Written by Merilwen Horseback
Cherry Blossoms And The Starry Sky! A February Trip To Shizuoka
If you travel in February to Shizuoka you can enjoy the highlights of winter and spring - a stunningly clear starry sky and early cherry blossoms! We introduce two spots in Shizuoka prefecture where it's great to travel in February.
The sight of thousands of cherry blossoms bursting into bloom and filling the air with their sparkling pink color has always been one of the top reasons for travelers from all around the world to visit Japan in the spring.
However, this spectacular flower is not exclusive for spring. Did you know that you can enjoy cherry blossoms at different times around the year, even in autumn or winter? It all depends on the species of cherry tree.
Even though the most famous type of cherry trees, Somei Yoshino, normally will not wake up until the end of March, you can actually start viewing cherry blossoms season from early February. This is the time for Kawazu-zakura to shake off their winter clothes and show the world their lovely petals.
This article will introduce to you the birthplace of this special flower, Kawazu city, as well as the area to the south of this city where you can savour a rare mixture of winter and spring: cherry blossom viewing during the day, and a winter star-gazing at night.
Kawazu-zakura Festival at Kawazu Station
You can travel to Kawazu directly from Tokyo Station by getting on the JR Odoriko 105 Limited Express towards Izukyu-Shimoda. The train will reach Kawazu Station in about one hour and a half. If you visit from early-February to early- March, you will be able to see the Kawazu-zakura Festival right outside the station.
Up on the high levee, visitors can stroll under the rosy tunnel where stalls offering local food and souvenirs are lining up. After a long journey, it would be great to take a break on the bench of one of these shops while admiring the endless rows of sakura trees and tasting their wide selection of cooked food, sweets and dried fruits.
The view of the sakura trees is especially impressive when looking from under the gravel bank near the water body. The water level during this time of the year is so low you can almost walk up to the middle of the river. Let your eyes follow the countless pink petals to the background where layers of mountains proudly stand under a perfect blue sky.
Later in the evening, when the last rays of the sun are tossing their most brilliant light onto the land, the contrast between the different colors becomes so intense that it brings a unique impression to the scenery. And this is also a rare chance to see the reed field glowing like golden fur under the sun.
Yet, even when darkness has fallen on earth, the feast is not over. Every day from 18:00 to 21:00 during the festival, illuminations are held along the riverbank.
All the excitement and noises during daytime are replaced by an absolute stillness at night. Everything is so quiet that you can almost hear the breath of the flowers.
The whole place is now yours. You have the fragile petals of the cherry blossoms all for yourself, swaying gently in the cold winter breeze.
|Address||Shizuoka, Kamo, Kawazu-chō, Hama 79-4|
|Business Time||Early-February to early-March.|
|Accepted Credit Cards||Not Available|
|Nearest station||Kawazu Station|
|Access||3 minutes walk from Kawazu Station|
Winter Night Sky at Minamiizu Yumigahama
The Kawazu cherry blossoms may make you forget that it is still the middle of winter. But it is easy to tell if you look up at the starry sky and find the winter constellations known as the Winter's Diamond.
Near the horizon, you can easily find the Orion constellation which makes up a part of the Winter's Diamond
Along the beach from Kawazu to the south, there are many beautiful spots to watch the stars, but this time I chose Minamiizu Yumigahama which is one hour by train and bus from Kawazu Station.
This beautiful beach is separated from residential areas by a vast green space running along the shore, providing the perfect environment and light conditions for stargazing. In the winter, the center of our galaxy is not visible from the northern hemisphere so you need to look carefully to find a thin ribbon lying across the sky.
The planet alignment in the Solar System at the beginning of February, 2016.
On the other hand, stargazing is not all about finding the Milky Way. The winter air is always clearer than in other seasons so every sky observer will be able to find their favorite celestial bodies.
Plan Your Trip to Shizuoka!
Going to see the cherry blossoms in February is no longer a thing that can surprise anyone. The Kawazu-zakura blossoms have a unique color and special characteristics. Moreover, their blooming period is usually longer than April sakura – they last for approximately one whole month.
The season to enjoy the beautiful Kawazu-zakura is coming near so plan your trip fast, and, don’t forget to take a look at the stars if you decide to stay the night in the area!