Curator’s Picks: Top Cherry Blossom Spots in Otaru

Curator’s Picks: Top Cherry Blossom Spots in Otaru

Hello, I’m Takamichi, serving as a curator at UNWIND HOTEL&BAR OTARU.

At LIVELY HOTELS, our curators specialize in providing local information with a unique twist, aiming to enhance your travel experience.

Today, as a curator, I’d like to introduce luxurious spots where you can enjoy cherry blossoms along with other attractions, and share tips on how to make the most of your springtime visit to Otaru.

▲Sakura at Temiyama Park (Image: Otaru Tourism Association)

It seems like mainland Japan is beginning to feel the arrival of spring, and of course, Hokkaido, including Otaru, is no exception. The once snow-covered roads are starting to reveal patches of asphalt, making it easier to walk around.

While the temperatures are gradually rising, with lows hovering around 0°C, Hokkaido residents are experiencing warmer days with highs consistently reaching above 1°C.

In central areas, cherry blossoms are expected to bloom from mid to late March in 2023. However, in Otaru, cherry blossoms typically bloom from late April to May. Even during April and May, mornings and evenings in Otaru can still be quite chilly, so it’s advisable to have an extra layer handy!

Here are some spots where you can enjoy cherry blossoms:

Cherry Blossoms + Retro Train Station: JR Minami-Otaru Station

▲Cherry Blossoms from the Pedestrian Bridge at Minami-Otaru Station (Image: Otaru Comprehensive Design Office)

“You can see cherry blossoms from the platform, and the view from the pedestrian bridge overlooking the station premises is also breathtaking.

As soon as you step off the train, you’ll be welcomed by a cascade of cherry blossoms.

  • Address: 10-7 Sumiyoshi-cho, Otaru City
  • Tel: 0134-23-0362
  • Access (Train): Right outside JR Minami-Otaru Station
  • Access (Car): 3 minutes by car from Otaru IC. Get off at Chuo Bus Minami-Otaru Ekimae stop

Cherry Blossoms + Otaru Port: Temiyama Park

▲Photo of Cherry Blossoms at Temiyama Park

Located about a 6-minute drive from our hotel, Temiyama Park is one of Otaru’s most iconic parks.

It’s a popular spot for both enjoying the harbor views and cherry blossoms, attracting many visitors for photography. You can gaze at the horizon through the cherry blossoms, experiencing a quintessential Hokkaido spring landscape.

  • Address: 3-12-1 Temiya, Otaru City
  • Access: (Bus) 10 minutes by Chuo Bus Temiyama Line from JR Otaru Station, then a 15-minute walk.
    (Car) Approximately 6 minutes from our hotel.

🌸 Cherry Blossoms + Entire City of Otaru?! Tenguyama 🏔️

▲Photo of Cherry Blossoms at Mt. Tengu (Image: Mt. Tengu Official Website)

At the summit of Mt. Tengu, overlooking Otaru city, proudly blooms a single cherry blossom tree that has surpassed a century in age. The variety is Ezoyamazakura, representing Hokkaido, known as one of the latest blooming cherry blossoms in Otaru. It’s also known as “Tengu Sakura.”

  • Address: 2-16-15 Saijō, Otaru, Hokkaido
  • Tel: 0134-33-7381
  • Access: (By train) Take the Chuo Bus Tenguyama Ropeway from JR Otaru Station to the bus terminal.
    (By car) Approximately 15 minutes from the center of Otaru.
  • Parking: Available, free, with over 150 spaces, suitable for large buses too.

In Otaru, there are times when snow falls in April, so if you’re lucky, you might get to enjoy cherry blossoms and snow together, making it the ultimate cherry blossom viewing experience!

As the temperature rises, naturally, the snow begins to melt. What happens to the snow that has accumulated since November during this time? It turns into a muddy mess… Snow that has been trampled by people or cars melts, creating muddy puddles or turning into a slushy mess.

It’s disappointing to come all the way for a trip thinking, “Let’s dress up!” only to find that everything around is covered in mud, and sometimes even splashed by cars, ruining the mood entirely.

It’s not just the ground you need to watch out for…

When the snow starts to melt, it’s not just the ground beneath your feet that you need to be cautious about. Pay attention to the snow above your head too.

Snow has accumulated on the roofs of buildings facing the sidewalks during the winter. When the melted snow falls due to rising temperatures, it can sometimes come down suddenly like an avalanche.

Every year in Hokkaido, accidents occur where people are caught in falling snow from houses and buildings.

Days with temperatures ranging from minus 3 degrees to 3 degrees are prone to falling snow, so be cautious of what’s above you, and consider changing your walking route if necessary.

Don’t want to get dirty with mud, and worried about falling snow… what should you do?

In such situations, for those who have come for a trip without a car, how about using a taxi?

One of the things that surprised me when I moved to Hokkaido from the Kanto region is that most taxi companies in Hokkaido don’t charge extra for picking you up!

In urban areas, calling a taxi usually incurs additional charges, but in Otaru, there’s no additional fee, and you only pay for the fare from where you get on to where you get off.

You can easily call a taxi, and most importantly, the taxi drivers in Otaru are familiar with the area! You’ll get less dirty from mud, and you won’t have to worry about falling snow during the ride.

From the station to the hotel, and of course, from the hotel to your desired shops, using a taxi might lead to some new discoveries!

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