Translated by Jelena Kitamura
7 Great Cherry Blossom Spots Near Tokyo In 2020
Written by MATCHA
There are countless cherry blossom viewing spots near Tokyo great for day trips with gorgeous sakura and nature. Here are 7 destinations in 2020 where you can admire cherry blossoms from hot springs, at an ancient city, and with Mt. Fuji.
Cherry Blossoms in Eastern Japan
It is the season for admiring cherry blossoms, or sakura. There are many beautiful cherry blossom spots in the city, but just outside of Tokyo are endless cherry blossom viewing spots waiting to be discovered, with unique and picturesque Japanese landscapes, including hot springs and historical cities.
We will introduce 7 spots around the Kanto area, where you can enjoy a different cherry blossom-viewing experience from what you can see in the Tokyo metropolis.
First Blossoms and Peak Bloom Days in Kanto
The annual dates of the first and full bloom of cherry blossoms in cities around Kanto Region are as shown below.
|First Bloom||Full Bloom|
|Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture)||March 26||April 3|
|Kofu (Yamanashi Prefecture)||March 27||April 3|
|Shizuoka (Shizuoka Prefecture)||March 25||April 3|
|Mito (Ibaraki Prefecture)||April 2||April 8|
|Kumagaya (Saitama Prefecture)||March 29||April 5|
Table of Contents:
1.Odawara Castle, Kanagawa: View Cherry Blossoms and a Castle
2.Sankeien Garden, Yokohama: A Japanese Garden with Beautiful Cherry Blossoms
3.Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura: The Ancient-City Feel
4.Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi: Together with Mt. Fuji
5.Kawazu-zakura, Izu: Enjoy the View from Hot Springs
6. Hill Hitachi Fudoki, Ibaraki: A Magnificent Cherry Blossom Tunnel
7.Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi, Saitama: Cherry Blossoms and Rapeseed Flowers
1. Odawara Castle, Kanagawa: View Cherry Blossoms and a Castle
Picture courtesy of Odawara City Tourism Association
Odawara Castle, one of the most easily reachable castles in Eastern Japan, is just a 35-minute Shinkansen ride from Tokyo.
In spring, you’ll get to relish a view of about 320 Yoshino Cherry trees. This is truly a remarkable sight with the castle’s tower in the background. In the night, the castle looks magical, lit up with bonbori (paper or cloth-covered lanterns). If you’re visiting during the night, don’t forget to dress warmly as it gets cold.
There are also many cherry blossom spots in the nearby Shiroyama Park, so you can enjoy plenty of cherry blossoms here. Furthermore, prior to the cherry blossom season, from February to early March, you can see the plum blossoms and attend the Plum Festival (Ume Matsuri).
Address: Kanagawa, Odawara, Odawara Castle Google Map
Access: 10 minutes by foot from JR Odakyu Line Odawara Station. Ride the Shinkansen Kodama from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station for 35 minutes (reserved seat 3,540 yen), or JR Tokaido Main Line Rapid Train Acty for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (1,490 yen).
Price: Tenshukaku (castle keep): adults 510 yen, children (elementary and junior high school students) 200 yen; Tokiwaki Gate: adults 200 yen, children (elementary and junior high school students) 60 yen
Official Webpage: https://odawaracastle.com/ (automatically translated English page available)
2. Sankeien Garden, Yokohama: A Japanese Garden with Beautiful Cherry Blossoms
Picture courtesy of Sankeien Hoshoukai Foundation
Sankeien is a Japanese garden in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, which boasts a magnificent 175,000 square meters in width and length. It holds rich traditions and welcomed its 110th anniversary in 2016. In the past, it drew attention from many artists. It is said that many representative modern Japanese paintings were created in Sankeien Garden.
When spring comes, around 300 cherry trees bloom all around the garden. Numerous structures of great historical value brought in from Kyoto and Kamakura, pair perfectly with the flowers. Visitors can experience the traditional Japanese atmosphere characteristic of Kyoto close to Tokyo.
Also, inside Sankeien Saryo, situated on the castle grounds, rules the kingdom of sweetness. In spring we recommend the sakura ice cream. Ground cherry leaves inside this frozen treat create a classic Japanese flavor similar to sakura mochi.
3. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura: The Ancient-City Feel
Picture courtesy of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
Surrounded by nature, the old city of Kamakura is only an hour-trip from Tokyo. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is one of the major shrines in the area with cherry blossoms blooming. The contrast of pink and the background colors of the shrine will take your breath away with their outstanding beauty.
The shrine’s main hall and the cherry trees, with the mountains towering in the background, is a scene viewable only in Kamakura. How about enjoying the beautiful cherry blossoms and a relaxing walk through the endless shrine grounds on your next visit to the shrine?
It takes only 10 minutes by foot from Kamakura Station to reach this spot. You’ll also find numerous souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes in the vicinity. Take your time and relish the charming cherry blossoms as much as you want.
4. Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi: Together with Mt. Fuji
Picture courtesy of Fuji Kawaguchiko-cho Tourism Department
Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture is famous for its view of Mt. Fuji from its shores. You can relish seeing Mt. Fuji in each season and also enjoy the stunning surroundings. It takes just 2 hours to reach this spot from Tokyo.
In spring, you can take in the view of the cherry blossoms and Mt. Fuji at the same time. As it is located on higher grounds, the first bloom appears around mid-April so you can still enjoy the lovely cherry blossom season a little later, even if you’ve missed it in Tokyo.
In particular, Nagasaki Park on the coast of the lake offers a spectacular front view of Mt. Fuji. The scenery of Mt. Fuji and the cherry trees blooming seem like a beautiful, real-life painting, and will surely put a smile on your face when you see it. A row of cherry trees can also be admired in the surrounding area. The serene atmosphere, adding to the stunning view, will surely create a lasting memory.
Address: Yamanashi, Minamitsuru, Fujikawaguchiko Google Map
Access: Within walking distance from Kawaguchiko Station of Fujikyuko Line. To reach Nagasaki Park, ride the bus bound for Oishi from Kawaguchiko Station, or the Kawaguchiko tour bus for about 15 minutes (400 yen); get off at Sunnidemae-Nagasakikoen-iriguchi bus stop, then walk for 3 minutes. When departing from Tokyo, ride the Main Line Kaiji or Azusa limited express from Shinjuku Station for about 60 minutes (reserved seat 2,570 yen); change trains at Otsuki Station and ride the train of Fujikyuko Line for about 60 minutes (1,140 yen); get off at Kawaguchiko Station. Also, you can ride a bus from Shinjuku or Tokyo Station.
Official Webpage: http://www.fujisan.ne.jp/ (a robot-translated English page available)
5. Kawazu-zakura, Izu: Enjoy the View from Hot Springs
Picture courtesy of Kawazu-cho Tourism Organization
Izu is famous destination in Shizuoka Prefecture, known for its hot spring spots. As it takes only 2 to 2 and a half hours to reach it from Tokyo, it is a popular area for short trips.
One part of Izu is especially famous for an amazing cherry blossom view: Kawazu Station. Every year from early February to early March, a special Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is held. During this festival, the visitors have a chance to use three ashiyu hot springs (footbath) for free. You’ll also find a variety of hot springs in the area, as well. Some of them even offer views of the cherry blossoms you can enjoy while soaking in the hot water.
Picture courtesy of Kawazu-cho Tourism Organization
At the Kawazu Cherry Blossoms Festival, take in the night illumination of the cherry blossoms. We especially suggest seeing the lit-up riverside cherry trees. The scene is overwhelmingly beautiful. Take this chance to compare the cherry trees in the daylight and during the night. The views will transform completely.
Keep in mind that the weather during cherry blossom-viewing season is still cold. This hanami spot provides guests not just with a stunning cherry blossom view, but with warm and cozy hot springs to admire it from.
Address: Shizuoka, Kamo, Kawazu, Hama Google Map
Access: Within walking distance from Kawazu Station of Izu Kyuko Line. If you’re heading to Kawazu from Tokyo, ride the Odoriko train from JR Tokyo Station for about 2 hours and a half; get off at JR Kawazu Station (6,190 yen).
6. Hill Hitachi Fudoki, Ibaraki: The Magnificent Sakura Tunnel
Picture courtesy of Hill Hitachi Fudoki
Hill Hitachi Fudoki (Hitachi Fudoki no Oka) is a famous cherry blossom spot in Ibaraki Prefecture, located northeast of Tokyo. There are three types of cherry trees that bloom in succession: Yoshino Cherry Blossoms, blooming in the early April, Prunus pendula (Shidare Zakura), blooming in mid-April, and botan zakura (also known as yaezakura), blooming in late-April. Be sure to walk through the shidare zakura tunnel.
Hill Hitachi Fudoki is also famous for having the largest shishigashira (*1) in Japan. If you take a walk inside the park, you’ll get a glimpse of what Japan was like during ancient times as there are models of the traditional houses on display.
*1 Shishigashira: Shishi refers to an imaginary animal resembling a lion. A few festivals in Japan have traditional dances during which wooden heads of shishi animal appear.
Hill Hitachi Fudoki
Address: Ibaraki, Ishioka, Someya 1646 Google Map
Access: Ride the Kantetsu Green Bus bound for Kakiokashako from JR Ishioka Station of Joban Line for about 10 minutes (290 yen); get off at Murakami bus stop and walk for 15 minutes. To reach Ishioka Station from Tokyo, ride the Joban Line Tokiwa limited express from Tokyo Station for about 1 hour; get off at Ishioka Station (2,490 yen).
Official Webpage: http://business2.plala.or.jp/fudoki/ (Japanese)
7. Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi, Saitama: Cherry Blossoms and Rapeseed Flowers
Picture courtesy of Kumagaya Tourist Association
Along the bank of Arakawa River at Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi, Saitama Prefecture, cherry blossom enthusiasts can marvel at a magnificent, 2-kilometer long row of 500 cherry trees. This spot has been known for its cherry blossom scenery since the Edo Period and also appears on the 100 Best Sakura Spots in Japan list. Here you can appreciate the delightful contrast of rapeseed flowers and cherry blossoms.
In early April, the Cherry Blossom Festival is held in this area. Visitors can enjoy both the flowers and delicious food from the festival stands.
Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi
Address: Saitama, Kumagaya, Kawaracho 2 Google Map
Access: 10 minutes by foot from JR Kumagaya Station. If you’re heading to Kumagaya Station from Tokyo, ride the train of Shonan-Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku Station for about 1 hour and 10 minutes; get off at JR Kumagaya Station (1,140 yen).
Official Webpage: http://www.city.kumagaya.lg.jp/kanko/matsuri/sakura_matsuri/kaika.html (robot-translated English page available)
See Iconic Cherry Blossoms near Tokyo!
At these spots, you can take in the harmony of the cherry blossoms with historical buildings, cherry blossoms at an onsen, and even Mt. Fuji and cherry blossoms. Each of the scenery is charming in a different way.
Cherry blossoms have a beautiful and unique appearance that transforms depending on the surroundings, be it in the middle of a city, in nature, or during the day or at night. Admiring cherry blossoms in Tokyo is enjoyable, but you can also take a trip to the outskirts to enjoy sightseeing and being in the great outdoors.
Original article written by: Mami Wakamatsu
**This article is a 2020 edition of an article published on February 22, 2016.
Main image by Pixta