Located on the southeast of Toya-ko, Hokkaido’s Date (伊達市) was founded by Tohoku-born samurai chief Date Kunishige in 1869. The bayside climate is mild, but the inland valley is cold and snowiest in winter.
There are cherry-blossom viewing spots around the train stations. The cherry blossoms come out in early May.
Points of interests in Date
All limited express trains from Sapporo (1hr 45min) and Hakodate (2hrs) stopping at Date-Monbetsu Station (tickets 7am-7.30pm). There are also local trains from Higashi-Muroran and Oshamanbe.
(有珠善光寺) This quaint temple was established in 826 by Ennin and rebuilt in the Edo period by the Matsumae clan. The temple is planned with thousand of trees and flowers, especially the Rock-Splitting Cherry Tree (石割桜: ishiwari-zakura) is sprouted from the crack in a huge cinder of the 1822 Usu-zan eruption. The Treasure Hall (宝物館: homotsu-kan; ¥200; book in advance) houses buddha statues and scriptures.
It is a 20-minute walk west of Usu Station, or get off a Muroran-Date-Toyako bus at the Zenko-ji-iriguchi (善光寺入口).
(気門別川桜並木) It is a couple of a minutes by foot from JR Date-Monbetsu Station (伊達紋別駅), you will find the cherry trees on the Kimonbetsu-gawa embankment, and is possible to view at night. The northern end of the cherry trees, turn left and go up the stairs in fron of the Eneos gas station.
(館山公園) This park is situated on the hill (former Ainu fortress) overlooking the city and ocean. Locals enjoy the cherry-blossom viewing with picnic boxes here.
Date Cycle Path Kaze-no-Memory
(伊達サイクリングロード風のメモリー) About 1km west of Tateyama Park, Route 37 crosses over Date Cycle Path Kaze-no-memory (5.4km) lined with lovely cherry trees along the former Iburi rail line. After that you can return to the station or take the bus to Toyako Onsen.