Many people have a strong image of winter and winter sports with Hokkaido, but actually when the snow melts and spring reaches that great land in the north, a beautiful season full of colors unfolds. Here are 6 beautiful places in Hokkaido to see the spring blossoms.
About an hour drive away from the center of Hakodate, at the foot of the active 618m tall volcano Mt. Esan sits Esan Azalea Park, in which about 40,000 azaleas flourish. It's known as the leading azalea park in all of Hokkaido. Every year at the end of May to mid-June, 60,000 blossoms of mountain azalea and Enkianthus shrubs bloom wild on the park grounds and around the base of Mt. Esan, so the entire area becomes painted in deep crimson. There are walking paths all throughout the park so you can enjoy the changing scenery. Also, when the weather is nice and sunny, you can see all the way to the Shimokita Peninsula on Honshu from the observation deck on the summit of Mt. Esan. Why not spend some time feeling the comfortable spring wind while you're surrounded by beautiful azalea flowers?
1. Esan Azalea Park (Hakodate)
Mishima-san's Shibazakura Garden is actually a home garden diligently tended to by Kazuo Mishima, a former farmer who currently lives in Kutchan-cho, and it has been open to the public for free for about 10 years now. The 4000㎡ at the base of Mt. Yotei becomes completely wrapped in the pink and purple phlox flowers in the spring, which attracts many visitors from around the entire country for quite a lively time. The garden, which has been managed beautifully, has hills in the image of Mt. Yotei topped with white flowers representing the mountain's snow cap. If you stroll through the huge phlox fields enjoying their sweet fragrance, you'll definitely feel happy.
*This is someone's home that he has opened to the public with good will, so please practice proper manners and etiquette.
2. Mishima-san's Shibazakura Garden (Kutchan)
Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park, situated in the Sapporo suburbs, is Hokkaido's only national park. The name "Takino" comes from the Ashiribetsu Waterfall ("taki" means "waterfall") that the 4ha grounds is known for. The park is broken up into four zones: the Central Zone, the Mountain Stream Zone, and the Forest Experience Zone, which is then split into east and west. Each zone has various enjoyments. The Central Zone has beautiful gardens that feature a variety of flowers that attract crowds from mid-May to early October, including tulips, lily of the valley, lavender, cosmos, and more. Something that is particularly special is the tulips, of which there are 200 kinds to a total of 230,000 flowers that bloom at the end of May to mid-June. The sight is so beautiful that you'll gasp without realizing. You'll feel like you've fallen into a fairytale world.
3. Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park (Sapporo)
Yurigahara Park opened in 1983 as a 25.4ha comprehensive park in Sapporo's Kita-ku. There are around 6,400 types of plants within the park, and the starting with the tulips that bloom in May, flowers like lilies and roses all bloom throughout the season. Inside the park there is the Sekai no Yuri Hiroba that has about 100 kinds of lilies as well as the World Garden where various herbs from around the world that were planted in collaboration with Sapporo's sister cities are cultivated. Visitors can enjoy the different ways that the plants are grown. Also, inside the park there is a train called the Lily Train that slowly circles the park on a 1km long track, so you can comfortably enjoy the sight of the beautiful flowers from the train windows.
4. Yurigahara Park (Sapporo)
The Panoramic Flower Gardens Shikisai-no-Oka is a representative garden 15ha wide at the base of Mt. Tokachi, part of the Daisetsuzan mountain range in Biei, a city called "the town of hills." Their spring flowers, beginning with tulips, bloom from May to October so that people who visit during those three seasons can enjoy the sight. The most recommended time to visit is summer, when the hill is completely covered in bright flowers. The sight of the rainbow-colored flowers all over the hill is storybook picturesque! Also, when the sunflowers are in bloom, they open a labyrinth inside the field so you can enjoy a stroll among the tall flowers. You'll feel like you're in the scene of a movie. That feeling along with the beauty of Biei will definitely become an unforgettable memory.
5. Panoramic Flower Gardens Shikisai-no-Oka (Biei)
Higashi Mokoto Shibazakura Park, at the foot of Mt. Mokoto in Ozora-cho, is a 10ha garden of phlox flowers. This garden has been cared for in the past 22 years by Suekichi Nakahachi after he cultivated the land using seedlings on the side of the mountain. It reached its current size in 1991. In the spring, the entire side of the mountain is covered in the pink flowers as thougn it were a masterpiece. Inside the gardens there is a slow-moving sightseeing bus that can take you to a high area where you can gaze at the sea of pink below you. There are many other attractions in the park as well, including Go-Karts that run 820m for one circuit, an onsen made for day trips, a fishing pond, and more. This park can be enjoyed by people of all ages for a full day.
6. Higashi Mokoto Shibazakura Park (Ozora-cho)
From mid-May to the beginning of October, many tourists flock to see the beautiful flowers blooming in lush, verdant Hokkaido. If you get a chance to take a trip in the summer, you should definitely make your way to Hokkaido to take in the beautiful scenery.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.