Mt. Esan, an active volcano between Hakodate and Onuma National Park, stands at 618 meters above sea level. The area surrounding the gas-belching peak is comprised of volcanic rock where no plants can thrive. But skirting around the mountain, where the soil is more palatable to flora, around 600,000 azaleas bloom each year. From late May to early June, many different species of azalea, including delicate Ezo rhododendrons, cover the mountain base in deep shades of red. When gazing across the mountainside, you’ll notice the bright red azaleas contrasting beautifully with the exuberant green of the hills and the cobalt blue waters of the Tsugaru Straight in the distance. The rusty autumn colors which arrive later in the year are just as postcard-worthy and help to brighten up a crisp early morning walk.
Mt. Esan Azalea Park
Kashiwanocho, Hakodate, Hokkaido