Every February, when the final weeks of winter still linger over the land, one Japanese town is treated to an early burst of vivid springtime color. Gorgeous bright pink flowers give locals and visitors alike a sneak peek of the cherry blossom displays that will bloom across the country a few weeks later.
Kawazu is home to some of the earliest Sakura blooms in all of Japan. From mid-February to mid-March, the river meandering through the town is lined by thousands of the beautiful bubblegum-pink petals, all thanks to one original tree that can still be viewed today. Pedestrians can walk beneath breathtaking canopies of cotton candy-colored blossoms, or soak in nearby hot springs and spas while admiring the floral display.
The Kawazu cherry trees were discovered in Kawazu in the 1950s. Noticing the blossoms had a deeper, more vivid pink color than other types of cherry trees, locals then deliberately planted seeds along the riverbank, giving the town its signature pink-striped waterway. The original Kawazu Sakura tree is planted in a residential area, which is still possible to view.
People from across Japan—and beyond—venture to the town to experience its early blossoms. An annual festival celebrates the spectacular trees, complete with street vendors and family-friendly activities.
Know Before You Go
There is an Izu Peninsula rail way ticket which allows you free travel within the Izu peninsula.