Cherry Blossoms in Kawagoe, Japan

Alexis Mullins is a student at Bowling Green State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Tokyo, Japan.

A week after we arrived in Tokyo we took our first ISA excursion to the nearby town of Kawagoe to celebrate the peak of the cherry blossoms. There is a tradition in Japan called Hanami, where friends and family spend an entire day under the sakura trees, appreciating their beauty as they picnic and spend time with one another. While we didn’t get to spend the entire day lounging under the trees and admiring them, we did get to see plenty of the natural beauty of Kawagoe.

During Hanami, lanterns are often hung in or near the sakura trees and tend to be illuminated at night.

Stepping into Kawagoe is like stepping back in time. It’s nickname is ‘Little Edo’, and it lives up to the name. From the brick streets to the Kitain Temple overlooking the park where we ate lunch, it really does feel like going back to an earlier era in Japan. Kawagoe is gorgeous enough on it’s own, but the blooming sakura added an extra layer of beauty, and I felt like I was in a fairy tale.

Kitain Temple overlooking the park

It’s amazing to believe that this hidden gem is such a short train ride from Tokyo. The city of Kawagoe is bustling in its own way, but it feels much more relaxed than Tokyo. There’s more greenery around the city, and the atmosphere feels more peaceful and calm.

The street leading to the park was decorated with hundreds of windsocks made to look like fish.

Kawagoe is a wonderful day trip when the hectic city of Tokyo becomes too overwhelming. Whether it’s spending the day having a picnic under the sakura trees or shopping at Candy Alley, everyone will be able to find their own way to relax in the city. A quick stop in Kawagoe is a must do on any trip to Japan.

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