Why wait till spring?
Hanami season is one of Japan’s most beloved events. For a few fleeting moments of the year, cherry trees bloom in ephemeral splendor and people turn out in droves to watch before the short-lived blossoms disappear. At least that’s what most people believe.
It’s time to let you in on a little secret. You can actually view cherry blossoms from October through May, and the Izu Peninsula is the perfect place to do so.
Cherry Blossoms in Winter?
Kawazu is perhaps the most famous town in Izu for cherry blossoms because of the early blooming Kawazu-zakura variety that starts blooming in mid February. However, few people know that in the west Izu city of Toi, home to the Toi Gold Mine, the Toi-zakura is in peak bloom at least 1-2 weeks earlier. Even earlier yet is the Atami-zakura in Izu’s eastern gateway city of Atami.
Late Blooming Varieties
But if you really want to get a head start, why wait? There are several varieties of super early (or super late) blooming cherry trees too. Another hidden secret of Atami is the Himalayan Sakura, which blooms from November through December. These late blooming cherry blossoms were a gift from the King of Nepal. He sent a gift of cherry blossom seeds in exchange for hospitality he received here, and the first seeds were sown and planted in July of 1943.
Sakura no Sato
Finally, there is the October Sakura (十月桜Juugatsuzakura) variety which blooms twice a year! It’s first bloom is from roughly October 20 through January 10 followed by a second round from March 20 through April 10. The best place to see October Sakura is at Sakura no Sato, a park in the city of Ito with roughly 1,500 cherry trees of different types. In fact, you can see almost all of Japan’s many varieties of cherry blossoms at Sakura no Sato, which claims to have some type of cherry tree in bloom from October through May. It has also been chosen as one of the top 100 places to see cherry blossoms in bloom in Japan. Cherry blossoms are blooming there now as I write this article on October 10. Sakura no Sato is located at the foot of Mt. Omuro in Ito.
Escape the crowds
Japan’s most famous variety of cherry blossom, the Somei Yoshino, is the one seen in the endless photos of famous hanami spots. It’s fun to visit famous places, but believe me, those places can get intensely crowded.
For those of you who prefer to escape the massive crowds in Tokyo’s Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, and the like, why not make your way to Izu? There are many places in Izu to behold the Somei Yoshino in bloom. On par with Kawazu’s early blossoms, Izu Kogen’s Sakura Namiki tunnel draws visitors from afar.
Izu Sakura viewing spots
Check out these places in Izu to see cherry blossoms from October to May.
All the sites are in Japanese, so you’ll need to use the translate feature of browsers like Google Chrome.
Atami-zakura (Jan-Feb) – Atami https://www.ataminews.gr.jp/event/208/
Toi-zakura – Toi (Jan-Feb) https://kanko.city.izu.shizuoka.jp/form1.html?pid=4794
Kawazu-zakura – Kawazu (Feb-March) https://kawazuzakura.jp/
Himalayan Cherry (Nov-Dec) – Atami https://www.ataminews.gr.jp/spot/702/
Sakura no Sato Park (Oct-May) – Ito https://itospa.com/spot/detail_54006.html
Somei Yoshino – Izu Kogen (March-Apr) https://itospa.com/spot/detail_54298.html
The hidden gem of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. The Izu Peninsula by itself is a UNESCO Geopark.
Come and enjoy amazing ocean views, our beautiful and abundant waterfalls, awesome views of Mt. Fuji, and delicious food.
You can enjoy the scenery and food on your own, but to really understand all that Izu has to offer, you need a local guide. Jimmy’s Izu Tours will make your trip to Izu one of the most memorable experiences of your trip to Japan.