The arrival of spring is celebrated in uniquely different ways across the world, but it the season is unforgettable in Japan. It is made so by the blooming of millions of dainty cherry blossoms across the country, beckoning locals and travelers alike to enjoy their ephemeral beauty. The arrival of cherry blossoms in Hokkaido makes the Island of Nature, already known for breathtaking scenes, even lovelier as the nature parks and historic sites are blanketed in flowers like fluffy pink clouds.
The blossoming time that is spring is known for a cool and pleasant air, with alluring, vivid flowers blanketing the greenery everywhere, creating an extraordinarily dreamy ambiance. In Hokkaido, having finally worn away winter snows, the coming of spring fills the region with bright colors, and all the creatures (including the people) leave their homes to step into the sun. The locals celebrate the blossoming of the cherry blossoms by holding sakura-watching parties, and some cities and towns even hold special festivals where dainty pink is the prevailing color and every sweetbread is cherry-flavored.
Japan is primarily known for being blessed with majestic landscapes, drawing tourists from far and wide. But apart from the splendid sceneries and grand gardens, the East Asian country is home to tiny yet equally impressive natural features, like the captivating cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms in Japan hold much significance as one of the nation’s national flowers and are even celebrated in a spring festival.
Watching cherry blossoms in Japan is a tradition, one that’s religiously practiced each year in all parts of the country, especially in Hokkaido. Cherry blossoms in Hokkaido, aka the Island of Nature, are particularly noteworthy because they bloom two weeks to a month later than most other parts of Japan, allowing people to catch the sight of spectacular sakuras in the cool pleasant breeze of the Island. Being the coldest region in Japan, Hokkaido receives its share of cherry blossoms blooming toward the end of April, which lasts for a month on average.
People who wish to see the exquisite pastel pink flowers a little later than the beginning of spring can enjoy the glowing cherry blossoms in Hokkaido. If you haven’t been part of this Japanese tradition yet, know that you have been missing out on a pleasant experience. To save you from intense FOMO later, we decided to share all the exclusive locations for seeing cherry blossoms in Hokkaido so that you can plan your next vacation to Japan right. Here we have rounded up the top sakura-seeing points on the Island of Nature.
Resting atop a hill in Otaru City, Temiya Park is a pocket of paradise that teems with gorgeous cherry blossoms each year, offering a dreamland to people who wish to take part in the time-honored sakura-watching Japanese tradition.
Brimming with thick greenery blanketed in alluring flowers overlooking the sea- such is the landscape in Temiya Park. Each year when the air begins to warm up, lofty trees in Temiya Garden produce the freshest, most vibrant cherry blossoms. However, those aren't the only flowers that flourish in this part of Otaru City. If you visit the magnificent location during springtime, you will come across the most vivacious multicolored florae. Truly, Temiya Park appears to have come out of a dreamland.
According to the park’s floricultural archives, approximately 700 trees bloom, flaunting glorious cherry blossoms every spring in Temiya Park. So one can imagine how gratifying the scenery must be, should they travel to Hokkaido to enjoy the annual sakura watching in Otaru city.
If you want to witness swaying groves of trees covered in stunning flowers under deep blue skies, you need to head to the port city of Otaru in Hokkaido on your next vacation. But be sure you do it anytime between mid-April and the end of May.
How to Get to Temiya Park?
Since it’s a popular tourist spot in Otaru city, Temiya park is easily accessible via public transport. The easiest way to the botanical garden is on a bus ride from Otaru station, which only takes fifteen minutes to get people to their destination.
Cherry Blossoms in Temiya Park
Matsumae is primarily known for being home to the impressive Matsumae castle, making it the only traditional castle town in Hokkaido Prefecture. However, that's not the only reason behind the region's popularity; its annual cherry blossom festival is also equally, if not more essential to the town's widespread fame.
Cherry blossoms partially enveloping the ancient black and white castle in Matsumae make for a uniquely captivating sight. The velvety-soft sakura petals contrast the sleek and sharp structure of the Matsumae castle so brilliantly that the spectators looking at the scene before them are left awestruck.
The ground in Matsumae supports around 10,000 lush trees that produce more than 250 varieties of cherry blossoms each year, making the locality an incredible spot for sakura viewing. Since the area is home to an endless assortment of different blossom plant species, it enjoys a relatively more extended springtime. This allows travelers to enjoy the bloom of cherry blossoms in Hokkaido much later into the spring season. Typically, hordes of tourists stop by this serene site during the second half of May. However, you can choose to come to Matsumae in mid-April if you want because even then the pretty pink and white flowers preen enchantingly.
During the vernal season, the Matsumae castle also celebrates springtime by holding a cherry blossom festival, where delicious Japanese delicacies are served alongside the stunning view.
Simply put, the architecture and natural landscape in Matsumae together form a delightful setting that’s undoubtedly a sight for sore eyes!
How to Get to the Matsumae Area?
Getting to the Matsumae Area entails a longer journey than most other places on our list of places to watch cherry blossoms in Hokkaido. To reach your destination, take the Hokkaido Shinkansen to get to Kikonai station. Once there, get off the train and board a bus for a 95-min-long ride to get to the castle site.
Cherry Blossoms in Matsumae Park
Goryokaku tower stands erected, overlooking a star-shaped park known as Goryokaku, which is home to approximately 1600 cherry blossom trees. Goryokaku Park is a popular tourist destination in Hokadote; however, it wasn't so since the beginning. The now-famous gathering spot for excited travelers was originally built as a fort at the end of 1866.
Built under the Tokugawa Shogunate's rule, Goryokaku is known for being instrumental during the Boshin War, having significantly more artillery emplacements than most other fortresses at the time. Fast forward to the end of the 20th century, the once-military base was turned into a public park, housing thickets of verdant trees with flowers. And now it's a renowned site for cherry blossom viewing in Hokkaido.
Goryokaku tower offers an uninterrupted view of bushy trees supporting endless bunches of cherry blossoms. Once at the top, the scene before a spectator looks something like this.
A six-sided polygon-shaped landmark with water channels making the star’s sides, surrounded by greenery. The inner plains of the star are lined with shrubbery holding sakuras for the most part, save for the few concrete structures and military emplacements.
All in all, looking down from the Goryokaku is an extraordinarily delightful experience that all nature-admirers should enjoy at least once in their lifetime.
If you want to experience the wildly celebrated Japanese tradition of sakura-viewing and catch a glimpse of the Edo Period, you need to make your way towards Hokadote next spring.
How to Get to Goryokaku Tower?
Board a tram from the central Goryokaku station for a 15-min-long ride to Goryokaku Koen Mae station. Once your tram ride ends, get off at the drop-off station, walk for ten more minutes, and you will be at Goryokaku Park.
Cherry Blossoms in Goryokaku
If you are an anime fan or have ever watched a Japanese show, you must have seen one of those pristine streets lined with gorgeous cherry blossom trees on both sides where the lead couple walks hand in hand. If the described imagery doesn't ring a bell for you, then watch a romantic piece of Japanese pop culture or visit the Nijukken Road in Shinhidaka, Hokkaido!
Immaculately paved, squeaky-clean roads with never-ending strips of thriving trees on both sides are fairly common in most East Asian countries, especially South Korea and Japan. And Nijukken road is one such scenic street in Shinhidaka, where you will find stunning cherry blossom trees covering the sidetracks by the flagged lane.
Nijukken Road is rated among the top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan while also being an outstanding roadwork product. With dainty trees adorning fuzzy grass on either side, the 7-km stretch of cemented pathway makes for a perfect backdrop setting for a romantic scene.
Rumor has it that each year more than 200,000 enthusiastic travelers and locals make their way towards the Nijukken Road to take a closer look at the 3000 cherry blossom trees covering the side pavements.
If you want to have a magical film-like moment where you tell your partner how much they mean to you under the cobalt blue sky, while the cherry blossoms fill the air with a sweet scent, a trip to the Nijukken Road should be in order for you.
Believe it or not, the dense vegetation, tinted in delicate pinks and whites, dotting the sides of the Nijukken Road, will take you to a dreamland far away from the real world. If you are interested in turning a regular day into a magical one, take your significant other to this enchanting location in Hokkaido.
How to Get to the Nijukken Road?
Get on the Hidaka Main Line in Shinhadaka, Hokkaido to reach Shizunai station. Once here, rent a car or hire a taxi for a 20-min ride to Nijukken Road.
Cherry Blossoms in Nijukken Road
Sapporo is the largest city on Hokkaido Island, known for its thriving brewery industry among other things, including the cherry blossoms in Moerenuma Park. Though not the first choice to enjoy sakura-viewing, Moerenuma Park is a 188.8 ha-wide garden just outside Sapporo city that houses some of the most beautiful cherry blossom trees on the Island.
Designed by the renowned architect Isamu Noguchi, Moerenuma Park is primarily recognized for its ultramodern structures. State-of-the-art playing equipment, colossal sports fields, and other advanced recreational facilities are the main factors responsible for the park's immense popularity. However, the section known as 'Sakura no Mori' in the massive municipal garden supports more than 1900 cherry blossom trees that flourish each year beautifully during the spring season. Therefore, it's safe to say that the Moerenuma Park in Sapporo is a wonderful union of modern architecture, sleek aesthetics, and scenic nature.
If you wish to enjoy the best of both worlds, i.e., nature and human-made structures, you must check out the magnificent Moereuma Park in Hokkaido.
How to Get to Moerenuma Park?
Like all other places on our list of cherry blossom viewing sites, Moerenuma Park is accessible via a bus. Take the Toho Line and get off at Kanjodori Higashi Station; from here, take a bus, and 25 minutes later, you will be at your destination.
The best thing about traveling across Japan is the ample signposts and road markers strewn all over the place to help travelers navigate. Though most of the signs are in Japanese, they do carry the name of popular travel spots, guiding people in the right direction. This means, even if you get confused anywhere in the country, you can easily find your way back.
If you want to celebrate the spring season in all its glory, you should experience the adored Japanese tradition and watch the charming cherry blossoms in Hokkaido.