Shibazakura (moss phlox) means something like “lawn-cherry” and these flowers, which bloom in multiple shades of pink, are one of Japan’s many, many spring blooms. Around Tokyo, the Mt Fuji Shibazakura Festival has the most flowers and is the most well-known. Coming in second is the Chichibu Shibazakura Festival, held in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture.
There are 10 varieties of shibazakura represented among the roughly 400,000 plants that cover four acres. This is a stroll-and-admire kind of blossom-viewing situation (rather than a lay a tarp and picnic situation). The whole thing, as you can imagine, is extremely photogenic, as the different colored blossoms form abstract patterns on the sloping grounds.
How to get there
The Chichibu Shibazakura Festival is held at Hitsujiyama Park, which is a 20-minute walk from either Seibu Chichibu Station (Seibu-Ikebukuro Line) or Ohanabatake Station (Chichibu Tetsudo). Coming from Tokyo, take the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line from Ikebukuro to Seibu Chichibu Station. A direct, limited express train costs ¥1,500 and takes 80 minutes. The regular train costs ¥790, takes two hours, and requires a transfer (probably) at Hanno.Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.