with the Senbonzakura in Honjo, which are equally impressive, but a different type of view. The Senbonzakura of Mt Torayama is high on my list of the best places to view cherry blossoms in Saitama Prefecture.

The Senbonzakura of Torayama

Tiger carved wooden statue at entrance to the senbonzakura of Torayama

There are actually just under two thousand cherry blossoms on the side of Mt Torayama. Torayama means “tiger mountain”. As you enter the pathway under a torii like entrance way, there is a carved wooden sculpture tiger to the right.

Somei Yoshino on Mt Torayama

There are several different varieties of cherry blossoms on Torayama, but the highest concentration seems to be of Somei Yoshino. I also recognized some yamazakura. They generally bloom the first two weeks of April.

Senbonzakura Mt Torayama Higashichichibu
Scene near the foot of the mountain.

The distance from the foot to the summit as the crow flies is about two kilometers, but if you follow the main path that winds up and down the mountain it is a five kilometer walk. There is quite an incline so it is more like an easy hike than a walk. You can borrow a bamboo stick by the entrance, if you need support hill walking. For the most part there are sakura tunnels, but on a couple of stretches of the path there is only sakura on one side. At the top of the mountain there are beautiful pine trees on one side and the sakura on the other.

Waterfall mt torayama

Just before the summit of the walk there is a small, but charming waterfall. In front of it there is shide – the Shinto white zigzagged paper – in front of a stone plaque where you can pray. People leave money on the rock for good fortune for their prayers.

Fog and cherry blossoms

If you climb to the very top of the sakura path there is a stunning view of the valley below and the surrounding mountains. On our last visit a thick fog developed as we hiked to the top. By the time we reached the summit the peak on the Higashichichibu side (top right of photo) was already concealed by fog.

Rainy Day

They don’t normally open if rain is forecast, but if rain falls unexpectedly (as happened to us today) they remain open until 4 pm. If you are in doubt you can always ring the Higashichichibu town hall before you depart. We have actually tried to visit here in the past, but it was closed as the sakura hadn’t been declared open yet. They close off the small bridge that leads to the car park so you can’t access the car park or sakura out of season.


A cosplayer at senbonzakura mt torayama highashichichibu
Samurai? A cosplayer walks down Mt Torayama

Incredibly the spot isn’t that well known, except among Cosplay enthusiasts. Torayama is a mecca for Cosplayers who get professional photos in their costumes done back dropped by thousands of cherry blossom trees. At the entrance to the car park there is a reception and changing area for cosplayers. Despite being foggy and rainy when we visited there were five different groups of cosplayers with professional photographers. Supposedly on a fine day there are dozens.


Since the pandemic there has been no festival. And in 2024 they aren’t planning one either. Normally, when they have the festival there are some food vans. Also, they string festival lanterns between the trees. The festival is usually the first weekend in April. Even though they don’t have a festival, this location only opens for a certain period (which is usually the festival period). In 2024 it will open from Friday March 29th. Before that period you cannot use the parking lot as it is closed off.


Peach blossoms

A short drive away is the famous “earthly paradise” of Saitama. If you time it right you can combine a visit to the cherry blossoms on Torayama with a stop at the Ouchizawa area of Higashichichibu. At Ouchizawa you can witness one of Saitama’s most beautiful spring scenes with the peach blossoms, sakura and several other vibrant flora coloring the rolling hills.

Senbonzakura of Torayama Information

Senbonzakura of Torayama
Address:317 Sakamoto, Higashichichibu, Chichibu District, 355-0372
Hours:Only open when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. They don’t normally open when rain is forecast. You can ring the Higashichichibu town hall to find out if in doubt.
Cost:Free and free parking. There is a donations box at the foot of the mountain for voluntary contributions.
Online:Official page on the Higashichichibu Website.


There is no train station in Higashichichibu, but Torayama is close to the border of Ogawa town which does have a train station. You need to get a bus from Ogawa station to the Ochiai bus stop near Washi no Sato. Its about a ten minute walk. If you get off at Washi no Sato its much longer, taking about 40 minutes on foot.

By car the mountain is about a thirty minute mountain drive from the Ranzan Ogawa Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway. It is a beautiful drive during spring with all the cherry blossoms and spring flora decorating the mountainsides.


  1. Wow sound amazing
    If was not such a weather today I will not staid at home
    Maybe tomorrow

    1. Its a pity about the rain. I doubt they will open in this weather. But tomorrow looks like a good day. I hope the sakura are ok after the rain 🤞

    1. Author

      We are lucky we are not on lock down yet or we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the sakura this year. I am careful not to go anywhere that will be busy.

  2. My daughter was obsessed with that song! She even learned to play it on the piano and violin!

    1. Author

      Its a really catchy song. I like it with the slower tempo. There is a beautiful English version of it.

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