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Friday, September 30, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 2) Furano & Biei

rolling hills in Furano


Day 2 : 11 September 2016

We woke up late to collect our car. We were supposed to collect the car at 8am, but we woke up at 9.10am. We were just too tired. We packed up and got to the Times Rental office at 10am. Luckily the car was still available.

We rented the car with 'Super Safety' Insurance package, so the inspection procedure was much faster as everything will be covered by Insurance. In less than half an hour, we hit the road!

Because we woke up late, we skipped breakfast at Kitakaro's headquarter's in Sunagawa and headed straight to Furano instead. Looks near? It's 113km away!





My husband was a bit fidgety driving in a foreign country, and he was still 'learning' to navigate the online itinerary, LOL. Missing junctions made us reroute and in the end, we got back to the expressway via small lanes but..... the ETC lane was blocked from where we came from. We entered the regular ticket lane hoping that the ETC card can be detected, but nooooooo. There was no beeping sound at all. I guess the ETC card wasn't detected. So, in order to 'activate' the card, we exited at the next town via the ETC lane.

trying to find a way to convey,... LOL

The toll gate didn't open and we were instructed to stay put. An officer came to us, told us to park by the road side. He spoke to us in Japanese. Aiyoyo.... mau mati trying to tell him what happened. Like chicken and duck talk. He thought that we were lost and took out a map. He ran in and out of his office many times, LOL. But all we wanted was for him to help us record our entrance at Sapporo. It's almost 11.30am!

Finally, my husband typed in Traditional Chinese on his Google Translator, and he finally understood. The officer brought our card to the office and helped us solve our problem, He then directed traffic for us to make a U turn back into the Expressway. So nice of him.

We were driving along the mountainous road and it was a bright and sunny day. There was some mobile connection until we went past Mikasa, then the data went dead.

taken via the windscreen

Sandantaki Waterfall in Ashibetsu


We were enjoying the mountain view and suddenly I saw a park on my left. We didn't know what was there and went right past it until I saw a nice waterfall. My hubby kept on driving and asked me if I wanted to go see it. I hesitated and said, if a U Turn is possible, then OK. The mountain road was quite narrow and we finally went back to the waterfall.

No regrets!

The waterfall is here.


at the entrance of Sandantaki Park

these are the rocks that caught my attention while we passed by

Sandantaki means 3 tier... and here, we can see the tiers... beautifiul rocks

click on this picture to see a large panoramic view of the waterfall

We spent about 20 minutes here, watching the waterfall and admiring the rocks. It's quite cool here and I regretted not putting on a cardigan. I just love love love those rocks!



Furano

Furano (富良野) is a city most well known for its lavender fields. July to August will be the best months to see lavender. If one visits Furano in other warm months, there will be other flowers to see. There are also ski resorts in Furano.


Temperature in Furano today


Kumagera


We arrived at Furano at about 1pm. Quite late as in my plans, we were supposed to have lunch at around 11am. The building looks rustic and a grape vine grows around it. Read local reviews here.



Kumagera is famous for it's wagyu sashimi and my man loves beef. Beef sashimi is something we will not find in Malaysia.

 Wagyu Sashimi Rice
The wagyu was sliced thinly and placed on top of warm rice. Then just before eating, drizzle the sauce over the beef.

This dish was ordered by my husband, but I managed to steal a few bites. It was superb, the wagyu seemed to melt in the mouth. The sauce complemented the tender raw beef so well.




I ordered the venison, duck chicken miso nabe. It came cold but was brought to a boil in front of us. The venison was a bit gamey. But the duck was nice. Too salty for my liking and I couldn't finish the soup. 

It came without rice, so I had to order a bowl of rice. Total for this lunch plus tax was slightly more than 4000yen. 


These tiny grapes where growing all over the building. They were just left there, quite a waste seeing all these beautiful dark pearls.




Farm Tomita and Tomita Melon


After lunch, we headed to Farm Tomita and Tomita Melon for a ritual drop by. These two places are just next to each other. It's a 'must stop must see' place right? It's not lavender season but there were still lots of flowers. So many tourists were here, but it doesn't feel crowded.

I'm not too interested in it, but stopping there for some ice cream and melon will be great. We took a few pics  and headed straight to get our melons and soft serves.

Farm Tomita

Farm Tomita


We bought Lavender ice cream at Farm Tomita, sliced melon and melon ice cream at Tomita Melon. Take note that they do not allow bringing food from Tomita melon to Farm Tomita and vice versa.

I got my melon at a 33% discount. Each slice of melon cost 300 yen, and by liking their Facebook page, I get 100yen off when I buy a slice of melon. Both my husband and I liked their Facebook page and so, we got 2 slices of melon at 400 yen. LOL. The melons were really sweet, but sadly, we both do not enjoy this type of sweetness as it felt too intense. I do not eat overly sweet grapes too, so it's a personal preference. Having it once is good enough.

The melon ice cream or soft serve tasted not that natural. We preferred the Lavender one more than the melon ice cream.
Tomita Melon



Panorama Ehana Road and Roller Coaster Road


Next thing to do... was not to visit another flower farm. Let's do some driving around.

Panorama Ehana Road : where the slope begins

Panorama Ehana road: beautiful, isn't it?
It was after Panorama Ehana Road, that we came past the area to take the beautiful colourful hills seen in the first picture.

Roller Coaster Road could be better if one drives from the main road going into the farm lands. We went the other way, and couldn't feel the roller coaster effect. We saw the curves but, since we came from the other direction, it wasn't obvious.

Roller Coaster Road

Although from the pictures Panorama Ehana Road and Roller coaster road seems similar, but in actual fact, they are different. Panorana Ehana road is just going up and down, whereas Roller Coaster road goes up and down many times. It's hard to capture the curves, but I guess this picture above is the best that we got.


Location for Panorama Ehana Road


Location for Roller Coaster Road

Biei

Biei (美瑛) is a town known for its beautiful farms and rolling hills. There are a few flower farms in this area. The roads are scenic to drive around. The north west area of Biei is known as Panaromic road and the South East area is known as Patchwork road. Both are not roads, but areas.



Shikisai No Oka


The second flower farm that we visited today. I chose this farm due to its size. It is much bigger than Farm Tomita and the flowers are planted on curvy slopes, which makes the view prettier. Shikisai No Oka is located in the Patchwork road area.

It was getting late, so we only limit ourselves to a 15 minute visit, plus toilet stop.
The pictures look patchy as there were clouds.



The 'must take' shot of Shikisai No Oka



Panorama Road in Biei


Panorama road is not 'a road', but an area with famous trees; Ken Mary Tree, Mild Seven Hills, Parent Child Tree and Seven Stars Tree. I am not crazy about these trees with names, because I have no relevance to why they are famous for. I have never watched those movies or ads that they are featured in. But.... the area they are in, is very beautiful, the farms, the roads... all very scenic.

But because we started the day 3 hours behind schedule, we arrived here at sunset. I didn't manage to 'catch' sight of all the trees ad we were rushing to get to the final tree before it's dark at 5.30pm! It's actually famous to be a sunset spot, but initially I never planned to be here for sunset. But hey, it's ok to be late this time.

Parent Child Tree


We arrived at Seven Stars Tree just when the sun was setting. Beautiful view!!
There's a carpark and toilet facilities here.

I didn't shoot the road views as we were rushing against the darkness and nothing will be seen on camera if the angle isn't right.

Seven Stars Tree

It's getting really dark and it's time to head back to the city.
Next Asahikawa .................

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Useful links:
1. Furano Tourism
2. Furano Flower Road
3. Biei Tourism



Hokkaido Early Autumn Road Trip 2016



1. Planning the trip - 9 things to think of
2. Driving in Hokkaido - 9 points to consider
3. Part 1 - Sapporo
4. Part 2 - Furano and Biei 
5. Part 3 - Asahikawa and Sounkyo
6. Part 4 - Abashiri
7. Part 5 - Teshikaga (Kussharo, Mashu, Mount Iou)
8. Part 6 - Kushiro
9. Part 7 - Obihiro and Tokachi Subprefecture
10. Part 8 - Yoichi and Otaru
11. Part 9 - Sapporo again and going home.
12. Hotels we stayed in Hokkaido
13. Shopping in Hokkaido
14. Things to Eat and Drink in Hokkaido





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