If you are looking for some places to go to in Hokkaido (北海道), the Hokkaido Garden Path (北海道ガーデン街道) may be the perfect place for you to visit! My family and I recently flew to Hokkaido and rented a car to drive along this road and I can definitely say that the various gardens are worth seeing. I recommend visiting during the cool summer season because if you visit too late, Hokkaido might get too cold. The Garden Path is a 250-kilometer long road that connects Daisetsu (大雪), Furano (富良野), and Tokachi (十勝) and that has 8 beautiful gardens along it.
Daisetsu Mori-no Garden is located on a plain that is right next to Daisetsu Mountain (大雪山). The Mori-no Hanazono (森の花園) or Forest Flower Garden is filled with over 700 types of flowers.
There are five themes to the gardens that are located here:
- Taisetsuna Niwa (大雪な庭) aims to protect the flora that is native to the Daisetsu Mountain area.
- Shikino Sumika (四季のすみか) is a garden that features flowers that bloom in different seasons, allowing visitors to enjoy different flowers of each season.
- Hanano Izumi (花の泉) or the “fountain of flowers” features ground cover plants or plants that grow along the ground.
- Shitashimino Niwa (親しみの庭) is a garden designed to be interactive so the visitors can enjoy the flowers through the five senses.
- Kamuimintara (カムイミンタラ) features large dynamic plants and herbs, and is made to represent Hokkaido through its vastness.
There is also a cafe and a shop in the garden where you can enjoy the beautiful flowers while having a nice meal or a cup of tea.
Open from Ueno Farm is a garden that features vibrant flowers that grow in colder climates. As the name suggests, Ueno Farm originated as a farm and then grew into a garden. Ueno Farm is an attempt to create a space for green tourism that is the combination of city and farmland. The gift shop located within the garden carries seedlings and various gifts related to flowers.
The Kaze-no Garden located inside the Prince Grand Resort Furano (富良野プリンスホテル) was the set for the 2008 drama series of the same name. This English-style garden has over 450 types of flowers and over 20,000 plants in total. You can visit the various places that were used in the filming of the series as well. There is also a cute little soft serve shop within the garden so you can enjoy the beautiful flowers along with some refreshing ice cream. Sayuki Ueno (上野砂由紀), the person who designed this garden, also designed the garden at the aforementioned Ueno Farm.
Tokachi Millennium Forest features four different main gardens:
- The Earth Garden (大地の庭), designed by Dan Pearson, is slightly different from the rest of the gardens in Tokachi Millennium Forest because it is made by carving and designing the earth itself.
- The Forest Garden (森の庭) attempts to show the forest from various points of view and provides a way for the visitors to realize new ways to enjoy the forest environment.
- The Meadow Garden (野の花の庭), also designed by Dan Pearson, is a naturalistic style garden that was inspired by the great outdoors in Tokachi.
- The Farm Garden (農の庭) aims to focus on the connection between farms, food, and gardens. This garden has various vegetables and herbs.
The HGS Designers’ Gardens that were made for the 2012 Hokkaido Garden Show by four famous garden designers are also still featured in Tokachi Millenium Forest.
Manabe Garden is run by a company that grows and sells conifer trees and is the first conifer garden in Japan. This garden opened in 1966 and is made up of three main gardens. There is a traditional Japanese garden, a European garden, and a landscape garden. In the spring, you can enjoy the vibrant colors of the various flora and fauna located within the garden; and in the fall, you can enjoy the trees changing its colors to rich yellows and reds. There is also a cafe located inside the garden so you can enjoy a view of the beautiful gardens with some delicious snacks and drinks.
Tokachi Hills features all of the charm and appeal of the nature in Tokachi by showing over 1,000 types of flowers and trees that change their appearance throughout the four seasons. Tokachi Hills also has six special themed gardens such as the Sky Mirror and the Rose Garden. This garden also has five places where you can eat including Farm Restaurant Viz and a cafe.
Shichiku Garden was created by Akiyo Shichiku (紫竹昭葉) as it was once her dream to create a landscape filled with various flowers and trees. There are now over 2,500 types of flowers and trees growing within the garden and I personally recommend taking a look at the Clematis Garden as the large and vibrant clematises are a sight to behold. There is also a restaurant within the garden where you can enjoy various meals from breakfast to lunch while looking out at the beautiful garden.
Rokka-no Mori is located at the southern end of the Garden Path and is home to the flowers that are designed onto the paper wrappers of Rokkatei’s sweets. The garden/forest features six types of flowers that are native to the Tokachi area: Gentiana triflora, Sweetbrier, Trillium camschatcense, Erythronium japonicum, and Caltha palustris var. barthei. Other than the beautiful nature that is can be seen throughout the garden, visitors can also enjoy the multiple art museums that are scattered around. Each small gallery is dedicated to one person so you can enjoy different works of art by various artists that grew up in the region.
The Hokkaido Garden Path makes a great destination for a road trip through Hokkaido. You can enjoy the beauty of nature and its various types of trees and flowers just by visiting these gardens. There are also tickets available that allow you entrance to 4 of the 8 gardens for a discounted price.
If you are looking for somewhere to take a road trip to and you love nature, I highly suggest the Garden Path. I can vouch that you will have a load of photos to share with others after this road trip!