Spring Sakura in Niseko
In May, japanese cherry blossom in Niseko will burst into pale and vivid pinks, marking the dramatic arrival of the 'Hanami' season.
Images of sakura can be found in art, historical images, pop-culture, and more everyday places than you might think. Did you know the current 100 yen coin has a sakura flower on the back?
The cherry blossom, (along with the chrysanthemum) is one of Japan's national flowers, and is hugely popular for both its quiet beauty and its historical and philosophical meaning. In Japan, sakura are often seen as wistful metaphors for the "ephemeral nature of life" and the impermanence of things.
Most sakura will only bloom once a year, with the Japanese cherry tree spending the majority of its life looking like a flowerless one - until, after a long and difficult winter - the spring arrives.
The heat and light reinvigorates the sakura, causing them to bloom all at once (saku - 咲く) in a symphony of colour and sunshine.
'Hanami' is the traditional Japanese practice of visiting blooming japanese cherry and ume trees for picnics and celebrations; a national passion which is so widely observed in Japan that when sakura season comes, even news and weather channels regularly update on blooming forecasts and reports across the country.
After a short time in bloom, the sakura rests, petals will begin to float silently to the ground, waiting to start the cycle anew.
Hokkaido, having the coolest weather in Japan, is usually the last place for sakura to bloom every year. The wave of colour will wash from South to North, finally reaching Niseko during April/May.
erry blossoms at Goryokaku Park
Repeatedly voted the greatest sakura viewing point in Hokkaido, the star shaped park and surrounding moat are lined by over 1500 individual sakura trees, and is truly a sight to behold, with visitors flocking from all over Hokkaido to visit the park.
Located in Hakodate, Goryokaku is accessible by train or by car, but is more suited to a day or multi-day trip due to the distance. (Roughly 3 hours by car, or 4 hours by train - perfect if your trip includes visiting southern Hokkaido.)
Photo courtesy: Goryokaku Tower Co., Ltd.
For somewhere a little closer to home, it's easy to find dazzling displays of cherry blossom during the hanami season. Many streets in the Hirafu Niseko area are lined with beautiful blooming cherry trees. There are also a number of popular local spots which are prepared year-in, year-out, such as Mr Mishima's lovingly cultivated and prepared sakura display.
In recent years popular displays in Kutchan include:
- Mishima san's Turf Cherry Garden (Kutchan)
- Marchen Street (Kutchan)
Niseko Village and Niseko town:
- The Twin Cherry Trees (Niseko Town)
- Soga Forest Park (Near Niseko Station)
- Kaributo Shrine (Near Niseko Station)
Mishima san's Turf Cherry Garden - A hugely popular flower site located in Kutchan town.
If you'd like to find out more about spring in Niseko, or would like some assistance with getting to the best sakura viewing locations in town, please don't hesitate to contact a member of our concierge team.