“Splendor of the Sakura” not far from Tokyo.
Although hanami (flower-viewing parties) are somewhat restricted this year, people can still enjoy the beauty of the blossoms. And even if you can't make it to Japan, not to worry - we have some gorgeous pictures for you ahead!
Just a short 30-minute train ride from Tokyo is the small city of Matsudo, Chiba. Matsudo is the best spot for viewing the sakura (cherry blossoms) that you’ve never heard of. While springtime crowds pack the famous Tokyo parks, Matsudo is great for enjoying the sakura at a more relaxed pace. Check out the following selection of 7 spots for sakura viewing, and get your fill of sakura for the year!
1. Tokiwadaira Sakura Street
This sakura-lined street runs for 3 km from Shin-Yabashira Station to Gokō Station, passing by Tokiwadaira Station on the way. This is one of the best-known sakura spots in Matsudo, and was selected as one of Japan’s 100 best Roads in 1987.
Access: Right outside of Shin-Yabashira Station, Tokiwadaira Station, or Gokō Station.
*Note that lanterns will not be displayed this year.
2. Yabashira Sakura Area
From the Tokiwadaira Sakura Street, you can stroll right into this area on the south side of Yabashira Station that is a popular place to enjoy yozakura. Yozakura means night cherry blossoms, and strolling among the blossoms after dark is a popular pastime. This year many places will be forgoing their lantern displays, but you can still enjoy the romantic atmosphere of yozakura under the city lights.
Access: Right outside of Shin-Yabashira Station.
*Note that lanterns will not be displayed this year.
3. Tojo Shidarezakura
Shidarezakura is a special type of sakura with long trailing branches, like a weeping willow. This shidarezakura stands on the grounds of the Tojo-tei House, a famous historical landmark in Matsudo. Once the residence of the younger brother of the last Tokugawa Shogun, the house is surrounded by exquisite gardens where you can watch the seasons change. Springtime is especially popular, with many visitors coming just to see this rare type of sakura. This is a great place to enjoy the sakura in a tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city!
Access: About 10 minutes on foot from Matsudo Station
Hours of Operation: 9:00 – 17:00 (Closed Mondays)
Entry Fees: Entry to the park is free. Entry to the Tojo-tei House and the museum is 240 yen for both.
*The house and museum are closed for the time being.
4. Kokubu River Sakura Area & Mutsumi Sakura Area
Kokubu River Sakura Area (Top 2 Pictures)
Take in the tranquil rural atmosphere of the river as you wander beneath the sakura trees, while ducks and herons swim in the river below.
Access: About 25 minutes on foot from Higashimatsudo Station
Mutsumi Sakura Area (Bottom 2 Pictures)
Near Mutsumi Station you’ll find the Rokkodai Sakura Street. This broad, gently sloping avenue is lined with sakura trees for about 1 km. Usually there is a lively festival here during sakura season, but this year the event has been cancelled. This means the crowds will be sparser, and people may be taking their time meandering under the pink blossoms.
Access: 20 minutes on foot from Mutsumi Station
5. Tozenji Temple Shidarezakura
Tozenji Temple is a temple of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism with 530 years of history. The temple grounds are home to some shidarezakura and other trees that are over 300 years old. Gaze at the beauty of flowers from the same tree that people have been enjoying for 300 years that are yet fresh and new every spring. This timeless beauty is at its peak at the end of March.
Access: 6 minutes on foot from the south exit of JR Kitakogane Station
6. Denpoji Temple Shidarezakura
Denpoji Temple is a temple of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism that was founded in 1604, located right next to Higashimatsudo Station. This is known to locals as a secret spot to enjoy the sakura, as it is home to a large shidarezakura tree. At the base of the tree stands a statue of a leading figure in the Nichiren sect, and the effect of the peaceful statue and the waving strands of Sakura will make you feel as though you’ve somehow been transported to the old capital of Kyoto.
Access: About 3 minutes on foot from Higashimatsudo Station
The fleeting nature of life
Sakura are loaded with symbolism. They bloom for about a week, and then are quickly scattered by the rain and wind. The Japanese have loved them for centuries not only for their beauty, but also as symbols of the transient, fleeting nature of life. Everyone tries to enjoy the blossoms as much as they can while they are here, and then say goodbye to them for another year.
- Address 2 Chome Higashimatsudo, Matsudo, Chiba 270-2225
- Phone Number 047-392-3638
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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