10 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Hokkaido

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Bryce was born in California, but raised from the age of 3 near Seattle, Washington. He’s been living in Tokyo for about 7 years, and graduated from Temple University, Japan with degrees in economics and international business. He loves traveling of course, but also cooking, snowboarding, some video games as well. His biggest interest is songwriting/music production, more specifically electronic music… (think Skrillex, Marshmello, Daft Punk, etc.) He also has terrible humor as you’ll notice, but he hopes you’ll enjoy it!

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The blooming season of cherry blossoms, or sakura, is a time of year that many, both from Japan or around the world, look forward to seeing once spring comes. While many associate cherry blossoms with warmer regions and expect to see them generally around March, Hokkaido offers a unique and charming experience later in the year. Hokkaido is the northernmost island of Japan with plenty of incredible nature spots resulting in later but equally incredible cherry blossom experiences. So if you’re planning to come to Japan in later spring and plan to visit the breathtaking views of Hokkaido, be sure you know where to find the best cherry blossom viewing opportunities.

1. Goryokaku Park

Nestled in Hakodate, Goryokaku Park is the star of the city, a historical site adorned with over 1600 trees. The star-shaped fort transforms into a sea of blossoms during late April, providing a picturesque setting for hanami (flower viewing) enthusiasts. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the moats for a panoramic view. Be sure to check out the nearby tower for an incredible view of the fort, as well as some great history lessons about the fort. Not to mention some great souvenir shopping.

2. Maruyama Park

Sapporo’s Maruyama Park is a popular cherry blossom destination. Home to the iconic Maruyama Zoo, this park boasts over 1400 cherry trees. The park is also well known for its wildlife throughout the park, along with its many varieties of other vegetation. Nighttime illuminations create a magical atmosphere, attracting both locals and visitors. Savor the beauty of the illuminated blossoms while enjoying local street food.

3. Nijukken Road

For a unique cherry blossom experience, head to Nijukken Road in Hakodate. Lined with cherry trees, this road transforms into a tunnel of blossoms during spring. Whether you’ve got a car and are able to drive leisurely between the 3,000 trees lining the street or would prefer to stroll down it, its an ideal spot for some prime cherry blossom viewing. The sight is particularly breathtaking in early May, providing a quieter alternative to other bustling spots.

4. Matsumae Castle & Park

Matsumae Castle, originally built to fend off foreign ships, is surrounded by an astounding 10,000 cherry trees. If you’re looking to marvel at sheer quantity, then look no further than here. Not to mention, the trees also boast around 250 different varieties of trees. The castle grounds become a canvas of pink hues, offering an impressive backdrop for photos. Visit during the Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival for a lively celebration. It’s also a great idea to visit the cherry blossom museum they have on site, where you can learn more about the process of cherry blossom growth and care.

5. Seiryuji Temple

In Kitami, Seiryuji Temple presents a serene cherry blossom experience. This temple is quite unique- most people may think that every shrine or temple is ancient or at least hundreds of years old, but actually in truth many are still being built. This temple in fact was built only 40 years ago in 1982. The temple’s grounds feature trees over 150 years old, creating a tranquil experience infused with a sense of historic ambiance. Visit during the daytime for a peaceful hanami picnic under the blossoms.

6. Temiya Park

Tucked away in Otaru, Temiya Park is a hidden gem for cherry blossom enthusiasts. It is actually the fourth oldest urban park in Hokkaido, and is famous for its arboretum. This park, famous for its Western-style architecture, is adorned with approximately 700 cherry trees. Beyond these trees, there are also chestnut trees that makeup what is said to be the northernmost natural forest. Enjoy a leisurely stroll by the water, surrounded by blooming sakura.

7. Hokiji Temple

Hokiji Temple is known greatly for its 300 year old weeping cherry blossoms. These are quite a rare site in Hokkaido, so if you’re looking for an interesting version of cherry blossoms, then this is a great opportunity. The location also boasts a remarkable illumination even at night throughout late April and to mid may. Be sure to visit in the evening for an amazing display.

8. Morimachi Oniushi Park

Off the beaten path in Morimachi, Oniushi Park offers a tranquil setting with its cherry blossom-lined paths. The park features various species of cherry trees, creating a diverse and visually stunning experience. One of the impressive points of this location is its backdrop, the twin-peaked Komagateke looms in the background adding to the serene atmosphere. Here you can easily embrace the peaceful surroundings away from the crowds.

9. Noboribetsu Cherry Trees

If you enjoyed the Nijukken road, then you’ll enjoy another scenic, cherry blossom-lined street between Noboribetsu Station and Noboribetsu Onsen. 2000 cherry blossoms of the ezoyama variety that have lined this 8 kilometer stretch of road since 1934 when they were planted by locals. They were originally planted to commemorate the birth of the crown prince who is now the emperor.

10. Moerenuma Park

Designed by renowned artist Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese-American artist, Moerenuma Park in Sapporo is a fusion of art and nature. While enjoying the park’s unique sculptures and landscapes, take in the beauty of cherry blossoms that grace the park during spring. The harmonious blend of art and nature makes Moerenuma Park a must-visit destination.

In conclusion, Hokkaido’s cherry blossom season is a testament to the region’s diverse natural beauty. From historical sites to hidden gems, each spot offers a unique and enchanting experience. Hokkaido is almost like a bonus cherry blossom viewing opportunity; with its later blooming season you enjoy other great locations across Japan without sacrificing any time in Hokkaido. In fact, there are some places where it blooms early in case you want to have a remarkably long cherry blossom viewing adventure. Whether you prefer the lively atmosphere of festivals or the tranquility of secluded parks, Hokkaido has a cherry blossom spot tailored to your preferences.

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