Hokkaido Guide

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Fri 2011/06/03 10:35 JST in Places to visit in Japan

Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan and is located right at the end in the North. Hokkaido is covered with snow for nearly half a year and when we went at the end of August it was already quite chilly.
Today we look at the Biei and Furano area which would have looked gorgeous on a sunny day but we was treated to some lovely overcast rain instead ToT.

At Sapporo station in the morning during the rush hour.

Out first train is animal themed which heads for Asahiyama Zoo.

Inside there are animals such as this giant furry two headed ant.

A rare species of Siamese twin penguins with bananas growing out of their heads.

Lovely cloudy skies.

When taking time off I leave all the black clothing at home and take a few pair of trousers which have a load of pockets.

Stopping of at Asahikawa station to change trains.

Leave the station to walk about town for a bit - in the rain ToT.

One of these meals is called "Yuka's Unique and Rare Set."
For those who don't know, Yuka is a cute celeb who used to be a gravure model. Who would love to have a bite of her unique and rare set?

But these days Yuka gets to play with other gravure models sets. Can anybody name the bikini girl? Cant remember names of idols these days.

Many of the trains in Hokkaido stop at unmanned stations so you need to get on a train, take a ticket and pay when you get off.

Today our train is filled with a school outing. When ever you see a bunch of kids taken out like this, they are all usually wearing a brightly colored hat and I think thats because it makes them easy to herd and count?

At Biei station. If you are thinking that the name "Biei" (or Furano) doesn't sound Japanese then thats because many place names originate from the Ainu language.

Many moons ago, a race called the Ainu used to live in Hokkaido until the Japanese government came and took their land.

Arrival at Biei station and the kids get in line to be counted.

Most of the kids I see over here are generally well mannered - unlike the kids that I experienced back in the UK - specifically the ones that threw stones and bits of chicken.
Kids in your neck of the woods generally well behaved?

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Love reading out loud romanized Japanese in a British accent. In this case I was saying "MOTCHI BUTA" all afternoon ^^;

Traditional sign at Biei station.

JR Hokkaido paid for the whole trip - all travel, hotel and expenses. Also got to do some business with other clients at the same time ^^;
Here we are in the Biei station office waiting while they are arrange a rental car for us.

A load of paper everywhere. A few clients have been to our office and was surprised at the lack of paperwork lying around. For a start, we refuse to have a fax machine. Many Japanese businesses use still rely on faxes a lot but I really don't see the point of printing something out only to have somebody at the other end of the fax type it in again - a general waste of time and resources for everybody.

I try to keep as much of my stuff in electronic form where possible. For example if I get some gadget, I nab the PDF version of the manual which is usually available at a makers website. I keep the PDF version and recycle the paper manual.

I also take photos of any documents and keep them as JPEGs instead which I can search for rather than have it stacked up somewhere.

This is the car we are given - a Honda something or other.

Driving around the cloudy fields of Biei.

Rin gets out n about from time to time too.

Very peaceful indeed. Biei is famous for its fields and is regularly used as backdrops for many Japanese movies.

Apart from the occasional tour bus passing through, there is hardly anybody about.

Blue skies peek through for a moment of hope before being consumed by the clouds. Can only imagine what it would be like to see the area with blue skies like the video below.

Time to grab some grub. Bangers n curry.

Long winding roads in Biei. A lot runs through your mind when out in a place like this - the usual life stuff and goals.

Wifey at the controls with the DSLR.

Rin runs off for a pee in the bushes.

Along with the car, we are given a map which contains highlights of the area. If you are visiting Biei, grab a rental car from the station and give yourself about 3 hours to explore the area. There are also waterfalls and wot not but we didn't get enough time to get through everything.

Depending on the time of year, the fields are filled with many different colors.

The local mascot.

Many Chinese and Koreans visiting in the area too.

Late afternoon and its time to recharge at a ramen place before the next train.

Our next train is the scenic Norokko.

The train has seats facing outwards which would have been ideal on a sunny day...orz.

Dont expect any phone coverage out here. "Kengai" is the term meaning that there is no reception.

Sticking ones head out the window - mind the occasional posts or you will be leaving you head in Hokkaido.

The conductor comes around to make sure that people are sitting in the right seats for what they paid.

Arrival at Furano station. About 30 mins before the next train.

This is what Hokkaido looks like on a sunny day. Would like to go back again during the Winter season.

Walking about the small town. This character is actually a belly and its nose is a belly button.

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters - the name of a baseball team.
Many baseball teams over here get bought by companies so their name ends up being called a product which I found quite odd. Does this happen where you live too?

On the train back to Sapporo - about a 2 hour journey.

The skies start to clear up to promise nice weather the next day - and indeed it was at Edo Wonderland.