Date Visited: Feb 23, 2019
February cherry blossoms and scrumptious festival food without the dense crowds.
Early Cherry Blossoms
From as early as mid-February, kawazu sakura can be seen blooming in different parts of Japan. Kawazu, the area in Shizuoka Prefecture from which the flower gets its name, is especially lovely during this time as the river banks are lined with cherry blossom trees as well as nanohana shrubs.
Perfectly Pleasant Stroll
The recommended walking route starts at Kawazu Station, and as soon as you exit, you will see the row of trees on the other side. There are pamphlets in the station that show a recommended route, but you won’t get lost without one either.
I walked on a leisurely pace, taking plenty of photos and eating food as I went along, and I spent an enjoyable 3 hours doing so. I expected it to be packed—it was a Saturday afternoon, after all—but once I got out of the station, I didn’t mind the crowd at all. There were many people, yes, but the size was manageable and not at all suffocating. I even overheard a guy saying, “This is so much better than Nakameguro,” a sentiment which I agree with. I went to Nakameguro on a weekend last year and at one point the crowd stopped moving and people were just stuck there. Even with the presence of lovely sakura, it was a tiresome experience.
The atmosphere in Kawazu, on the other hand, is pretty laid back. You could tell people enjoyed walking around, and people were mostly cheery.
Sakura Sweets and Other Festival Food
If there’s one thing I love about festivals, it’s the food stalls, and Kawazu surely delivered. There were plenty of choices to choose from: fish cakes on sticks, unagi rice balls, nuts, dried fruits and so on. The ones I bought and happily devoured were the following.
Chocolate-covered strawberries (JPY 200)
Cheese-filled fishcake on a stick (JPY 150)
Sakura taiyaki (JPY 200)
Here are some more of the photos I took on that day.
How to Get to Kawazu from Tokyo
From Tokyo Station, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen and get off at Atami Station. Change to JR Odoriko Superview and get off at Kawazu Station.
Travel Time: 2 hours
Cost: JPY 7,030 yen
From Tokyo Station, take the JR Odoriko 107 all the way to Kawazu Station.
Travel Time: 2 hours and 25 minutes
Cost: JPY 6,006
From Tokyo Station, ride the Tokaido Line bound for Atami. Change to JR Odoriko Line and ride all the way to Kawazu Station.
Travel Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes
Cost: JPY 3,466