Unlike other parts of Japan, plum flowers and cherry blossom flowers bloom at the same time in May in Hokkaido. This results in a beautiful scene of pink along streets and parks during spring and early summer. Here, we’ve compiled a short list of where to best view sakura/plum flowers if you come visit in Spring!

1. Goryokaku Park 五稜郭公園

Full of history, Goryokaku Park is the star of Hakodate, Hokkaido. Goryokaku was originally built as a star-shaped fort to protect Japan against Russian invasion, now the Park is home to the Hakodate city museum as well as over 1,600 cherry trees.

Cherry blossom at Goryoukaku - 五稜郭公園の桜 - panoramio
Cherry blossom at Goryoukaku – 五稜郭公園の桜” by 柴田拓 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
It is a sight in Spring when the star-shaped park is painted a bright pink with cherry blossoms. Why not take a stroll around this unique fort-park after a delicious meal of Hakodate seafood in Spring.

五稜郭公園の桜” by 五稜郭 is under Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
This year, the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom between end April to early May.

Take the local tram from Hakodate eki-mae (函館駅前) - a short walk from JR Hakodate station (函館駅). Alight at
Goryokaku kouen-mae (五稜郭公園前) and walk for approx. 15 min.

2. Matsumae Park 松前公園

One of the parks constantly ranked within the top 100 spots for cherry blossom viewing in Japan, Matsumae Park is home to over 10,000 sakura trees of over 250 differing varieties. This large variety has resulted in a very long cherry blossom viewing season, lasting nearly a month. Matsumae Park also lights up past sunset to allow visitors to enjoy a stroll between illuminated sakura trees at night.

桜が満開の松前城” by makizo_01 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5, via Photozou

This year, the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom between 28 April to 20 May.

Take the JR train to Kikonai Station (木古内駅). Change to a bus bound for Matsumae (松前) and alight at Matsushiro
station (松城駅). The park is approx. 7 min walk away.

3. Toumei Park 東明公園

Constantly ranked as one of the top 10 popular sakura viewing spots in Bibai City (美唄市) in Hokkaido, Toumei Park boasts over 1,000 sakura trees ready to bloom in Spring. Much like Matsumae Park, you can access the park at any time and enjoy illumination of the trees between 6.00pm and 10.00pm every night.

However, unlike Matsumae Park, Toumei Park has fewer varieties of sakura trees, which translates to a shorter cherry blossom viewing season that lasts only approximately a week, so do keep a lookout on the dates!

This year, the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom between early to mid May.

Take a local bus ride from JR Bibai Station (美唄駅) towards Arte Piazza (アルテピアッツァ). Alight at Toumei Kouen
(東明公園) and walk for approx. 3 min to reach the rows of trees.

4. Shizunai Nijukken Road 静内二十間道路

Unlike other festivals held in parks, the Shizunai Cherry Blossom Festival takes place along Nijukkendouro Sakuranamiki (二十間道路桜並木) ー a 7 km stretch of road located in Shinhidaka City. With over 3,000 blooming cherry blossoms at either side of the road, a short walk through this road is truly scenic. Said to attract nearly 200,000 visitors annually, this festival has been constantly ranked as the top hanami venue in Hokkaido.

二十間道路櫻並木” by Hales Suen is licensed under CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
This year, the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom between early to mid May.

Take the JR Train to Shizunai station (静内駅) and transfer to the a Dounan Bus (道南バス) bound for Noya (農屋).
Alight at Sakuragaoka shogakkou-mae (桜丘小学校前) and walk along the road for 15 min.

5. Aobagaoka Park 青葉ケ丘公園

Aobagaoka Park is a historical park built in 1914 and located within Mori city north of Hakodate. This park is home to over 1,000 sakura trees, many of which were planted when the park was first constructed over 100 years ago. These trees have withstood the change of time and have been blooming for over 100 springs! Be in awe by the sea of pink in front of Komagatake (駒ヶ岳)!

This year, the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom between early to mid May.

Easily accessible with a 10 min walk (or 3 min car ride) from JR Mori station (森駅).

This is, of course, not a complete list of sakura viewing spots in Hokkaido, as there are so many more secret spots waiting to be found. As spring slowly crawls into Hokkaido, do make a trip up north and enjoy the Japanese art of hanami in May!

And if you do find better viewing spots around Hokkaido, do let us know!

*Header image by HoQ-10 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0




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