Shibazakura is not a rare flower in Hokkaido. There are some places which are only famous for this beautiful flower and one of them is called Takinoue Park. It is a paradise of Shibazakura (pink moss phloxes) that hosts a yearly festival called Takinoue Shibazakura Matsuri. It is similar to Fuji Shibazakura Festival in Yamanashi and Higashimokoto Shibazakura Festival in Ozora as all of them main ingredient is the pink moss phlox. These parks would have been ignored by millions of visitors if this lovely five petal flower (which resembles sakura) had not bloomed in spring. Even though many visitors to Hokkaido don’t know much of its spring beauty, in my opinion it is arguably beautiful and worth a visit.
The festival usually begins in early May and ends its journey in early June. As soon as spring arrives in Hokkaido, the hillside of Takinoue Park turns to a magical place featuring millions of pink shibazakura (moss phloxes). Then it becomes one of the few best places in Hokkaido that should not be missed visiting during spring season. That simply means “spring has sprung”! Some of my favorite places to travel in Hokkaido are flower gardens and fields, not because of their stunning scenery but also for refreshing my mind. Get a rental car, start the engine, drive it through and reach to a pink paradise. How simple!
Takinoue Park and the Shibazakura Matsuri
Shibazakura Takinoue Park is located in Takinoue town which is about two hours north of Asahikawa. It is pretty interesting to have a stroll along the strolling paths inside the park all year round except winter though. Everyone says that spring is the best time to visit it because of its beautiful pink moss phloxes. “Summer is the best time to visit it” – hold it right there, don’t say that. Don’t go for an argument against it unless you want to spend your valuable time. You would be terribly sorry if you are going to do so. By the way, local there will not think of me as a mad person if I say Takinoue Park represents the whole Takinoue town. That’s true and what it offers in spring is just unforgettable. My own travel experience says so.
There are few interesting facts of this town such as Takinoue is well-known for growing different kinds of herbs especially peppermint herb. The town produces 95% of Japan’s peppermint every year. This is quite a remarkable achievement. Here you can also find some Turkey farming areas which is seen to be very rare in the land of the rising sun. There is another fact which could make you to be sad but I am extremely sorry to say that Takinoue has no rail services. As a result, to get there you have to rely on Buses or rental cars.
To build something unique and catchy someone has to put some extra efforts and that is what Takinoue Park staffs have been doing since 1956 (the year of the park beginning). So far they have built a great place of scenic beauty to attract millions of visitors each year. Though, their responsibilities of taking care of it have increased significantly. I don’t call them expert gardeners but a group of skilled artists who love to play with nature. Their outstanding services let the shibazakura grow in a large scale on the hillside of Takinoue Park. Don’t forget to thanks them if you meet them in person during your visit.
On the hillside of 100,000 square meters, the pink moss phloxes start blooming in late April and they reach to their peak season between mid-May and late May. The shape of the flower looks pretty similar to cherry blossom. Its lifespan is longer than sakura flower. It means you are given a great opportunity to see shibazakura for a month. When they all cover the hillside of the park everything sounds very pleasant and peaceful as you walk along the winding paths and breathe a sweet smell of Shibazakura. The air no longer remains as usual but it gets filled with something that you can expect from a flower garden.
Despite the abundance of Shibazakura, viewing them is not the only thing to do there. You can take your trip to the next level choosing the right path and creating yourself a perfect spot for taking photos of nearby landscape especially from up the hillside. Snow capped Daisetsuzan Mountain Range (backside) is clearly visible from the Park. Apart from this, you will be witnessing multi colored tulips there as well. I assume that it’s not a strange thing for you seeing tulips and shibazakura blossoms there. One of my top travel tips to you is that you just walk through the all paths of the park. Surly, you would experience so many things while doing that.
During the festival period, stage performances are held to entertain visitors. Their enchanting performances even could be overshadowed by the iconic Shibazakura. It is just my thought but the stage performance is just another ingredient to make the sight even beautiful, sweeter and entertaining. When you explore a place, always keep in mind that – try experiencing all the features that it has to offer. If you agree with this term then don’t forget to take the sightseeing flight by a helicopter. Spend 5000 yen (per adult) and enjoy a 5-6 minute’s ride. Let’s fly like a bird for some times and enjoy Shibazakura view from the sky, alright!
Spend few hours roaming around the park with having some rest and buying souvenirs at the Phlox House and eating local delicacies from the food stalls. “Shibazakura soft ice cream is really yummy, I want more” – said my friend Masao. In fact I felt the same as he did. You must try it, just don’t blame me if you don’t like its taste. You can enjoy a leisurely walk across the hill on the gently-sloped pathways. With brightly pink shibazakura and green forest look stunning from the Takinoue Shinto Shrine. That exactly looks like a pink carpet which has been installed on the grounds for ages. Though, it is true that the flowers are missed a lot after end of their peak season.
How to Get to Takinoue Park?
If you have never been to Takinoue before then you really have no idea how to access to Takinoue Park. As I am here to guide you, you should not worry much. Things are not going to be hard as you think though I am sorry to inform you that there is no railway service available in this small town. When there is a problem there must be a solution as well. The best and easiest way to get to this park is from Asahikawa city by a rental car. Prefer this option and take this as your number one choice.
Sometimes tour buses don’t give you much freedom because they also run out of time. If you take a rental car then it will be a lot easier for you to stay in the park with lots of freedom in your hand. Always make sure you have a valid International Drivers License, a valid license from your country of origin and a credit card. Renting a car is quite easy in Asahikawa city. Once you are finished with it then go to the north on the Route 39 to Kamikawa, then take the Route 273 to Monbetsu. If you want to know how to rent a car in Asahikawa then visit here.
There is a tour bus service operated by Dohoku Bus, please call here: 0166-23-4161 to get to know about this year bus time-table and fare. It has so demand because it is the only bus service which departs from Asahikawa city to Takinoue park. It is a direct bus route. If you are confused and don’t know still how to reach there in Takinoue Park then feel free to call at: 0158-29-2730, someone from Takinoue Tourism Association will help you.
Takinoue Park Shibazakura Festival Day Tour from Sapporo
If you don’t want to drive yourself then I would recommend you to visit this park with the help of one of the leading travel agencies in Japan – Club Tourism International Inc. This year in 2017, it is offering you three distinct 2-days tours which take you to Higashimokoto & Takinoue Park Shibazakura Festival including Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park and other sightseeing attractions. If you would like to visit Takinoue Park from Sapporo without having any trouble then pick of one these tours (given below) offered by Club tourism international Inc.
I hope you choose the appropriate one, good luck.
Important things to Know
Place & Address: Takinoue Park, Motomachi, Takinoue-Cho, Mombetsu-gun, Hokkaido
Festival Period: Early May to Early June, 2017
Parking lot: Yes
Pet: No pets are allowed inside the park
Admission Fees: ¥500 for adults, ¥250 for children
Time: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm (no illumination)
Official website: http://takinoue.com/
People say that spring is not the best time to visit Hokkaido but I say it is. Do you have any doubt after reading this article why you should visit it in spring? If you have any doubt in mind then find out the other top spring sightseeing attractions of Hokkaido here. Everyone should understand that Hokkaido is a four seasons destination, you can’t just satisfy your mind visiting Hokkaido’s best flower farms in summer here or visiting its famous snow festivals in winter. There are other things that sparkle in Spring and Autumn as well. If you think Takinoue Park is not a place that you are looking for and can’t make you think it as a gorgeous place to spend your spring holidays in Hokkaido then I guess you don’t know how to respect the spring nature we have here and most importantly you don’t know how to love nature. Thanks for reading. Happy Spring Holidays!
Copyright 2016 @ takkhis