The Sakura of Kawazu – 河津の桜
Spring in Japan brings hanami: sitting in the shadow of cherry trees to behold their sakura flowers.
Around Japan is going to give you some advice on where to lay you sheet to enjoy the blooming season at its best, since the magic vanish after a very short time,
Here we talk about the famous Sakura of Kawazu, in Shizuoka Prefecture:
these trees’ flowers start blooming in February (we took all the pictures in this article in early March 2015)!
What kind of place is Kawazu?
Blessed by a mild climate, Kawazu’s region is located in southern Izu Peninsula, in Shizuoka Prefecture.
It is easily reachable from Tōkyō area, where one can see cherry trees extending from the sea to the inner land, in a light pink stream.
Due to this region’s early blooming, many people come here to see this wonder every year.
History of the Sakura of Kawazu
In 1955, a man called Iida who lived in these lands, planted an accidentally discovered cherry tree.
10 years passed and deep peach-colored sakura bloomed for over a month.
Another guy, Mr. Katsumata from Itō City, started cultivating these early blooming plants, widely contributing to their spread.
Kawazu’s cherry trees are a natural combination between Ooshima-zakura (Prunus Speciosa) and Hikan-zakura (Cerasus Cerasoides).
Getting to Kawazu
Kawazu is easily reachable thanks to Limited Express trains.
At Tōkyō Station (or Shinjuku), get on the Super View Odoriko-gō.
In a couple hours you get to Izu Peninsula’s awesome coastline.
Trains usually stop at Kawazu Station, but be careful not to step on those who don’t!
Alternatively, we also recommend to rent a car, since riding among Izu’s landscape is just charming.
Aiming to see the early blooming, we visited Kawazu in February: we remember seeing some cherry trees from the train before getting off at the station.
This area’s nature, enlightened by a clear blue sky, really impressed us.
By starting the journey from the station you can see the trees running along the sides of a river flowing into the ocean, a breathtaking view.
This place is very popular for sakura, so the visitors were many. The atmosphere was anyway more relaxed compared to the overcrowded Tōkyō and Kyōto.
During the Sakura Festival, in February, several stands sell food and souvenirs: we bought some yakisoba and had lunch by the river, while beholding the flowers.
After that, while giving my back to the ocean, we went on for a few hundred meters, finally getting in front of a huge tree called Shin-machi no Oo-sotetsu,
esteemed 1000 year old: this plant has been designated as national memorial tree in 1936.
When it suddenly appeared in front of us, we were quite surprised!
The sotetsu (Cycas Revoluta) can be usually seen only in Southern Kyūshū and Okinawa, so having one here is pretty rare.
This is because of the particular climate of Izu peninsula, which gets warm way earlier than the Kantō region.
We bought a delicious mikan juice on the way back to the station and, before getting on the train we looked back again, towards the memories of that wonderful day I’d just had…