Takao Sakura Park is, as the name implies, a cherry blossom park in Kitamoto City, Saitama Prefecture. It is also a popular spot for watching the sunset. Perched on the hill overlooking the Arakawa river, you can see as far as Mt Fuji on a clear day. Between February and April a variety of cherry blossoms bloom in turn.
Takao Sakura Park
There are approximately 200 cherry blossoms in Takao Sakura Park. In total there are 30 different varieties of sakura in the park. As such each variety has only a few trees each. You can see cherry blossoms in the park from the end of February to April. The park has some rare sakura. And they are currently trying to cultivate a kabazakura. Presumably the branch was taken from Ishito which is currently the only kabazakura in the world.
It is a relatively small park with no playground equipment or facilities other than toilets. However, it is very picturesque in spring. And even out of season with the view of the city sprawling out past the Arakawa with the mountains (including Fuji san) in the background.
Currently in bloom, March 2022
The Kawazuzakura are the first to bloom in the park in spring. Followed shortly after by the Sato Nishiki, which is an actual Cherry (as in the fruit) tree. They normally bloom end of February to early March. However, they were late to start in 2022. On March 3rd there were only a few blooms on the kawazuzakura. But on March 9th they were coming along nicely and the Sato sakura had opened too. On March 20th, the kawazuzakura had turned green, but the Okanzakura are in bloom.
After the Kawazu zakura the Okanzakura bloom in the park. There are a cluster of Okanzakura at the west end of the park. On March 9th 2022 the trees had buds on them, but zero blooms. On March 20th 2022 they were in full bloom. These Okanzakura are a shade of white with pink in the center. Thus, they look pink in photos! But if you want to see deep pink (angyo) kanzakura you can see them in Sakado city.
Furthermore, there are two stunning kikushidare in the park, pictured above. They also had no blooms on March 9th. Generally once the kanzakura start to bloom kikushidara in the park and the Edohigan in the neighboring Amidado Temple bloom soon after. Also, there are a couple of large magnolia trees which bloom around the same time too.
The park is particularly picturesque from the third week of March to early April when several varieties of cherry blossoms bloom together. During that period they have a cherry blossom festival:
Each year during the first weekend of April there is a “sakura matsuri”. Thankfully, despite the pandemic in 2022, the festival is currently set to go ahead. The festival is on Saturday April 2nd and Sunday April 3rd 2022 at Takao Sakura Park. On the Saturday, there is also a “Kitamoto Sakura Walk”, weather permitting. Kitamoto has some really excellent cherry blossom viewing:
Kitamoto has several notable cherry blossom spots. Including one of the five great sakura of Japan. Others include the Jougaya Embankment Cherry Blossom Bank and Kitamoto Children’s park. There is also a cherry blossom of interest in Hokoji. It is a weeping cherry blossom. The cherry blossom was grown from a branch of another of Japan’s five great cherry blossoms – the Miharu No Takizakura in Fukushima.
A short drive from the Takao Sakura Park in the neighboring Yoshimi Town, you can see rapeseed and cherry blossoms blooming together at Yoshimi Sakura Tsustumi. They typically bloom the end of March to early April. Also, if you are visiting early in spring, you can see kawazu zakura nearby on the Kamakura Kaido and also at Takao Hikawa Shrine.
Takao Sakura Park Information
|Address:||6 Chome-350-1 Takao, Kitamoto, Saitama 364-0034|
|Online:||Official web page on the Kitamoto City website|
It takes about 35 minutes to walk from JR Takasaki Line’s Kitamoto Station to the park. You can also get a bus from the station which takes about 10 minutes. Get the bus bound for the Saitama Health Promotion Center (Yoshimi) 衛生研究所・荒川荘 and alight at the “Nogai katsudo” center 野外活動センター入口.
By car it is about 4 kilometers from the Okegawa-Kitamoto Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. There is parking for about 140 cars. There are two separate car parks. One is on the west end down by the Arakawa River. The other is on the east side.