How to walk Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park: A Renowned Spring Destination for Moss Phlox called “Shibazakura”

If you’re planning a spring trip to eastern Hokkaido, don’t miss out on a visit to Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park. The best time to go is just after Golden Week. Why? Well, in early May, there’s still a chance of snowfall and chilly weather.

When to visit?

Situated slightly north in eastern Hokkaido, the park lies to the right of Kitami City. Spring in this region is characterized by drastic temperature fluctuations, with snowfall not uncommon even in early May. Consequently, if it snows, the blooming of the moss phlox may be delayed. However, typically, mid-May offers warmer weather and more favorable conditions for enjoying the moss phlox.

While I make it a point to visit the park annually, I always steer clear during Golden Week. This holiday sees a mass exodus to tourist destinations across Japan, resulting in heavy traffic and parking woes. Opting for a visit post-Golden Week helps you avoid the crowds. My apologies if you miss the peak bloom by then!

Visiting the park

The park boasts a spacious parking lot with attendants, ensuring hassle-free parking. Admission fees apply until the end of May: 600 yen for adults and 300 yen for children.

Upon entering the park, you’ll immediately spot a striking large pink torii gate to the left. Beyond the torii gate, atop the hill, lies Yamasumi Shrine. It’s quite a sight and prompts many visitors to snap commemorative photos right away.

Enjoy your Shibazakura

Ascending straight up, you’ll reach the shrine, where you can offer prayers.

From the shrine’s vantage point, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking view of the vast expanse of purple moss phlox below. On the opposite side, a grassy area serves as a campsite, closed during the Shibazakura Festival but open for summer camping. Camping here and then exploring Abashiri or Lake Kussharo would make for a fantastic experience!

Memanbetsu Airport is conveniently located nearby, allowing for direct flights from Tokyo. It’s a mere 30-minute drive from the airport. Alternatively, flights from New Chitose Airport take about 45 minutes to reach Memanbetsu. How convenient!

Don’t rush off after seeing the moss phlox. There’s plenty more to see and do. While the drift ice may have melted by this time, Abashiri offers numerous attractions. Alternatively, a drive south along Route 102 towards Lake Kussharo is also highly recommended. En route, you’ll pass Mount Mokoto, a 1,000-meter peak, and the views from the “Highland Koshimizu 725” observation deck are simply spectacular.

May in Hokkaido may still be brisk, but typically, it brings delightful weather, making it an ideal time to explore.