Hakodate Cherry Blossoms at Their Peak!

Hakodate City and the surrounding area have many places for admiring the cherry blossoms. From famous places in Hakodate, such as Hakodate Park and Goryokaku Park, all the way to little-known spots a slight distance from the city.

In addition to Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms, there are also Yaezakura blossoms which tend to bloom a little later than other varieties. Enjoying the blossoms for an extended time is also one of the highlights of spring in Hakodate.

Hakodate’s cherry blossom season has typically been from late April until early May. But since 2021, it has been starting earlier. The 2024 forecast says that blossoms will start blooming on April 14 and predicts that they’ll be in full bloom on April 20.
Also, according to Weather News, the media outlet that’s usually the first to announce the year’s blossom forecast, Hakodate’s 2024 blossom season will commence around April 17. Then, looking at the recent trends, the blossoms should be at their peak about six days later on April 23.

Today’s article will introduce seven spots in the Hakodate area where visitors can fully enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms.


Goryokaku Park: The Best Part Is the View of Blossoms Seen From the Tower!

Goryokaku Park, which surrounds the Special Historic Site Goryokaku, is a well-known hanami (blossom viewing) spot that features 1,500 cherry trees. Many are of the Somei Yoshino variety, but near the Hakodate Magistrate’s office, there are also beautiful Shidarezakura cherry trees as well.

On the perimeter of the park, there’s a promenade about 1,800 meters long. Visitors can go for a walk while enjoying the view of the blossoms and the fortress moat. Along the promenade, there are benches and cafes, and it’s dotted with many restaurants.
This is a great spot for taking a break while admiring the colorful blossoms. On the park grounds, you can also go for a ride on a rowboat or enjoy having a picnic.

After a leisurely stroll, let’s head up to the observation deck inside the 90-meter-tall Goryokaku Tower. We recommend the view of the star-shaped Goryokaku Fortress surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms. The observation deck offers a 360-degree panorama of the local area and the pink blossoms in full bloom are simply stunning.

During the blossom season, Sakura ice cream is sold at the observation deck for a limited time. Please enjoy this tasty treat as you gaze out at Goryokaku—bathed in the color of cherry blossoms! Then in the evening, the cherry blossoms near Goryokaku Tower are illuminated, offering visitors a magical and mystical sight.

Location (Goryokaku Tower): Hokkaido, Hakodate, Goryokakucho 43-9
Access: By Hakodate City Tram. Board at the Hakodate Ekimae tram stop and disembark at the Goryokaku-Koen-Mae tram stop. Then walk for 10 minutes.


Hakodate Park: A Stunning View Overlooking the Sea and Cherry Blossoms!

Hakodate Park opened in 1870, becoming the first park in Japan built with the help of locals.

The park retains the atmosphere from when it first opened and is a relaxing space with many things to see and do. For example, in addition to the Old Hakodate Museum Building 1 and 2—both recognized as Hokkaido Tangible Cultural Properties—visitors can go for a ride on Japan’s oldest Ferris wheel at Children’s Theme Park, Kodomo no Kuni. The park is also home to a library and a zoo.

The 400 cherry trees inside the park come into full bloom in the springtime. On the park grounds, Meijiyama offers visitors an all-encompassing view of the Tsugaru Strait with Mt. Hakodate in the background. You can enjoy the magnificent view of the sea and cherry blossoms.

During the cherry blossom period, which typically runs from late April until early May, street stalls make an appearance. The area is also illuminated with lanterns in the evening.

Location: Hakodate, Aoyagicho 17 Banchi
Access: By Hakodate City Tram. Board at the Yachigashira tram stop and disembark at the Aoyagi-cho tram stop. Then walk for two minutes.


Sakura Hill Street: Walk Through a Breathtaking Cherry Blossom Tunnel!

Sakura Hill Street (Sakura-no-Oka-dori) runs along the border between the peaceful residential areas of Kashiwagicho and Matsukagecho, near Goryokaku Ward.

An 800-meter-long section of the street is lined with some 100 cherry trees. Through the years, this row of cherry trees has been carefully maintained by locals. During the cherry blossom season, which usually runs from late April until early May, this street is transformed into an exquisitely beautiful cherry blossom tunnel.

At this time of the year, the fentirelength of Sakura Hill Street is bustling with sightseers. In the daytime and at night, there’s also traffic congestion. For this reason, we highly recommend coming here on foot so you can fully enjoy the stunning scenery.

Location: Hakodate, Matsukagecho
Access: Take the Hakodate City Tram as far as Kashiwagi-cho tram stop. Then get off and walk for five minutes.


Hakodate Hachimangu Shrine: A Wonderful Collaboration Between a Torii Gate and Cherry Blossoms!

Hakodate Hachimangu Shrine sits at the foot of Mt. Hakodate, and its origins date back as far as 1445. The shrine is blessed with beautiful natural surroundings. If you visit in late April, you can enjoy looking at different cherry blossom varieties, including Somei Yoshino.

The approach to the shrine is lined with a row of stone lanterns. There are stunningly beautiful Somei Yoshino cherry trees in full bloom near the torii gate. The Shidarezakura cherry trees near Magatama Pond are also simply magnificent!

One especially famous sight on the sacred grounds of this shrine is the Oyamazakura cherry tree, whose trunk snapped apart during a 2004 typhoon. Due to the storm, only about one-third of the trunk remained behind, but since then, it has recovered and come to life again. At present, it has come to be known as a cherry tree with a long life.

So please thoroughly enjoy the view of the cherry blossoms, which look all the more beautiful when framed by the shrine buildings in the background.

Location: Hakodate, Yachigashiracho 2-5
Access: Take the Hakodate City Tram as far as the Yachigshira tram stop. Get off and walk for about eight minutes.


Our Lady of the Angels Trappistine Convent and Shimin-No-Mori Park: A Hidden Spot in the City!

The next spot is Our Lady of the Angels Trappistine Convent, a monastery located in Hakodate City. It sits on a hill, a slight distance from Yunokawa Hot Springs and Hakodate Airport.

The convent’s front garden welcomes sightseeing visitors and features some splendid cherry blossoms. This is the ideal spot for taking a photo that captures the beauty of the red-brick cathedral together with the stunning blossoms.

Shimin-no-Mori Park is adjacent to the monastery. The many Somei Yoshino cherry trees on the premises make it the ideal spot for a stroll. Even after the Somei Yoshino season is over, you can enjoy the sight of Yaezakura cherry trees lining the road.

There’s also a food stall inside the park selling locally-made soft-serve ice cream.

Location: Hakodate, Kamiyunokawacho 346
Access: About 10 minutes by shuttle bus from the Hakodate Airport (disembark at the Trappistine-Mae bus stop).


Hakodate Water Distribution Station: Where the Ropeway Passes Above the “”100-Year-Old Sakura””

If you walk for about ten minutes towards the mountain from the Mt. Hakodate Ropeway platform, you’ll reach the Motomachi Water Distribution Station.

In one corner of the reservoir grounds, there are two Somei Yoshino cherry trees famously known as the “”100-year-old Sakura.””
They are over 100 years old, and each boasts a trunk circumference of about four meters, a height of approximately 13 meters, and branches 20 meters long. When the blossoms are in full bloom, the branches appear to be supporting light-pink colored clouds—a stunningly beautiful sight!

Ropeway passengers are treated to panoramic views of the cherry blossoms, Hakodate City, and the ocean. There’s also a lawn and benches near the reservoir, so visitors can sit down and enjoy the blossoms in a relaxed fashion. The cherry trees sit on a hill, which is why they usually start to bloom about two or three days later than cherry trees in the city.

Location: Hakodate, Motomachi 1-4
Access: About ten minutes on foot from Hakodate City Tram’s Jujigai tram stop (It’s ten minutes on foot from the entrance to the “”100-year-old Sakura””). Opposite Mt. Hakodate Ropeway Sanroku Station. It’s also just two minutes on foot from the Motomachi Orthodox Church area.
Visiting hours: 9:00-18:30


Ishizaki Jinushi Kai Shrine: See the Yaezakura Tunnel Featuring Bright-Pink Colored Cherry Blossoms!

Ishizaki Jinushikai Shrine is located along the route between Yunokawa Hot Springs and the Toi area. Despite being a famous cherry blossom spot in Hakodate, it’s relatively unknown. In early May, the row of Yaezakura cherry trees that line the approach to the shrine form a bright-pink-colored cherry blossom tunnel.
These trees were planted in 1968 when the shrine was being renovated. The Yaezakura trees were brought over from the Matsumae area.

The precincts and the shrine approach are lined with 180 cherry trees. These Yaezakura cherry trees bloom later than the Somei Yoshino variety and are at their peak from early to mid-May.
They usually bloom around the same time as the azalea flowers on Mt. Esan so that visitors can enjoy them both simultaneously.

Location: Hakodate, Shiroishicho 248 Banchi
Access: About 25 minutes on foot from the Ishizaki bus stop.