Spring 2017 in Sapporo (札幌) is going to be full of excitement with lots of events. Sapporo is usually known for its winter festivals such as the Snow Festival (雪まつり), which is probably the largest event to take place in Hokkaido (北海道). However, there are other grand-scale events such as the Yosakoi Soran (よさこいソーラン) Festival in June and the Lilac Festival (ライラックまつり) in May.
The Lilac Festival is one of the largest events that take place every year in Sapporo and you wouldn’t want to miss it. Get enthralled by lines of lilac trees along the streets with people drinking wine and enjoying concerts in the heart of Sapporo. The festival is visited by many people from all around the world celebrating spring in the scenic city of Hokkaido’s capital. Let’s know more about this event that puts Sapporo on the map this spring!
A lilac is basically a shrub that is usually grown in gardens for decoration. Lilacs are native to South Eastern Europe, especially Greece and nearby countries where it’s considered a symbol of Easter. They are also seen in Asia, especially in moderate climate regions.
Lilacs are actually not native to Sapporo, however, the locals love to call them their own. It was actually an American teacher named Sarah Smith who introduced lilac to Sapporo in the late 19th century. Now, Odori Park (大通公園) and Kawashimo Park (川下公園) in Sapporo get adorned with beautiful purple colored lilacs every May during spring. Thousands of visitors, locals and foreigners alike, come and visit the park venues and enjoy the beauty of lilacs.
The Sapporo Lilac Festival is held between May 17 and 28, 2017, at two venues, Odori Park and Kawashimo Park. The festival starts at Odori and continues for ten days, but concludes at Kawashimo with much flair in the last two days i.e. May 27 and 28, 2017.
There are around 400 lilac trees in Odori Park and 1,700 in Kawashimo Park. Odori Park is a very famous park in Sapporo as it serves as the main venue for many events, including the Snow Festival in February. This park is said to have been visited by more than 2 million people during the 2017 Snow Festival.
At Odori Park, there will be an opening ceremony on the first day of the festival wherein lilac seeds are distributed to all visitors. There will be a tea ceremony with special lilac tea available for visitors to try. You can also try different types of Hokkaido-based wine at 7-chome (7丁目) inside the park. Whereas, the exhibition and international food court will be at 5-chome (5丁目) and 6-chome (6丁目), respectively, throughout the festival.
There are different types of concerts that are going to take place at the park, such as the Lilac Concert on May 18 to 21, 27, and 28, 2017, and the Wind Instrument Festival (吹奏楽祭) on May 20 and 21, 2017.
Exhibition stalls will sell different types of lilac themed products from May 17 to 21, 2017. Also, workshops on origami and other fun activities will take place at the park on the weekend of May 20 and 21, 2017.
The highlight of the event at Kawashimo Park is that you can witness some 200 varieties of lilac hanging all over the place. The event at Kawashimo starts in the morning of May 27, 2017, with a guided tour and distribution of free saplings.
You will get enticed by the sheer amount of “purple delight” at this park. There will be an exhibition, workshop, rally, and concert during the event at the park. Even after the event ends, you can still visit the place if you want some seeds or any lilac related products.
You can visit Odori Park by getting off at the subway station of Odori and walking a few meters. Meanwhile, you can visit Kawashimo Park by getting off at Shiroishi Station (白石駅) and taking a bus.
If you want further information, you can contact the Lilac Festival Committee through 011-281-6400.
Do attend this festival when you are in Sapporo this May 2017 and participate in the events! You can get some lilac seedlings and take them home to plant them in your garden or give it to friends. Also, the food and wine at this festival are quite exemplary and are must-haves.