Francois' Japan Blog
by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2011/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo

After our report from Hakodate from three days ago, Schauwecker and I made our last cherry blossom report from Hokkaido and the last report of the season. Today we visited some of Sapporo's most famous cherry blossom spots and found the city to have a trees at all different stages of development.

Maruyama Park and Hokkaido Shrine
May 9, 2011 - approaching full bloom (50-80%)

Maruyama Park and Hokkaido Shrine are just beside each other and are usually visited together. Together the two locations include some of the city's best places for cherry blossoms. Of the places we visited today the park and shrine had the largest crowds and most cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami), as well as a fellow cherry blossom reporter from the local newspaper.

The cherry trees in the area varied from around 30% to 60% of the flowers open, with a few trees even at full blooms. The majority of the shrine and park's trees should reach full bloom within a couple of days, and I suspect they will remain attractive through the weekend.

The approach to Hokkaido Shrine
Picnickers in Maruyama Park
A close up of some of the blossoms
One of the park's best hanami spots at the moment

Odori Park
May 9, 2011 - full bloom

Odori Park marks the divide in Sapporo between north and south, and is one of the city's most prominent attractions. While the park only has a few dozen trees, they are currently at full bloom and worth visiting for travelers who are in the city center. Although we did not see any hanami parties today, we did see some people taking a short midday break on the benches over which the branches of the cherry trees hang.

A few cherry trees hang over the park's paths and benches
A cherry tree and the park's Sapporo TV Tower
Some of the park's flowers

Moerenuma Park
May 9, 2011 - just opened (0-10%)

The highlight of the day was a first time visit to Moerenuma Park, which was designed by the famous Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The park is on the outskirts of town and is somewhat difficult to access, but is remarkable for its uniqueness and massive scale.

Moerenuma Park's spacious grounds
One of the park's lookout points

The park had quite a large cherry grove area, but its exposure to the elements seems to have significantly delayed the development of the trees. While we saw trees at full bloom at both of today's other sites, Moerenuma Park's trees had barely opened and only a few flowers were visible. While I would have liked to have seen the park's flowers at full bloom, I will have to hope for a user report sometime within the next week and a half or so, during which time the flowers will reach full bloom and then lose their petals.

Cherry trees beside one of the park's paths
Opening buds
A cherry tree grove on the verge of opening in Moerenuma Park

After spending the last month and a half following the progression of the flowers from southern Kyushu up to Hokkaido, today's report brings another season of cherry blossom reporting to a close. We at japan-guide are thankful to the users who have been following along and providing us valuable feedback. I suspect some readers may be saddened, like me, by the end of frequent updates on Japan's seasonal beauty. However, it is possible to find consolation in the fact that it is a relatively short four months away until the weather begins to chill and we will return to Hokkaido to follow the autumn colors as they make their way down across the country.

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List of Posts:
2011/09/01 - Final Post
2011/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2011/05/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2011/04/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Aizu
2011/04/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2011/04/16 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2011/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2011/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2011/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2011/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2011/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2011/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/02/11 - Shiretoko Fantasia 2011
2011/02/11 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by night
2011/02/10 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by day
2011/02/09 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by night
2011/02/08 - Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi 2011
2011/02/07 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by day

2010/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2010
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/24 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2010/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2010/10/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2010/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kirishima
2010/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2010/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2010/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2010/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagasaki
2010/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2010/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2010/01/23 - Wakakusa Yamayaki

2009/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2009
2009/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Light Up
2009/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Nara
2009/11/22 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Ohara
2009/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Higashiyama
2009/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Kurama
2009/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Hakone
2009/10/07 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai
2009/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Akita-Komagatake
2009/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kamikochi
2009/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2009/06/18 - Biking the Shimanami Kaido
2009/06/01 - Gunkanjima
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2009/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2009/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nara
2009/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/01/19 - Bears in Hokkaido

2008/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kamakura
2008/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Lake Akan
2008/08/18 - Miyajima Trip
2008/06/09 - Post Towns
2008/05/08 - Baseball Game
2008/04/14 - ASIMO and Aoyama Cemetery
2008/04/08 - Ninja Restaurant