On the next morning, picked up a rental car and headed to Matsumae Castle about 100km away from Hakodate. As there was no expressway, it took about 2 hours to reach there. Dropped by Cape Shirakami (白神岬) at the southern tip of Hokkaido. Had lunch in Matsumae road station which was crowded with locals visiting the same destination 🙂
Another top 100 sakura spot, the Matsumae Castle was renowned for having 10,000 sakura trees in over 200 sakura varieties. Most of the sakura in full bloom was pinky Naden (南殿), which is an early blooming species, with many other sakura trees yet to be blooming.
The huge park extended slightly uphill. We walked around it and arrived at the northwestern corner where there were temples with 300-year old sakura trees.
Kozenji (光善寺) with early blooming 300-year old Ketchimiku-zakura (血脈桜), and Meoto-zakura (夫婦桜) literally husband-and-wife – a pinky Naden sakura fused with Somei Yoshino.
Left after 3pm. Heading to Shiriuchi onsen ryokan for overnight stay.