Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Amazing Views! 4 Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots In Eastern Japan
In order to enjoy the amazingly beautiful sight of the cherry blossoms, it is worth going on a one day trip out of Tokyo. We introduce here the best sakura viewing spots in eastern Japan to visit in 2018, based on the cherry blossom forecast.
Written by MATCHA
The Japanese welcome the spring with joy, as it is the sakura (cherry blossoms) season. There are a great number of hanami (sakura viewing) spots in the Tokyo metropolitan area, but if you venture outside the metropolis, you can also find hanami spots in hot spring areas, and some offering views of other famous Japanese symbols.
In this article, we will introduce four unique spots in the Kanto Region, all of them offering sights that are a little different from Tokyo.
1. Yokohama: Sankeien Garden
Photo courtesy of: Sankeien Hoshokai Foundation
Sankeien is an expansive Japanese garden, 175,000 square meters in size, located in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture. The garden, celebrating its 110th anniversary in 2016, started as a place to help and support young artists. It is said that many works of modern Japanese-style painting were drawn at Sankeien.
In spring, 300 sakura trees bloom in the garden. Precious historic buildings relocated from Kyoto and Kamakura are also spread out on its grounds, blending beautifully with the sakura. Yokohama is close to Tokyo, but you can enjoy a Kyoto-like, traditional Japanese scenery at Sankeien.
Sankeien Saryo, a teahouse in the garden, offers matcha tea and Japanese-style confections. In the spring, you can enjoy ’Sakura Ice’, which is ice cream with small pieces of cherry blossoms in it, and has a flavor similar to sakura-mochi, a traditional sweet specific to the spring.
Address: Kanagawa, Yokohama, Naka, Honmoku-sannotani 58-1
Nearest Station: Negishi Station (JR Keihin-tohoku and Negishi Lines)
Access: 10 minute ride on the Yokohama City Bus to the Honmoku bus stop, 10 minute walk to the garden
Admission: Junior High Students and up 500 yen, elementary school children 200 yen
2. Izu: Kawazu-cho
Photo courtesy of: Kawazu Tourist Association
The Izu area in Shizuoka prefecture is famous for its hot springs. Many people visit this area, as it is only about two and a half hours away from Tokyo.
Kawazu Station is one of the most prominent hanami spots in Izu. The Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is held every year from February to March, and during the festival, free ashiyu (foot bath) spots open in three locations. There are various bathing spots as well, and some offer views of the sakura.
Photo courtesy of: Kawazu Tourist Association
During the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival, the sakura trees are illuminated at night. The riverside nighttime view is truly impressive and completely different from the daytime. It may be fun to compare them.
The temperatures are still low in the early spring, but in this area, visitors can take in the view while soaking in a hot spring as well.
Address: Shizuoka, Kamo, Kawazu-cho, Hama, and nearby areas.
Nearest Station: Kawazu Station (Izu Kyuko Line)
Access: in front of the station
Website: Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival
3. Kamakura: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
Photo courtesy of: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
Kamakura, the old capital surrounded by natural settings, is an hour away from Tokyo. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, a prominent shrine, is located here. The contrast between the pink cherry blossoms and the shrine grounds is truly a beautiful sight.
The view of the shrine buildings and sakura against the backdrop of the hills surrounding the area is a sight that can only be seen at Kamakura. So walk around the vast shrine grounds, and take in the view of the sakura. From the station, it is a ten minutes walk to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Visitors can also enjoy strolling around the various souvenir shops and restaurants near the approach to the shrine.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
Address: Kanagawa, Kamakura, Yukinoshita 2-1-31
Nearest Station: Kamakura Station (JR Yokosuka Line, Enoshima Electric Railway)
Access: 10 minute walk from either station
Website: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
4. Yamanashi: Lake Kawaguchi
Photo courtesy of: the Tourism Division of Fujikawaguchiko
From Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi) in Yamanashi prefecture, visitors can enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji. The lake, about two hours away from Tokyo, is famous for its views of the mountain, which change every season.
In spring, cherry blossoms can be viewed along with Mt. Fuji. The altitude of this area is higher than Tokyo's, meaning that the sakura bloom in late April. Those who missed the cherry blossoms in Tokyo should visit Kawaguchiko instead.
Nagasaki Park is located by the lake and offers a great view of Mt. Fuji. The whole landscape looks like it is a work of art, and is made even prettier by the addition of cherry blossoms. In mid-April, the sakura will be in full bloom, and the view in the crisp air should make a long, lasting memory.
Address: Yamanashi, Minamitsuru-gun, Fujikawaguchiko-cho, Oishi and Kawaguchi
Nearest Station: Kawaguchiko Station (Fujikyu Railway)
Access: From Kawaguchiko Station, take the bus headed for the Oishi area, and get off at Sanide-mae Nagasaki Koen Iriguchi bus stop. It is a three minute walk to the park.
Website: Cherry Blossoms of Nagasaki Park
Cherry blossom viewing spots located around historic sites, in a hot spring area or near Mt. Fuji - they all have their own unique appeal. Whether it is in an urban area or the countryside, whether it is night or day, the cherry blossoms can be viewed in many different ways. Going to a hanami spot in an urban area may be convenient, but viewing the sakura in a natural landscape on a sightseeing trip may also be fun.