Kanpukai (maple leaf viewing festival) (観楓会)

Kanpukai (maple leaf viewing festival) is a gathering to view colored leaves of maple and other trees. In Hokkaido region, it indicates the gatherings in autumn intended mainly to socialize.

Kanpukai' in Hokkaido Prefecture
In Hokkaido, except Matsumae Town and Esashi Town located in the southern tip of Hokkaido, the cherry blossoms are not seen as often as in Honshu (the mainland of Japan). So, the event that people gather in autumn and eat and drink while viewing colored leaves has been established. This is called kanpukai.

Difference from Hanami (cherry blossom viewing)
When hanami is held in Honshu and below, it is often held during the day time and in near places, but in many cases kanpukai is held with one night stay. Hot spring hotels are often chosen for the kanpukai to be held, and it is not always during the day that the event is held. That means that the primary purpose of 'kanpukai' in Hokkaido is banquet. It has the common feature with hanami in that the both events are an annual event whose main purpose is to hold a banquet. However, kanpukai has some differences from hanami in terms of how it is held as is mentioned below.

Even when it is held in one day, it is not always held in outdoors. This is partly because kanpukai is held during the period when the weather is unstable and it is rather cold. When the main purpose is purely to view the leaves, it is differently called 'Momijigari' (viewing autumn leaves).

Venues for kanpukai
Around Sapporo City, the resorts such as Jozankei Onsen, Asarigawa Onsen, Noboribetsu Onsen and Toyako Onsen are standard places for kanpukai.

[Original Japanese]