Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido: Spring~early Summer vol.2
【Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park－A world where shibazakura pink moss stretches as far as the eye can see!】
Every year visitors flock to see the pink moss fields of Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park, which is located approximately 40 minutes by car from Abashiri City in eastern Hokkaido. This shibazakura field begun to grow in 1977 when a local farmer decided to raise the plants to compliment the area’s hot spring, and has since then developed into a vast flower field boasting an area of 100,000 square meters. The best time to see the moss phlox is from mid-May to early June. When the shibazakura is in full bloom, the gently sloping hillside park is beautifully coloured as if it were draped with a velvety pink carpet: spectacular when viewed from both the top and bottom of the hill. The park is filled with countless attractions, such as an observatory, the bright pink torii gate of “Yamazumi Shrine”, and the large image of local cow character “Nonki-kun” created from shibazakura. If you visit, why not take a ride on the observation car which runs from the foot of the hill right to the top, allowing you to take in the views at a leisurely pace? The park also features shops selling local foods, go-carts, fishing ponds and a hot spring, meaning that both adults and children alike can spend a fun-filled day here.
The “Higashimokoto Shibazakura Festival” is held every year to celebrate the shibazakura in full bloom!
<Higashimokoto Shibazakura Festival>
Every year from May 3 to June 1st. *Canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19
Charged during the “Higashimokoto Shibazakura Festival”, 500 yen for adults, 250 yen for elementary school students
■Opening hours 8: 00 ~ 17 ： 00
About 40 minutes from JR Abashiri Station by route bus, disembark at “Higashimokoto bus kaisha mae”, from which it is 5 minutes by taxi. During shibazakura season, a free shuttle car operates between “Higashimokoto bus kaisha mae” and Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park. (reservation required, limited to those who take the route bus from Abashiri Station to Higashimokoto).
■Spot introduction https://en.visit-hokkaido.jp/wp/what-to-do/higashimokoto-shibazakura-park/
【Tenjinyama Area－Hokkaido’s oldest wisteria tree which has witnessed 200 years of history】
Located in the Hiragishi area of Sapporo that to this day retains many historical features from days gone by, Tenjinyama is a green stretch of area which, at its highest point, sits 89 meters above sea level. Featuring a Japanese garden, a plum grove and a cherry blossom garden, as well as a superb view of Mt. Moiwa and Sapporo city, Tenjinyama is a popular spot for residents of Sapporo to relax away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Just a 1-minute walk away from the Tenjinyama carpark is the “Tenjinyama Fuji”, an ancient wisteria tree which at 200 years old is Hokkaido’s oldest wisteria! From late-May to early June the wisteria bursts into full bloom, and the large clusters of wisteria flowers overflowing from every gap in the trellis are truly an impressive sight to behold.
Tenjinyama is also home to the Hiragishi Shrine, which is believed to grant fulfilment in studies. A visit to this peaceful shrine nestled within the forest is sure to refresh your mind and soothe your soul.
*Blooming slightly earlier than the wisteria, from early to late May Tenjinyama is a popular spot to see the bright pink yaezakura cherry blossoms.
*Various tasty eateries can be found in the area, including “The Tenjinyama branch of “Soup Curry Suage”, as well as the popular ramen restaurant “Sapporo Junren” which serves Sapporo-style ramen!
【Marchen Hill―A fairytale-like land of wide open fields and larch trees】
Seven larch trees stand at an altitude of about 35 meters upon the ridgeline of Marchen Hill, a natural beauty spot positioned along National Highway 39 in Ozora, Memanbetsu. Set in perfect symmetry against a backdrop of vast fields, these trees exude an air of idyllic beauty, creating a scene which looks as if it had been taken right out of a fairytale or nursery rhyme! This landscape was used in the movie “Dream” directed by Akira Kurosawa, making it a popular viewing spot for visitors.
The various faces of Marchen Hill can be enjoyed in each season. For example, in the summer you can enjoy the sight of wheat and potato flowers, bales of hay in the autumn, and fresh white snow in the winter!
Approximately 2.2km from Memanbetsu Station, which is about 30 minutes on foot.
Bus: Take the Abashiri Bus (Memanbetsu Airport Line) at “Memanbetsu Jyujigai” close to Memanbetsu Station and alight at “Showa Daini”.
【Road to the Sky ―The scenic route you absolutely must drive in Hokkaido! 】
Shari’s “Road to the Sky” is a 28.1km long, straight road which stretches far into the distance as if it is leading straight up into the sky. Although originally known by locals as a place of scenic beauty, in 2016 this road became famous nationwide when the impressive view was published in an airline company’s in-flight magazine.
Although the scenery is certainly impressive during the day, at dusk the road is bathed in a red glow which is sure to take your breath away! From late September to early October, it is also possible to see the magnificent view of the sun setting directly above the middle of the road.
Note: During Winter, the road may be closed some days due to heavy snow conditions.
■Address Minehama, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido
■Access Take National Route 334 from Utoro towards Shari and turn left at Minehama. Proceed up the hill, with the Unabetsu ski area to your left. turn right at the end of the road and you will find yourself on this mysterious road.