If you’re sick of winter and ready for spring, head to Shizuoka’s Kawazu City, the host of one of Japan’s earliest cherry blossom festivals. The Kawazu-zakura cherry blossoms are known for blossoming early, but this year a warm winter has triggered the earliest bloom in the past 15 years, said city officials.
According to the official website, the Kawazu-zakura were in full-bloom starting February 15th, and will be viewable through early March.
Roughly 8000 cherry blossom trees line the Kawazu river. From Tokyo it’s about 2 hours and 40 min on the Odoriko train. Driving will take you roughly the same amount of time.
Below are some photos by people who visited recently:
If you’re curious about other parts of Japan with more typical blossoming schedules, this map that the Mainichi put together shows the sakura zensen (cherry blossom front). With late-March blossoming in much of the Kanto region it looks like early April will be peak-viewing times.