[Diary in Omu] Hokkaido in spring, a vibrant picture

Speaking of spring in Japan, maybe the first image coming into our minds is cherry blossom (sakura), hence travelers around the world flock to Japan in late March and early April to catch a glimpe of charming, pink blooms. However, in Hokkaido, especially in the Sea of Okhotsk area, sakura bud in May, so does springtime in Hokkaido differ, or is it shorter than in Honshu? My answer is “No”. On the contrary, after moving to Omu (a town located in Mombetsu District, northeast of Hokkaido), strongly do I feel the breath of spring, a season brings up life and joy.

From Late March to early April, while Honshu (the mainland) gets warm and sakura is in delightful blossom, Hokkaido is still shivery with strong wind and occasional snowfall. However, together with the step of spring, my full of withered weeds garden as well as my daily commuting roadside turn lively with green grass and flowers, such as purple crocus, yellow narcissus, or green butterbur. When my friends who are living in Honshu uploaded their photos aside with delicate white or pink petals cherry blossom, I stood out with these flowers.


azalea geisha purple
Azalea Geisha purple

Around Golden week is the time sakura starts blooming. Different from Honshu where dozens or hundreds of sakura trees are planted along the riverside or the moat, sakura in Omu town is often grown in the garden or in a park, but just around 20 trees. The image I’ve caught sight of the most is ippon-sakura, meaning single cherry blossom. Therefore, unlike the stunning beauty of which the sky in Honshu seems to be dyed in pink, spring in Omu town, or in Hokkaido is a colorful picture, with the color of blue sky, white clouds, green grass, and pink sakura. In this picture-like scenery, I’m happy to stop and smell the roses by drinking Horoyoi (a three or four percent alcoholic beverage) while listening to the birds’ singing.

Matsukawa sakura
Matsukawa park (Toyama)
Kamata (Tokyo)
Kaze no Oka park (Omu town)
Sakura park (Omu town)

Distinct from sakura in Honshu, flowers and leaves of sakura in Hokkaido bud at the same time. That’s the reason why those who get familiar with hanami (flower-viewing) in Honshu easily have the feeling like “it’s over the peak bloom” when they take a close look. Also, once sakura falls, the scenery looks as if it was autumn. Is it interesting?

Distant view
Close look

Following sakura, late May is a season of dandelion. You can see shining yellow dandelion growing every corner of Omu town at a glance. Besides, tulips and moss phlox are also burgeoning as they vie in beauty with wild dandelion. Unfortunately, because of the Corona pandemic, I couldn’t visit Takinoue park where the ground is linked to the sky by pink moss phlox, as well as Kamiyubetsu Park with more than hundreds of kinds of Tulip. (´ ▽ `) See you next year! ٩( ‘ω’) و

Okoppe Garden

Source: town.takinoue.hokkaido.jp
Source: town.yubetsu.lg.jp/tulippark

Not only plants, but also animals wake up from their hibernation in spring. We could catch sight of foxes, rabbits or deers. My pleasure that a fox paid a visit to my garden previous day. ٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶. Thanks God, it’s not a bear. (^▽^)

The average annual temperature of the south of Vietnam is about 30°, with two seasons (rainy and dry season) in a year, so when someone says “Spring”, the image forming in my mind is Tet holiday with Mai flower. Therefore, how lucky I am that I did come to Omu town at the right time to see, to touch, to smell, to hear, and to sense the vibrancy of spring.

Mai flower