Welcome to a journey where we’ll bring you to the most amazing spots and festivals for the 2024 cherry blossom season! This time, I’m bringing you to the Edo Fukagawa Sakura Festival, a celebration deeply rooted in the Edo period, and a modern-day spectacle in Tokyo’s Koto ward. From breathtaking cherry blossoms in full bloom to the enchanting illumination of the night, and a unique experience on traditional wooden boats, let’s delve into the heart of this vibrant festival that seamlessly blends tradition and contemporary flair.

oedo fukagawa sakura matsuri 2023
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A Glimpse into Edo Fukagawa Sakura Festival’s Origins

The Edo Fukagawa Sakura Festival traces its roots back to the Edo period, a time when cherry blossoms were celebrated as a symbol of the transient nature of life. The festival takes place in Tokyo’s Koto ward, specifically in the Fukagawa-Monzennakacho area, which was once a bustling district along the Sumida River.

The festival blends traditional elements with contemporary flair to create a unique and unforgettable experience for locals and visitors alike. You can enjoy food stalls and performances that change every year, as well as other festivals taking place around the area at the same time.

oedo fukagawa sakura matsuri 2023
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Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom

At the heart of the Edo Fukagawa Sakura Festival are the breathtaking cherry blossoms that paint the landscape in hues of pink and white. Stretching approximately 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles) along the riverbank, this iconic row of trees is renowned for its gracefully low-hanging branches that delicately sway near the water’s surface. These trees, showcasing the elegance of Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms, were meticulously cultivated in Tokyo during the Edo period.

The festival usually occurs in mid-March to the beginning of April, during the cherry blossom season, providing the perfect backdrop for a picturesque celebration. Visitors can stroll through avenues adorned with cherry blossoms, creating a surreal atmosphere that embodies the fleeting beauty of life. The sight of the delicate petals gently falling, known as “hanafubuki”, is a truly mesmerizing experience that captures the essence of the festival.

Another feature of the festival is the mesmerizing illumination of the cherry blossom trees from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. This enchanting display transforms the surroundings into a spectacular night-time panorama, adding a magical touch to the festival experience.

oedo fukagawa sakura matsuri 2023
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Enjoying cherry blossoms from a traditional boat

During the Edo period (1603-1868), traditional Japanese wooden boats, known as wasen, played a vital role in transporting goods and passengers along the numerous rivers and canals of Tokyo. To safeguard the wasen and its unique rowing techniques, the Wasen Tomo no Kai association was born. While normally the association generously offers complimentary rides on these historic boats once or twice a week at the Yokojukken-gawa Shinsui Park, they will relocate to the Oyokogawa river for the Oedo Fukagawa Sakura Matsuri. However, during these occasion, you will need a reservation and to pay a nominal boarding fee of 500 yen. As you leisurely cruise along the water under the vibrant cherry blossoms, it’s hard to believe you’re in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo.

The Edo Fukagawa Sakura Festival is a celebration of Japan’s rich cultural heritage and the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms. As you wander through the vibrant streets, savoring the sights, sounds, and flavors of this enchanting festival, you’ll find yourself immersed in a timeless experience that seamlessly blends tradition with the ephemeral beauty of nature. Make the Edo Fukugawa Sakura Festival a priority on your Japan travel itinerary, and let the magic of cherry blossoms and cultural festivities leave an indelible mark on your heart.