In Hokkaido, due to the long winter and late spring, plum and cherry blossoms are able to bloom at the same time. It is unlike other parts of Japan whereby plum blossoms are usually in full bloom in early spring while cherry blossoms bloom in mid spring. Hence, in this blog post, we will introduce the top few places recommended to view the plum and cherry blossoms. Pack a bento (boxed lunch) and a picnic mat and head to these places for a picnic under the blossom trees in spring!
1. Maruyama Park
The most popular place in Sapporo to view plum and cherry blossoms would definitely have to be Maruyama Park. During the cherry blossom season in Hokkaido, many locals would visit the park to have a Jingisukan (a grilled mutton Hokkaido speciality dish) party under the Sakura trees. Portable BBQ pits are available for rental for those interested! Besides that, it is also a given that locals would match the grilled lamb meat with Sapporo beer. However, if you do plan on doing a BBQ party at Maruyama Park, do get there earlier in order to get a good spot since huge crowds of people gather during the peak season.
Address: Miyagaoka, Chuo-ku, Sapporo City
Access: From the Subway Tozai Line Odori Station, take the train towards Miyanosawa station and alight at Maruyama Park. Taking Exit 2, you would have to walk for about 5 minutes.
2. Nakajima Park
Nakajima park boasts a large variety of cherry blossom trees including Yoshino cherry, weeping cherry, and double-flowering cherry trees. Since all the different breed of cherry blossom blooms at different times one after another, it allows the cherry blossom in the park to be enjoyed for an extended period of time. Nakajima park is very accessible by the subway right after Susukino station. You can have visit the park for a walk or a picnic.
Address: 1 Nakajimakoen, Chuo Ward, Sapporo
Access: Nakajimakoen Station (Exit 1 and 3) on the Namboku Subway Line
3. Hiraoka Park
Hiraoka Park is located in Kiyota ward, Sapporo city. There are around 1,200 plum trees in this park and there is a mix of white and red plum blossoms, making it a beautiful sight to see. Plum blossom signifies the beginning of the spring season in Hokkaido and during this season, there are roadside stalls set up along the way. You can eat Japanese street snacks and enjoy the plum blossom view at the same time. Plum blossoms are usually in bloom until the end of May. It might look similar to the cherry blossoms, but it has a different beauty and charm to it at the same time.
Address: 6 Chome-9-10 Hiraoka 5 Jō, Kiyota Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 004-0875
Access: From the JR Line and the Subway Tozai Line Shin Sapporo Station, take the Chuo Bus or JR Hokkaido Bus (Shin 111) and get off at “Hiraoka roku jo yonchome” bus stop. you would have to walk for about 5 minutes.
4. Goryokaku Park
Goryokaku is a symbolic star-shaped pentagon fort located in Hakodate. It is open to the public as a park today and is known as a famous Sakura spot as it has over 1,600 cherry blossom trees. People from all over Hokkaido and Japan travels to Hakodate during the cherry blossom season as it poses a breathtaking view of the star shaped pentagon fort filled with cherry blossoms. Illuminations also takes place every night from 19:00 until 21:00 during the cherry blossom season. Besides that, there is a tower overlooking Hakodate with a 360-degree view, allowing you a top down picture of the place covered with pink and bright cherry blossoms.
Address: Goryokaku Park, Goryokaku, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Hours: 5 AM to 7 PM (April to October), 5 AM to 6 PM (November to March)
Access: Take the tram to “Goryokaku Koen Mae” station. you would have to walk for about 10 minutes.
5. Matsumae Castle
Matsumae is the only castle town in Hokkaido and is located Southwest of Hakodate. It is a fishery town where you can also enjoy delicious seafood after admiring the plum and cherry blossoms that they have to offer in this town. The Matsumae park is where the Matsumae castle, various temples and shrines are located. Here, there is a Cherry blossom sample garden where you can see the cherry blossoms. Besides that, they also have a Cherry Blossom Festival that is held from late April to mid May. You can enjoy beautiful flowers and all the other tourist attractions including the Matsumae castle if you go in Spring!
Address: Matsushiro, Matsumae, Matsumae District, Hokkaido 049-1511
Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
Access: Take a Hakodate Bus from Hakodate Station.
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