Five great spots to see cherry blossoms in Hokkaido!
Since the peak season for cherry blossoms is early May in Hokkaido, which is later than on the main island, people can enjoy the beautiful blossoms until late May. Some places even have the blossoms until early June. This article introduces five spots with cherry blossoms in Hokkaido. There are many such sakura spots in Hokkaido other than these, but these five are especially recommended for you to visit and enjoy cherry blossoms!
Writer: Saori Nakamura
I live in Sapporo City, Hokkaido. I love to eat out. I am especially attracted by cafes with a retro feel and historical buildings.
1. Matsumae Park
Located in Hakodate City, this park has about 10,000 cherry trees of about 250 varieties. It is rare even in Hokkaido that one place has so many cherry trees, offering many to see at the same spot. As this park has three types of cherry blossoms, including early bloomers, average bloomers, and later bloomers, you can enjoy blossoms for a long time from late April to late May every year. Enjoy many varieties of cherry blossoms, including “Someiyoshino, “Itokukuri,” “Kanzan,” and “Amayadori.”
At the park, there is a facility called “Sakura Mihon-en,” which was established for the purpose of learning the varieties of cherry trees, with more than 140 varieties collected from all over Japan. This facility has been selected as one of the “100 Most Beautiful Japanese Historical Landscapes.” The cherry blossoms surrounding the Matsumae Castle create a truly breath-taking sight. It was also registered on the “Hokkaido Heritage List” in 2004.
Address: Matsushiro, Matsumae-cho, Matsumae County, Hokkaido
By bus: about 90 min. by bus destined for Matsumae from JR Kikonai Sta. to Matsushiro bus stop, and 7 min. walk
By car: about 2 hrs. and 30 min. from Yakumo IC on Do-o Expressway
2. Tomei Park in Bibai City
Tomei Park in Bibai City is considered to be one of the best places in Hokkaido to see cherry blossoms. It is the northernmost colony of Someiyoshino in Japan, with about 2,000 cherry trees welcoming visitors. The season of the blossoms is usually early May. You can see three varieties of cherry blossoms, “Ezo-Yamazakura,” “Someiyoshino,” and “Yae-zakura” (double cherry blossoms). In the park, there is a “tunnel” of Someiyoshino blossoms, making a great photo spot with a long path lined with beautiful blossoms. During the peak season, the blossoms are illuminated at night.
At the park, there is a tower called “Space Carillon,” which offers a great view of cherry blossoms from the top. With good access by train and bus, this park is a perfect place for families to easily visit.
Address: 2 Tomei-cho, Bibai City, Hokkaido
By bus: 15 min. by bus destined for Arte Piazza from JR Bibai Sta. to Tomei Koen bus stop and 3 min. walk
By car: about 5 min. from Bibai IC on Do-o Expressway
3. Goryokaku Park in HakodateHakodate Goryokaku Park contains “Goryokaku,” an old star-shaped fortress, which was designated by the nation as one of the “Special Historical Sites.” As the name suggests, it features a star-shape-like form.
With more than 1,500 cherry trees in total, it is one of the most famous spots for cherry blossom viewing in Hokkaido. You can also enjoy the cherry blossoms along the path of a total of 1.8 km in length surrounding the park. As the path is nicely paved and clean, many people visit there to enjoy cherry blossoms while walking or strolling in addition to those coming for jogging.
There are three varieties of cherry trees, including “Someiyoshino,” “Yae-zakura,” and “Shidare-zakura” (weeping cherry blossoms) at Goryokaku Park. “Someiyoshino” trees have a slightly earlier season for the blossoms between late April to early May, while the season for the blooms of other varieties is May.
Address: 44-2 Goryokaku-cho, Hakodate City, Hokkaido
By tram: Get off at “Goryokaku Koen-mae,” and walk about 15 min.
4. Yushun Sakura Road (Nishisha Cherry Street)
Yushun Sakura Road is a great place to see cherry blossoms in Urakawa Town, Urakawa County, Hokkaido. It is a very famous spot with an avenue of cherry trees lined with more than 1,000 cherry trees for about 3 km. The blossoms are lit up at night, creating a dreamy view of the path. Not only the cherry blossoms but also the road is illuminated, so you can walk there safely.
The season for the cherry blossoms on Yushun Sakura Road is mid-May. In time with the season, an annual “Urakawa Sakura Matsuri” festival is held.
Until 2004, the name of this cherry blossom spot was “Nishisha Cherry Street.” To name the spot with a more familiar name, the town solicited names for the place from the townspeople of Urakawa. From many candidates, the current name “Yushun Sakura Road” was selected. Since then, the place is familiarly known by this name.
Address: 141-11 Nishisha, Urakawa-cho, Urakawa County, Hokkaido
By car: about 80 min. from Hidaka-Atsuga IC on Hidaka Expressway
5. Asahiyama Park
Located in Asahikawa City, Hokkaido, Asahiyama Park is known for having many late-blooming cherry trees. You can enjoy beautiful cherry blossoms until late May in this park, which is rare even in Hokkaido. In early May, an annual “Yozakura Matsuri” (“Night Blossoms”) festival is held. As the blooms are mostly white or whitish, they create a tableau of beautiful scenery with the dark night sky.
Asahiyama Zoo is nearby, so you can have fun at the zoo during daytime and enjoy cherry blossoms at night. Since it is a great place for families to enjoy for the entire day, the area is crowded with many children during weekends.
The best part of Asahiyama Park is that it offers various ways to enjoy nature, including blossom viewing in spring, hiking in summer, and autumn foliage viewing in fall. As it is located at about 300 meters above sea level, you can have nice views from the park of the surrounding area.
There is a public bus service destination for Asahiyama Zoo from JR Asahikawa Sta. It is also not too far from the nearest IC by car. It is a readily accessible spot for viewing beautiful cherry blossoms.
Address: Kuranuma, Higashiasahikawa-cho, Asahikawa City, Hokkaido
By bus: take a bus destination for Asahiyama Dobutsuen zoo at the bus station Platform 6 in front of JR Asahikawa Sta. and get off at Asahiyama Dobutsuen
By car: about 20 min. from Asahikawa-kita IC on Do-o Expressway
Summing UpThe most prominent feature of cherry blossoms in Hokkaido is that the timing of full bloom is late. While the peak season for cherry blossoms ends by late April or much earlier at most tourist spots on the main island, Hokkaido has many places where you can enjoy the blossoms in May, attracting many tourists. In addition, there are many parks in Hokkaido that offer an opportunity to enjoy wilderness by taking advantage of the huge land area, so you can fully enjoy your days-off and holidays by not only viewing cherry blossoms but also using other services.
Hokkaido is too big to visit all of these in a single visit, much less a single day, but you can visit several of the tourist destinations in Hokkaido during the cherry blossom season.
*The information herein is as of May 2021.
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