May 07, 13 | Fumiko Magota
The Hillside of Takinoue: Painted pink with Shibazakura flower fields
At last, flower season has come to Hokkaido. Today’s feature is shibazakura (pink moss-like cherry blossom flowers) of the sprawling town of Takinoue. The vibrantly colored hillside of Takinoue Park is the highlight of the spring.
▲The flower field covers about 100,000 square meters of the hillside and draws quite the crowd every year. The best time to see the flowers is from mid May through the beginning of June.
▲The view from the road. The far-off mountains frame the scenery perfectly.
Today, Takinoue Park is famous for its beautiful shibazakura but its history dates back to the early 1900s. The park’s iconic flower-covered hill was created when a number of youth group volunteers planted 1000 plants.
From then, the hill, full of light pink cherry blossoms, gradually became famous for its beautiful flowers. So famous, in fact, that there had been extra Hanami (Hanami refers to flower-viewing picnics popular in Japanese culture) trains during the peak season.
Thereafter, sadly, war, bugs, and typhoons destroyed the flowers. However, after discovering that these flowers are more resilient and can be seen longer than normal cherry blossoms, the park was brought back to life with the seedlings of a single orange planter.
▲The memories of generations past fill the flower fields
Along the walkway, you can stop at the view post to admire all of the flowers, including some tulips; but for flower aficionados, this might be a little strange. On Honshu, flowers bloom by type according to the season but in Hokkaido, they seem to all bloom at the same time. This flower collaboration makes for a really enjoyable view.
▲This is the best place in Hokkaido to enjoy such a colorful mix of flowers
Usually Shibazakura have only five petals, but if you’re somehow able to find one with six or more petals, it’s good luck! For those hoping for a little luck, you might have fun searching for some of these “lucky” flowers!
▲I found one with TEN petals! Maybe it’ll bring me some extra good luck!
On Friday, May 10, the 2013 Fairytale Takinoue Shibazakura Festival will start and on Saturday, May 18, the Takinoue Tourism Association will host a national Shibazakura Forum in “Fairytale Takinoue” to commemorate the festival’s 50th anniversary. At the forum, Sayuki Ueno, designer of the garden featured in the popular drama “Kaze no Garden” and Asahikawa’s Ueno Garden, will deliver a keynote speech.
Spring comes late to Hokkaido, but we always look forward to it. You don’t want to miss these flowers and the sweet smell that they bring to Takinoue.
▲During the festival, you can try Shibazakura soft cream. The arial helicopter tour is also a popular attraction.
▲There’s even a Shibazakura Fairy! For those who are interested, there’s guides available to tour the park.
[ Takinoue Tourism Association ]
Official Website / http://takinoue.com” target=”blank”> http://takinoue.com
Facebook / http://www.facebook.com/takinouekanko
[ 2013 Fairytale Takinoue Shibazakura Festival ]
When / May 10 (Fri) – June 9 (Sun)
Where / Takinoue Park
Entrance Fee (during festival) / 500 Yen for Adults, 250 Yen for elementary school students, free for children under elementary school age
Inquiry / TEL 0158 – 29 – 2730 ( Tourist Association ), TEL 0158 – 29 – 4444 ( Park Ticket Office )
[ National Shibazakura Forum in Dowamura Takinoue ]
When / May 18 (Sat)
Where / Takinoue Cultural Center 滝上町文化センター（滝上町栄町）
※ Photographs provided by Takinoue Tourism Association
( Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer – Fukko )