This is so Hokkaido!

Nine places you must visit to enjoy cherry blossoms and pink moss phlox in Hokkaido

In snowy Hokkaido, flowers bloom later than they do in Honshu. Below, we recommend spring blossom viewing sites that you must not miss when you visit Hokkaido in the spring, especially the cherry blossoms that declare that spring has truly come and carpets of pink moss phlox that cover the ground. 

Hokkaido’s cherry blossoms

Focus on Hokkaido’s vividly colored cherry blossoms.

You can see a wide variety of cherry trees all over Hokkaido’s wide spaces, including Somei Yoshino, which makes up 80% of the cherry trees in Japan, as well as Hokkaido’s symbolic Ezoyamazakura, and Chishimazakura, the latest blooming cherry in Japan.

Most people imagine sakura blossoms to be light pink, but many find Hokkaido’s to be particularly vivid and colorful. This is due to the many Ezoyamazakura trees around Hokkaido, as well as the fact that the terrible winter cold makes Hokkaido’s Ezoyamazakura much more deeply colored than those on Honshu.

When you come see the sakura in Hokkaido, make sure you focus on the color!

When can you enjoy cherry blossoms in Hokkaido?

Cherry blossoms are the flowers that declare that spring has come to Japan. The cherry trees of Honshu bloom in March, but in Hokkaido, the cherry blossoms are in their full glory about 1 month later from late April to early May. The peak viewing period varies from place to place: late April in Hakodate and Matsumae, early to mid-May around Sapporo, and in mid-May in eastern Hokkaido. Please look at the following predicted blooming periods.  

https://weathernews.jp/s/sakura/  (Weather News, Japanese language only)

Six cherry blossom viewing locations you must not miss while visiting Hokkaido!

Goryokaku Park (Hakodate)

Goryokaku Park in Hakodate is one  of Hokkaido’s most famous cherry blossom viewing sites. Goryokaku Park has much more to offer than its famed star-shaped castle. With its surroundings, it is a fully equipped park boasting about 1,600 cherry trees, mainly the Yoshino Cherry variety. After you have finished viewing the cherry blossoms as you enjoy a stroll through the park, you must take in the view from the observation deck of the Goryokaku Tower. The gorgeous sight of the star-shaped castle bordered by pink is a unique view you will never see again.

Goryokaku Park and Hakodate Park are lit up at night during every cherry blooming season so that you can enjoy beautiful night views of the blossoms.  

  • [Full bloom] Late April to early May
  • [Location] 44 Goryokakucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
  • [Access] 15-minute walk from the Goryokakukoenmae Streetcar Stop
  • [Link] https://www.hakodate-jts-kosya.jp/

Matsumae Park (Matsumaecho)

Japan’s northernmost castle town, Matsumaecho, retains the atmosphere of an Edo Period city, especially at Matsumae Castle and in Teramachi. It is also famed as one of Japan’s top 100 cherry blossom viewing sites, where its cherry trees seem to vie with the beauty of the castle. In the park, about 10,000 trees representing 250 varieties bloom. These include trees that bloom early, in mid-season, and late, so visitors can enjoy viewing cherry blossoms for about a month as each variety comes into full bloom. The sight of the competing cherry blossoms as they bloom early, in mid-season, and late, accompanied by a spectacular view of the Tsugaru Strait will take your breath away. About 100 varieties of cherry trees including some rare cherry trees seen nowhere else, have been developed in Matsumae,  

The weeping cherry trees of Hokiji Temple (Hokuto City)

The weeping cherry trees on the grounds of Hokiji Temple in Hokuto City are estimated to be 300 years old, stand about 12 meters in height, and their sagging branches are covered with blooms. The sight of their blossom loaded branches sagging in broad curves is a popular attraction. Such tall and splendid weeping cherry trees are a rare sight in Hokkaido. Their exceptional beauty excites everyone who sees them. When they are in full bloom, they are lit up at night, attracting crowds of visitors.   

  • [Full bloom] Early to mid-May
  • [Location] Hokiji Temple, 1-14-13, Mukaino, Hokuto City, Hokkaido
  • [Access] About 10 minutes by car from JR Shin-hakodate-hokuto Station
  • [Link] http://hokutoinfo.com/en/spot-en/

Hokkaido Shrine (Sapporo City)

Hokkaido’s most famous shrine, Hokkaido Shrine, is not only a destination for worshippers, but a place where visitors can enjoy viewing the blossoms of the cherry trees and plum trees planted on the shrine grounds. At Hokkaido Shrine, approximately 1,100 cherry trees including Sargent cherry, Yoshino cherry, and double flowered cherry trees, plus 200 plum trees bloom, mainly along the front approach to the shrine. When the cherries bloom, many roadside stands appear, and crowds of visitor arrive to enjoy the spectacle.  

Mt. Tenguyama (Otaru City)

The peak of Mt. Tenguyama in Otaru City is a popular cherry blossom viewing site thronged by visitors eager to see the heart-shaped blossoms of its one lone cherry tree in full bloom. Said to be the last cherry tree to bloom in Otaru City, it is at its glorious peak in mid or late May on a normal year. From the Tengu Cherry Observation Deck, you can enjoy a view of the city of Otaru and take photographs of the heart-shaped illumination at the observation deck. This is the perfect place to savor its cheerful atmosphere at the same time as you enjoy the view of Otaru.  

Nijukken Road Cherry Blossoms (Shinhidakacho)

About 2,200 cherry trees bloom along this 7 kilometer straight road, that is said to be the most beautiful scenic road in Hokkaido. Its name, Nijukken Road, which means the Twenty-Ken Road (ken is an old Japanese unit of length equal to 1.8 meters), is given because it is 20 ken (36 m) wide. The beautiful sight of this road lined with Japan’s most famed cherry trees is truly overwhelming. If you look up as you stroll along the “Tunnel of Blossoms” beside the main road, you will see nothing but cherry blossoms descending from the sky above. Enjoy the elegant atmosphere as you stroll through the 300 meter long tunnel of cherry blossoms.  

Focus on Hokkaido’s spring flower “shibazakura.”

There is one more spring flower you simply shouldu’t miss when you visit Hokkaido.

That’s the moss phlox, also known as “shibazakura,” which blooms pink and white in wide swathes, like a colorful carpet covering the ground.

The sight of blooming moss phlox turning the ground all around you into a delicately colored panorama is truly a sight to remember!

When is Hokkaido’s pink moss phlox at its peak in Hokkaido?

The best time to see pink moss phlox in Hokkaido varies from district to district and depending on weather conditions, but usually falls between early May and early June. Pink moss phlox blooms longer than cherry blossoms so visitors can enjoy their beauty for almost an entire month.

Three pink moss phlox viewing locations you must see before you leave Hokkaido!

Shibazakura-Takinoue Park (Takinouecho)

The best place to view pink moss phlox in Japan. Blooming pink moss phlox covers the slopes of Shibazakura-Takinoue Park in Takinouecho for about a month from early May to early June. The sight of this giant community of Japan’s famed pink moss phlox is an experience you will never forget. You will not only be overwhelmed by its brilliant color, but be enveloped in its sweet fragrance. When they are in full bloom, the Pink Moss Phlox Festival is held. Visitors can even get on a helicopter to feast their eyes on the spectacle from on high. This is the only time you can enjoy special treat—a birds-eye view of the pink moss phlox contrasted with the panoramic spectacle of the surrounding greenery. If you are in Hokkaido during this special season, be sure to visit Takinoue Park.

  • [Full bloom] Mid-May to early June
  • [Location] Motomachi, Takinouecho, Monbetsu-gun, Hokkaido
  • [Access] About 60 minutes by bus from JR Kamikawa Station
  • [Link] http://takinoue.com/english/

Higashimokotoshibazakura Park (Ozoracho)

Every year, visitors pour into this popular pink moss phlox viewing spot, Higashimokotoshibazakura Park. The entire 10 hectare of slopes in this pink moss phlox park are dyed pink when the moss is in full bloom. Look forward to being totally overwhelmed by the site of the gradations of pink spread over the ground!  

The gently rolling hills covered with pink moss phlox present unsurpassable brilliance whether seen from below or from above. Yamatsumi Shrine and its pink torii surrounded by pink moss phlox is a popular spot even on social media.  

Mr. Mishima’s Shibazakura Garden (Kutchancho)

The popular ski resort in the Niseko Area includes a place where visitors can also enjoy the sight of a splendid pink moss phlox garden. It is Mr. Mishima’s Shibazakura Garden that offers a view of fields dyed pink by pink moss phlox with Mt. Yotei rising in the distance. Every year, it is in full bloom in mid-June. Still covered by snow, Mt. Yotei visible in the background contrasts vividly with the pink moss phlox covering the huge garden. The land is on a farm owned by a local farmer, Mr. Mishima. It is not a public space, so please treat the site with respect as you enjoy the beauty of the pink moss phlox.  

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