community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-outline destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-links destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-thumbsUp destinations-tours destinations-town destinations-wishlist-heart-outline destinations-wishlist-heart-solid interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat-2 planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter social-youtube ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-video-play ui-x user-avatar
Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

previous post
list all posts
next post

2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report

This week, we bring you cherry blossom reports from Hokkaido. Today, I am in Hakodate, Hokkaido's third largest city in the southern tip of the island, and visited the city's top cherry blossom spots. Hakodate is a 1.5-hour flight or a six hour train ride (shinkansen and limited express train) from Tokyo.

The cherry blossoms in Hakodate were the first to open in all of Hokkaido this season on April 21 and reached full bloom (mankai) three days later on April 24, ten days earlier than the average year. While the cherry blossoms usually take an average of one week from opening (kaika) to mankai, they tend to develop much quicker in the northern cities due to the warmer temperatures later in the season.

Hakodate Park
April 29, 2015 - petals starting to fall

I started my day bright and early at Hakodate Park, one of the city's top cherry blossom spots. The park was mostly quiet except for the early morning walkers doing laps near the main entrance. I joined them for a lap to warm up on this slightly chilly morning and headed off to explore the park.

There are about 700 cherry trees planted in the park and while the blossoms still looked full and fluffy, the petals have started to fall and would drop in the hundreds in slightly strong winds. It should still be peak viewing over the next couple of days as the weather is forecast to be sunny, before even more petals drop off and the trees start looking more leafy than blossom-y.

Food stalls still closed
This little guy was picking all the blossoms out
Cherry blossoms at the park
Cherry trees and food stalls near the southern end of the park
A small amusement park in Hakodate Park
The bench
Cool guys don't look at explosions
View of the park with the sea obscured by low hanging clouds in the background
Please dispose of your rubbish properly when picnicking. This murder of crows was really scary

Dropped by the Hakodate Morning Market for breakfast to sample some of the fresh seafood that Hakodate is famous for before heading to my next destination, Fort Goryokaku.

My sea urchin, scallop and crab ricebowl for breakfast

For Goryokaku
April 29, 2015 - full bloom

From Hakodate Station, it takes about twenty minutes (about ten minutes by tram, followed by a ten-minute walk) to get to Fort Goryokaku. Goryokaku is a massive star-shaped, western style fortress built towards the end of the Edo Period. There are about 1600 cherry trees planted along its moats making it one of Hokkaido's best cherry blossom spots. The observation deck of the nearby 107-meter tall Goryokaku Tower offers a bird's eye view of the star-shaped fort and cherry trees. Access to the observatory costs 840 yen.

The cherry trees inside the fort were at full bloom and should remain at their peak for the next few days, while the cherry trees outside the moat had petals falling but still looked full. For those in the area, I would recommend you to go before the weekend is over to catch the best of both worlds, full bloom on the inside and petals falling on the outside.

I headed up to the observation deck first to check out the views and wasn't disappointed at all. It was impressive to see the fort and the numerous cherry trees in full bloom from above. After taking about a million pictures of the view, I headed into the fort itself. The fort is free to enter and visitors can also walk along the moat alongside the cherry trees or along the raised banks above the trees. The view from inside the fort was as gorgeous as it was from the top as I walked along the moat. I saw many people enjoying the beautiful spring weather strolling around. Open fires are not allowed inside the fort, but is allowed outside the moat, and that's where I saw lots of people picnicking and barbecuing under cherry trees.

Goryokaku Tower and blossoms
Full bloom
Hanging out along the top of the banks
Paddling boats in the moat
Changing lanes, along the moat (at the bottom) and on the banks (at the top)
This group came prepared for hanami with portable grills
More picnicking outside the moat
The air here smelt so good with barbecued meat
The road to Goryokaku
Goryokaku Tower in the distance, cherry trees and part of the moat

previous post
list all posts
next post

List of Posts:
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report