Release | Shizuko Kosuna
Relax at the foreyard of the Red Brick Office surrounded by buildings
Spring finally comes to Sapporo! Plants sprouts at the same time, and the great season with various Northland flowers starts in the center of the city. Lilac flowers and flowerbed in Odori Park is, of course, recommended but the foreyard of the Red Brick Office (Former Hokkaido Government Office Building) is also a spot I want everyone to visit. This is the place to witness different seasonal beauties; sakura in spring, water lily flowering in the pond with fluffs of poplar in summer, colored leaves in autumn.
Relaxing atmosphere in contrast to lively atmosphere in the centralThe Red Brick Office, located at 7 minutes by foot from Sapporo Station, is one of the significant sightseeing spots in Hokkaido. The Red Brick Office which was built in 1888 leaves the magnificent atmosphere as it was back then, and transmits the history of Kaitakushi. It is designated as one of the Important Cultural Properties.
▲There is Japanese Garden style area with pond, bridge, and weeping willow.
The foreyard, which is on the both sides of the approach, has approximately 1,300 trees representing 112 varieties grow wild in Hokkaido. The garden looks like a small forest. People can encounter mallards grooming themselves around the pond. The area has a relaxing atmosphere.
There are benches every while, so I recommend visiting this garden when you want to rest a while or when you do not want to do anything.
If you have a chance to visit the Red Brick Office for sightseeing, you should stop a while at the foreyard and take a deep breath. I am sure you can feel the fresh air of Sapporo.
The natural gradation spreads to outside of the gardenOne of the characteristics of the foreyard is that it becomes more natural from front to back.
The flowerbed and shrub such as azalea located in front of the building are well-cared to provide the welcoming atmosphere to visitors with beautiful flowers.
On the other hand, the right and the left garden with two ponds and forests are maintained at minimum necessity and make use of natural growth cycles of the trees to keep the environment close to the natural environment.
▲There are flowerbeds and shrubs in front of the building and lots of trees around ponds in the south and the north.
According to Hokkaido Office General Affairs Department, the innermost part of the garden, that is, inner of the fence closest to the buildings, is the most interesting area to find various interesting things.
The innermost part of the garden is like a small forest with multiple trees. People can find fallen leaves, seeds, walnuts or horse-chestnut in autumn.
It is interesting that the closest part of the buildings is full of nature.
By the way, any people can enter the innermost part of the garden. I recommend exploring the area if you have a spare time.
▲The foreyard and Red Brick Office, seen from outside of the fence. In summer, most of the building will be covered with greens.
Cherry blossom flowers continues to be available until mid-MayCherry blossoms in Sapporo start to bloom from late April and become in full bloom around the Golden Week holidays in May every year, but people can enjoy cherry blossoms at Red Brick Office until mid-May. In late April, light pink flowers of Ezo-Yama Sakura colors the garden, and from early May, fluffy double cherry blossoms color the garden to pink.
You can check the blooming status of the flowers in the foreyard of Red Brick Office from here.
▲Ezo-Yama Sakura and double cherry blossoms along the approach. The contrast of pink flowers is beautiful. (The photo is provided by Hokkaido Government Office General Affairs Development)
Lots of double cherry blossoms are planted along the approach of Red Brick Office. The deep pink fluffy flowers give soft atmosphere to the magnificent building.
▲Fluffy double cherry blossom flowers. (The photo is provided by Hokkaido Government Office General Affairs Development)
▲Ezo-Yama Sakura reflected on the surface of the pond. (The photo is provided by Hokkaido Government Office General Affairs Development)
▲From mid-May to late May, tulip, lilac, and azalea start blooming at the same time. People can enjoy flowers in the flowerbed from late June to approximately October.
The fluffy snow in early summerIn the season of fresh green, June, bright water lily flowers bloom in pond and Sapporo welcomes the best time of the year.
Do you know that white fluff flows in the city of Sapporo from mid-June to July?
That is the fluff of poplar and known as the symbol of early summer in Sapporo. Poplar seeds are carried by fluff with winds, and ground of Red Brick Office foreyard in June is covered with white fluffs.
▲The poplar fluff carpet can be seen at the back of pond on the south side.
▲The bright pink water lily flower. The best season is approximately two months from June to August.
The north pond and the south pond“The south pond” and “the north pond” locate on the both sides of the approach. We get to see mother and children of mallard or mandarin duck which gives relaxing atmosphere to the garden.
The pond originally had the water source from the underground water of Toyohira River. There is a story left that Inazo Nitobe, who was the professor of Sapporo Agricultural College at that time, taught skating in the winter of 1891.
It is well-known that the pond has a function as fire fighting water after the great fire in 1910.
▲Mother and children of mallard can be seen every year. Fluffy feathers are adorable.
▲A mandarin duck swims in the pond which reflects the Red Brick Office.
The origin of the foreyard is fruit garden during Kaitakushi PeriodIn the property, approximately 20,000 square meters, about 1,300 trees representing 112 kinds are planted. The history goes back to the beginning of Meiji Period when Kaitakushi was sent in Hokkaido.
In 1873, Kaitakushi Sapporo Government Office (the government office during Kaitakushi Period before Hokkaido government office) was built, and people were testing cultivation of pears, peaches, apples, grapes, etc., ordered from abroad.
From 1888, the system changed to Hokkaido government office and Red Brick Office was completed. At the same time, they transplanted the test cultivation trees and planted new trees, which is the original pattern of the garden today. Some of the trees are planted for test forests and sample forests but in 130 years, many trees weathered, new trees grow naturally, and memorially planted trees are added and formed the garden today.
By the way, the thickest tree among 1,300 trees is the poplar tree in the north. The thickness of the trunk is about 134 centimeters, and height is about 30 meters. It has a strong presence in the garden.
▲The exotic atmosphere gets stronger in autumn when leaves get colored
The garden is maintained throughout the yearThe foreyard of Red Brick Office consists of trees planted during Meiji Period.
When I visit there during the day on weekdays, I sometimes encounter with people maintaining the garden. Because of their work, we can spend relaxing and calm times in the garden.
They lawn mowing, maintain flowerbeds, and thin water lily in the pond, etc.
During autumn when leaves get colored, they collect fallen leaves once a week. They collect the total of approximately 8 tons of fallen leaves from late October to early December. It takes about 10 years for fallen leaves to become soil naturally, so they need to collect such amount of fallen leaves to maintain the beautiful garden.
In November when the season of colored leaves end, they put snowshed around shrub such as azalea and plant bulb of tulips for the next spring to prepare for winter.
▲On the day I covered, early April, the staffs were removing the snowsheds.
The place to feel the sweet atmosphere of SapporoThe foreyard of Red Brick Office is like a little forest concentrates nature in Sapporo. The garden makes us feel relaxed right after we take a step in.
After the cherry blossom season, fresh green starts to come out as if the vital power spreads out altogether, various flowers bloom, and the city is covered with the sweet smell. When you visit Sapporo, stop at the foreyard for a minute and fully enjoy the sweet atmosphere.
Hokkaido Likers writer Shizuko Kosuna
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