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culture, shizuoka

Shizuoka: The Best Sakura Viewing Spots

Karina Ikedo

Karina Ikedo

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A brilliantly pink cherry blossom tree on a hill in Shizuoka.

While sakura (cherry blossom) trees blossom in the spring; their life cycles vary from region to region. If you want to make the most of spring, you’re in the right place! The sakura trees in Shizuoka prefecture are famous for blooming earlier than usual. 

Shizuoka is the home of the kawazu-zakura cherry tree, one of the most popular winter cherry blossom kinds. These lovely pink blossoms usually last a month but are magnificent and breathtaking. Let’s take a closer look at these sakura-viewing spots in Shizuoka.

Kawazu River

Kawazu-zakura was first discovered in 1972 in the small town of Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula. Kawazu is one of Japan’s first areas to experience cherry blossoms because of the region’s mild climate. The sakura trees usually start blooming from early February to early March. 

Kawazu River in the daytime, with cheryr blossom trees on its embankment.
Kawazu River is a premier spot for cherry blossoms in Shizuoka. Image via Shutterstock

One of the best places to take breathtaking photos of the kawazu-zakura is along the Kawazu River. During the day, the 850 sakura trees glow in the sunlight, while the nighttime illuminations leave visitors in awe. Undoubtedly, everyone here will marvel at this lovely sight as they stroll along the Kawazu River.

Cherry blossom flavored taiyaki at the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival.
Sakura taiyaki is a popular treat at the cherry blossom festival. Image via Shutterstock

The Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is a popular event that draws much attention to the area. You can enjoy many activities, such as trying local foods, shopping for souvenirs, and seeing a stage performance. There are even spots to see the cherry blossoms while enjoying an ashiyu (foot bath) during the festival. 

Acao Forest

Acao Forest is a flower park just an hour from Tokyo, with cherry blossoms overlooking the Sagami Sea. It boasts 13 themed gardens, particularly showcasing an array of French roses, sunflowers, tulips, wisteria, and other seasonal flowers.

A bird in a sakura tree in Atami.
Atami is a seaside resort that’s home to many cherry blossoms. Image via Shutterstock

A one-of-a-kind hanami festival (flower viewing) picnic is available during the park’s sakura festival. The picnic set includes hot soup, baked goods, and a drink. The best thing is that you can enjoy the treats while gazing at cherry blossoms by the café’s glass walls. You can also participate in many workshops inspired by spring, including tutorials for making flower wreaths and homemade-themed spring soap.

Kanogawa Sakura Park

If you’re looking for a place to take in the beauty of Japan’s cherry blossoms, then look no further than Kanogawa Sakura Park. Situated on the Kano River embankment between Nirayama and Izu-Nagaoka stations, this park offers breathtaking views of the sakura in full bloom and snow-capped Mt. Fuji in the distance. Overall, it’s a must-visit spot for nature lovers and photographers alike.

Cherry blossom trees at Kanogawa Sakura Park.
This is a famous park in the basin of Kano River. Image via Shutterstock

Additionally, we recommend exploring traditional areas like the Ganjojuin Temple and Moriyama Hachimangu Shrine. They are associated with the Hojo clan (a powerful samurai family) active during the Kamakura period.

Shimogamo Onsen

Every year, the Shimogamo Onsen region of the Izu Peninsula hosts a stunning display of nature’s beauty. Generally, around 800 kawazu-zakura trees bloom, creating a dreamy pink landscape. Most of these trees span two kilometers along the Aono River. In addition, its gorgeous surroundings include dazzling yellow rapeseed flowers. Undoubtedly, it’s an idyllic spot that’s not to be missed.

Image via Shutterstock

The Shimogamo Onsen region is a lovely hot spring town nestled amidst mountains and close to the sea. Its pastoral ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and steamy hot springs, create a magical ambiance for cherry blossom viewing. This lovely atmosphere makes the Shimogamo area an especially unforgettable experience.

Itogawa Promenade

Atami City’s Itogawa Promenade is a stunning sight in early January when the sakura trees bloom in a vibrant shade of dark pink. This peaceful hot spring village is home to a picturesque stretch of sakura trees, providing visitors an unforgettable experience of Japan’s natural beauty.

CHerry blossoms at Atami Sun Beach in Shizuoka.
Atami Sun Beach is near the Ito Promenade. Image via Shutterstock

A ten-minute stroll from Atami Station will take you to the beautiful Itogawa River. As you walk along the river, you will be greeted by stunning pink sakura trees that create an exceptionally breathtaking atmosphere. Furthermore, the streets near the walkway are dotted with delightful small restaurants and shops that add to the area’s charm.

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Mishima Taisha Shrine

The Mishima Shrine is one of the most renowned shrines in Mishima City. It’s famous for being where Minamoto no Yoritomo prayed for the revival of the Minamoto clan. It’s also one of Izu’s most well-known locations for cherry blossom spots. Around 200 sakura trees of 15 different types bloom on the shrine grounds in early spring.

An illumination at Mishima Shrine.
Mishima Taisha Shrine is awash in cherry blossoms during the spring. Image via Shutterstock

Visitors can enjoy beautiful sakura trees along the path leading up to the main shrine and Kami-ike Pond. Usually, late March to early April is the best time to see cherry blossoms, especially during the nighttime illumination period.

Mt. Gotenyama

In the spring, approximately 600 cherry trees blossom throughout Mt. Gotenyama, creating a spectacular sight. The mountain is transformed into a delicate pink hue when the sakura is in full bloom, leaving visitors awestruck. As you make your way halfway up the mountain, the view becomes even more breathtaking, revealing Suruga Bay and the Izu Peninsula through the stunning cherry blossoms.

A cherry blossom tree on near Mt. Gotenyama in Shizuoka.
Mt. Gotenyama is the city’s most cherished cherry blossom spot. Image via Shutterstock

Generally, to experience the beauty of the sakura trees up close, go to the Kambara Gotenyama Sakura Festival held at the Yasaka Shrine at the mountain’s base. Not to mention, the festival offers visitors a chance to witness after-dark illuminations, traditional shamisen performances, and even participate in tea ceremonies. With so much to see and do, this festival is a must-see!

Mt. Awagatake

Located in Kakegawa City, Mt. Awagatake is a highly sought-after spot for cherry blossom viewing. This mountain is adorned with sato-zakura trees that bloom in hues of pink and white. In addition, the neighboring Sancho Park provides a stunning view of Mt. Fuji, the Oi River, and the Suruga Bay that extends along the mountainside.

A green Mt. Awagatake mountain in Shizuoka.
Mt. Awagatake overlooks many tea fields. Image via Shutterstock

Awawa-jinja Shrine hosts an annual sakura festival during the cherry blossom season. That is to say, while walking around the shrine, you can marvel at rows of beautiful cherry blossom trees adorning the pathways. The festival provides visitors with a delightful opportunity to stroll around the shrine while enjoying the captivating beauty of the sakura.

Hamamatsu Castle Park

The tower is encircled by approximately 500 cherry trees, making it a favored location for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. When the sakura is in full bloom, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking sight surrounded by a sea of pink blossoms. The cherry trees are illuminated at night, creating a magical atmosphere that enhances the park’s beauty.

Black and yellow Hamamatsu Castle with cherry blossoms in the foreground.
Hamamatsu Castle is an Edo-era landmark. Image via Shutterstock

Hamamatsu Castle, built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in his youth, is renowned for its historical significance. Visitors can view the cherry blossoms from the castle tower and feel a sense of power, as the castle lords once held important positions. Some observe the castle from beneath the cherry blossoms, hoping to be as successful as the castle lords were.

Ieyama Sakura Tunnel

The sakura tunnel in Ieyama is famous for its magnificent cherry blossoms. A natural tunnel of cherry blossom trees lines the Oigawa Railway for about one kilometer. Watching a steam engine train pass by the blossoms is a fantastic sight. There are also other attractions around the tunnel, such as vendors selling local goods, tea ceremonies, and a dance stage.

A black and red train on the Oigawa Railway coming through the Ieyama Sakura tunnel.
This is just one of many sakura tunnels that’s perfect for scenic train rides. Image via Shutterstock

If you arrive at the right time, you can see the steam locomotive that Oigawa Railway uses as it travels through the rows of cherry trees. The cherry blossoms and the pitch-black steam locomotive create a nostalgic feeling.

Sakura no Sato

The Sakura-no-Sato is one of Japan’s best sakura spots. Around 1,500 sakura trees of 40 different species are at the foot of Mt. Omuro. Their stunning cherry blossoms bloom for eight months, from the end of September to the beginning of May. 

Cherry blossom flowers near in Sakura no Sato in Shizuoka.
Cherry blossoms at Sakura-no-Sato bloom for eight months straight. Image via Shutterstock

Additionally, the sakura museum highlights the different types of cherry blossoms on the park’s grounds. It also features images of famous cherry blossom viewing spots from all around the country. At the height of cherry blossom season, the Sakura no Sato festival occurs in early April. During this time, the park gets busy with people hosting traditional viewing parties.

There are so many stunning locations to enjoy cherry blossom gazing in Shizuoka. The magnificent Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest peak, is famously located in Shizuoka Prefecture. Enjoy the scenery unique to Shizuoka Prefecture that’s even more picturesque with the stunning kawazu-zakura blossoms in the background. 

Do you have a favorite sakura viewing spot in Shizuoka? Let us know in the comments below!

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