Sakura Season in Hokkaido: Catching the Last Blooms in Japan

Sakura Season in Hokkaido: Catching the Last Blooms in Japan

Extend hanami celebrations in beautiful Hokkaido.

Nature shows off its best face during springtime in Japan when the snow-covered landscape melts into a vibrant sea of flourishing green and fluffy pink trees. Nowhere is the transformation as spellbinding as Hokkaido. While the northernmost island of Japan promises a pretty picture any time of the year — from legendary ski slopes and sun-soaked coastlines — sakura season in Hokkaido paints an especially enchanting picture. Few things are more stunning than Hokkaido’s cherry blossom trees in bloom, with pretty shades of pink set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and verdant hills. 

Another plus: Located in the northernmost part of the country, Hokkaido actually experiences the latest sakura bloom dates in all of Japan. That means that while the rest of the country’s cherry blossoms have already faded, Hokkaido remains covered in delicate pinks and whites. So, if you’re planning a later-than-usual spring break or haven’t had enough of cherry blossoms yet, head to Hokkaido for the final hurrah of sakura season with this 9D6N Hokkaido itinerary

Best time to visit Hokkaido for cherry blossoms

sakura season in hokkaido

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If you’re planning a trip to Hokkaido for the cherry blossoms, then travel to the region during the last week of April to early May. Unlike mainland Japan, sakura season in Hokkaido starts later. First blooms are expected around 30 Apr 2024, reaching full bloom by 4 May 2024. By this time, the cherry blossoms in the rest of the country would have already disappeared, so this is the perfect last stop for hanami chasers! 

Now that we know when to go to Hokkaido for sakura season, it’s time to map out our itinerary. With so many beautiful places in the region, we don’t blame you for not knowing where to look first! No worries; we’ve rounded up the best of the best hanami spots below.

Best Hokkaido destinations for sakura season: Hakodate, Lake Toya, Noboribetsu, Otaru & Sapporo

1. Goryokaku Park – Hakodate

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During the sakura season in Hokkaido, the Goryokaku Park in the port city of Hakodate is not to be missed. Home to the star-shaped Goryokaku Fort built in the mid-19th century, it’s arguably the most Instagram-worthy hanami spot in the region. Picture it: 1,500 cherry trees in full bloom, their soft petals painting the park in a breathtaking display of pink. In the right light, the moat even reflects the trees’ cotton-candy pink!

Not to mention, the unique star-shaped design of the moat means that you have a variety of ways to enjoy the blooms. Hop on a rowboat, wander along the moat, or climb the Goryokaku Tower for a panoramic view of the pink landscape — why not try it all? If you’re in a slower, more leisurely mood, then a picnic under the pretty pink canopy offers a much more chill way to enjoy the views. 

TripZilla Tip: The park can get crowded, especially during weekends and peak bloom. If you want to avoid the crowds, try to visit early in the morning or on weekdays.

2. Hakodate Park & Mount Hakodate – Hakodate

sakura season in hokkaido

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Hakodate Park, nestled at the foot of the famous Mount Hakodate, is another popular cherry blossom spot in the city of Hakodate. Hundreds of cherry trees lie along its paths, providing a pretty canopy for tourists exploring the park grounds. The park also features a mini-zoo, a children’s playground, and the Hakodate City Museum

Meanwhile, Mount Hakodate transforms into a hiker’s paradise in spring, featuring crisp mountain air and flourishing forests carpeted with wildflowers. It’s accessible via ropeway, too, so even the trip up the slopes promises a rewarding view for travellers. 

When in Hakodate…


Red brick warehouses | Image credit: Sean Pavone via Canva Pro

After sakura chasing across the city, take time to explore Hakodate even further. This Hokkaido city has more to offer than sakura during the spring season, you know. For one, you can’t miss the historic red brick warehouses in the bay area. Enough of the vintage architecture remains for the warehouses to be eye-catching, but the city has renovated them into a thriving shopping, dining, and entertainment complex. 

Several minutes away is the Hakodate Morning Market — another must-see stop when you’re in town. It spans four blocks, so you’ll have plenty to see. The main highlight of the market? Fresh seafood, of course. Pick up mouthwatering delicacies like kani (crab meat) and uni (sea urchin), but if you’re itching to grab a bite ASAP, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from in the area. 

3. Lake Toya – Shikotsu-Toya National Park

sakura season hokkaido

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Hanging out by a volcanic caldera has never been more picturesque. That’s Lake Toya in Hokkaido during sakura season, where majestic Mount Usu rises in the background. Along the Toya caldera rim, over 400 Somei Yoshino cherry trees bloom in spring. It’s an idyllic sight, with the pale pink cherry blossom groves adding a delicate touch to the already breathtaking natural scenery.

Stroll or cycle along the shores of the dazzling lake, or take a boat ride across the glassy lake. Either way, there’s no escaping the postcard-pretty views! Take your camera to the Shikotsu Toya National Park Silo observation deck — we promise you won’t regret seeing the cherry blossoms from this angle.

When in Lake Toya…

mount usu and lake toya area

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Can’t get enough of the panoramas? Hop on a cable car at the Mount Usu Ropeway or an exhilarating helicopter ride for a bird’s eye view of the landscape. (Some Hokkaido tours even offer these activities for free.) Afterward, treat yourself to a dip in the soothing waters of Toyako Onsen, renowned across the region for its therapeutic hot springs.

4. Noboribetsu Cherry Blossom Tunnel – Noboribetsu

With a name like Noboribetsu Cherry Blossom Tunnel, is it any wonder this is one of the best spots to visit during sakura season in Hokkaido? Stretching from JR Noboribetsu Station to the heart of Noboribetsu Onsen, the road extends eight kilometres and is flanked by around 2,000 Sargent cherry trees. Enjoy a scenic walk through the tunnel of pink flowers — it’s definitely a sakura season highlight in Hokkaido!

Fun Fact: The city of Noboribetsu is Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring resort. A soak in an onsen sounds like a great way to wind down after spending the day flower-peeping, don’t you think?

When in Noboribetsu…


Jigokudani | Image credit: Arthitpix via Canva Pro

Besides the blooms of the sakura season, what else is there in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido? Plenty, if you know where to look. Most famous is Jigokudani (Hell Valley), a rugged valley that’s famous for its volcanic activity. Trek through the verdant woods to get to the Oyonuma pond leading to a river where tired explorers can rest and take a natural hot foot bath.

Meanwhile, culture vultures mustn’t miss Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura, a popular tourist attraction that’s a portal to Japan’s Edo Period. A recreation of an era long gone, the cultural park is home to cobbled streets lined with samurai residences, bustling shops, and traditional teahouses. Pop inside one of the small theatres for live shows of samurai battles.

5. Temiya Park & Temiya Ryokuka Botanical Gardens – Otaru

sakura season in hokkaido

Image credit: Hokkaido Official Tourism Site | Official Facebook Page

A sakura trip to Hokkaido in the spring season won’t be complete without dropping by the small harbour city of Otaru. Mainly, that’s thanks to Temiya Park, a hillside hanami spot overlooking Otaru Port.

Every year, over 700 cherry blossom trees burst into candy-coloured bloom at Temiya Park, with the dreamy pink canopy almost appearing like clouds against the bright blue sky. It looks even more dazzling in contrast to other vibrant blooms throughout the park, from fragrant azaleas to romantic peonies. 

Add a bit of variety to your spring flower itinerary by visiting the park’s Temiya Ryokuka Botanical Gardens. Hidden in the sprawling park grounds, it’s home to several themed gardens, including a Japanese garden, a rock garden, and a rose garden, among others. Cherry blossoms frame the tranquil gardens charmingly in spring — but even without the pink blooms, this diverse collection of plants and flowers is still worth a visit! 

When in Otaru…

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The beautiful port town of Otaru comes teeming with unique attractions that makes it a highlight of a springtime Hokkaido tour package. For instance, did you know that local artisans are especially renowned for exquisitely made glassworks and music boxes? Thus, spots like the Music Box Museum and Kitachi Glass Shop are two whimsical places in town that we recommend seeing. Trust us, you won’t regret it — although you might need to bring some extra cash in case you want to purchase souvenirs. 

Alternatively, explore Otaru Sakaimachi Street, a pedestrian-only road with charming shops selling local delicacies and handmade crafts. At night, wind down with a stroll along Otaru Canal

6. Hokkaido Shrine & Maruyama Park – Sapporo

sakura season in hokkaido

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No matter the time of year, Sapporo tops most travellers’ wish list when it comes to places to visit in Hokkaido. And for good reason — from summer’s beer festivals to winter’s snow spots, there are endless attractions to indulge in this buzzy Japanese locale. 

Springtime creates a pretty tableau: For magical sakura views in Sapporo this season, make a beeline for Hokkaido Shrine and Maruyama Park — two tourist hotspots that conveniently sit side by side in the heart of the city. Scattered around the grounds are 1,400 cherry blossom trees and 250 plum blossom trees. These were all planted in 1875 in memory of local legend Yoshitake Shima. For over a century (and counting), Sapporo locals have been flocking to Maruyama Park to celebrate hanami under the cheerful pink trees. Tourists are invited to join, too!

7. Nakajima Park – Sapporo

sakura season in hokkaido

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There’s no doubt Nakajima Park — smack dab in Downtown Sapporo next to the Susukino shopping district — is one of the hanami spots to watch out for during sakura season in Hokkaido. After all, it’s named one of the 100 most popular urban parks in Japan for a reason! 

Featuring walking trails, a beautiful pond, and different varieties of cherry trees, it offers tourists plenty of space to stretch their legs and enjoy the sight of cherry blossoms painting the park a cheerful pink. There may not be as many as other sakura spots, but enough to add a picturesque touch of pink to the bustling urban landscape of Sapporo. We recommend hopping on a rowboat to enjoy the magical pink glow from the tranquil pond.

8. Hiraoka Park – Sapporo

sakura season in hokkaido

Image credit: Sapporo Tourism Association | Official Website

Another cherry blossom stop that’s not to be missed on a Hokkaido tour: Hiraoka Park. Spanning 66.4 hectares about 11 kilometres southeast of central Sapporo, the sprawling green oasis guarantees a memorable experience for nature lovers. Here, cherry blossoms and plum blossoms, making it the perfect destination for the Hokkaido sakura season. 

There’s no doubt that the main action at Hiraoka Park happens at the west side of the park, where you’ll find one of the largest plum groves in Sapporo. A local favourite, this 6.5-hectare grove sees about 1,200 plum trees in bloom during spring. Combined with the delicate cherry blossoms in early to mid-May, the park makes for a stunning backdrop for Instagram photos! It’s also a popular destination for sport lovers with tennis courts, a baseball field, and even a golf course. 

When in Sapporo…

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It’s always a good season to visit Hokkaido capital Sapporo, whether you’re here for sakura blooms or happy hour. Drop by Sapporo Beer Factory, the city’s only museum dedicated to its most famous drink. Here, you’ll learn more about the history of Sapporo beer as well as the process behind the drink. More importantly, beer tastings are available, too!

Not keen on alcohol? Travel back in time at the Former Hokkaido Government Office instead. The majestic red-brick building served as the regional government’s seat for nearly 80 years. However, it’s now a museum perfect for tourists who want to discover more about Hokkaido’s history and local culture. For souvenirs, Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade and Outlet Mall are our recommendations. 

Also read: Find Your Bloom: Cherry Blossom Itineraries in South Korea for Every Traveller

Don’t miss your chance at witnessing the breathtaking last dance of the sakura this season in Hokkaido. Join EU Holidays’ 9D6N Hokkaido Blossom Symphony tour, which will whisk you away to Japan’s most captivating late-blooming cherry blossom spots.

Keep in mind, this unforgettable spring escape is only from April to May, so book your tickets ASAP!

Experience Hokkaido

Brought to you by EU Holidays.

About Author

Celia Grace Nachura
Celia Grace Nachura

There are very few things Celia won’t do for a good story, but her favourite ones always involve the beach, animals, or any type of outdoor activity. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, and can usually be found typing away at home with her cute dogs at her feet. Away from work, she spends most of her time trying out every hobby she can get her hands on, from running to crocheting to baking (she’s pretty okay at most things that don't involve cooking).