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Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/10 18:52
Hello!
I am considering renting a car for a day trip from Akita airport to Kakunadate in early May (possibly on the 1st or at least until the 8th of May 2020).
Is there still snow? I am not used to drive in those conditions, so I wonder if it would be safe. I also can't figure out how much I would spend on highway tolls. Can someone tell me?

This would help me compare the cost of travel for two adults between renting a car or taking a Airportliner bus from Akita Airport.

I hope the first days of May are good to enjoy sakura in Kakunodate, because I can't go sooner. From the past year reports, I think I can still enjoy the trees after full bloom is declared, but if you can give me your honest opinion, I'll take it in consideration.
I thank you in advance for all insights and advice you can give me.
by Mari (guest)  

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/11 11:24
Hi!

The route from Akita Airport to Kakunodate should be completely clear of snow. I got caught in a blizzard in late April '09 near Towadako, but the altitude is higher there and it was about a week earlier than your trip. I would definitely be trying to closer to May 1st if you want to see sakura. I think by May 8th, there won't be much to see and you're better off trying to find someplace to see something else, like azaleas or wisteria.
According to Google, the route from Akita Airport to Kakunodate has no tolls, though if you're not staying somewhere in Kakunodate that offers free parking, you will need to pay for parking in Kakunodate and it can be crowded. For cost effectiveness, you would need to compare the cost of the rental car and gas.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/11 13:35
@rkold

Thank you very much, your answer was very helpful!
by MP5 rate this post as useful

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/11 20:18

Kakunodate - is there snow in May?
I visited Kakunodate several times in the past few years, never had I seen snow between late April and early May in the area.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/11 20:22
The drive from Akita Airport to the samurai district of Kakunodate is under an hour and there is no expressway toll involved.
https://goo.gl/maps/R3y7RiQwN3A8QaFA8

We too drove to Kakunodate during late April and there wasnft any snow, so I donft think you need to worry about icy road condition in May.

The main concern is whether you can enjoy cherry blossom during early May in Kakunodate. Although a lot depends on the un-predictable weather, in average year late April is said to be a better time. We were there during the last few days of April and already the petals were mostly on the ground. Things are not looking good this coming spring as the latest forecast is that the season will be a bit early. Although it is still too early for an accurate prediction do take note and plan accordingly.

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g294232-i525-k13141902-New_Sakura...

by William5 rate this post as useful

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/12 05:48
Thank you, William5.
I was trying to get that info in Japan Weather Association website, but since its only in Japanese I can't even navigate it and get to the forecast. Following the forecast in the media translated to english will definetely be the best.

Early bloom year, too bad for me... I'm thinking it would be better to go to Hokkaido instead, not sure about the exact spot yet - I appreciate any suggestions. Though I think it's easier to get to Sapporo or Hakodate, maybe there are other interesting places I could consider, maybe some picturesque or traditional town, I still have to do some research.
by MP5 rate this post as useful

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/12 12:58
Hi MP5, you are right. During early May you stand a better chance of enjoying cherry blossom in Hokkaido.

In Hakodate a popular sakura site is the park of Fort Goryokaku.
https://jw-webmagazine.com/star-shaped-cherry-blossoms-fort-goryokaku-...

A side trip can be made to the Matsumae castle.
http://file.asobube.com/gaidbook/2017eigoomote.pdf

Not far from Hakodate is Hokuto with its annual sakura festival.
https://www.city.hokuto.hokkaido.jp/docs/2091.html

Less visited but equally beautiful is Oniushi Kouen which is situated north of Hakodate by the coast.
http://www.hokkaidox.com/en/travel/15510/

Maruyama Park in Sapporo is a favorite place for sakura.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLbIeuf7_5k

A highly worthwhile side trip from Sapporo is Shizunai Nijukken Road which is affectionately called the Cherry Blossom Avenue.
http://shinhidaka.hokkai.jp/kankoukyoukai/shinhidaka-gaigo-hp/gaigo-en03.htm

by William5 rate this post as useful

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/12 18:04
Again, thank you so much William5!

Based on the links you provided and the convinience that travelling from Tokyo by shinkansen will bring, I decided to go to Hakodate (either the city itself, or Oniushi Park or Hokuto, I'll decide the specific spot closer to the date). Maybe I stay overnight and go to more than one!

I was looking forward to see Shidarezakura (therefore my first choice was Kanunadate...), but the places around Hakodate seem worth it to me even if they don't have that particular variety.

Since I am going to Hokkaido, is it ok to push my trip till around May 7th - 9th? I mean because of the timing to see the flowers in bloom.

Thanks once again.
by MP5 rate this post as useful

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/12 21:25
Hakodate would indeed be a good base for side trips to the mentioned sites. Since driving is an option for you use a couple of days to drive around the region, not forgetting popular Matsumae Castle.

How I wish I can say definitely what time of the year is best for cherry blossom in Hokkaido. An educated guess is that it would pass its prime period after the first week of May. And if the latest forecast of an earlier season this year is true it is better to go as early as possible during May rather than May 7-9. Having said that, we have been chasing cherry blossom in Japan for many years and half the time we mis-calculated and ended up either too early or too late, so be warned, lol!

May is also a good time for pink moss in Kikonai which is again do-able as a side trip from Hakodate.
http://kikonai-kankou.net/midokoro005.html

by William5 rate this post as useful

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/13 11:19
Thank you so much for all your help!
I will be doing better choices because of your advice:
-I will be going as soon as possible in May to Hokkaido
- I will keep an eye on sakura forecasts and keep in mind that there's always room for error and it's better to get there early rather than being too late.

If there was a feature here in the forum to show you the flowers by the time I get there, I would be posting some pictures here as a sign of my gratitude and my little help to the Cherry Blossom reports you guys do so nicely!

Thanks again for the additional tips!
by MP5 rate this post as useful

Re: Drive to Kakunodate - is there snow in May? 2020/1/13 12:24
Thank you MP5 for your positive feedback.

Just one last friendly reminder, early May is the holiday period of Golden Week so be prepared for more visitors at sightseeing spots.

Happy Travel

by William5 rate this post as useful

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