Most people think that Hokkaido is only worth visiting in the winter – after all, the weather is cold all year-round, but it gets really good when snowfall comes and coats the slopes with fine powder. While spring draws tourists from all over the world to Japan, they usually overlook Hokkaido in this season.
Visiting Hokkaido in the spring gives you the advantage of having a prefecture that isn’t overpopulated,while still offering many of the charms associated with the Land of the Rising Sun in the spring. Here is a list of the things you absolutely must do on a spring trip to Hokkaido.
First Thing’s First–Hanami
Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is what attracts most crowds to Japan in the spring. While many opt to visit in April when the cherry blossoms are at their peak further south, the flowers don’t bloom in Hokkaido until late in the month or early May. Despite this, the flowers are nonetheless as beautiful as any found in Tokyo or Kyoto. Head to Matsumae Castle or Fort Goryokaku for prize spots and bring your own food and liquor for a great time.
More Flowers – Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park
If you’ve had enough of the cherry blossoms, but still want a relaxed experience while surrounded by the beauty of nature, check out Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park. Dubbed as the prefecture’s little Netherlands, the park truly is reminiscent of Keukenhof, complete with a very Dutch-looking windmill. From early May to June, a tulip festival is held annually in this town. Because it’s a little-known attraction, you should be able to enjoy a laidback pace while admiring neat rows of vibrant colored tulips.
Truly Transcendant – Unkai Terrace
This one isn’t for the early-riser, but for those who make the effort, it’s a hugely rewarding experience. At the top of Tomamu Mountain is a viewing deck from which you can gaze over the blanket of early morning clouds that cover the summit of neighboring Hidaka Mountain. From here,the summit can give you a surreal feeling, as you’ll literally be above the cloud cover.
The terrace makes for some excellent photos, and a yoga class is also offered to fitness enthusiasts or for those looking to center themselves after such a divine sight. There is also a café where you can have breakfast and enjoy your morning like usual. The terrace opens in mid-May and closes in late October, so plan accordingly and don’t forget to set your alarm.
The Usual Standby – Skiing
Skiing in the spring is totally possible in Hokkaido since the snow sticks around for quite a while. Slopes are usually well covered in snow even in March, when the general temperaturehas begun to rise. Ski resorts like Kiroro offer a great experience not only for expert solo skiers, but for couples and families as well.They offer various snow-related activities like the snow bubble ball or riding segways.
Visitors looking for a spring break will definitely have their fill of activities at this time. Japan is a true haven for who enjoy the season and are looking for something enjoyable to do during their trip.