(Day 9) 25 Feb 2016: Visit Kawazu Sakura Festival. Stay at Kawazu
Brief schedule for this day: (JR railpass day 6):
0919-1032 Atami to Kawazu via Ltd Exp Odoriko (top up 1880yen due to non-JR portion)
Deposit luggage at an office at a carpark just north of Kawazu station
Visit Kawazu Sakura Festival
Visit Mine onsen + foot bath
Take bus from Mine onsen to Kawazu station.
1556-1557 Kawazu to Imaihamakaigan via Izu Kyuko line (2mins, 170yen)
We started off this day with the free breakfast spread at our hotel (Toyoko-Inn Atami) at Atami before catching the train to Kawazu.
From Atami station, we took the Ltd Exp Odoriko train to Kawazu. There are regular trains as well as Ltd Exp trains that travel along this route.
The JR railpass will cover the journey up to the station at Ito onsen, but from then on, it will be non-JR company's train line, so even though we have the 7 days JR railpass, we still have to top up (about 1880yen I think) to cover for the journey between Ito to Kawazu.
The Ltd Exp trains are very popular (esp on weekends) during the period of Kawazu Sakura Festival in February. If you are unable to get a ticket for the Ltd Exp trains, you'd have to take the cheaper but slower regular line trains.
After about 1hr train ride from Atami, we arrived at Kawazu station. Even from the station's platform we were already able to see rows of sakura trees lining the walking paths below.
Most sakura (cherry blossoms) trees in Kanto (Tokyo) and Kansai (Osaka/Kyoto) region usually blooms around last week of March to 1st week of April (varies year by year due to weather conditions). Even for Kyushu region in southern Japan, sakura usually starts blooming some time in March.
However, hotels and airfares for the period of March and April are usually expensive due to the influx of foreign and domestic travellers wanting to see sakura, so I tend to avoid travelling to Japan in March/April.
Winter is my personal favourite time to visit Japan, especially since I enjoy the cold weather, which is such a contrast to the hot and humid weather we have in my country (Singapore).
And so, 1 of our main goal for this trip was to try to see Sakura during this winter trip!!
Not many people know about this place in Kawazu where this particular type of Sakura trees blooms earlier than the other varieties. Therefore, even though it is still technically winter season in Japan (Feb), but we were able to see sakura in full bloom at Kawazu.
The Sakura festival at Kawazu is usually held in mid Feb to early March (varies year by year due to weather conditions). The date of our visit was on 25 Feb 2016.
We really enjoyed this day thoroughly.
Nice weather, many pretty sakura trees, many stalls selling street food that we can munch on while walking, and there are a few foot baths too.
If you happen to be in this area during mid/end Feb, I would strongly recommend a visit to Kawazu if you want to see some sakura.
How to get from Tokyo to Kawazu:
(The faster/more expensive/direct method using Ltd Exp train)
Tokyo to Kawazu via Ltd Exp Odoriko train (direct): 6010yen (1 way, about 150mins travel time)
(The slower/cheaper/indirect method using regular train lines)
Tokyo to Atami via JR Tokaido line (about 111mins travel time)
Atami to Kawazu via JR Ito line (about 75mins travel time)
Total fare: 3640yen (1 way)
|train platform at Kawazu|
I think I saw some lockers at Kawazu station, but since it was Kawazu Sakura Festival so there were many visitors to Kawazu during this period, therefore before coming on this trip, I've emailed the tourist office at Kawazu asking for directions to any luggage storage office near Kawazu station in case all lockers were full at Kawazu station.
And so, we were directed to this particular office for the carpark located just on the north side of Kawazu station (as seen in the pic below). This carpark office accepts large luggage deposits if you can collect your luggage before they close for the day (can't remember what time).
|depositing our luggage bag at this carpark office. U can also see Kawazu station building in the middle of this pic.|
And so, after depositing our luggage bags here, we finally were able to head out to start exploring the town of Kawazu.
|came across this egg vending machine.|
There were so many blooming sakura trees everywhere :)
|There were many food stalls along the way too.|
|This is a public toilet building along the sakura path|
|Many people brought along their dogs for a stroll too. We saw ALOT of different cute dogs on this day.|
|Tempura battered kani (crab).|
|My battered crab|
Then we came across a foot bath while walking towards the Mine Onsen water sprout.
|There is also another foot bath at the Mine Onsen water sprout|
|Mine Onsen Water Sprout|
|Buying eggs to be cooked in the onsen water|
|Had a very quick lunch nearby, before having to catch the bus back to Kawazu station.|
After arriving back at Kawazu station, we went to a nearby convenience store to buy some drinks and snacks (since I am unsure if there are any convenience stores near the ryoken where we will be staying for the night) before catching a short 2mins train ride to Imaihamakaigan station.
Imaihamakaigan station is just 1 station away from Kawazu, and only local trains stops here (not Ltd Exp trains). Our ryokan is a short walk away from this station, but I realised my mistake the moment we arrived at this station. Because there were ALOT of stairs all the way from the train station to the main road. ALOT. If I had known about this earlier, I'd probably have suggested we take a short taxi ride from Kawazu station to our hotel here instead of taking train + walking down the stairs.
|Females can choose which yukata we want to wear during our stay at the ryokan.|
This is our room. It is a nice view of the sea.
|View of the sea from our room.|
Here's the dinner at the ryokan.
The ryokan staff whom was in charge of our table was very friendly and jovial and she made our stay at this ryokan so much more enjoyable during dinner time.
My husband drinks alot of iced water so he kept requesting for water refills and this obasan joked with us, and left the whole jug of iced water with us. I'm not really explaining this event well enough here, it's something that was really funny when it happened during that dinnertime.
She also noticed that my yukata was too long for me (yeah, I'm a shortie) so she was concerned that I might trip over and fall, therefore she brought me to 1 corner of the room and helped to re-dress me in my yukata in such a way that I no longer have to worry about tripping.
All in all, this was my fav day out of this entire trip.
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