Kawagoe, Japan's March-through-May Festival Celebrates the Arrival of Spring

Kawagoe is a traditional and lively Koedo (“Little Edo”) city just 30 minutes north of Tokyo along the Tobu Tojo Line. Its spring festival, held from late March through early May, is an annual cultural highlight


From the last Saturday in March (this year, March 27) until May 5, the lively, traditional-flavored city of Kawagoe (pop. 353,000), just 30 minutes north of Tokyo’s Ikebukuro Station on the Tobu Tojo Line, celebrates its spring festival.

As the cherry trees outstretch their sakura laden blooms over the Shingashi River, (above), strolling passersby and river boat passengers alike are welcomed by the sounds, scents, and smiles of the season.

Events are held every week, staring with the opening event, the Kawagoe Clan Matchlock Gun Squadron demonstration (above). The festival closes with the Koedo Kawagoe Festival Folk Dance convention signals the festival’s closing on the last day.

In between other events include: the Kawagoe Tobi Union Ladder Riding (above)...

...the Folk-Dance Sink, marching band processions (above), a firefighters' band performance, the Koedo Kawagoe Taiko group performance...

...kimono fashion shows, shishimai (lion dances), and a spring boat tour (free but tickets required), and more. Some events may be modified due to COVID-19.


Best Places in Kawagoe for Hanami (Sakura Viewing) Experiences

Kawagoe Daishi Kitain Temple’s (above) Sakura Matsuri, late March - early April.

Kawagoe Aquatic Park is dotted with varying species of cherry trees, including Somei-Yoshino and Kanzan. Because of the plethora of sakura varieties, the hanami period is extended. Paddle boats can be rented for an aquatic hanami experience.

Shingashi River

Kawagoe’s Hikawa Shrine is a popular spot dedicated to the god of marriage, and just behind the shrine, as if to inspire nuptials, are 500 meters of cherry trees along the banks of the Shingashi River. In fact, this very spot along the river is where the boat crossing will be held on the spring festival’s opening day.


Finally, keep in mind, again, that this year some events may be modified due to pandemic restrictions, and depending on developing conditions, the festival itself may even be subject to cancellation.


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