Travel | Kawazu, Shizuoka
The Kawazu-zakura cherry blossoms have become famous as some of the earliest-blooming cherry blossoms in Tokyo's outlying areas. (Typically, cherry trees bloom in Tokyo between late March and early April.) The flowers' outstanding characteristic is that they are large and pink. There are 8,000 cherry trees in Kawazu, and the area holds "The Kawazu-zakura Cherry Blossom Festival" in the blossoming season, to which a million both Japanese and foreign tourists come.
The Marunochi Metropolitan Hotel at Tokyo Station serves great breakfast by the way. A nice way to start the day.
1. TRANSPORTATION - DEPARTURE
We walked to the train station (that located just right next our hotel) and waiting for our ride to come. I love Japanese train stations - they're clean, bright, and tourist-friendly. Most of the staff understand English and there are information boards everywhere for us to check train schedule or destination.
Yup, here we are, for the second day.
While mom and my sister went a little earthy today with elements of black and brown.
I love my mom's outfit today - something warm with a touch of red!
2. IZU NO MANMA
So our ride for the day is called Izu No Manma. A very special Sakura-themed train that only available every February 18th each year. Since the second day is February 18th, which the date for a special train cars service to Kawazu, we got the very rare opportunity to ride this "Izu No Manma" train - or what I refer as "The Pink Train". It has special features with Sakura, from interior to food and exhibition room. I guess we were lucky! Hopefully it will be available more often in the future though. Maybe they want to see if people like what they offer before they decided to open more frequent schedule - but that's not the point. Let's have a peek of the train and our journey to Kawazu below!
A super cute exterior with soft pink and off-white tones.
This is written in every car train - JR East, the company.
LOOK AT THOSE DELICATE PINK GOODNESS <3
These two :) Always made me smile.
An obligatory self portrait....
The soft pink tone blends well with my sister's outfit that day.
Inside the train, there's one room that has blue interior and staffs who provided information regarding Kawazu, Sakura-sightseeing, Cherry Blossoms Tour Package, and everything about it. The room is dedicated for the visitors who want to get help regarding events or upcoming festivals.
I love all of those colours here.
Handmade flowers hanged on the walls.
We can just sit around and enjoy the scenery from the big windows.
One of the cutest staff in Kimono!
Okay, that was the "Event Room"... and now we have to go back to our train car because it was lunch time. I was told by the staff to stay seated whilte they prepare the meals. *excited*
*more and more pictures of the pink seats*
Our lunch in a box!
They customized everything within the Sakura-theme. Too cute <3
The theme of our lunch today is "local sweets". From cake, macarons, fresh pudding and juice.
I put my favourite ones together in one plate.
Taste good! Although some of them are too sweet for lunch, but I still enjoyed them.
The lunch meal experience is included on the Tokyo Rail Days Trip tour fee, so we din't pay for the food. We can have extra cold ocha and water too. Isn't that a great bargain?
3. KAWAZU, THE HOME OF WINTER SAKURA
Following mom to the main street where all food and souvenirs are.
This is the road just across Kawazu Station. I came to Tokyo by the end of Winter season in February, so normally the Sakura will not bloom yet. What I didn't know before is, we can actually visit a place where Sakura bloomed early every year - a place in Kawazu, Shizuoka. And as we previously did, we took a trip using train through our Tokyo Rail Day tour package.
The Sakura trees are blooming around the riverside all across this area.
Everyone can enjoy the calm river while taking pictures or relaxing around the sakura trees.
Look at those beautiful shades <3
There's a big red bridge that connects both sides of the river and we can take beautiful pictures there.
It feels like Spring already!
Reaching Sakura petals... felt magical.
4. SIGHT-SEEING AROUND
There are fields around the central Cherry Blossoms area where we can play around and take pictures.
Or, bring some food to eat while sitting on the stairs and looking at the river.
Since it's a family-friendly place, you will find many cute Japanese kids - and he is one of them!
It suddenly rained when we were there, so it's best to prepare umbrella! It's winter after all, sometimes it rain in sudden.
My favorite snacks when in Kawazu : Takoyaki!
I love Takoyaki, it's best served warm.
Visiting Kawazu meant more than just seeing the Sakura blooms. For me, it's about learning that time is precious - just like Sakura blooms once a year, sometimes we only have a particular chance to make decisions in our life. The time will not stay there forever, so it's important to make the best use of it while it's still around.
5. going home
Another sweets from Izu No Manma train service - melon cake and pudding!
At the end of our trip, the staff gave us fresh flowers to bring home :)
PERSONAL OPINION : IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE BOTH WINTER AND SPRING DURING HOLIDAY, KAWAZU IS MUST-VISIT!
As someone who doesn't live in four-seasons country, I enjoy any seasons other than summer A LOT. I love fall, I love spring, and I've always dreamt about winter since I was a kid. So when I finally can have a winter holiday, I was SUPER excited, but in the same time also sad because I thought I'm going to missed the Cherry-blossoms time, due to our limited tourist entry (15 days only for Indonesian, normally). So while planning to enjoy snow as much as you can, please consider coming to the only place where Sakura blooms early every year, which is Kawazu, Shizuoka. It will be a great addition for your Winter vacation!
Destination : Kawazu Sakura, Shizuoka
1. Depart from Tokyo Station by Train - Izu No Manma Go (9:48) → Kawazu Station (12:47)
2. Arrived at Kawazu Station then go to the Main Exit. The Sakura pathway is just across the street.
Total Trip Time : (approximately) 3 hours.
TIPS FOR FIRST-TIMER
If you want to visit Kawazu too, you can use Tokyo Rail Days Tour package - just like we did. It's easy and cheaper to travel around by using train, and it's not as difficult as what people think, so I recommend this to everyone who wants to experience the nature outside Tokyo on one-day trip. Some advantages of using Tokyo Rail Days:
- To refresh your mind about this trip, please read this post first: WHAT IS TOKYO RAIL DAYS?
- Tokyo Rail Days Tour is EASY TO GET. You can purchase from LOCAL TOUR AGENTS in your country (in Indonesia, most established Travel Agents have provided the tour, so you can ask them for the available tour packages (based on the season) and they will help you to plan and reserve the tickets.
- You can check the promotion and offered package on TOKYO RAIL DAYS WEBSITE (click on the link), then consult with your agents about how you can buy the packages. You can also try to make online itinerary and set the date/time/etc via the website. Payment can be done online or via tour agent. EASY TO BUY!
- The tour packages are cheaper and only available for non-Japanese tourist. So it's a very good deal for us. EASY TRY!
- Tokyo Rail Days is a flexible tour, so you can pick your own schedule and train time by yourself. No need to hire a private guide at all (that can cost A LOT).
- The train is clean, convenient and easy to get in. Most staff in the station also understand English, so there's no need to be worried about not getting helped. The train is also available in direct routes, so don't worry about changing trains. EASY GO!
Our visit to Kawazu was wonderful. I hope to visit again in the future!