Hakodate has several cherry-blossom viewing spots around the city. Cherry trees bloom from late April to early May.
(五稜郭公園) Perhaps Hakodate’s best cherry-blossom viewing spot with some 1600 cherry trees, Goryokaku was Japan’s first Western-style fort built in 1864. The remains of the fort, such as water moats and stone foundation walls, has been developed as Goryokaku Park from 1914. During the blooming period, trees are lit up in the evening. You can see the park from Goryokaku Tower observation deck.
(桜が丘通り) If you visit Hakodate during Golden Week (late Apr-early May), don’t miss Sakuragaoka-dori street (800m) in the residential area that became a tunnel of cherry trees. It is a short walk west from Kashiwagi-cho tram stop, two stop east of Goryokaku-koen-mae.
(函館公園) One of Japan’s first urban parks landscaped by citizen and opened in 1879, this ocean-view place has a fountain, museum, small zoo and amusement park with Japan’s oldest Ferris wheel (1950). There are also two historic old city museums built between 1879 and 1884.
Cherry trees bloom in late April to early May, and they are lit up at night. Hakodate Park is a 2-minute walk from Aoyagicho-tram stop.
Motomachi Water Supply Pond
(元町配水場) Diagonally opposite Hakodate-yama ropeway base station, this Japan’s second oldest water supply pond is still in use for around 10,000 citizens. From the square you can see over the town.
(トラピスチヌ修道院) Japan’s oldest women’s convent founded in 1898 by eight French nuns, the red brick buildings were reconstructed in 1927 and its front garden is open to the public. There is a small travelers’ church, souvenir shop and tiny gallery. The popular souvenirs here are the tasty madarena (madeleine) and cookies.
To get here, take the Trappistine shuttle bus from Hakodate Station stop 4 (37min) via Yunokawa Onsen dentei-mae.
More info www.ocso-tenshien.jp
Kosetsu-en (Miharashi Park)
(香雪園 · 見晴公園) Hokkaido’s most authentic Japanese garden inside Miharashi Park, Kosetsu-en dates from 1898 by the wealthy marchant Iwafune family. It features some 150 kinds of trees, ponds and a Western-style greenhouse built in the Meiji period.
Take bus 14 from Hakodate Station stop 2 to the Kosetsu-en (40min) via Yunokawa Onsen dentei-mae.