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Looking for Cherry Blossoms? See Them Bloom in 4 Hokkaido Spots 


One of the most iconic symbols of Japan is the cherry blossom.


There are lots of famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Hokkaido. We identify unique cherry blossom viewing spots in the area–from places where cherry blossoms and plum blossoms bloom at the same time, to spots where multiple types of cherry blossoms can be appreciated during their early-blooming and late-blooming stages. There is even a spot where you can have a picnic while viewing cherry blossoms, and places where cherry blossom festivals are held annually. Check them out on your next trip to Japan!


The best time to see cherry blossoms and try hanami (flower viewing) cuisine in Hokkaido

Cherry blossom viewing is a popular activity among tourists and citizens.


In Honshu, where Tokyo and Osaka are located, cherry blossoms begin to bloom in late March, so the best time to see them is around early April. But in Hokkaido, which is located north of Honshu, the flowering of cherry blossoms starts around the end of April. At Moerenuma Park (Sapporo), which has about 1,900 cherry blossom trees, the blooming period starts from mid to late May. Same with Hakodate Park, where you can get eyefuls of cherry blossoms as well as the sea, and Otaru Park, which treats visitors to cherry blossoms in bloom and an expansive view of the harbor. 

The average temperature in Hokkaido in April is 7℃, while in May, it’s 12℃. It’s cold in the morning and evening, so bring a jacket when you step out.

In Honshu, people often pack light meals, such as rice balls and sandwiches, when they go cherry blossom viewing, but in Hokkaido, visitors eat Jingisukan hot pot (Mongolian mutton barbecue)! You can also buy food from the street stalls.


Visitors in Hokkaido usually eat Jingisukan hot pot when looking at cherry blossoms.


Check out the star-shaped pink fort!


(1)    Hakodate Goryokaku Park

Hakodate Goryokaku Park is famous for its star-shaped layout.


Hakodate Goryokaku Park is famous for its star-shaped castle ruins. Each late April, about 1,600 Yoshino cherry trees planted on the star-shaped earthworks are in full bloom. Moreover, the cherry blossoms that bloom on the banks of the moat and inside the castle walls fill the star-shaped ridges, and the appearance of the petals floating on the water makes the place look romantic! It also reminds you of a flower fortress when you’re looking down from the observation deck of Fort Goryokaku Tower, a superb view that’s unique to this season. If you have time and want a different perspective, get a rental boat and view the blossoms from the water.

The best time to see the blossoms is the beginning of May. It takes about 10 minutes on foot to the Goryokaku Park Entrance Bus Stop after riding the 25,19, or 33 Bus from Hakodate Station.


Individuals, friends, and even families go cherry blossom viewing during its season.

See cherry blossoms and plum blossoms bloom at the same time

(2)    Hokkaido Shrine

Cherry blossoms and plum blossoms can be viewed at the same time.


Hokkaido Shrine is located next to Maruyama Park in Sapporo. It has long been known as one of the best cherry blossom viewing spots in the city. Around 1,400 cherry blossoms (Ezoyama cherry, Yoshino cherry, and Yaezakura) bloom around the shrine during the season. So too do the park’s 250 white and red plum blossoms. The best time to view them is from late April to early May. It takes about 15 minutes to walk there from Maruyama Koen Subway Station.


Cherry blossoms often create an endless scenery of pink during the season.

Marvel at 2,000 Ezoyama cherry trees in full bloom

(3)    Noboribetsu Cherry Blossoms Rows

During the cherry blossom season, roads are lined with pink trees.


Around 2,000 Ezoyama cherry trees bloom along the 8-kilometer road of Route 2 leading from JR Noboribetsu Station to Noboribetsu Onsen. These cherry trees were planted by locals in 1934 to commemorate the birth of His Imperial Highness, the Crown Prince (now His Majesty the Emperor). The best time to see them is from early to mid-May annually. When the blossoms are in full bloom, they create a cherry blossom tunnel, welcoming visitors heading to Noboribetsu Onsen. Access is from JR Noboribetsu Station: Take the Donan Bus Footbath Entrance / Tobetsu Onsen for about eight minutes, and get off at the Sanai Hospital Noboribetsu Date Jidai Muramae Bus Stop.


Witness cherry blossoms bloom one after another!


(4) Matsumae Park

Various kinds of cherry blossoms bloom in this park.


Matsumae Park, which is said to be a symbol of Matsumae town, once prospered as a castle town. Measuring about 248,000 square meters, the park houses Matsumae Castle, Sakura-mi Honen, temples, and the Matsumae clan mansion. An astonishing 10,000 cherry blossoms of 250 species bloom in different stages, from early blooming (mid to late April) to mid-blooming (late April to mid-May) and late blooming (early to mid-May).


Matsumae Park is a must-visit for cherry blossom lovers.


Multiple varieties of cherry blossoms abound in the park: There are double-blossom cherry blossoms (or cherry blossoms with layers of petals) and late-blooming chrysanthemum cherry blossoms with over 200 petals on one stem. To learn more about these and other cherry blossoms, visit the park’s Sakura Botanical Garden. Described as a "living cherry blossom picture book,” it has information and samples of around 300 individual trees from 100 different species. To reach the garden, take the Hakodate Bus bound for Matsumae Branch Office from JR Kikonai Station and ride for about an hour and 30 minutes, then get off at Matsushiro Bus Stop and walk for about three minutes.


Refer to the following for more information on the facilities mentioned in this article.


Visit all the popular sites in Hokkaido! Convenient for all - The Hokkaido Rail Pass


Hakodate Goryokaku Park

Hokkaido Shrine

Noboribetsu Cherry Blossoms Rows

Matsumae Park



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