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Apr. 23 2024

【SAKURA】Top 7 Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Sapporo!

Are you wondering if you can see cherry blossoms (sakura) in Hokkaido?
Do you want to know where you should go to see the cherry blossoms?
While planning your trip to Hokkaido, do you have these questions in mind?

This column will guide you to the perfect cherry blossom spots for your trip!

If you want to see cherry blossoms while shopping or sightseeing, or if you’re looking for cherry blossoms unique to Hokkaido, please read till the end.

Cherry blossoms in Hokkaido are in full bloom from late April to early May!

Many of you may have seen scenes in anime or dramas where cherry blossoms bloom during the start of a new school term. 

In Japan, cherry blossoms typically bloom during the “graduation and enrollment” season from mid-March to early April.

On the other hand,  Hokkaido’s cherry blossoms bloom from late April to early May. If you missed seeing cherry blossoms in Tokyo, cherry blossoms are still here in Hokkaido! Be sure to visit Hokkaido to see its cherry blossoms.
 

Additionally, in Hokkaido, cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, and peach blossoms often bloom simultaneously. From late April, flowers start blooming one after another, and by May, the entire city of Sapporo becomes a vibrant pink landscape. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of overlapping various shades of colors.

Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot No.1 | Central area | Maruyama Park

Sapporo’s Representative Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot

Maruyama Park is a vast park located about 3 km west of central Sapporo, known as one of Sapporo’s representative cherry blossom viewing spots.

From Maruyama Koen Station on the subway, head straight west and enter through the entrance facing Odori. There, you’ll find cherry blossoms blooming all around.

Heading north from there, you’ll find a wide area of cherry blossoms where you can see Ezo Yamazakura and Somei Yoshino varieties.

In Japan, there’s a tradition called “Hanami” where people enjoy picnics under cherry blossoms, eating and drinking. Maruyama Park is famous for being one of the representative spots for Hanami. Before the pandemic, it was common to have barbecues outdoors while seeing cherry blossoms, but the use of fire and electricity for cooking is now prohibited. However, eating and drinking in the park are not restricted, so feel free to bring a mat and some food to enjoy Hanami.

According to Maruyama Park, the cherry blossom viewing period for 2024 is expected to be from April 27th to May 6th.

Additionally, Maruyama Park has 330 species of plants growing naturally, so you can enjoy various trees and flowers regardless of the season. As cherry blossoms begin to fall, tulips and lavender start blooming, creating even more colorful landscapes with yellow, purple, and other hues! Even if you missed the cherry blossom season, it might be worth visiting to see other flowers.
 

  • Location: 3 Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Access: 5-minute walk from Exit 3 of Maruyama Koen Station on the Tozai Subway Line
  • WEB: https://maruyamapark.jp/

Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot No.2 | Central area | Hokkaido Shrine

Enjoy cherry blossoms and plum blossoms simultaneously

Next to Maruyama Park is the Hokkaido Shrine, known as one of Hokkaido’s top power spots.

The BEST spot for cherry blossom viewing at Hokkaido Shrine is the straight avenue leading from the shrine’s main shrine. During Sakura season, the path from the approach to Hokkaido Shrine becomes like a tunnel of cherry blossoms, welcoming many visitors.

In 1875, 150 Yae Yamazakura trees were planted here, making it known as the first cherry blossom viewing spot in Hokkaido. Over the years, it has been passed down through generations, and now you can see around 1,100 Ezo Yamazakura, Somei Yoshino, and Yaezakura trees.

In spring, you can purchase Sakura Suzu (cherry blossom-shaped wind chimes) inspired by the cherry blossoms at Hokkaido Shrine as souvenirs. Be sure to grab one!

Furthermore, within the grounds of Hokkaido Shrine, there is also a plum grove where you can enjoy plum blossoms blooming at the same time as cherry blossoms. While observing the differences in colors between cherry blossoms and plum blossoms, enjoy the beautiful pink scenery. You can also purchase plum wine made from plums harvested here.

Of course, you can also visit the Hokkaido Shrine to pray. 

I highly recommend visiting at least once to combine sightseeing at the shrine with cherry blossom viewing!

Information

  • Location: 474 Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Access: 15-minute walk from Exit 3 of Maruyama Koen Station on the Tozai Subway Line
  • WEB: http://www.hokkaidojingu.or.jp/

Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot No.3 | North area | Shinkawa Sakura Avenue

Residents-Created Cherry Blossom Avenue

If you want to stroll calmly and enjoy cherry blossoms, I recommend Shinkawa Sakura Avenue. It’s a cherry blossom-lined avenue that stretches along for 10 kilometers.

One of the well-known viewing spots is around the area near the “Daiichi Hachiken” supermarket, where you can enjoy the contrast between Somei Yoshino and Ezo Yamazakura trees.

From there, walking west along the river, you’ll find cherry blossom trees lining the path all the way. It takes about 2 hours to walk to the end of the cherry blossom avenue, but it’s okay to stop midway. Enjoy the changing colors of the cherry blossoms while listening to the sound of the flowing river and take a leisurely walk.

This cherry blossom avenue involved the efforts of the residents.

It all started in 1976 when a senior citizens’ group planted 10 cherry blossom seedlings along the Shinkawa River. However, planting trees without permission in public spaces was illegal at the time, so they had to remove them. Then, in 1997, when the law was revised, residents donated money and purchased 755 cherry blossom trees. This is how the 10.5 km cherry blossom avenue, combined with the Teine area, was completed, making it the longest cherry blossom avenue in Japan.

Shinkawa Yozakura Festival 2024

On April 25th and 26th, 2024, “Shinkawa Yozakura” will be held, and the cherry blossoms will be illuminated from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Why not enjoy the vibrant beauty of the illuminated cherry blossoms, which offer a different kind of beauty?

Information

  • Location: West 14-Chome, North 23 〜 7-Chome, Kita Shinkawa West 1, Kita Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Access: 10-minute walk from JR Hachiken Station / 15-minute walk from Exit 2 of JR Shinkawa Station
  • WEB: https://www.shinkawa-sakura.server-shared.com/

SIDE NOTE | Characteristics of Hokkaido Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms in Hokkaido have unique features, especially in terms of their species.

The “Ezo Yamazakura (Prunus sargentii)”, representing Hokkaido’s cherry blossoms, is a wild species that can be found throughout the region. It is known for its vibrant color.

The blooming and coloring of cherry blossoms are influenced by the cold weather, and Hokkaido’s harsh winter conditions contribute to the beautiful coloring of the cherry blossoms.

Another charm of the Ezo Yamazakura is its wild nature. Cherry blossoms like Somei Yoshino are widened through grafting, creating “clones” that bloom and scatter all at once. On the other hand, each Ezo Yamazakura tree has its unique characteristics as a wild species. They bloom at different times and exhibit variations in flower colors. 

By observing each tree individually, you can appreciate the unique characteristics of each one.
 

Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot No.4 | central area | Nakajima Park

Easy to Access from Susukino area

Nakajima Park, located south of Sapporo’s entertainment area “Susukino,” is abundant with water and nature.

In Nakajima Park, 400 cherry blossom trees, including Ezo Yamazakura, Yaezakura, and Shidarezakura, bloom beautifully.

One recommended spot is in front of the “Hoheikan” (Hohei Hall). Around the “Hoheikan,” a nationally designated important cultural property, you’ll find Somei Yoshino and Ezo Yamazakura trees blooming in varying shades. Taking a photo across the pond with the vibrant white and blue Hoheikan building reflected on the water, along with the pink cherry blossoms, creates a stunning contrast.

Moreover, from the Nakajima Sports Center to the Hokkaido Literature Museum, there is a line of Somei Yoshino cherry blossom trees. Take a walk and enjoy the cherry blossoms along the way.

Information

  • Location: 1 Nakajima Koen, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Access: 1 minute from Exit 1 or 3 of Nakajima Koen Station on the Namboku Subway Line / 1 minute from Exit 1 or 2 of Horohirabashi Station on the Namboku Subway Line
  • WEB: https://www.sapporo-park.or.jp/nakajima/

Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot No.5 | Toyohira area | The Civil Engineering Research Institute for Cold Region

One of the few places where you can see Chishima Sakura

The Civil Engineering Research Institute for Cold Region is a hidden gem where you can see a rare variety of cherry blossoms not commonly found in Sapporo: the “Chishima Sakura” (Chishima Cherry Blossom).

The Chishima Sakura, known as the last cherry blossoms to bloom in Japan, originated from the islands of the “Northern Territories” in the Sea of Okhotsk. They were brought back to Hokkaido and planted in various locations. Unlike other cherry blossoms, Chishima Sakura trees are shorter, with smaller petals, and are known for their fragrance. At this Institute, 200 Chishima Sakura trees bloom along the banks of the Shojin River.

Since this is a national research institute, it is not usually open to the public. However, during cherry blossom season, it opens its doors to the public for about one week. The opening dates are announced on the official website approximately one week before the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom. 

Details for 2024:

Opening Dates: April 23rd (Tue) to April 30th (Tue)

Opening Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
 

Why not visit to discover the differences between Chishima Sakura and others?

Information

Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot No.6 | North area | Hokkaido University

Sakura Spot Close to Sapporo Station

Hokkaido University, located north of Sapporo Station, is a nature-rich campus. While there are not many places where cherry blossoms bloom like avenues, the campus is scattered with charming cherry blossom trees.

Spot 1: Clark Statue Area

One of Hokkaido University’s famous sightseeing spots is the “Clark Statue.” Behind it lies vast green lawns and a stream. Here, you’ll find impressive Ezo Yamazakura cherry blossoms blooming. Walking on the lawn with the spring breeze blowing through is quite delightful!

Spot 2: In Front of the medical school

In front of the medical school library, there is a tunnel of cherry blossoms. Thirty double-flowered cherry blossom trees (Yaezakura), planted by graduates of the School of Medicine, display beautiful pink flowers.

Information

  • Location:  West 5 chome, North 8, Kita Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Access: 8-minute walk from the north exit of JR Sapporo Station / 5-minute walk from Exit 2 of Kita 12-jo Station on the Namboku Subway Line
  • WEB: https://www.global.hokudai.ac.jp/

Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot No.7 | Central area | Odori Park

Enjoy cherry blossoms while Shopping in the Heart of Sapporo

Odori Park extends over 1.5 kilometers through the center of Sapporo, from east to west. It’s one of Sapporo’s premier sightseeing spots, extending westward from Sapporo TV Tower.

Within the park, you’ll find 50 cherry blossom trees of seven different varieties scattered around West 5th, 6th, 7th, and 12th Streets. You can also take photos of cherry blossoms with the TV Tower in the background.

In spring, besides cherry blossoms, you can enjoy maintained flower beds showcasing various flowers. As cherry blossoms begin to fall, tulips, lilacs, and other flowers bloom. Odori Park will be covered with vibrant colors.

From mid-April to mid-October, roasted corn is sold along the streets. Sitting on a bench, enjoying Hokkaido’s famous roasted corn while admiring the cherry blossoms is truly delightful.

Information

  • Location: West 1 chome 〜 12 chome, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Access: 3-minute walk from Exit 1 of Nakanoshima Station on the Namboku Subway Line
  • WEB: https://odori-park.jp/

In Sapporo, there are many places where you can enjoy cherry blossoms! 

In addition to the seven spots introduced this time, there are many other places where you can enjoy cherry blossoms.

I’d highly recommend to go and check them out.

If you plan to visit Hokkaido after the cherry blossom season, be sure to check out this article, which introduces flower-viewing spots that you can enjoy in the summer as well!

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