Japan is a country well-known for its remarkably distinct beauty in each of the four seasons, and its northernmost island possesses some of the best examples of year-round natural beauty to be found nationwide. Our Hokkaido Island tour programs only operate once per season and are specifically designed to explore the highlights of each season that can be found on the island. From the amazing Sapporo Snow Festival in Winter, the expansive pink ‘Shibazakura’ moss blossoms in Spring, the beautiful rolling lavender fields in Summer, to the kaleidoscopic foliage of Oirase Keiryu in Fall, each departure is a breathtaking once in a lifetime experience.
When traveling to Hokkaido in Spring you’ll be greeted by the colorful plains, verdant hills, and sparkling clear lakes with average temperatures a refreshing 53°F. Here are a handful of sites we visit in Hokkaido on our spring tour that we think exemplify the allure of northern Japan natural spaces: Hitsujiyama Park, Mount Kurodake, and Shisainooka.
From mid April to May, visit the Shibazakura Hill at Hitsujiyama Park for the best sighting of Shibazakura (pink moss or phlox moss). During this time, the flower beds light up in a glorious array of beautiful colors as far as the eye can see.
Although they share a similar-sounding name, the Shibazakura blossoms of northern Japan are actually not ‘sakura’ cherry blossoms at all, but a variety of flowering pink moss. When in bloom, these “cherry blossoms for your feet” cover the hills like a natural pink carpet. Because of the difference in flower and the cooler climate in the north, this remarkable sight is best seen slightly later in the spring than the sakura blossoms further south.
Mt. Kurodake is a spectacular lava dome whose summit rises to 6,500 feet above sea level, located in the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Range. Taking a ride on one of the enclosed carriages of the Kurodake Ropeway will bring you over 2,000 ft up the mountain. This height offers a splendid view of the Daisetsuzan Mountain Range.
Those who seek to attain greater heights beyond where the ropeway carriages end can take chairlifts further up the slopes, and finally hike along a series of switchbacks to attain the full one-and-one-quarter miles above sea level of the mountain’s summit. Not for the faint of heart, nor any with a fear of heights, but offering a truly unparalleled view.
Shikisai No Oka
The location’s name is a combination of the Japanese words 色彩 (shiki • sai, meaning hue or tint), 四季 (shi • ki, meaning the four seasons), and 丘 (oka, meaning hill) to form 四季彩の丘 (spoken as shi • ki • sai • no • oka, literally ‘the hills of seasonal hues’). Shikisai No Oka is a 17-acre field of rolling hills with seasonal fragrant flowers that bloom from April through October. Over the course of the spring and fall, several dozen different species of flower and grass flourish and offer a display of colors from across the entire rainbow.
Land-only pricing for the Hokkaido 10-day tour starts at $3099. Come on board to experience Hokkaido and discover what wonders nature has to offer in Japan’s verdant north.
To learn more about our Hokkaido Island spring itinerary.