Three Spots to Enjoy the Early Cherry Blossoms

The end of March and the beginning of April is one of the most popular travel seasons for foreigners in Japan. The main reason: Sakura! The beautiful cherry blossoms are blooming all over the country and some places get very crowded. But what can you do, when you travel to Japan earlier and want to enjoy cherry blossoms, too? Here I have three spots not too far from Tokyo you can visit!
Kawazuzakura (河津桜) is an early blooming variety of cherry trees. They usually open their flowers in the middle of February and bloom until the early March. For sure this is depending on the weather every year. The pedals of the blossoms are big and have a dark pink. 

1) Kawazu Sakura Matsuri

As you might can guess, the Kawazu cherry blossom has its origin in Kawazu City located at the Izu peninsula. It was discovered in the 1950s and nowadays about 8,000 trees are planted around the city and the Kawazu River area. While the festival food stalls are lined up at the paths and give you the special festival atmosphere. They have a light up at night between 6 pm to 9 pm during the festival period. 
Festival Date in 2018: 10th February – 11th March
Closest Station: Kawazu Station (Izukyu Railway Line)

2) Matsuda Sakura Matsuri

Located close to Odawara, the second spot is the Matsuda Sakura Matsuri. With a shuttle bus you can go to the Nishihirabatake Park (西平畑公園) where the cherry trees are located around the mountains. Next to the pink cherry blossoms you also can see yellow mustard flowers which give a great contrast on photos. On clear days you even can see Mount Fuji. 
Festival Date in 2018: 10th February – 11th March
Closest Station: Matsuda Station (JR Line) or Shin-Matsuda Station (Odakyu Line) 

3) Miura Kaigan Sakura Matsuri  

The third spot is located at the Miura Peninsula. About 1,000 trees are planted along the railway - one kilometer from Miura Kaigan station to the Komatsugaike Park (小松が池公園) which takes about 15 minutes walking time. You can enjoy the trees lining up at the street and at the park where they have some food stalls. Around the station you find many stands with local products. There they also have a light up at night.
Festival Date in 2018: 5th February – 4th March
Closest Station: Miura Kaigan Station (Keikyu Line)
Miura Kaigan Cherry Blossom Matsuri

Claudia Mitsu