5 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Hokkaido | 2020 Edition – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

04.April.2020 | FEATURES / SPOT

Sapporo, Asahikawa, Abashiriーthe list goes on when it comes to incredible places to see the cherry blossoms in Hokkaido. And the best time to see them in Japan’s northernmost main island is May.

 

Today, we are joined by Mirina, an Instagrammer who posts photos of tourist and sightseeing spots in Hokkaido that are rich in nature. She has shared her photos with us along with details of 5 must-visit famous cherry blossom sites in Hokkaido. Let’s take a look.

 

Tokiwa Park

Tokiwa Park is located in the city of Asahikawa, and is home to around 200 individual cherry trees of various kinds including the Yoshino cherry and ezo yamazakura. Weeping cherries also dangle their graceful branches around the lake, which you can sail through on a boat for an even more memorable cherry blossom experience. Tokiwa Park is also listed as one of Japan’s “100 City Parks,” so it’s one that needs to go on your list of sightseeing spots if you’re travelling to Hokkaido.

 

Tokiwa Park

Address: Tokiwakoen, Asahikawa, Hokkaido

Access: 25-minutes on foot from Asahikawa Station (via JR Line). Alternatively, board the Tohoku Bus and get off at Tokiwa Park (常磐公園).

Official Website: http://www.asahikawa-park.or.jp/

 

Twin Harp Bridge

This spot is also located in Asahikawa. It gets its name from how the bridge looks like two harps lined up next to each other. Twin Harp Bridge is also a popular place with the locals for celebrating Hanami in the spring season as cherry blossoms bloom in the vicinity of the bridge.

 

Twin Harp Bridge

Address: 4 Chome Toko 18 Jo, Asahikawa, Hokkaido to 5 Chome Kyokushin 1 Jo, Asahikawa, Hokkaido

Access: 20-minutes by car from Asahikawa Airport / 15-minutes by car from Asahikawa Station

Official Website: http://www.city.asahikawa.hokkaido.jp/files/tosi_kei/index.htm

 

Kitoushi Forest Park – Family Village

Located southeast of Asahikawa, Kitoushi Forest Park – Family Village offers views of ezo yamazakura as well as shibazakura moss phlox. Visitors can also have barbeques at the facility for an even better outdoor experience combining great food with cherry blossom viewing.

 

Kitoushi Forest Park – Family Village (Kitoushi Shinrin Koen Kazokuryokomura)

Address: 5 Gokita-44 Nishi, Higashikawa, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido

Access: 40-minutes by car from Asahikawa Station

Official Website: http://www.kazokuryokoumura.jp/

More Information (English): http://www.asahikawa-tourism.com/asahikawa/asahikawa_sites/higashikawa/higashikawa_en.html

 

Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park is another famous cherry blossom site where Yoshino cherry trees and ezo yamazakura bloom. Compared to Asahikawa, the cherry blossoms here bloom a little earlier during spring. You’ll catch them from late April to early May. During the cherry blossom season, there is a place where fires can be lit, so you’ll catch people cooking up jingisukan, a type of Japanese mutton dish.

 

Maruyama Park

Address: Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

Access: 5-minutes on foot from Maruyama-Kōen Station

Official Website: http://www.sapporo.travel/find/nature-and-parks/maruyama_park/

 

Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park

Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park’s rolling hills offer a breathtaking view of shibazakura moss phlox cherry blossoms. The hills themselves aren’t steep, so the spectacle can be enjoyed from both the top and bottom of them. The Shibazakura Festival is also held between May and June.

 

Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park

Address: 393 Higashimokotosuehiro, Ozora, Abashiri-gun, Hokkaido

Access: 30-minutes by cat from Abashiri Station. Alternatively, board the transit bus from Abashiri Station, get off at Higashimokotocho (東藻琴町). The park is a 5-mintue drive from here.

Official Website: http://www.shibazakura.net/

 

Photo:Mirina has visited many sightseeing spots in Hokkaido, so if you’re looking for more places to visit be sure to follow her on Instagram.

 

Photos: Mirina Nishio

 

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  • Imabari is a city in Ehime Prefecture that faces the Seto Inland Sea. Since olden times, it has flourished as an important location for marine traffic. It’s home to a bounty of recognised national treasures and historical heritage sights, and is also famous for its production of citrus fruits such as mikan. Japanese pop star, model, and icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu took a trip to this ancient city to discover its wonder and beauty.

     

    A Visit to the Historical Sea Route

     

     

    Oyamazumi Shrine

    A ‘power spot’ revered by prominent people

    Oyamazumi Shrine has been revered by prominent figures throughout history as a place dedicated to the god of the mountain, god of the ocean, and the god of war. It’s home to numerous Important Cultural Properties which are available for viewing by the public such as the armour worn by the military commander Minamoto no Yoshitsune when the Minamoto clan won the Genpei War (1180-1185), armour worn by women, and more. The shrine is also a notable power spot for the ancient tree that has stood there for 2,600 years and is now recognised as a natural monument of Japan. Power spots are places in Japan where the spiritually-inclined draw energy from.

     

    Information

    Oyamazumi Shrine

    Address: 3327 Omishimacho Miyaura, Imabari, Ehime 794-1393, Japan

    TEL: 0897-82-0032

    Opening Hours: Sunrise to 17:00

    National Treasure Building: 8:30-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

    Official Website: https://oomishimagu.jp/

     

    Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area

    Lip-smacking food aplenty

    If you’re one for great views, then the Kurushima Kaikyo service area is a must-visit, offering a panoramic look at the Kurushima Strait of the Seto Inland Sea. The service area is very well know particularly for the Jaguchi Mikan Juice, something of a city legend in Ehime where you can enjoy fresh mikan juice straight from a tap. You can also tuck a rice bowl dish made with tachiuo hairtail caught in the Seto Inland Sea that’s made to look like Kurushima Kaikyō Bridge, or try Imabari’s soul food dish: the Imabari Yakibuta Tamago Meshi, a pork, egg, and rice bowl. Don’t pass up the chance to snap a photo at the designated photo spot with the Seto Inland Sea in the back either like Kyary above.

     

    Information

    Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area

    Address: 3-9-68 Ohamacho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0002, Japan

    Food Court: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00

    Shops: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00

    Outside Shopping Area & Cafes: [Weekdays] 9:00-17:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 9:00-18:00

    Official Website: https://www.jb-highway.co.jp/sapa/kurushima.php

     

    Murakami Suigun Museum

    Dedicated to the Imabari heroes who protected the ocean


    Murakami Suigun Museum is dedicated to kaizoku—pirates, or lords of the sea—something which conjures to mind villainy or bad guys, but the Murakami pirates were also considered heroes who helped maintain order and protect the sea during the Sengoku warring period of Japan. The museum features many displays of Murakami family treasures including the battle surcoat which the pirate leader wore over his armour, proudly bearing the Murakami family crest. Visitors can wear replicas of this coat, which Kyary tired herself: “Now I’m sorta like a military commander too,” she said.

     

    Information 

    Murakami Suigun Museum

    Address: 1285 Miyakubocho Miyakubo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2203, Japan
    TEL: 0897-74-1065

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / New Year Holidays (Dec 29-Jan 3)

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/suigun/

     

    Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan

    A bundle of fun and entertainment in one place

    Roll on up to Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan to enjoy a shichirin BBQ feast with fresh seafood caught in the Seto Inland Sea while gazing out across Kurushima Kaikyo. This building complex serves as a resting spot and is also the perfect place to purchase local souvenirs including Ehime specialty products. It’s also famous for its offering the chance to board a boat to ride around Kurushima Kaikyo, renting out bicycles, and more. You’ll also be able to meet Koro-chan, a popular fish who has lived there for 30 years.

     

    Information

    Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan

    Address: 4520-2 Yoshiumichomyo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2114, Japan

    TEL: 0897-84-3710

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Restaurant: 10:00-16:00 (Last Orders 15:00)

    Closed: New Year’s Day (and certain days in winter)

    Official Website: http://www.imabari-shimanami.jp/ikiiki/

     

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami

    Meet the cute and friendly dolphins

     

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami, which is connected to Hakata Beach, is the best and biggest place in Japan to interact with dolphins. Visitors can get close to them and the dolphins will show off their tricks and skills. There’s even a car camping area you can stay at.

     

    Information

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami

    Address: 1673 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan

    TEL: 0897-72-8787

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: On days with bad weath

    Official Website: https://www.df-shimanami.com/

     

    Hakata Beach

    A white sandy beach rolling out 200-meters 

     

     

    Hakata Beach is located at the base of Oshima Bridge in Hakata. The beach is famous for its salt which is best tried on their popular sweet-tasting sea salt ice cream.

     

    Information

    Hakata Beach

    Address: 1668-1 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan

    Sea Bathing: Early July – Late August

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=198

     

    Imabari Towels

    High quality towels woven with tradition and technique

     

    Imabari is the biggest producer of towels in Japan. Even their white towels alone have countless types you can choose from, allowing you to pick which level of softness and comfort you want. The iconic brand logo is also impactful, capturing the quality, production, and enthusiasm that the makes have for the product. Kyary herself uses them all the time!

     

    Information 

    Imabari Towel

    Official Website: https://www.imabaritowel.jp/

     

    Sunrise Itoyama

    Need a bike?

    Sunrise Itoyama, located in the Imabari Central Cycling Terminal, is a rental bicycle service that has bikes and helmets for everyone’s needs. Rent out a bike and ride the Shimanami Sea Route which connects Ehime and Hiroshima with a series of bridges that hop across the islands of the Seto Inland Sea.

     

    Information 

    Sunrise Itoyama

    Address: 2-8-1 Sunabacho, Imabari, Ehime 794-0001, Japan

    TEL: 0898-41-3196

    Rent-a-Cycle Details: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/archives/rentacycle/

    Official Website: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/

     

    Marutomi

    The famous restaurant known to every local

    If you want the real experience of Imabari’s yakitori soul food, you should visit Marutomi, a yakitori eatery. Imabari yakitori is different from the usual Japanese yakitori as it doesn’t come skewered. Instead, the chicken is cut into small pieces and fried that way. One of the most popular ways to have it is with the skin on so the outside is crunchy and the inside succulent. It goes perfect with a cup of sake too.

     

    Information 

    Marutomi

    2-3-6 Katayama, Imabari, Ehime 794-0063, Japan

    TEL: 0898-23-2740

    Opening Hours: 17:30-22:00

    Closed: Wednesdays

    Official Website: https://maru-marutomi.jp/

     

    Imabari Castle

    A castle by the sea

    Imabari Castle, built by the daimyo Tōdō Takatora, is known famously as one of Japan’s three “Castles on the Sea” and was also listed in Japan’s Top 100 Castles. When it was first constructed, boats could enter the moat from the ocean. It’s a site that breathes the prosperity that Imabari has enjoyed as a significant location for maritime traffic, the same Imabari that the Murakami pirates sought to protect. Head on up to the top of the castle to stand on the observation deck and gaze at an unbroken view of the city.

     

    Information

    Imabari Castle

    Address: 3-1-3 Toricho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0036, Japan

    TEL: 0898-31-9233

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: December 29 – December 31

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/imabarijo/

     

    Kirosan Observatory Park

    A breathtaking spectacle to remember

    Kirosan Observatory Park is officially recognised by Setonaikai National Park. Standing atop the observation deck fills the eyes with wonder as they gaze upon a panoramic stretch of Imabari, the Seto Inland Sea, and Kurushima Kaikyo all at once. Kyary wrapped up her time in Imabari here as the sunset coloured the sky and sea in warm evening hues.

     

    Information 

    Kirosan Observatory Park

    Address: 487-4 Yoshiumicho Minamiura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2115, Japan

    No Fixed Holidays

    Open 24-hours a day

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=182

     

    Imabari Tourism Information: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/

     

    We hope you enjoyed joining Kyary on her adventures across Imabari, and perhaps she even got you a little curious in wanting to visit the city yourself. It’s a treasure trove filled with vistas by the sea, in nature, and in the city itself with its Important Cultural Properties. Food is also a big part of travel for many people, so you can rest assured that your belly will be satisfied in Imabari as you try their speciality mikan, fresh seafood fished in the Seto Inland Sea, and more.

  • Rilakkuma & Sumikko Gurashi Festival Announced For Fall in Sapporo

    28.May.2021 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Rilakkuma and Sumikko Gurashi are set to collaborate at a special festival centred entirely around the characters which will run at Sapporo Factory from September 17 to November 28.

     

    Rilakkuma, Sumikko Gurashi, and you are invited to the festival which will be split into two areas: the Rilakkuma Pavilion and Sumikko Gurashi Pavilion where the characters will be present to greet guests. The event is taking on a magical theme which imagines the spirits of San-X, the company who created Rilakkuma and Sumikko Gurashi, casting a mysterious magic on the festival to bring happiness to all.

     

    There’s plenty for fans of the characters to enjoy including fun photo spots, exclusive merchandise, and much more.

     

    If you’re in Sapporo this autumn, don’t miss the Rilakkuma & Sumikko Gurashi Festival.

  • Relax With Cows and Sheep at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu in Hokkaido

    17.May.2021 | SPOT

    Hokkaido’s largest hotel resort Hoshino Resorts Tomamu is set to open its enormous new 100-hectare farm area this summer for a limited time between July 1 and September 30. Guests are invited to sit and lay amongst the farm’s animals during the warm season.

     

    Relax in nature

    The farm area was originally an agricultural ground home to around 700 cows. Hoshino Resorts Tomamu wanted to bring the space back to its origins for people to enjoy, and so it is now operating as 100s hectares of farmland. The resort has offered a range of limited-time experiences on the land in the past, such as the Cow & Daytime Nap Hammocks where people can doze on hammocks and count the sheep, as well as the Pasture Lounge, and more.

     

    What to expec

     

    Inhale the smells of nature while laying on some comfy beds

    Guests are invited to kick back and relax on a warm and cosy bed spanning 30 meters. Its large size means you don’t have to come into close contact with everyone, enabling you to enjoy yourself withour worry. Cushions and blankets are also prepared.


    Soak up the sights and sounds of the farm

    The cows on the grass

    Hammocks for a siesta snooze

    Yagi the Postman

  • Hokkaido’s New Hotel Boasts a Famous Hot Spring and Overlooks the Tsugaru Straits

    16.May.2021 | SPOT

    Core Global Management is set to open the all-new Yunokawa Onsen Umi to Akari Hewitt Resort on July 1, 2021. In line with its opening, Japanese calligrapher Shoko Kanazawa has been put in charge of designing the hotel’s name logo.

    The sea and sky meet in the Infinity Onsen

    Tsukifune: the buffet restaurant

    Enjoy Japanese-style food at Kumonami

    Tatami baths

    Fires prepared by the staff everyday

    A look inside the guest rooms

    A look inside the guest rooms

    Yunokawa Onsen is one of the three major hot spring resorts in Hokkaido. During the Edo period, Matsumae Chikatsumaru, who later became the lord of the Matsumae domain, and Enomoto Takeharu, the president of the former Tokugawa shogunate, are said to have bathed in this very hot spring. Yunokawa Onsen Umi to Akari Hewitt Resort is a chance to enjoy the good old days of Hakodate Yunokawa.

    The rooftop offers an unbroken view of the incredible Tsugaru Straits. Guests can also enjoy a tranquil moment at the historic hot spring with a cup of Hakodate’s local sake and dango in hand underneath a moonlit sky while surrounded by the lights of fishing fires. There’s also a chance for both kids and adults to take a dip in a tatami bath – something you don’t really see in Japan.

  • Sakura Miku Blossoms On Merchandise at Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 2021 in Aomori

    14.May.2021 | ANIME&GAME / FASHION

    Japanese anime, game, and hobby merch site CharaAni released a new collection of Sakura Miku merchandise on Monday in collaboration with the Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 2021 festival.

     

    Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 2021 x Sakura Miku Line-Up

    Folders | ¥450 Each (Tax Included)

     

    Tapestries | ¥3,500 Each (Tax Included)

    Acrylic Stands | ¥1,500 Each (Tax Included)

    Holographic Pins | ¥550 Each (Tax Included) *Blind box, designs are random

    Reversible Blankets | ¥5,500 Each (Tax Included)

    Scarf Towel (Art by iXima) | ¥2,000 (Tax Included)

    Happi (Art by iXima) | ¥6,000 (Tax Included)

    Hand Towel (Art by Mamo) | ¥1,000 (Tax Included)

    Motel Key Ring (Art by iXima) | ¥1,500 (Tax Included)

    Teacups | ¥1,700 Each (Tax Included)

    Flat Pouch (Art by iXima & Mamo) | ¥2,500 (Tax Included)

    Drum Bag (Art by iXima) | ¥6,500 (Tax Included)

    Full Graphic T-Shirt (Art by Morichika) | ¥5,500 (Tax Included)

    Full Graphic Zipper Hoodie (Art by Hechima) | ¥9,900 (Tax Included)

    Fashion Mask (Art by iXima) | ¥2,200 (Tax Included)

    Desk Mat (Art by iXima) | ¥3,300 (Tax Included)

    Shitakawa Rayaki Dove Whistle | ¥2,200 (Tax Included)

    Music Box: “Haru o Matsu Hito” – PolyphonicBranch feat. Hatsune Miku

    The Sakura Miku x Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri 2021 collection invites on board four artists: iXima, Mamo, Hechima, and Morichika who have created original artwork for the line-up. The items can be bought both at the festival and online.

     

    The collection also includes Sakura Miku-inspired dove whistles made by Shitakawa Rayaki Tsuchi Ningyo, a clay doll company that has been around for over 200 years. The company began in the latter half of the Edo Period when Takaya Kanegura, who had learned how to make ceramics in the town of Chikuzen in Fukuoka, was employed by the Hirosaki Domain to build a furnace.

     

    Miku fans can also get their hands on a music box which features an original song created for the festival called Haru o Matsu Hito (“Person Waiting For Spring”). It features artwork by iXima.

     

    Art by iXima / Mamo / へちま / もりちか © Crypton Future Media, INC. www.piapro.net

  • Japan’s Pingu 40th Anniversary Exhibition Heads to Sapporo

    25.April.2021 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the Swiss claymation children’s television series Pingu which first hit the air in 1980. Japan has been celebrating the milestone with the Pingu Exhibition, and now it’s heading to Sapporo Factory in Hokkaido where it will run from April 23 to May 30.

     

    Original material for Pingu by the show’s creator Otmar Gutmann will be exhibited, as well as the actual clay figures, dioramas, storyboards, and more that were used during the filming in Switzerland. Until last year’s exhibition, many of the 400 or so items on display have never been shown in Japan before.

     

    There is a Pingu Market at the exhibition where fans of the noot-nooting penguin can get their hands on a range of exclusive items, pre-orders, and more. The exhibition also sees the return of the popular Pingu Egg capsule toy which has a mini Pingu figure inside.

     

    Pingu Market Exclusive Merchandise

    The market shelves are lined with limited-edition exclusives, pre-orders, items made in collaboration with popular brands, and more. Please note that a ticket to the exhibition is required to enter the shop.

     

    Pingu Egg (5 Possible Prizes) | ¥300 Per Turn (Tax Included)

    Have a turn at the capsule toy gacha where the figure you receive in your Pingu Egg is completely random. Each comes with an accessory.

     

    Pingu 40th Figure (Robby) | ¥17,600 (Tax Included)

    The Robby figure captures a scene taken from the 7th episode of the Pingu series titled Hide and Seek in English. Only 100 of these figures are available to buy and is limited to one per person.

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