[Shizuoka] Kawazu Sakura Festival 河津桜祭り
Cherry blossom alert! Typically sakura blooms around end of March/beginning of April time frame in Japan but there's a variety in Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula that blooms much earlier in early February. I decided to do a day trip from Tokyo when I was there in mid February and the cherry blossom trees were already blooming nicely which is expected to last into mid March so there's still time to catch it. The fastest way to Kawazu from Tokyo is via the JR Tokkaido Shinkansen where you will then need to transfer to the JR Ito Line at Atami and get off at the Kawazu Station (the whole journey takes around 2 hours). It is also pretty expensive and I'd only recommend it if you have a rail pass already. Otherwise, you can take the local trains which takes 3 hours or take a bus tour from a sightseeing company like Yokoso or JAPANiCAN. Once you arrive at Kawazu, just follow the crowd and take a leisurely stroll along the Kawazu River to enjoy the cherry blossoms which are on both sides of the river!
Besides cherry blossoms, yellow rape blossoms also bloom at the same time here which provides a beautiful color contrast against the sakura.
Along the river, there are numerous food stalls at the Kawazu Sakura Festival offering cooked food, dried food, snacks and souvenirs. Be sure to try Kinmedai (red snapper) which is a specialty of the Izu Peninsula.
I ended up getting a pink Taiyaki that matched the color of the sakura - how cute!
If you haven't, be sure to check out my previous guide on where to see sakura in various cities of Japan here.
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