Otaru is one of my favourite spots for a day tour from Sapporo in all seasons. This old town of Hokkaido is known for its glass works, sushi, ski resorts, and a romantic canal giving it a feel of Venice. However, all this while I never knew about a secret that Otaru holds. It has the largest lily garden in Hokkaido, and probably one of the biggest in the country. The Onze Harukyama Yurien (lily garden) opens only for one short month in summer. In 2013, to attract more business, Snow cruise Onze ski resort in Otaru started this garden. Easy accessibility along with a view of stunning flowers with the Ishikari bay, makes the Onze Harukayama Lily garden, a great site for a quick visit.
Hokkaido is known as a wintry fairyland. For half a year, outdoors here is mostly white. However, with the arrival of spring, pink and white cherry and plum blossoms, rainbow coloured tulips, stunning lilacs, and aromatic lavenders abloom. A number of flower admirers from all over the country come here in spring and summer to enjoy the beautiful flowers. The Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park is a captivating flower park in Hokkaido famous for the Shibazakura (lawn Cherry blossoms) flowers. Every year in May and June, vibrant Shibazakuras blushing around the foothill of Mt. Mokoto, along with lush green forests and a blue sky create a fantasia. You can make the most of your trip to the park by combining it with a visit to the famous Higashimokoto Nyurakukan (Dairy museum), popular for its cheese.
Hokkaido has a rather short summer in comparison to the mainland Japan. This is when the mountains and valleys come alive with colourful flowers after being buried under snow for almost 6 months. Hokkadians too come out of their winter cocoon and go out to experience nature’s beauty. Furano and Biei in central Hokkaido are two popular destinations among the locals and tourists in summer. The region is full of beautiful flower fields, impressive landscapes and humble terrains. On one such hot weekend in July, we too went on a day trip to Furano and Biei. (more…)