Spring is the best time to be in Japan. There are cherry blossoms and nice weather and everyone is happy. How can you not be happy? Standing outside in the swirl of pink petals would cheer up the even the grumpiest of grumpy people. Japan loves cherry blossoms and it’s hard not to get caught up in the obsession.
You might remember my 92834234238423948239 entries last year during sakura season. Sakura are beautiful and fleeting and I can’t help but take a million photos. So even though we were too early for cherry blossoms in Tokyo, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the early blooming ones in Kawazu.
Kawazu is on the Izu Peninsula and about a two hour train ride outside of Tokyo. You can take a regular train, or you can take the Super View Odoriko, which is a bit fancier and has bigger windows. The train runs along the coast, so you get a lot of nice ocean views along the way.
Since Mike and I had only bought tickets the previous day when we arrived, the train was nearly full. (Kawazu is a popular destination in the spring!) So he was sitting somewhere else on the train and I had this awesome seat near the back. Across the aisle was a nice Japanese family who had brought homemade onigiri for a snack. There’s a actually a playroom for kids downstairs on the train, so the dad and the kids spent most of the ride in there. (Not that I was eavesdropping or anything…)
Like SkyMall, but for trains.
Outside Kawazu station. Conveniently, the cherry blossom matsuri trail starts right outside the station.
Cherry blossoms and food stalls are a natural pairing.
Kawazu had a lot of these weird hand-painted character signs.
ALL THE SAKURA!
As with everything Japanese, there was a baffling amount of food and omiyage (souvenirs).
Different kind of fried fishcake sticks. (Yellow is cheese, and pink is shrimp.)
Mike and his fishcake stick.
While I love fried fishcakes, I really love grilled seafood.
Hotate (scallops) for me.
A cute cup of sake.
These aren’t the white fluffy sakura you find in the rest of Japan, but they’re pretty all the same.
We wandered over to the beach — as I mentioned, Kawazu is on the coast.
Back to the cherry blossoms!
Can’t stop… taking… photos… sakura…
More of those hand-painted signs.
Another sakura pose.
SAKURA SELFIE! We did this because everyone around us was doing it.
Mike discovered his new favourite Japanese food of all time. Torikawa gyoza! Torikawa is chicken skin.
So they’re like regular gyoza, but instead of dough, they’re wrapped in chicken skin.
As you can see, this makes it EXTRA DELICIOUS.
A weird photo of Mike.
My covert Shiba Inu photo. He had a pink dress on, obviously. This is Japan, after all.
Can’t resist satsumaimo (sweet potato) sticks. Yummmmmm.
Are you getting tired of all these cherry blossom photos yet? But they’re so beautiful…
A random foot onsen. (Take your socks off, stick your feet in the hot water.) Old people love it.
Mike is overcome by the sakura beauty.
Okay, okay, I get it. Enough sakura photos! (*sniff* so pretty though…)
Back at Kawazu station.
Waiting for the train. Sayonara, sakura matsuri!
This train was different than the one we took to Kawazu (only one level), but also had super big windows.
Mike ponders all the beautiful cherry blossoms he’s seen today.
If you’re ever in Japan in February/March, I definitely recommend a side trip to Kawazu. If seeing CHERRY BLOSSOMS isn’t reason enough to go, it’s also super easy to get to from Tokyo. As with most train travel in Japan, it’s kind of expensive — about ¥6000 each way. BUT! If you have a foreign passport and a tourist visa, you can get the JR Kanto Pass instead. It’s only ¥8000, which is cheaper than one Kawazu round trip! And the Kanto Pass is good for three days. You can use it for the Narita Express to/from the airport, on JR lines within Tokyo, and to get to other places like Nikko. We didn’t even use the pass for one of the three days and we ended up saving a ton of money. I wish I could have used passes like this when we were in Japan last year, but they’re only available with a tourist visa. So if you’re a tourist, take advantage of it!