Best Early Blooming Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan 2024
Where to Enjoy Early Blooming Kawazu Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Did you know cherry blossoms in Japan have many varieties? The most common type of cherry blossoms in Japan is Somei Yoshino which usually starts blooming in mid to late March in most cities across the country. Somei Yoshino is known for having pale pink petal and its blooming time lasts about 2 weeks.
While the peak season of cherry blossoms in Japan is packed with tourists and relatively expensive, you can actually enjoy cherry blossoms in a off-peak season.
Kawazu Zakura (河津桜) is a type of cherry blossoms that blooms in late winter (early February to early March). In comparison to Somei Yoshino, Kawazu Zakura has deeper pink and larger petals as well as longer blooming period which lasts about a month.
There are many places in Japan where you can enjoy early blooming cherry blossoms ahead of the peak season in spring. In this article, I’m going to introduce some of the best Kawazu Zakura spots in Japan!
Kawazu Town, Shizuoka
As you might guess from the name, Kawazu Zakura blossoms are originated in Kawazu Town on the Izu Peninsula of Shizuoka Prefecture. It’s a top Kawazu Zakura spot in Japan, boasting about 8,000 cherry trees in the town and 850 of them stretch for 4km along the Kawazu River.
The Kawazu Zakura starts blooming in early February and displays an astonishing scenery together with yellow rapeseed flowers on the riverbank. During the season, a cherry blossom festival is held annually since 1980s, featuring numbers of food stalls, fun events and light-up of cherry trees at night.
More info: Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival
Miura City, Kanagawa
Miura is a city situated on the southern tip of the Miura Peninsula, Kanagawa Prefecture. It’s a site for the popular event, Miura Kaigan Cherry Blossom Festival which is held from early February to early March every year.
The festival celebrates the early blooming cherry blossoms with over 1,000 Kawazu cherry trees, stretching along the railroad between Miura Kaigan Station and Komatsugaike Park. You can capture the unique scenery of trains passing by a row of cherry trees. During the festival, there are stalls selling local products and delicious food, and also a light-up of cherry blossoms held after 17:00.
More info: Miura Kaigan Cherry Blossoms
Matsuda Town, Kanagawa
To enjoy the view of early blooming cherry blossoms and Mt Fuji, visit the Matsuda Cherry Blossom Festival which is held at Matsudayama Herb Garden inside Nishihirabatake Park in Matsuda Town, Kanagawa Prefecture. The festival features about 360 pink Kawazu Zakura cherry trees with yellow rapeseed flowers creating a beautiful contrast on the mountain slope.
During the festival, there are some stalls selling local products as well as the Furusato train, a mini sightseeing train running through the park. And if it’s good weather, you can enjoy the captivating view of Mt Fuji and Sagami Bay together with the blossoms.
More info: Matsuda Cherry Blossom Festival
Kiba Park, Tokyo
Kiba Park is a spacious multi-purpose park located in Koto Ward in east Tokyo, which consists of running courses, playgrounds, tennis courts, event spaces, etc. The park is one of the few places where you can enjoy early blooming Kawazu cherry blossoms in Tokyo.
Approx 100 cherry trees are planted along the Oyoko River for 7–800m, just outside of the park and flourish for about a month from early February. Visitors can enjoy a pleasant walk under the charming cherry blossoms along the river.
Minami Izu Town, Shizuoka
Minami Izu Town is located about 25km south of Kawazu Town and it’s another great spot to celebrate Kawazu cherry blossoms on Izu Peninsula. Around Shimogamo Onsen hot spring resort area, there are about 800 cherry trees planed along the Aono River for 4.2km, displaying breathtaking scenery. Yellow rapeseed flowers also flourish on the riverbank, creating a beautiful contrast together with pink cherry blossoms.
The Minami Cherry Blossom and Rapeseed Flower Festival is held annually from early February to early March, featuring food stalls, special events, cherry blossom viewing rickshaw and light-up of cherry blossoms at night. While the cherry blossom festival in Kawazu Town is famous nationwide, at Minami Izu Town, you can enjoy the cherry blossoms and the tranquility of the surrounding nature with less crowds.
Yodo Suiro Waterway, Kyoto
The Yodo Suiro Waterway in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City is known as the place where you can enjoy cherry blossom viewing the earliest in Kyoto. It’s a top Kawazu Zakura viewing spot in Kansai region and can be accessed from Osaka easily. It’s home to about 200 Kawazu Zakura trees lined along the waterway.
The cherry blossoms in Yodo Suiro Waterway typically start blooming in mid February and can be enjoyed until mid March. Even after the peak season, the site displays beautiful scenery of cherry blossom petals floating on the surface of the water. A cherry blossom festival is usually held for 2 days in early-mid March.
Tsukumi City, Oita
Tsukumi is a city located on the northern Shiura Peninsula in Oita Prefecture. The eastern part of the city faces the Bungo Channel, a strait separating the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku. In Youra area of the city, there are about 5,000 Kawazu Zakura cherry trees, making it the largest Kawazu cherry blossom spot in Kyushu Region.
The cherry blossoms usually start blooming arounf the beginning of February and reaches its peak around mid February. On sunny days, the pink of the Kawazu cherry blossoms stands out against the clear blue of the sky and the deep blue of the sea, creating a breathtaking scenery. The Bungo Channel Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is held every year in the during the blooming period, featuring special events and various cherry blossom-related sweets and souvenirs sold for a limited time at local stores.
Want to go see the Kawazu Sakura? Buy your train ticket in advance!
During cherry blossom season, these spots attracts both tourists and locals, and express trains operate with a reserved seat system, meaning they can quickly become fully booked. So make sure to book your tickets ahead of time to secure your seat.
During the Kawazu Zakura season, you can also enjoy plum blossoms at many places in Japan. Check out the best plum blossom spots in Japan from the link below!
For more information about travelling Japan in late winter/early spring, I recommend you to check out these articles, too!