Most Popular Hokkaido Spring Events and Festivals 2019
Today on our journey through Japan, we are going to look at a lesser-known festival in Eastern Hokkaido, celebrating the beauty of nature. Moss Phlox Festival at Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park is a breath-taking festival and your chance to check out Japan’s natural beauty, as well as some amazing food in an area that a few people visit.
Midorika Sueyoshi, who had been managing the Shibazakura Park’s “Pink carpet” for twenty-two years once said: “I’ve planted seventy percent of the mountain’s 10 hectares. It’s a labor of love. I am glad that so many people are pleased, and this place became a sightseeing spot… I will remain here forever, and I hope the park continues to bring joy to future generations!”
It is not a festival like you would imagine. This is a celebration of beautiful flowers and a time to give your regards to nature. There are so many different types of festivals in Japan and this one is something exceptional.
One man started this park first, looking after it all by himself. Can you believe it? On the 7th of July 2002, he passed away, but his spirit remains in this beautiful park.
Sakura – Cherry Blossom
Shiba – Sakura Type of cherry (Mountain Phlox)
Haru – Spring
Machi – Town
Shi – City
Koen – Park
Heijitsu – Weekday
Do-Nichi – Weekend
Torii – Arch entrance at Shrine
Almost all words from abroad are the same in Japanese. If you listen carefully, you can find out how similar they are.
This is not a usual festival with fireworks and pop-up shops, but we call it a ‘festival’ too. It is a little different, but it is all about Japanese traditions of giving regards to God and nature. Walk around the park and stay calm with this phenomenal panorama. It is an all-natural meditation that gives you an opportunity to feel what Shintoism is, understanding its Japanese roots.
On the other hand, just relax and Instagram it to share over the beauty with the rest of the world.
(1) If you go there on Sunday during the Flower festival, there are a few different events you can see each week. They will change and announce it every year, you need to keep your eye on their website.
(2) The park is huge. If you are too tired to walk, you can always use a foot bath for free! It’ll be an exciting experience for you! If you are exhausted, you can take a traditional Japanese public bath – onsen (this is not free though)
(3) Yamatsumi – a shrine in the park enshrining the god of the mountains. It is of the same color as Cherry blossoms, and the Torii is so pretty! This pink torii is the only one in Japan!
Date: First week of May for a month (It depends on the flowering situation)
Business hours: 8 am to 5 pm
Admission Fees: ¥500 for adults, ¥250 for children
Location: Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park
Address: 393 Higashimokotosuehiro, Ōzora-chō, Abashiri-gun
Official Homepage (Japanese only): http://www.shibazakura.net/
From Tokyo to Abashiri / Memanbetsu (Main Stop)
・Train> About 14hrs journey from Tokyo to Abashiri (Hokkaido). Need to change at least 3 times, Hakodate, Sapporo and Asahikawa and approx 13hrs+. Costs about 30,000 Yen+. Each city that you stop on the way has a different face too, so you can stop over for a few days and see those cities.
・ Night Bus> If you prefer to go to Hokkaido by night bus, only Tokyo station to Hakodate Station is available at the moment. More than 16hrs travel and need to change. It is not a great choice, to be honest, but if you want to see other areas of Hokkaido, it might be nice. Costs about 10000 Yen from Tokyo to Hakodate.
・ Flight> From Tokyo Haneda Airport to Memanbetsu Airport: 1 hour and 45 min+
Costs about 20,000 Yen to 30,000 Yen (Advance booking is cheaper.)
・By Car> Off at Chuo – Motorway (Ichinomiya – Misaka Exit)
Less than 3hrs drive from Tokyo if the motorway is not busy. You need to pay for motorways in Japan and If you use ETC card, which is a kind of contactless payment, it will be cheaper than the usual payment.
There is a campsite in this park. You can stay there if you are a camping person! Japanese campsites are a bit different from the overseas ones. It will be a great experience for you! Also, there are a few ‘Dream Houses’ that you can rent. They look like smaller versions of the Eden project in the UK!
1 night: 4500 Yen
Occupancy: 7, 8 people
Bedding: No (You need to bring yours)
There are hotels and Ryokans (Japanese Traditional Accommodation) in the Abashiri area. I highly recommend for you to stay in a Ryokan and get a great experience in Hokkaido!
The most popular sweets in Japan for all ages. Lovely white chocolate sandwiched between biscuit is dangerously gorgeous and has a great texture.
This is a kind of crisp. Or should we say chip…?
It is a potato snack with an exquisite salty taste using Okhotsk’s grilled salt and has a distinctive crispy texture. The skin of the potato is left before being hand fried by a traditional recipe.
We don’t often have clotted cream in Japan, but there is great clotted cream in Hokkaido.
Rich clotted cream made from fresh milk. Popular for a light and refreshing taste! Such a gorgeous cream tea!
Hokkaido is one of the busiest fishing areas in Japan and boasts one of the best fish in the country. If you are okay with the raw fish, I highly recommend ‘Kaisen-Don’ which is a great selection of seafood served on sushi rice.
JinGisKan is the most popular food in Hokkaido. Mutton and Lamb all mixed up and cooked with fresh vegetables.
Traditional Hokkaido Dish with seafood and fresh veggies and mushrooms. If you are hungry like a bear, you can eat all Hokkaido local foods together in this hot pot!
There are huge fields and farms in Hokkaido. So many fresh veggies, meat, milk, and seafood… Pretty much everything you can eat fresh. Come and Taste Hokkaido!
Hokkaido may be a little off the usual path for many travelers, but it is home to some of Japan’s finest natural sights and also gives you a chance to try some genuinely wonderful food. Its cuisine is unique and very different from the rest of the country. Along the way, there are many great cities to check out, so why not add this lovely event to your next trip to Japan!
If you would like to see these beautiful lowers and explore Hokkaido with a friendly local guide, please check the banner below!
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Image courtesy of Tomomarusan
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