Japan, a land of timeless beauty and cultural richness, is renowned for its breathtaking cherry blossoms that paint the landscape in hues of pink and white every spring. Among the many varieties of cherry blossoms, one stands out for its early bloom – the Kawazu Zakura. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of Kawazu Zakura, its origins, and where you can witness this enchanting spectacle.

Understanding Kawazu Zakura

Kawazu Zakura, or early cherry blossoms, derive their name from the town of Kawazu in the Izu Peninsula, where these blossoms first gained prominence. What sets Kawazu Zakura apart is its unique characteristic of blooming earlier than other cherry blossom varieties. While most cherry blossoms bloom in late March to early April, Kawazu Zakura steals the spotlight by blossoming as early as February.

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Origins of Kawazu Zakura

The story of Kawazu Zakura dates back to the 1950s. Around 1955, a man residing in the town of Kawazu, stumbled upon a cherry tree seedling in his garden, unknowingly laying the foundation for the first-ever Kawazu Zakura tree. The blossoms finally adorned the tree in 1966. Originally dubbed Komine Zakura, its true identity as a distinct species came to light when, in 1974, it was officially renamed Kawazu Zakura. This exceptional tree earned recognition as a certified symbol of Kawazu town in April 1975.

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Where to See Kawazu Zakura

Kawazu, Izu Peninsula

The birthplace of Kawazu Zakura remains one of the best places to experience the early cherry blossoms. Thriving in the eastern expanse of the Izu Peninsula, the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival unfolds as a breathtaking natural spectacle, casting a spectrum of yellow and pink hues across the Kawazu townscape from its cherry blossoms and rapeseed flowers. Approximately 850 Kawazu cherry trees grace the tranquil banks of the Kawazu River, the very birthplace of the esteemed Kawazu Cherry Tree. The amalgamation of vivid pink cherry blossoms against the shimmering river forms a visual masterpiece. Travelers can indulge in serene strolls, immersing themselves in the enchanting scenery. As the sun sets, the cherry blossoms near Kawazu Station come alive with illuminations, captivating spectators from 18:00 to 21:00.

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Matsuda, Kanagawa Prefecture

A quick trip from Tokyo, the Matsuda Cherry Blossom Festival transforms Matsuda city’s hills into a picturesque sea of pink each year, courtesy of its 360 Kawazu cherry trees! Perched atop a hill within Nishihirabatake Park, this enchanting festival beckons visitors to meander through early cherry blossoms while relishing panoramic views of Matsuda city and the iconic Mount Fuji gracing the horizon. Embark on a whimsical journey down a tunnel of cherry blossoms! The park’s slide provides a delightful means to immerse yourself in the beauty of these blossoms, all while savoring glimpses of the cityscape and its surroundings. Adjacent to this whimsical slide, discover an observatory deck and a picturesque swing at the summit for the ultimate photo opportunity. Entrance to this captivating park comes at a modest fee of 300 yen, inviting you to partake in the scenic spectacle.

Tokyo

While Tokyo might be more commonly associated with the later blooming Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms, you can still find Kawazu Zakura in various parks and gardens across the city. Take a stroll in Kuramae, in Shiba Park for enchanting views of Tokyo Tower or next to Tokyo Skytree!

What It Means

The early bloom of Kawazu Zakura holds cultural significance beyond its visual appeal. It symbolizes the resilience and vitality of nature, marking the transition from winter to spring. Locals and tourists alike gather under the blossoming trees to celebrate hanami, a centuries-old tradition of appreciating the transient beauty of cherry blossoms.

As you plan your trip to Japan, consider timing it to coincide with the early bloom of Kawazu Zakura. This unique variety not only adds an extra layer of enchantment to the cherry blossom season but also allows you to witness the beauty of nature’s rebirth in Japan. Embrace the magic of Kawazu Zakura, and let the early cherry blossoms captivate your senses in this celebration of life and renewal.