Matabei Zakura – Enjoy Hanabi Under a Famous Samurai’s Cherry Tree



Have you ever heard about “Sekigahara-no-Tatakai” – Battle of Sekigahara, which occurred in the 1600 year? Matabei Zakura in Nara prefecture has a close connection with a warrior from that battle.

After Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who governed Japan was dead, Western Army’s warriors, who wanted to support Hideyoshi’s son Hideyori, and Eastern Army’s warriors, who wanted to support Ieyasu Tokugawa fought furiously at Sekigahara field, located in the central part of Japan.

The warrior’s number of Western Army was around 100,000. That of Eastern Army was around 70,000. That battle was said to be fateful and decisive. And the winner – Eastern Army and Ieyasu Tokugawa came to power and ruled entire Japan after this battle.

However, “Sekigahara-no-Tatakai” was not the last battle. The Eastside and the Westside continued fighting until 1615. Finally, Osaka Castle of the west side was burned, and Toyotomi clan was destroyed during the Summer campaign of the Siege of Osaka in 1615.

In this article, I would like to introduce you to Matabei Goto, who was a brave commander of the west side, and to a beautiful cherry tree – “Matabei Zakura after the commander’s name.

You can see this cherry tree in Uda city in Nara prefecture.

Matabei Zakura, Weeping Cherry Tree

Matabei Zakura is a very large weeping cherry tree in Uda-shi. The tree itself is over 300 years old and stands at a height of 13 meters.

The cherry tree blooms beautifully from early to mid-April, and every year over 50,000 visitors come to see the tree. This cherry tree is surrounded by the peach trees and when they all bloom together it becomes a truly majestic scene.

Why Was This Cherry Tree Named “Matabei Zakura”?

The name of Matabei Cherry comes from the name of the samurai and warriors’ commander – Matabei Goto. He participated in the siege of Osaka Castle during the Warring States period. The story says that he had planted this gorgeous tree.

Matabei is famous for a brave warrior and commander, whose spear skills were excellent.

Matabei)was fighting fiercely as a chief commander of the West Army on the Toyotomi side against the East Army – Tokugawa side.. However, Matabei was hurt and unable to stand. He committed suicide according to the general history.

But, according to another legend, he was still alive and got away to Uda city and became a monk. Also, some legends say that Matabei escaped to Kyushu or Shikoku.

Anyway, around Uda, there were some families whose family name was Goto, and this weeping tree is growing in a place Goto Family owned.

So, people started calling this tree “Matabei Zakura” after the samurai’s first name.

Why Did Matabei Zakura Become so Popular?

This weeping cherry had been popular only among photographers.

Around 20 years ago, a photographer won the prize with a picture which was taken here.
After that, the scene of this weeping cherry tree was used as an opening picture on a TV drama produced by NHK.

And this cherry tree became a very popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Japan.

Basic Information

Dates: Early to mid-April every year

Ouda Hongo, Uda-shi, Nara Prefecture


Uda-shi Commercial, Industrial & Tourism Dep.
TEL: 0745-82-2457

Official webpage (Japanese only): https://www.city.uda.nara.jp/shoukoukankou/kankou/kankou/shizen/sakura-meisho.html


You can get to Matabei Zakura by a city bus, which departs from Haibara station.

However, I recommend you use a bicycle.
There are 5 spots in Uda-shi where you can rent bicycles with electrical assistance.
The total number of bicycles is 50.

They also supply you with 2 model courses and maps to enjoy Uda city.
One of the courses is the course going around by river side where you can enjoy viewing cherry trees lining street in spring.

【Cycle Rental Fee】
・Half Day (4 hours): ¥1,000 –
・Full Day: ¥2,000 –

TEL: 0745-82-2457

Closing Remarks

According to the internet ranking of the best cherry blossom viewing spots, Matabei Zakura is No.1 cherry blossom viewing spot in Nara prefecture, and No. 20 all over Japan. Please come to see Matabei Zakura once you have a chance!


If you would like lcal guides to take you around the city and tell you even more information that you will never find in a guidebook, please click on the banner below.

Enjoy Sakura in Japan!

Cherry blossoms are an essential part of Japanese culture. And, viewing cherry blossoms (Hanami) is very popular in Japan during the spring. This is because cherry blossoms, which the Japanese call “Sakura” are stunning at this season.

If you are planning to visit Japan this spring and want to discover more cherry blossoms spots in Kyoto area, please check the following article. It’s covering the best Hanami spots in the old capital and provides you with the essential information, so you can get the most from your Sakura trip!

Here’s the link. URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2566/ 

Osaka is very close to Kyoto. It will be a miss if you don’t visit Osaka to see cherry blossoms when you are in the Kansai area in spring. Please check the following article to find out the best cherry blossoms viewing spots in Osaka and Kansai!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/osaka-kansai-cherry-blossoms-spots-sakura-festivals-feel-spring 

Kyoto and Osaka have many beautiful spots to see Cherry blossoms. However, other areas also have excellent places for hanami. Tokyo features many of those spots as well! If you are in Tokyo around spring and looking for a place to see cherry blossoms, Why don’t you check the following article?

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/1805/

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Did You Know That There is a Festival Every Day Somewhere in Japan?

Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and on the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/6572/


l am living in Nagoya, the third largest city located between Tokyo and Osaka. I am looking forword to introducing you about wonderful festivals in Japan.

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