Best Things to Do in Hokkaido in April

If you are going to go sightseeing, you want to incorporate into your itinerary things that you can only see and experience during that time of the year. In this issue, we will introduce the weather, conditions, events, and recommended spots in April in Hokkaido for those who are interested in such things.


About Hokkaido in April

Atmospheric temperature

The first half of April in Hokkaido is still cold and the melting snow makes the weather unstable underfoot. In the second half of April, temperatures gradually rise and exceed 10°C in more areas. However, as the snow continues to melt, the difference between cold and warm temperatures will increase, and mornings and evenings will still be chilly at 5°C or lower, so the days will continue to be a mixture of winter and spring. Cherry blossoms can be expected to bloom in late spring.


During this season, events are held in various places to herald the arrival of spring in Hokkaido, which has a long winter. Visitors can appreciate cherry and plum blossoms, and enjoy nighttime cherry blossom viewing along with lighting up. Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is also one of the pleasures of late April and May. Enjoy the streets of Hokkaido as it begins to spring.


April is a transitional month as the snow melts and the winter tourist destinations change to spring attire. Although the quality of snow is a little lower, in some places there is still snow on the mountains at this time of year, allowing visitors to enjoy winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding until the end of the season. In Japan, cherry blossoms bloom from March to early April, but in Hokkaido they bloom about a month later, from late April to early May. Hokkaido is a great place to enjoy the transition from winter to spring, so a trip to Hokkaido in April is highly recommended.

April Fashion

Although it can feel warm in the daytime, compared to other areas in Japan, many days in Hokkaido in April still feel cold, especially in the mornings and evenings, so it is necessary to dress for the cold, especially in the early April. Waterproof boots are recommended. In mid to late April, the weather becomes warmer, but it can suddenly become cold, so thick socks and a coat or jacket will continue to be useful.

Let’s go out to a famous cherry blossom spot

In Hokkaido, cherry blossoms generally bloom later than other areas, and the cherry blossom season begins around late April. The combination of Hokkaido’s unique scenery, such as the beautiful coexistence of cherry blossoms with the lingering snow-covered mountains and cherry blossom viewing by the lake, is well worth seeing. We hope you will visit Hokkaido to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the cherry blossoms in spring after the cold winter.

*Since blooming conditions vary depending on the year, it is recommended to check the official website before visiting.

Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival (松前さくらまつり)

The Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival is a cherry blossom festival usually held from late April to mid-May. Located about a two-hour drive from Hakodate, Matsumae Park in Matsumae-cho, the northernmost castle town in Japan, is one of Hokkaido’s representative cherry blossom viewing spots, having been selected as one of the “100 best cherry blossom viewing spots”. The vast site is planted with 10,000 cherry trees of about 250 varieties, and since it is located in southern Hokkaido, cherry blossoms can be seen as early as April in Hokkaido.

Because there are many varieties of cherry trees, the blooming time of cherry trees varies from early bloomers, mid-bloomers, and late bloomers, so visitors can enjoy cherry blossom viewing over a period of about a month. The collaboration of Matsumae Castle, the symbol of Matsumae, and the cherry blossoms in the park is a sight to behold, and is recommended for those who wish to view the cherry blossoms during their sightseeing in Hokkaido in April!

Night Cherry Blossom Illumination at Goryokaku Park (五稜郭公園夜桜のライトアップ)

Goryokaku Park is a park in Hakodate known for its star-shaped castle ruins. Hakodate’s annual cherry blossom viewing season is from late April to mid-May, when approximately 1,600 Someiyoshino and Yaezakura cherry trees are in full bloom as we approach the end of April. Looking down from the observation deck of Goryokaku Tower, you can see the star-shaped Goryokaku moat and the inside of the fortress filled with pink cherry trees. At night, the tower is illuminated, allowing visitors to enjoy the cherry blossoms at night. Boats are also available for rent, and it is recommended to take a boat ride around the moat of the Goryokaku Ruin while looking up at the cherry blossoms.

Cherry blossoms in Maruyama Park (円山公園の桜)

Maruyama Park is a vast, nature-rich park located in the center of Sapporo. It has long been one of the best-known cherry blossom viewing spots in Sapporo. The best season to view the cherry blossoms in Maruyama Park is from late April to mid-May, as they are mainly Ezo-Yamazakura cherry trees.

Maruyama Park is also close to Hokkaido Shrine and Maruyama Zoo, making it a great place to visit all three spots at once. We hope you will enjoy sightseeing in the surrounding area while feeling the spring!

Enjoy traditional views that can only be seen in spring

Jozankei Onsen Stream Carp streamer (定山渓温泉渓流鯉のぼり)

Jozankei Onsen is one of Hokkaido’s representative hot spring resorts. Every year in Jozankei, from early April, when snow remains on the mountains, to mid-May, when fresh green leaves sprout, approximately 400 carp streamers swim over the Toyohira River in the hot spring resort area. The carp streamers that soar in the sky have been a familiar sight in spring since 1987. Why not enjoy viewing the carp streamers, which can only be seen at this time of the year, along with the hot springs?

Hokkaido Gourmet Food to Eat in April

Introducing delicious gourmet foods in Hokkaido to enjoy as you feel the arrival of spring! We introduce “Hanami Jingisukan,” a unique way to enjoy Hokkaido, as well as herring, which is in season this time of year and has a fresh taste, and hairy crabs, which are at their best from winter to spring. Enjoy the seasonal delicacies nurtured by Hokkaido’s rich nature.

Jingisukan (ジンギスカン)

Jingisukan is a Hokkaido specialty, and one might wonder why it is particularly associated with April. In Hokkaido, there’s a unique tradition of ‘Hanami Jingisukan,’ where people enjoy Jingisukan while viewing cherry blossoms, making it a quintessential spring event. At cherry blossom viewing spots throughout Hokkaido, some areas are open to the use of fire only during the Hanami period, and many people enjoy Jingisukan while viewing the cherry blossoms.

Herring (ニシン)

Old Aoyama Villa (Herring Palace) (小樽貴賓館)

Known as the ‘fish that heralds the arrival of spring,’ it is said that spring begins with the first catch of herring, a fish with which the people of Hokkaido are very familiar. Herring fishing continued to be plentiful from the Meiji to Taisho periods, and at its peak, the catch was said to have amounted to about 1 million tons. Since 1955, however, the catch has been drastically decreasing, but recently the catch has been recovering due to efforts by fishermen to restore the resource.

Old Aoyama Villa, located in Shukutsu, Otaru, is one of the herring palaces built in the Taisho era by fishermen when they were profiting from herring. Visitors can tour the Old Aoyama Villa, a registered national tangible cultural property, and enjoy herring dishes such as herring oju and herring soba while admiring the beautiful Japanese garden at the dining facility. Experience the arrival of spring for Hokkaido-area residents.

Nishin (Herring) soba *example image

Hairy Crabs (毛ガニ)

The hairy crabs caught in the Sea of Okhotsk in April, when the drift ice has just melted, are said to be the most delicious of all Hokkaido’s hairy crabs. The secret of its deliciousness lies in Hokkaido’s unique drift ice. Nutrient-rich plankton is brought to the Sea of Okhotsk along with the drift ice in winter, and the plankton makes the hairy crabs sweeter and richer.

The meat, of course, is the best part, but the crab miso (paste found inside an intestinal area) is also excellent. However, it is not easy to cook it by yourself, so why don’t you try to eat beautifully cooked hairy crab at a crab restaurant or izakaya in Hokkaido? You can taste delicious whole hairy crabs!

Editor’s Comment


Hokkaido boasts an array of events and gourmet foods unique to the region, all of which are incredibly fascinating. Should you choose to explore these experiences and sights during your travels in April, you’re likely to gain a deeper appreciation for the area’s distinctive culture. Such encounters promise to leave you with unforgettable memories✨

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