Jomine Park in the unassuming Kamikawa Town in the North of Saitama is one of Japan’s most famous winter cherry blossoms spots. Moreover, it is one of only a handful of places in Japan where you can see red maple leaves and cherry blossoms at the same time. Normally, the town has an annual winter cherry blossom festival “Fuyuzakura Matsuri” from mid October to early December. However, they had no festival between 2020 and 2022 due to the pandemic. But they did light up the sakura at night. They are having a festival in 2023, for the first time in four years. However, it will only be on one day, rather than the usual five to six weeks!
Winter cherry blossom trees
Each year in Autumn, Kamikawa town in the Kodama district of Saitama Prefecture is one of the most colorful places in all of Japan. Jomine Park’s winter cherry blossoms are one of the three great winter cherry blossom spots in all of Japan. The other two are Sakurayama Park in Fujioka City (Gunma) as well as the four seasons cherry blossoms in Obara in Toyama City (Aichi). Sakurayama Park is only a short drive from Jyomine Park, making the area an ideal location for winter cherry blossom viewing. Moreover, as Jomine Park has a campsite, you can enjoy a particularly scenic Autumn camping experience here.
There are approximately 600 cherry blossom trees in Jomine Park. They are double flowered of the “October cherry blossom” variety or Jyugatsu sakura in Japanese. As you can probably guess, they are called such because they start blooming in October! Usually mid October. Lucky for us, unlike their spring counterparts, they normally bloom for at least a month, normally longer.
Actually, these particular type of rare cherry blossoms have a very different blooming pattern than those you see in spring. They cyclically bloom and fall and bloom again for weeks on end. Therefore you can see them in Jomine Park normally until early to mid December. There are walkways between the trees and even raised dais to facilitate easy viewing and the opportunity to get that picture perfect photo!
With Autumn leaves
The best time to visit Jomie is usually mid-November, because not only will the cherry blossoms be blooming, but the autumn leaves will also be at their prime. In 2022, the autumn leaves started to change color on October 20th. However, 2023 has been unseasonably hot in September, so they may be later to change. This is one of only a handful of places in Japan that you can see winter sakura and red maple leaves at the same time. Moreover, they usually light them up at night, but unfortunately I cannot guarantee light up for 2023. They had it when we visited in 2020, but I don’t think they had it in 2022.
Winter Cherry Blossom Festival
Normally the festival takes place from around October 23rd to the end of the first week of December. It hasn’t been on properly since 2018. In 2019 the festival was cancelled just as it started due to damage sustained in the area during typhoon Hagibis. In 2020, there was only light up for the festival. And in 2021 they cancelled the festival entirely. In 2023, they will only have a festival on one day, Sunday October 29th from 10 am to 3 pm. They will have a market, stage events, and food trucks. There are also two eateries in the park that normally open for the five weeks of the festival, so presumably they will open on October 29th.
In the area
- The haunted dam
- A very special shrine – 1 of only 3 in all of Japan
- A fishing restaurant
- The naked men festival!
Event: Winter Cherry Blossom Festival 冬桜まつり
Date: Sunday October 29th 2023
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Cost: there is no admission fee.
Venue: Municipal Jyoumine Park (Jomine Park / Joumine Park), 1277 Yano, Kamikawa, Kodama District, Saitama 367-0313. View on Google Maps.
There is a train station in Kamikawa “Tansho Station” but there doesn’t seem to be a bus to the park from that station. You can get a bus from Honjo station though. From Honjo station get the bus bound for Jomine park 「城峯公園方面バス」. It takes about 45 minutes.
By car – there is plenty of parking, but please note during the prime viewing period it is not unusual to have to wait to get a coveted parking spot! Also, please note – sometimes the roads are suddenly closed due to inclement conditions. Always check with the official site for the most up to date information, especially after a natural disaster such as a typhoon or earthquake.