The Satte Sakura Festival – Gongendo Park, Saitama

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Hanami is one of the most revered and anticipated seasons in Japan. So, the Satte Sakura Festival held in Gongendo Park is definitely one of the more attractive and picturesque views on the rural side of Tokyo. Contrasting a lush yellow rapeseed blossom field with gorgeously rich pink Cherry Blossoms. It is quite a sight to behold.

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The Blooming of the Blossoms

Starting in early February and ending at the beginning of May, Hanami (花見) is the celebration and event of viewing flowers. Particularly, you will see the Cherry Blossoms (桜 or Sakura) around this time. The lesser common Plum Blossoms (梅 or Ume) tend to sprout a little earlier. In Tokyo, it usually happens around the end of March to early April. However, the Cherry Blossom forecast (桜前線 or Sakura-zensen) will generally predict the anticipated dates of full bloom.

Daytime parties are obviously frequent during the weekend. Yet, evening Hanami parties (aka 夜桜 or Yozakura) are also a regular affair during the weekdays. Mostly for full-time employees keen to get amongst the celebratory action.

Against the backdrop of the pink sakura and blue sky, the contrasting sea of yellow rapeseed blossoms adds another natural stunning colour to the view. When both the rapeseed and cherry blossoms are in full bloom at virtually the same time, it produces the ultimate photo opp.

Eat Like a Local

The Satte Sakura Festival, similar to many venues, also has rows of Food stands (屋台 or Yatai). This is along the line of a thousand or so Cherry Blossom trees that stretch across the entire 1km length of the park. Under the shade of the glorious pink petal blossoms, you can see people brighten up with welcoming smiles. As they set up their chairs, mats and all kinds of contraptions to celebrate the coming of the Sakura and warmth of spring.

How to Get There

Satte or Minami-Kurihashi station is about an hour and 15-minute train ride on the Hanzoumon line from central Tokyo station. It is then maybe a 10-15 minute taxi ride to Gongendo Park. Of course, if you prefer the hike I recommend getting off at Minami-Kurihashi station as it is a shorter 30 minute trip on foot.

The Satte Sakura Festival is definitely one of the more scenic and photogenic places to enjoy Hanami. Especially, on the outskirts of Tokyo, I would highly recommend this spot as a must-do during the Sakura season!

If you are interested in other spots to celebrate hanami around the Tokyo area, check out our comprehensive guide.

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