Hokkaido Journals

Kita no sora- Hokkaido in Summer

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An August 2007 trip to Hokkaido by Composthp

Sunflower farm Photo, Hokkaido, Japan More Photos
Quote: Desperately in need of a break, we headed for Hokkaido again; this time for some serious flower healing in Rebun and Rishiri, Furano and Biei.

Kita no sora- Hokkaido in Summer

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Overview

Sunflower farm Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
I declare myself officially addicted to Japan. No, I am not receiving any commissions for promoting Japan, I simply find Japan fascinating. Hana (flowers) is the theme of our trip. We have thus far avoided travelling to Japan during peak tourist season as airfares and accommodations are usually 30% higher, not to mention jostling with crowds of people at key attractions. However, summer is the best time to view fields of lavender and sunflower and this, unfortunately coincided with the Japanese school holidays. On the up-side, getting around Hokkaido is easier as there are more frequent bus and train services to match the increase tourist traffic. We chose to visit the windy city of ...Read More

Barden Kamifurano

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Hotel

Barden Kamifurano Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
Barden Kamifurano is the first of the 5 spas or onsens found in the scenic Tokachidake hotspring area near Kamifurano. This is a traditional Japanese spa that offers both Japanese and Western-styled rooms and is famed for its beef cuisine.We chose to stay in a twin-sharing Western-styled room inclusive of two meals. We paid ¥11499 per person per night (inclusive of bath tax and GST). All rooms do not come with private bathrooms or toilets. The latter facilities are shared. However, even though it was peak tourist season, it was still relatively quiet and we were able to enjoy moments of privacy while relaxing in the onsen.The highlight of this onsen hotel is of course, the 1...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Barden Kamifurano

Hokkaido, Japan

Minshuku Bibaushi

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Hotel

Minshuku Bibaushi Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
Minshuku Bibaushi makes a good base if you intend to explore the rolling hills of Bibaushi and Biei by car. If you are dependent on public transport, it is better to stay at Biei instead as there are no taxis or buses that run from Bibaushi.This is a budget family run minshuku that provides the basics -a roof over your head at night and hearty home cooked meals with seasonal vegetables from their own vegetable farm. There are many house rules: guests are expected to clear utensils and cutlery to the kitchen after meals, bath times are between 5pm to 10pm, lights out at 11pm, no smoking in the house (my favorite rule), meal times are 7:30am for breakfast, 6pm onwards for dinner....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Minshuku Bibaushi
3-1, Bieicho, Kamikawa-gun
Hokkaido, Japan
166-95-2856

Nature Inn Hanashin

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Hotel

Hanashin Nature Inn Photo, Japan, Asia
Quote:
Rebun, together with Rishiri are known as the floating islands of flowers. This island spans 72km and is famed for its alpine flowers. We stayed at a family run minshuku- Nature Inn Hanashin located approximately 5 minutes drive from the Kafuka port or about 20 minutes walk. We made our reservations via the Rebun booking agency by phone together with our request for pick-up service.We arrived at the port early and was met by the guide who looked exactly like the one in the hand-drawn map at the homepage! Unfortunately, the weather was wet upon arrival and we were told that most hiking...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Petit Hotel Suzuran

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Hotel | "Petite Hotel Suzuran"

Petit Hotel Suzuran Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
Petite Hotel Suzuran is a small scaled family run hotel with a guest capacity of 65. It is conveniently located next to a ski slope in the heart of the Kitanomine ski area of Furano. Due to its proximity, this hotel makes for a good base for ski enthusiasts during winter. There are also several restaurants serving western and Japanese cuisine within walking distance for those who chose not to have their meals at the hotel.We chose to stay at the Japanese styled tatami room that could easily accommodate four persons. We were charged ¥8400 per person per night inclusive of taxes and tw...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Petit Hotel Suzuran
17-6, Kitanomine
Furano, Japan
+81-167-22-3667

Toyoko Inn Sapporo Station South

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Hotel | "Toyoko Inn-Sapporo-eki Nishi-guchi Hokudai Mae"

Sapporo Toyoko Inn Hokudai Mae Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
Toyoko Inn is a budget chain hotel that is found in many parts of Japan. In Sapporo itself, there are five in all, located centrally near the JR station or at Susukino, the shopping and food district of Sapporo. Regardless of location, each hotel are standardised in terms of services and room layout. As such, guests are assured of quality services no matter which branch they are staying in.We stayed at the Nishi-guchi Hokudai Mae located directly across the Hokkaido University, approximately 8 minutes walk from the station (depending on station exit). We were given...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Toyoko Inn Sapporo Station South
1-1-16,Kita 3-jo Nishi Chuou-ku
Sapporo, Japan 060-0808
+81 (11) 222-1045

Malta

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Restaurant | "La Malta"

Malta Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
La Malta came highly recommended by our lady manager at the Bibaushi minshuku for its home roasted coffee and curry rice. The weather did not collaborate with us on the day of arrival. It was dreary and wet, making sightseeing impossible. We aborted our day's plan to see the sights of Biei and made our way back to Bibaushi by rail. Since it was near tea-time, we decided to try La Malta.It is located less than 10 minutes walk from JR Bibaushi station. The distinct wooden lodge stood out and apart from the neighbourhood helped us find it. The place was quiet, we were the only customers at the time. The decor is in Western country style. A furnace welcomes all guests on entry a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Malta
Bibaushi
Hokkaido, Japan
0166-95-2926

Rebun-Rishiri-Sarobetsu National Park

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Attraction

Watery hike Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
Rebun island is located at the most northern part of Hokkaido and is better known for its alpine flowers and the 8 hour hiking course that circumvents through the island. Rebun is accessible from Wakkanai via the Higashinihonkai ferry. Upon reaching Rebun, we were informed that public buses and most hiking trails have been closed due to the wet weather. However, we were informed that the Rebun Woodland trail was still opened. Undaunted, we asked that they send us to the trail anyway. The Rebun Woodland trail is approximately 8km that covers the southern tip of the island commencing at Kaifukai and ends near the Kafuka port. This scenic route is suitable to casual hikers of all ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Farm Tomita

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Attraction | "Of Lavender and Rock Melons: Tomita Farm"

Farm Tomita Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
Farm Tomita is perhaps the most visited farm in Furano by tourists all over the world. The farm's history goes back to 1903 but it was not until the late 1960s that lavender was cultivated successfully for its essence. Today, it has expanded from a farm to include a cafe, a museum, a greenhouse, a distillery for perfume, numerous gift shops, and ice cream stands selling the famed Lavender ice cream, several hectares of fields devoted to seasonal flowers and lavender. In short, it is now a tourist hub, especially during summer. The best time to visit Farm Tomita is during the la...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Farm Tomita

Hokkaido, Japan
+81 167 39 3939

Rera Chitose Outlet Mall

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Attraction

Rera Factory outlet Photo, Japan, Asia
Quote:
Shopaholics Alert! If you love to shop, this is THE place to be, especially during the summer sale. There are about 100 shops here carrying mainly European and US brands such as Timberland, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Cole Haan, and the list goes on. Products may not be from the latest season or collection but the prices are very competitive and certainly more affordable.We grab a copy of the outlet's map from the Tourist information office at the JR Sapporo station and marked out our strategy prior to our trip (must maximise time!) Alternatively, you can download a copy at their website listed below.This mall is pet and child friendly. It has adequate facilities for the disabled a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Rishiri Sightseeing Bus Tour- Course B

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Attraction

Mertensia maritima Photo, Japan, Asia
Quote:
We took the ferry from Rebun to Oshidomari port in Rishiri after a 1 night stay in Rebun. The weather did not improved but we were still optimistic that the clouds might clear.We arrived around noon and checked into a hostel-like minshuku located 5 minutes by car from the port or about 15minutes walk. The town was holding a summer festival and we were told that there will be a party nearby in the evening. Since we had no intention to climb Mt Rishiri, we decided to join the sightseeing bus tour (course B) that departs from the port in the afternoon.This round island tour is about 2.5hrs and took us to the scenic spots like the Otatomari swamp famed for its mirrored image of Mt ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Nijo Market

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Attraction | "Sapporo Nijyo Fish Market"

Nijo Market Photo, Sapporo, Japan
Quote:
Nijyo Fish Market is located in central Sapporo and is said to be more than 100 years old. There are more than 50 shops selling groceries, regional fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood. There are also kitchenettes or hole in the wall restaurants selling the freshest sashimi and donburi (assorted sashimi atop vinegared rice) at affordable prices. Compared to Hakodate's Morning market, Nijyo fish market is much smaller and quieter. Nevertheless, this is th...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 17, 2007

Nijo Market
Minami 3 Higashi 1-2
Sapporo, Japan 060-0053
+81 (0)11 222 5308

Twinkle Bus Tour: Biei

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Attraction

Bibaushi Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
The Twinkle bus Biei-go covers two routes: the Hill course and the Takushinkan course. We signed up for both since these routes were short but covers popular sights of Biei and Bibaushi.The Hill or Oka sightseeing course covers popular sights in Biei that were featured mainly in TV commercials. Most of the sightseeing were mainly done from the bus. "Anyone can plant a tree in the middle of a field, name it and get it into a commercial" a friend succinctly declared at the end of the 1 hour tour. The sights featured were mainly of solitary poplar or oak trees standing in the middle of a field while the scenery were beautiful, it was not exceptional. We were unimpressed by the end of this tou...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 18, 2007

Twinkle Bus Tour- Furano

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Attraction

Anpanman Shop Photo, Hokkaido, Japan
Quote:
The Twinkle bus tour is a sightseeing bus tour that brings visitors to various drama locations used for the long running popular Japanese drama series "From the Northern country"(Kita no Kuni kara). The tour tickets can be bought at the JR Furano station and costs ¥1000 per person (not inclusive of entrance fees to Goro's recycled house and Stone house which is ¥200 each). This is a highly popular tour among Japanese tourists and quickly sells out, especially during peak tourist season so early reservations are required. This half day tour departs from the Furano bus terminal- bus stop No.4 at 12:30pm sharp and lasts about 4 hours. It brings visitors to the Rokugo area stopping at the Recy...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 18, 2007