100 Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Hokkaido
Cherry blossom ends here, as does our 100 places list, in the wilds of Japan's northernmost island.
The untouched and majestic landscape of Hokkaido is your last chance to catch cherry blossoms in Japan —a fittingly beautiful end to the fleeting season. *Sigh.* Blossom estimate based on the latest prediction.
Hokkaido (May 3 ~)
Shizunai Nijukken Road
3,000 cherry blossom trees line this seven-kilometer straight road to make one Hokkaido’s most iconic sakura scenes. Frequently listed among the “top cherry blossoms” official Japanese ranking, the road was originally created for the Imperial Family as an avenue driveway to their Hokkaido holiday home. Do as the royals do and go and relax at the pavilion while you’re there.
Train: 20 minutes by car from JR Shizunai station/15 minutes walk after getting off at Sakuragaoka Shogakko Mae stop (Donan bus to Noya)
Car: 1 hour from Hidaka-dou Hidaka Monbetsu 235
The true definition of variety is at Matsumae park, where around 10,000 cherry blossom trees of 250 different kinds brighten up the still-cold spring months. The Matsumae Sakura Festival, which runs from Apr. 29 to May 20 is a fantastic opportunity to taste Hokkaido goodies, marvel at projection mapping of the Matsumae castle, and watch performances of all kinds.
Bus: Bus to Matsumae leaving JR Kikonai station, 7 mins by walk from Matsushiro stop
Car: 2 hours 30 mins From Do-odo Yakumo IC through Do-do 67
Goryokaku is a famous tourist attraction in Hokkaido where many a history buff comes to study the Hakodate War and stays to view the beautiful scenery. Over 1,600 cherry blossom trees surround the star-shaped Goryokaku, blooming fully in May. What makes it even better? Visitors can partake in a Hokkaido-style lamb meat barbecue, known as Jingisukan (Genghis Khan).
JR Hakodate Station to Shiden Hakodate Eki Mae, 15 minutes walk from Goryokaku Koen Mae stop
Famous for being the main arena for the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympic Games, in the spring over 13,000 cherry blossoms stage their own competition for which can inspire the most awe.
30 minutes walk from Sapporo City Subway Namboku Line Makomanai Station
Located right next to the Asahiyama zoo, Asahiyama Park is known for its lovely vista of the untouched Hokkaido landscape. Over 3,500 cherry blossom trees bloom in the beginning of May.
Transfer from JR Asahikawa station to Asahikawa Electric Railway Bus, 40 min to Asahiyama Zoo
Ashibetsu Asahigaoka Park
Not only can you enjoy the blooming elegance of the thousands of cherry blossom trees at Ashibetsu Asahigaoka Park, there are lots of way-too-cute opportunities to observe and pet animals, including baby rabbits and guinea pigs. Also, there’s a monkey land, which makes everything better. A perfect sakura spot to bring your family to!
30 minutes walk from JR Ashibetsu station
Noboribetsu Onsen Flower Tunnel
An endless tunnel of 2,000 cherry blossom trees welcomes visitors to Noboribetsu Onsen. The tunnel is historically known for being made in 1934 to celebrate the birthday of the current Emperor of Japan. Stopping by the hot springs after marveling at the sakura pink trees is also a great idea to enjoy spring in Japan to its fullest.
7 minutes by Donan bus leaving JR Noboribetsu Station to Noboribetsu Onsen, get off at San-ai Byoin Mae or Utopia Bokujo