Jess' Japan Travel Journal
by Jess, writer

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2016/02/24 - 2016 Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival Report

Today I traveled to the ocean-side town of Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula to see the Kawazu cherry trees, an early-blooming cherry tree variety. This type of tree gives people the chance to see cherry blossoms long before the most common type of cherry tree in Japan, the Somei Yoshino, start to open. The Somei Yoshino typically bloom around late March or early April and are forecast to open on a relatively average schedule this year. The Kawazu Cherry originated in Kawazu and is found in large numbers there, especially along a four kilometers stretch of the river. The original tree of the variety was discovered over 60 years ago and can still be seen in town.

Bright pink Kawazu cherry blossoms

From February 10 to March 10 this year, the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is held, which features festival stalls along the river with food and goods for sale, trees lit up nightly from 18:00 to 20:00, and events scheduled on weekends and holidays. Visitors could also make time to see the Nanadaru Waterfalls, a carnation garden and nearby hot springs. Kawazu is only about two hours from Tokyo by JR Odoriko limited express train, making it a popular destination.

Stalls set up for food and souvenirs

This year's Kawazu cherry trees bloomed about a week earlier than average due to a warmer winter. The Kawazu cherry trees along the river started to reach full bloom about a week ago, and those around the Nanadaru Waterfalls a few days later. While currently the trees still maintain full bloom, green leaves are starting to peak through the pink flowers, and some trees have begun to lose petals quickly. Cooler temperatures are forecast for this weekend, and I would expect the trees to remain nice into next week.

Green leaves peaking through

Along with the cherry blossoms, yellow nanohana (rapeseed) flowers are also blooming and provide a nice contrast to all the pink. Stalls sell pink-themed foods such as pink udon and ramen noodles, pink taiyaki (fish-shaped snacks) and pink-packaged food to bring home for gifts. Other famous goods from Kawazu, such as citrus fruits and different kinds of seafood, are on sale as well.

Yellow, pink, and crowds
Cherry blossom-pink taiyaki (fish-shaped snack)
Take home your very own Kawazu cherry tree...
Or some dried fish!
A nice welcome!
A tunnel of blossoms
Flowers and bridge
Crowds waiting for the train back to Tokyo
Beautiful flowers and a great day!

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List of Posts:
2016/06/06 - Ajisai Viewing in Kamakura
2016/04/20 - Nemophila at Hitachi Seaside Park
2016/04/18 - Alpen Route Snow Wall 2016
2016/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen
2016/02/24 - 2016 Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival Report