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22nd Annual Sakura Kawazu Matsuri

February 8, 2012

1周年 Anniversary in Izu
Photograph courtesy of Sharleen Morco

If you’re following any other Japan blogs or twitter accounts, then you may have seen the early Cherry Blossom Forecast reports which have been circulating on the internet. It’s a good sign when people start thinking about the sakura (cherry blossoms) blooming. That means that the cold winter will be going away soon, and we can welcome in the warmth, flowers, and fresh beginnings. (Unfortunately, some of us will also be welcoming allergies! But let’s forget about that bit, shall we?)

For those of you anxious to see the cherry blossoms sooner than April, we have good news for you! A town in the Izu Peninsula called Kawazu is famous for its early-blooming cherry blossoms. How early, you ask? As early as this month!

The 22nd annual Sakura Kawazu Matsuri’s official dates this year are February 5 to March 10, and the festival is separated into three main areas: 1) Kawazu Station, 2) Genboku, and 3) Mine-Spa. Though the festival has already started, we highly recommend visiting in late February or the first week of March if you want to see the flowers in full-bloom. The blooming is a little bit delayed due to the recent cold weather.

1周年 Anniversary in Izu
Photograph courtesy of Sharleen Morco

Kawazu Station is the main area and the easiest to access. The cherry blossoms can be seen from literally in front of the station, and lead into the town, where you can find a beautiful contrast of saturated pink cherry blossom trees and bright yellow rapeseed flowers lining the river. You will find many festival booths on every street selling a variety of drinks, snacks, and souvenirs. You can even buy foods made with cherry blossoms, such as sakura soft cream, sakura soba noodles, sakura moffles (a mochi waffle!), etc…

There’s lots to see and do in the tiny town of Kawazu. You can download (Japanese) maps of the hanami sites and restaurants here.

How to access:
For the main site, take a train to Izukyu Kawazu Station ( 河津駅).
You can get there directly from JR Atami Station via the Limited Express Super View Odoriko train. You can also take a JR Ito train from Atami to Ito Station, then switch to the Izu Kyuko Line. Either way takes about 75 minutes.

From Izukyu-Shimoda Station, you can take either the Limited Express Odoriko train or the Izu Kyuko train to Kawazu. This trip takes about 15 minutes.

Event Information:

  • Opening Event
    Date: February 5, 2012
    Time: 9:00 – 10:00 AM
  • “Fuji Country” B-class Gourmet Meeting
    Date: February 10-12
    Time: 9:00 – 10:00 AM
  • Street Vendors (Supporting Members & Townspeople of Kawazu)
    Date: Daily during the festival dates
    Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sakura Tree Light Up
    Date: Daily during the festival dates
    Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Commemoration Photographing of Izu Dancers
    Date: Every Saturday and Sunday during the festival dates
    Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Kawazu Sakura Mini Concert (Free)
    Date: February 25 and February 26
    (May be canceled if it’s raining)
  • 14th Annual Kawazu 2-Day March
    Date: February 11 and February 12 (2 days)

Additional information:

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3 Comments leave one →
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