Few cherry blossom festivals are as popular or renowned as the Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura Festival.
This area is among the 100 best cherry blossom cherry viewing spots in Japan and features a number of sakura varieties. Besides, you will also see rapeseed blossom (nanohana) and pink moss (shibazakaura) nearby.
Maebashi, the capital of Gunma Prefecture hosts this incredible seasonal event in April every year. If you have missed experiencing hanami in Tokyo, you may think of visiting this festival area for a pleasant stroll under the thousand cherry trees.
Akagi Cherry Blossom Festival
Mt. Akagi, the home of the festival that gives its name, surrounds Maebashi City and sits near the geographical center of Japan. The area is excellent for hikers, climbers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors.
The food in the area is also excellent and there are plenty of hot springs in the area to enjoy after a long and exciting day outside.
The festival is centered on an approximately 2-kilometer length of road on the slopes of Mt. Akagi. It is lined with rows of cherry trees. When in bloom, the road seems to be passing through a white and soft pink tunnel.
When the wind blows, a shower of pink flower petals rains down on the road, an incredible and epic sight.
Clouds of cherry blossoms can be found in Akagi every year, typically around the start of April, though it can vary from year to year depending on weather conditions. The trees are lit up at night during the festival, making it a great trip whether you want to go in the day or at night.
When you go, you’ll not only see the delicate pink blossoms of the many trees but also a sea of flowers, including moss phlox, which carpets Miyagi Senbonzakura no Mori Park with vivid pink and a bright white every spring. It’s a strange and lovely thing to see. This striking sweep of flowers makes a perfect companion to the airy and delicate cherry blossoms.
At the festival, you can enjoy some of the incredible food and drink Mt. Akagi is known for, as well. Enjoy traditional Japanese festival foods, including yakitori, yakisoba, and takoyaki. These food stalls do brisk business. Enjoy eating some of these yummy meals as you stroll beneath the cherry blossoms.
The festival is very, very popular and gets crowded. Many families come out to enjoy the season with their children and you may want to bring a blanket to sit on. For those who like to take pictures, this is an excellent place to get some truly unique images both for your wall and for your Instagram.
How to get there
To get to the Akagi Cherry Blossom Festival, you have a lot of simple and quick options. From Tokyo Station, take the JR Joetsu/Hokuriku Shinkansen to Takasaki Station ((about 1.5 hours fully covered by Japan Rail Pass), then transfer to JR Ryomo Line to Maebashi Station.
Alternatively, you can also take the JR Takasaki Line from Ueno Station to Maebashi Station, which comes out to an hour and 45 minutes.
From Takasaki Station, Maebashi station is a 15-mintue train ride on the Ryomo Line.
When you want to get around Maebashi City, use the local buses. The Circular Bus route starts (for visitors) at Maebashi Station’s south exit. You can get an unlimited one-day ticket for 1,500 yen for adults and 750 yen for children.
This bus route is ideal for those wanting to see flowers, as it stops at the festival and other local sights, including the splendid Gunma Flower Park, a large garden that blooms year-round. There is also a seasonal bus that runs from the station to the festival.
Akagi Cherry Blossom Festival is a must for springtime visitors to central Japan and Tokyo.
It offers a chance to experience some of the most beloved sights, scents, and sounds in Japan and provides a great chance to get out of the city to see nature in all its glory.
Gunma Prefecture in the Kanto region of Japan is one of the best places to explore in spring. If you miss viewing cherry blossom in Tokyo and looking for an alternative place to see them, I highly recommend you to visit Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura as the best time to see sakura here is from early April to mid April.
If you want to head further north of Japan, be sure to check these breathtaking hanami spots in Tohoku.