- April 30th, 2014
[Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival] 250 types of 10,000 Cherry Trees Can Be Enjoyed during 1 Month
Matsumae Park (松前公園) is a park on a small hill in Mastumae town located in the southwestern direction of Hakodate city. Mastumae Castle (松前城), Temples, Shrines and Matsumae Clan Mansion (松前藩屋敷) are built at the site, and the center of Matsumae Clan that is famous for the only clan in Hokkaido has been developed as the park. Cherry Blossom Sample Garden (桜見本園), Rose Garden (バラ園) and Peony Garden (ボタン園) are built as a relax place for Matsumae people. The park is well-known as a good place to see the cherry blossoms, and Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival (松前さくらまつり) is held from late April to mid May. In addition, Matsumae Hydrangea Festival (松前あじさいまつり) is held in early August. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. But the parking lot is charged for JPY 500 between the Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Matsumae Castle has also another name "Fukuyama Castle (福山城)" that was named after place name, and Mr. Yoshihiro Matsumae (松前慶広), the first lord of the Matsumae Family, constructed the castle in 1606, and that is the only now-existing Japanese-style castle in the Hokkaido. * Only the main gate designed as an important cultural property remains today. It is said that the Hokkaido has a short history of Wajin (和人 * Japanese), and Meiji High Collar and Taisho Roman can be enjoyed in some places, But the Matsumae with more than 600 years is an unusual place in the Hokkaido, and an atmosphere of samurai society in the Edo period can be felt. I think that it is only Matsumae's charm in the Hokkaido. For example, a type of bamboo is not root bend bamboo, and moso bamboo grow at the site, and it has an atmosphere of non-Hokkaido.
Matsumae (松前) that about 7,000 people live is the 76th largest fishery town in Hokkaido, and is locateed in the southwestern direction of Hakodate city. It takes about 90 minutes from the Hakodate to the Matsumae by a car. The Matsumae has Cape Shirakami (白神岬), the southernmost tip of the Hokkaido, and is well-known as the southernmost town in the Hokkaido, and used to prosper as the center of Matsumae Domain (松前藩), and is famous for ever beeing the only castle town in the Hokkaido. It has appeared since 1400's in Japanese's history, and has uniquely long history in the Hokkaido. The Matsumae used to flourish for catch of herring, but Tuna fishing is famous at present, and the tuna is one of local specialities. As for a climate, it is comfortable, and the average temperature is about 10 C. It is cold in a summer, and it does not snow very much. Read More
Cherry Blossoms of Hokkaido
Cherry blossoms begin to bloom from late April in Hokkaido. The cherry blossoms in the Southern Hokkaido including Hakodate begin to bloom from late April, and in case of late blooming, the cherry blossoms in the Eastern Hokkaido and the Northern Hokkaido seem to bloom in early June. The cherry blossoms in Honshu (the main island of Japan) begin to bloom from mid March, and tourists can enjoy the cherry blossoms until too late season. If everybody forget to see the cherry blossoms in the Honshu, please visit the Hokkaido to savor the cherry blossoms. Read More
Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival
250 types of 10,000 cherry trees are planted around the Matsumae Castle on a small hill of about 20 m altitude. The origin of the good cherry blossom spot is that Mastumae relatives by blood and marriage or merchant brought the cherry trees back from Edo or Kyoto in the Edo period. Mr. Kanesuke Kamakura (鎌倉兼助) and Mr. Masatoshi Asari (浅利政俊) that laid a foundation of the cherry blossoms of the Matsumae Park collected or bred the cherry blossoms hard. All cherry trees have each wooden name tags shown cherry types, and I know that Matsumae people will cherish the cherry trees.
From late April to late May, early blooming cherry trees such as Nanden cherry tree (南殿), Yoshino cherry tree (染井吉野), Snow white cherry tree (白雪姫) are in full bloom, then mid blooming cherry tree such as Itokukuri cherry tree (糸括), Amayado cherry tree (雨宿), Shogetsu cherry tree (松月) are in full bloom, then late blooming cherry tree such as Fugenzo cherry tree (普賢象), Matsumae shirakinu cherry tree (松前白絹), Sekiyama cherry tree (関山) are in full bloom sequentially. It is an unusual good place to see the cherry blossomss during a month in the Japan. Especially, the three major cherry trees, Kechimyaku Cherry Tree (血脈桜) at Kozenji Temple (光善寺), Meoto (Couple) Cherry Tree (夫婦桜) at the Matsumae Catsle and Yezo Kasumi Cherry Tree (蝦夷霞桜) at Ryuunin temple (龍雲院) are worth seeing. The Kechimyaku Cherry Tree seems to be one of roots of cherry trees in the Matumae, and Mr. Kanesuke Kamakura grafted branches of the Kechimyaku Cherry Tree into other cherry trees, and grew a lot of new cherry trees.
Programs such as Musha parade and folk entertainment are held in the Cherry Blossom Festival. About 200,000 tourists visit here. The area is quite large, and the tourists should visit many places such as Matsumae Clan Mansion (松前藩屋敷), Matsumae Teramachi (松前寺町) and Houkuohirin (北鴎碑林) as well as the Matsumae Castle. It takes 2 hours on foot even if the tourists go round the site carefully. There are a tourist information center and a souvenir shop at the site, too. A cherry blossom soft serve ice cream is sold for JPY 300, and is tasty with sweet-sour floavor.
Atmosphere of Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Free * Entering castle-tower is charged a fee.|
|Parking lot||A pay parking lot is provided (800 cars). * standard-sized automobile: JPY 500.|
|Business hour||From late April to mid May|
|Regular closing day||From late May to mid April|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||862 058 252*73|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Matsumae. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
A page of Matsumae is here
A page of Hokkaido Cherry Tree is here
Hokkaido Cherry Tree
By the way, Club Tourism (クラブツーリズム), a Japanese tour travel agency, provides various types of tours such as day trip tours or ordinary tours. In the case of bus tours, tourists do not drive their cars themselves, so they can savor alcohol. Choosen tourist attractions are national parks such as Rishiri and Rebun, Shiretoko, and popular tourist places such as Furano and Biei, and some activities such as hiking and fruit picking are also enjoyed depending on seasons. If you are interested in tour trips, you should visit the club tourism's website for details.
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