Best of Komatsu Sakura: A Preview
Want to enjoy the sakura this hanami season but averse to crowds? We know the struggle, but thankfully Komatsu turns out to be a hidden spring of sakura spots!
Compiled here is a list of our favorite finds so far, based on our sakura explorations last spring.
And as the saying goes, “hana yori dango“, so of course we have to share about the dango and other yummy treats around each area to complete the hanami experience too
*Cherry blossoms peak from the last week of Mar to first week of Apr in Komatsu
Lake Kiba Park for Sakura x Mountains x Lake
With clear views of the snowy mountains across the vast lake, it’s no surprise that many locals tout Lake Kiba Park (木場潟公園) as the best viewing spot of Mt. Hakusan. Come spring, the view gets an upgrade: part of the 6.4km path around the lake comes abloom with a sakura tunnel of 1700 trees!
A stroll (or cycle!) under the sakura tunnel can be best enjoyed along the stretch between the central and north park zones. Or if you prefer to gaze from afar for a panoramic sakura + lake + mountain view, then head to the west zone on the other side!
Better still, enjoy it from above the lake itself through the boat cruises offered at the south zone!
Location: Lake Kiba Park South Zone
Operating times: 9am/10am/11am departures on weekends & public holidays (suspended Nov-Mar)
Fee: 500 yen/person (cash on site only)
Duration: 20 mins
Max. capacity: 6 pax
*You are required to wear the life vests provided. May be cancelled in event of bad weather.
Book Online Here (Japanese page)
Of course, we recommend going round the whole lake for the full experience, if you have the energy and time
Those with even more time to spare can consider the 12km “Tree Planting Festival Memorial Trail”. Starting and ending at Lake Kiba Park’s central zone, it takes you through forests, paddy fields and peaceful neighborhoods to bring you in touch with the full range of Komatsu’s landscapes. Particular highlights are the Higashiyama Senbonzakura Garden (東山千本桜 八重の園), where the rarer yaezakura (multi-layered cherry blossoms) are being cultivated, and the Ikoi-no-mori Park (憩いの森), a “forest of healing” well-loved by locals.
We certainly felt very healed as we enjoyed a bento from nearby bakery-cum-eatery Pan no Asagao (パンの朝顔), atop a slide with panoramic views of the city and gentle shade from a sakura tree.
By Car: Free parking at central, north, west & south zones of park
By Bus: Take Awazu Route (粟津線) bus, alight at Imae (今江) and walk 20 mins to North Zone
OR alight at Imae-machi Minami (今江町南) and walk 20 mins to West Zone.
By Train: Alight at Awazu Stn. and walk 15 mins to South Zone.
Nearby: Mari-chan’s Sakura Taiyaki
You may know of taiyaki, fish-shaped waffles traditionally containing red bean paste. But the taiyaki of Komatsu’s beloved Mari-chan may be nothing like any you’ve ever known! Operating from a food truck, Mari-chan makes her taiyaki batter with one of Komatsu’s major vegetable produce: carrots!? And among the wide variety of fillings offered, our favorite is made from yet another branded Komatsu vegetable: tomato!
Ever-innovating, Mari-chan is also constantly experimenting with seasonal flavors, and of course, the flavor offered during hanami season has to be sakura.
While the truck is usually stationed at her shop along the sea, you can find it at the Kibagata Roadside Station (道の駅 こまつ木場潟) on weekends! You’ll spot the bright red truck and Mari-chan’s bright smiles from miles away.
Rojo Park for Sakura Illumination
When it comes to gardens in Ishikawa, it is no doubt Kenrokuen in Kanazawa that first comes to mind. But here in Komatsu we love our own mini-Kenrokuen too: Rojo Park (芦城公園), where you can likewise enjoy the delicate landscape of a traditional Japanese garden.
Just 15 mins. by foot from Komatsu Station and free to enter, the park comes to life with the bustle of locals from the neighborhood, yatai food stalls, and of course the blooming of over 120 sakura trees, during hanami season. Spread a picnic mat under your tree of choice, or enjoy it alongside a read at the city library within the grounds.
But it is at night that the experience gets extra special: the sakura come aglow with the soft pink lights of bonbori lanterns! Better still, take it all in from the rooftop of the adjacent Komatsu Public Hall (小松市公会堂)! (open until 7.30pm)
(Update: The illuminations and yatai have sadly been cancelled for 2022 due to COVID-19, and laying picnic mats will be prohibited. But do keep it in mind for the next year!)
By car: Free parking at Komatsu City Hall.
By Bus: Take Terai (寺井線)/Kokufu (国府線)/Kosugi(小杉線) Route bus from Komatsu Stn. and alight at Kyo-machi (京町).
By train: 15 mins walk from Komatsu Stn.
Nearby: Yukimatsu, Komatsu’s Oldest Wagashi Shop
Sweets are an essential part of hanami culture, with many wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) created just for the season, such as:
Hanami Dango: A stick of three mochi balls in different colors, typically pink, white, and green.
Sakura Mochi: Pink rice cakes encasing red bean paste and wrapped in a fragrant sakura leaf.
Get some on the way to Rojo Park at nearby Yukimatsu (行松旭松堂), Komatsu’s oldest wagashi shop founded in 1837. If the array of colourful offerings overwhelms you, go for the “Sakura Dayori”, a thoughtfully assembled package of all their hanami classics.
Yukimatsu also offers other “flowers” throughout the year that can be enjoyed from home. From their homepage, you can order their Okeiko-bako (おけいこばこ), a DIY kit containing the materials and instructions to make your own wagashi flower of the season! (delivery available throughout Japan)
The instruction sheet comes with cute hand-drawn illustrations of the steps, but you can also follow the master’s own video demonstration posted on their Instagram account @yukimatsu_7daime. Alongside 3 portions worth of ingredients is a model sample made by the master himself.
The content changes monthly in both shape and ingredients, and are always modelled after a seasonal flower, so you can try your hand at different techniques and savor different seasonal flavors each time!
Google Maps (5 min walk from Rojo Park)
Junigataki Falls for Sakura-framed Waterfall
Our next spot takes you out towards the mountains to find a real hidden spring. Junigataki Falls (十二ヶ滝), literally meaning “twelve falls”, is distinct for its 12 parallel cascades. While a lovely sight any time of year, you should definitely catch it when the seasonal “sakura photo frame” is available!
It’s a fun challenge finding just the right position and angle, for that perfect Insta shot of the falls framed by the surrounding sakura trees.
With the bank extending all the way down to the falls, you can also admire it from up close!
A lil further out: Hidamari Cafe
Also towards the mountains but a slight drive away from the falls is Hidamari Cafe (陽だまりcafe), housed in a cheery hut that looks like it might’ve come out of a picture book!
Run by mother and son, their colorful menu ranges from mains like omurice, a salmon & hamburg plate, and chicken curry (all topped with a sunny egg!), to desserts like pancakes and french toast.
But the real dessert was really the charming view of sakura trees just across the road
Google Maps (15 min drive from Junigataki Falls)
Are you getting excited for all the sights and tastes of spring? Do share your adventures by tagging us on Instagram! @explorekomatsu #explorekomatsu
And if you have any feedback on the places introduced here or have other great finds to suggest, do DM us on Facebook, Instagram or through the contact form of this homepage any time! <3
*Information and images in this post were gathered in 2021, and may not be an accurate representation for this year.