The first hint of spring from Higashi-Izu

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In the town of Kawazu in Shizuoka Prefecture, the cherry blossoms bloom in early February. On the 4km path of cherry blossom trees along the Kawazu River, the blue sky, the pink blossoms, and the yellow canola flowers on the riverbank create a picture perfect scene with the contrast of colors.
72-12 Sasahara, Kawazu-cho Kamo-gun, Shizuoka
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The Kawazuzakura, cherry blossoms in full bloom even earlier.

Kawazuzakura are early-blooming cherry blossoms that open up in early February in Kawazu, Kamo District, Shizuoka Prefecture. They are characterized by their big flowers and a color that is even pinker than Yoshino cherries. The 4km cherry-lined path along the Kawazu River has blossoms that take about 1 month to reach full bloom after they first open. Since the time to full bloom is so long, you can take your time appreciating them during the flower-viewing season. The legend of the Kawazuzakura began when a new species of cherry was discovered in the same town about 60 years ago. The original trees spread from Kawazu Station toward Mt. Amagi, and are located in the 1.2km site of the Iida Residence Garden in the Tanaka district of Kawazu.  

A festival during the blossoming of the Kawazuzakura.

The Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is held during the 1 month from early February when the Kawazuzakura begins to bloom. The cherry blossom-lined path along the Kawazu River comes alive with many visitors coming to view the flowers. During the middle of the festival, around 150 stands make their daily appearance selling local products and foods so that people can enjoy shopping and eating while admiring the blossoms. After sunset, the Kawazuzakura areas going downstream from Yakata Bridge and from Mine Onsen Toyoizumi Bridge behind the Odoriko Onsen Hall are illuminated. At that time, there is a magically beautiful scene that is different from the daytime.

If you love the Kawazuzakura, head for Inatori Town, the birthplace of tsurushi hanging ornaments.

After enjoying the Kawazuzakura, how about taking the train for another couple of stations to Inatori? While the Kawazuzakura are in bloom, you can see the hina kazari (doll ornaments) that are known as tsurushi kazari in Inatori. The tsurushi kazari first made their appearance in the town during the Edo Era. Instead of the hina kazari that were very expensive during those days, little dolls were made by hand and hung which was the beginning of the tsurushi kazari. A characteristic of the dolls is that each of them had a meaning with the child dolls praying for healthy growth of children and rabbits representing divine messengers. In an average year, the tsurushi kazari are hung from mid-January to late March, and they can be seen at places like Bunka Park’s Mukai-An (admission required).

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