Spring has finally arrived up here! And with spring comes the cherry blossoms. Which means barbecue and booze. It’s quite a big event apparently, a lot of people went to have a picnic under cherry trees and it still smelled like smoke blocks away from the park.
Hanami literally Flower Watching- is not a public holiday. Which also wouldn’t make any sense because according to this website in Tōkyō all the cherry trees were already withered by the end of March.
(Also by the way: Hanami is also called O-Hanami and includes plum trees which bloom around the same time. I have no idea whether the pictures I took are plum or cherry blossoms or something completely different. I’m a Japanese student not a botanist.)
However up here on Hokkaido it happened at the same time as Golden Week. It’s a period of time including four public holidays which makes it a popular for traveling. Starting on April 29th with Shōwa Day, going on to Constitution Memorial Day on May 3rd, Greenery Day on May 4th and ending with Children’s Day on May 5th. Also notable that whenever a holiday happens on a Sunday it will be held the Monday after, so no free day gets lost.
Not everyone gets off ‘though, pretty much all shops were still open and most had huge sales going on. Which led to not only the parks but also malls and subways being rather crowded.
So instead of shopping I decided to check out the three cherry blossom spots listed by Japan-Guide.
Maruyama Kōen (Kōen=Park) was really crowded. Only few spots were left between blankets, grills and people. It was still lovely ‘though with a lot of beautiful big trees.
Ōdōri Kōen doesn’t have a lot of cherry trees on one spot but many other beautiful plants, fountains and sculptures. It wasn’t really crowded but still a lot of people enjoyed the good weather there.
Then I went to Moerenuma Kōen which is a bit outside of Sapporo. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes by bus to get there. It’s a larger park and also fairly new, on a former waste disposal site. The design is modern with a wide open space of just grass, a mountain, sculptures and buildings, sporting areas and different smaller forests. One of them being a cherry blossom forest which includes many playgrounds, which was probably the reason for a lot of of the visitors there being young families.
And not too many people were there which surprised be a bit, regarding how crowded Maryama Kōen was, that there are far more cherry trees at Moerenuma Kōen and that the bus really wasn’t expensive.
There’s also a bike rent so I got to see most of the park and decided to just film a bit while riding around. Unfortunately the paths in the cherry part were rather narrow and hence no moving footage from there, also it’s a bit shaky, sorry for that. Did my best to fix it though and it’s at least watchable now.
It’s snow. And there’s much more than you can see.