Sponsored by Okhotsk-Monbetsu Airport Photo by Aflo
Selected by ZEKKEI Japan’s editorial department
Introducing two miracles of scenic beauty—fields of flowers in Japan’s north country
At ZEKKEI Japan, we deliver to the world the very best of the scenery and culture found all across Japan. Today, we’ll be taking a special look at flowering fields.
Each region of Japan boasts its own go-to destination for beautiful flowers. In Okhotsk Monbetsu, located on the eastern side of Hokkaido, you’ll find two gorgeous flower fields that welcome the latest arrival of spring in Japan in May.
Come enjoy the dreamy scenery, camera in hand.
Shiba-zakura Takinoue Park Takinoue
Gorgeous vistas in pink
This park features a carpet of pink flowers spread along the mountainside. During the spring, a subtly sweet scent spreads throughout the streets of Takinoue. Though moss phlox (called “shiba-zakura” in Japanese) can be enjoyed in many areas across Japan, what makes Takinoue special is the sheer scale, as it is spread out over an awe-inspiring 100,000 square meters! Look closer and you’ll start to notice gradations in color. The park is a mosaic of colors ranging from lighter and darker pinks to richer rose-like shades, all giving you a sense of how each flower has its own unique coloration. Though moss phlox flowers usually have five petals, occasionally you’ll find one with four or six petals. As with four-leaf clovers, it’s said finding these will bring you happiness. The best time to see the moss phlox here is from mid-May to early June.
Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park Yubetsu
Scenic, fairytale landscapes
This idyllic landscape is riotously abloom with 1.2 million tulips of two hundred different species. Our personal editorial team recommendation is the viewpoint along the national highway. From here, you’ll be able to photograph the broad expanse of the park together with the park’s windmill. Soothe your heart and mind with scenery straight out of a fairy tale picture book. Also, the windmill here is actually an observation platform, allowing you a panoramic view of the flower fields below. Climb to the top, and the view will make you feel like you have the entire park to yourself! When photographing from up here, you’ll discover that even if someone happens to enter your picture frame, it may just make your photo feel that much more like a painting. The tulips are in full bloom from late May to early June.
We’ve got more flowers for you yet!
Taiyo-no-Oka Engaru Park Engaru
If you want to enjoy a field featuring a stunning combination of moss phlox and tulips, this is your destination. The best time to visit is from mid-May to early June, but even into summer there are many flowers blooming here, with North Japanese hill cherries, Chinese peonies, and purple rhododendron all flowering in turn. Come autumn, the locale is also famous for having one of the largest fields of cosmos in Japan.
Flower Park Kamu Nishiokoppe
This park is located at a roadside rest area, where you’ll be welcomed by the melodic tones of the Nishiokoppe street organ. From May to September, flowers of many different kinds bloom one after the other here. Endless blue skies and flowers in full bloom — you can enjoy an atmosphere of wide open spaces.
Learn from a pro! A photographer’s tips for shooting flower fields
Tulips and moss phlox are both vibrantly-colored flowers. On clear, sunny days, you’ll capture a beautiful contrast in your picture if you bring the blue of the sky into the shot. Also, on cloudy days, try to keep the white sky out of your picture as much as possible when setting up your shot, and fill the frame with flowers. Thanks to the softness of the light, you’ll produce an atmospheric photo. And by the way, when doing close-up shots of flowers, a cloudy sky can actually make for more beautiful colors. Sun or clouds, you can enjoy shooting floral landscapes.
What to eat in Okhotsk Monbetsu
Shiba-zakura ice cream Takinoue
If you want something to eat while admiring moss phlox (“shiba-zakura”), this is it! The lovely moss-phlox pink is actually quite photogenic, isn’t it? Curious about what it might taste like? Be sure to try it out for yourself!
Inside these multicolor yokan (agar jelly sweets) done in pink, yellow, and orange are vividly colorful tulips. Buy them as souvenirs for your friends to guarantee a happy homecoming! They make great material for social networking posts, too.
Authentic handmade udon noodles Yubetsu
“Odon noodles” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “Hokkaido”, but Menya Ohotsuku is a well-known noodle shop that’s even been featured in the Michelin Guide Hokkaido. What’s served here is an irresistible combination of light soy sauce broth with home-made udon noodles perfectly balanced between chewy and firm. Using Hokkaido wheat, this is a popular restaurant that focuses on natural flavors.
Seafood rice bowl Monbetsu
You get this huge bowl for... for only that much?! Priced to fill your belly without emptying your wallet, this seafood rice bowl is a jaw-dropping good deal. While in Okhotsk Monbetsu, don’t miss out on a chance to savor the incredible freshness and flavor of seafood straight from the icy waters of the Sea of Okhotsk, including horsehair crab, scallops, shrimps, salmon, sea urchin, and salmon roe.
What kind of place is Okhotsk Monbetsu?
How do I get there?
Monbetsu Airport is only an hour and 45 minute flight from Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Also, there’s a free shuttle service that connects the airport to Monbetsu in a mere 15 minutes! Once you’ve dropped off your luggage at the hotel, you can start exploring right away.
What’s the climate like?
From May to early June, the average maximum temperature is 14°C and the average minimum is 5°C. Mornings and evenings can be quite cool, so it’s good to bring a jacket.
What makes it special?
From January to March, winter boating tours are popular, and you’ll be able to enjoy the sight of ice floes on the Sea of Okhotsk.
The highlights of spring are the horsehair crabs and scallops, fat and delicious after a steady diet of the plankton brought in by the ice floes.
Want to see the wonderful healing sights in Okhotsk Monbetsu?
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