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A Fall Foliage Viewing Spot in Hokkaido: Breathtakingly Beautiful Kosetsu-en, a Garden Constructed by a Magnate by the Name of Iwafune in the Meiji Period

In Hokkaido’s Hakodate, there is a park called “Miharashi Park”, which covers an area of 460,000 m2 and features a Japanese-style garden called “Kosetsu-en”. In the garden, about 150 varieties of trees, the flowers and the quaint buildings provide the perfect foil for each other. What’s more, the fall foliage is too beautiful for words.

Kosetsu-en, a famous fall foliage viewing spot in Hakodate
Kosetsu-en, a famous fall foliage viewing spot in Hakodate

A Garden Constructed by a Magnate in the Meiji Period

Kosetsu-en was constructed by Minejiro Iwafune, a local magnate, in Meiji 31 (1898). So it is also called Former Iwafune Family Garden. The then abbot of Chion-in, the headquarters of the Pure Land Buddhism, visited the garden and acclaimed it as a “garden with scented plum blossoms in snow” for he was overwhelmed by its beauty, and thus the garden got the name “Kosetsu-en” (which literally means Scented Snow Garden).

Picturesque Japanese-style garden
Picturesque Japanese-style garden

In Showa 2 (1927), in gratitude for the locals, the Iwafune family leased the garden to the Hakodate Government, which have had the garden open to the public for free since then. Now, Kosetsu-en is the sole nationally designated cultural property among the gardens in Hokkaido.

Interior of the pavilion in Kosetsu-en
Interior of the pavilion in Kosetsu-en

Fall Foliage in Kosetsu-en

Between late October and early November, the fall foliage, including those of ginkgo, palmate maple, red maple, oliver maple and baby’s breath, lend red and yellow to Kosetsu-en, which is amazingly beautiful. Red Foliage Garden that is elaborately adorned and the Red Foliage Path that runs for about 100 m in the garden are simply a riot of colors and full of poetic charm.

Red Foliage Garden
Red Foliage Garden
Red Foliage bridge
Red Foliage bridge
Red Foliage Path
Red Foliage Path

Further, during this period, an annual small concert is staged in the Green Center (a recreational facility in the garden), and when night descends, the fall foliage is illuminated to create a dreamlike romantic atmosphere.

OPEN

2017 Kosetsu-en Fall Foliage Illumination and Concert

Dates
October 21, 2017 - November 12, 2017
Time
16:00-21:00 (scheduled)
Music festival
17:00-17:30
Illuminated fall foliage at dusk
Illuminated fall foliage at dusk
Illuminated fall foliage at night
Illuminated fall foliage at night

Video on the Fall Foliage in Kosetsu-en

Basic information on Kosetsu-en

OPEN
Best time to view fall foliage
Mid-October to early November
Facility name
Miharashi Park: Kosetsu-en (Former Iwafune Family Garden)
Address
56, Miharashi-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido[MAP]
Phone
0138-57-6210
0138-57-6210
Opening hours
Regular / 9:00-17:00 (Pavilion) / 8:45-17:30 (Green Center)
Closed
No
Admission
Free
Parking lot
155 parking spaces (free)
Access
A ride by a bus of Hakodate Bus System 14 from Hakodate Station on JR’s Hakodate Main Line to Kosetsu-en Bus Stop (or an about 40-minute taxi ride)
WEB
Official website (in Japanese)