A little known Yokohama Hizakura (aka Yokohama Scarlet Cherry Blossom) spot in Higashimatsuyama City, Saitama Prefecture.
Yokohama Hizakura / Scarlet Cherry Blossoms
Yokohama Hizakura are a type of bright pink cherry blossom tree often called Yokohama Scarlet (or Red) Cherry Blossom in English. They are named for the city of Yokohama where they originated. In 1972, a Yokohama based artist crossbred Kanhi, Oshima, Takane and Kenroku Kumagai cherry blossoms to create the Yokohama Hizakura variety. Kanhizakura look more like bell flowers, but thanks to mixing them with several other varieties of cherry blossoms, the Yokohama Hizakura shape is more like a typical cherry flower. The most obvious difference though is that the blossoms of the Yokohama Hizakura are much deeper in color. They are deep pink, with a strong red purple tint.
Supposedly there are three different types of Yokohama Hizakura, each blooming at different times. The ones in Higashimatsuyama bloom just before the Somei Yoshino. Each tree is ‘owned’ by a different person. They paid 10,000 yen to have a tree planted with their name and personal wish written on a plaque beside the tree. There are currently 138 of them that stretch for about a kilometer (split by route 407) at “Nomoto Sakura no Sato”:
Nomoto Sakura no Sato
The Yokohama Scarlet Cherry Blossoms line either side of a narrow embankment, near Peony Walk, they’ve called Nomoto Sakura no Sato. Unlike many embankments that serve as walkways, the path has not been cemented. It is a walkway of natural grass. On another nearby embankment by the Toki river, canola flower grows wildly. It creates a stunning stark contrast – the deep pink against the bright yellow. Moreover, you can also enjoy the contrast of trains passing in the distance on the Tobu Tojo line.
The trees were planted between 2013 and 2016, but supposedly they only bloomed properly for the first time in 2020. Which I was so relieved to hear, because when I first spotted them this year I was wondering how on earth I’d never noticed them before! For years, I drove by this spot weekly to bring my kids swimming. But we haven’t used that swimming pool since around 2018. I suppose I hadn’t drove this way, at the end of March, for a few years. But this month when I did, there was no missing these cherry blossoms. I noticed them from about three kilometers away! And I just had to go and investigate.
The trees are still quite small, but supposedly they will grow bigger. I have no doubt, this cherry blossom spot will become increasingly popular over the years. But right now, it is a refreshingly quiet sakura sanctuary! I have been to visit them twice this month (March 2023). Each time, there were no more than three other people there. Of the two I got talking to, both own one of the trees each. They very kindly gave me the information that is contained in this post!
Night Light Up
As you can see in the featured photo, lanterns hang on one side of the trees. And they light them at night. The very first time I noticed the trees it was at dusk. In fairness, I think it was really the lanterns that allured me from three kilometers away! I think I noticed the lanterns first and couldn’t believe my eyes, or my luck, that they were hanging beside vibrant pink blossoms. From afar I wondered if they might be peach blossoms. As we got closer I thought they might be the Yoko aka Sunlight variety. But one of the kind ladies I spoke to that evening, was the one who told me they are Yokohama Hizakura.
The featured photo at the top is from that first evening, taken around 6 pm. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out the hours of light up or the end date.
Sakura Spot: Nomoto Sakura No Sato 野本 or のもとさくらの里
Sakura Variety: Yokohama Scarlet Cherry Blossom 横浜緋桜
Number of trees: 138
Bloom period: They start a little earlier than the Somei Yoshino, so around the end of March.
Location: Nomoto Sakura no Sato is not on Google Maps yet. I submitted it tonight, but it might take a few days for it to be accepted. In the meantime, here it is pinned. The rough address is: Shimooshidari, Higashimatsuyama, Saitama 355-0041.
Takasaka Station on the Tobu Tojo Line is about a 30 minute walk away. The nearest landmark is Peony Walk (shopping mall) which is about a 10 minute walk away from the trees. As such, any bus going to Peony walk will take you within walking distance. If you are travelling by car, there is a parking lot for about 15 cars. The entrance is just North of a the bridge by Peony Walk on route 407.
I couldn’t find a web page for Nomoto Sakura no Sato. But the official Higashimatsuyama City website has a few mentions of the location on various PDF brochures.