Sunday, 3 June 2018

Hokkaido Travelogue Day 10 - Biei & Furano

Well, since day 11 will just be our early morning 3 hrs' drive to the airport and then the 7 hours flight back to Singapore, here's my final post of my Hokkaido travelogue! And guess where's our GPS headed to? The ridiculously beautiful Biei and Furano!

And of course, we always start our day with COFFEE! 
But still, Mr. Rainier is the best. 


It's only a 35 minutes' drive from our hotel to Biei (Patchwork No Michi), and apparently there's a small information centre next to 北西の丘展望公園 (hokusei no okatenbo park) where you can pick up a map, detailing all the famous trees and landscapes in the area. But we didn't, and just decided to drive around randomly to enjoy the scenic area of Patchwork no Michi slowly. 

If you are not on a self-drive trip, I would highly recommend that you at least rent a bicycle to cycle around the area instead of relying on their public buses, as the intervals might be quite long. I hardly see any buses on the road the entire day I was there in Biei and Furano. 

And now, let's just let the pictures do the talking...







After bidding the beautiful Patchwork No Michi goodbye, we hopped back onto the car and it was another 20 minutes' drive down to Shirogane Blue Pond. 

And before that, let me do a advertisement shot for my favourite convenience store coffee in Japan! 
#notsponsored okay!



As we went during the super off-peak season of May/June, the crowd was still pretty manageable and you can still easily take a couple of IG-worthy posey shots without having tons of random faces/heads popping up in your shots. 
Can't say the same if you're visiting during their peak season for sakura or lavender though. Read on other travel blogs and TA forums that there'll just be never-ending buses and buses of tourists swarming in. The walkway around the pond isn't that wide to begin with, so if you're visiting then, do mentally prepare yourself for war.

After we're done with all the blues, it was another quick 19 minutes' drive down to Shikisai No Oka, which is supposed to be looking like this.
-credits to https://fastjapan.com-

However, as absolutely nothing grows in May/June (imagine all those colours as just brown soil. Yup, that was our view), the main point of attraction for our visit are the alpacas!


It's so sweet that they put up all their names, but frankly speaking. Who can really tell them apart? 

Look at that face and all those fluffiness! How can you not love these greedy creatures?

But do note that these seemingly angelic, cute creatures will SPIT at you if they're upset. Yes, it's not just the llamas that spit, alpacas too. And i'm talking about some hardcore projectile, violent-sneezing kind of spitting, so I'll strongly advise that you do not attempt to tease them by holding out the lettuce to them but not letting them eat it for too long. 
THEY WILL REWARD YOU WITH SOME FLYING SPIT.

After saying goodbyes to the adorable alpacas, it was another 20 minutes' drive to Panorama Road, giving you the scenic view of rolling fields and majestic mountains in the distance. 

By the time we've fully enjoyed Biei, it was already lunch time and so we took a 25 minutes' drive down to Yuiga Doxon at Furano for some Furano Omelette Curry Rice!


The restaurant is tucked away at a random spot along the road, with a very small parking space of around 10 cars only. Do expect to wait in line for a while when visiting during lunch time, as there's not much seats available in the small restaurant. The local staff here hardly speak any English, but while we're there, there was a Caucasian lady among the staff who can give you recommendation/advice on the menu if you cannot speak or understand any form of Japanese. 

And here's my omelette curry rice with sausage! I know it looks kinda off with nearly BLACK curry gravy, but this is legit! You MUST try this when in Furano! The curry gravy is not super spicy, but still has a pleasant peppery kick and extremely flavourful while the omelette is moist and fluffy. So yummy! 


I didn't know why, but the BF just didn't want to try the omelette ones but went for the simple basic curry rice, which was pretty mediocre. 

Initially, the plan was to head to Ningle Terrace first (as it's nearer) but looking at the fact that Farm Tomita closes at around 4 to 5pm and it was already nearly 2pm by the time we're done with lunch, we decided to re-route and headed down to Farm Tomita first instead.

It still doesn't seem that bad at this point, but....


Well, I've told you multiple times that we've visited during off-peak.... HAHAHA!

But not to worry if you're a lavender fan, because they do have some greenhouses in the farm to give you lavender even during off-peak seasons! 


And then, we suddenly noticed a small crowd gathering around this specific patch of field in the distance and we discover why when we walked over....

TADAA~ A field full of blooms! Those purple flowers aren't lavender, though. 

And it's so cute that even their scooters here are a lovely shade of lavender purple! 

While here at Farm Tomita, do not forget to grab yourself a melon soft serve too! 

And after clearing Farm Tomita off our checklist, we hopped onto the car again and headed back to Ningle Terrace. 

Right at the entrance to the terrace is a huge signboard giving you the map of the entire place and a list of the stores. 


If you've no idea what to expect from the name, Ningle Terrace is a beautiful collection of boutique cottages, housing specialty arts and crafts along with their creators. Located just below the New Furano Prince Hotel, Ningle Terrace was built using natural materials with timber building and a plank walkway around some water features and trees. The forest gives off a beautiful scent with pine trees, creating a wonderful atmosphere for wandering around or stopping by in the cafe. 

If I'm not wrong there's a cafe at the "main stores section" but what's on the internet-radar is Mori No Tokei, which is about a 10 minutes walk further down the walkway. 



Just follow the signs along the way and you'll get their eventually. 

I guess it looks pretty unassuming from the outside, and there's no cafe-feel at all. You can't even know if it's open or not, but just push that door open and head straight in!



We got a table by the window, giving us an unobstructed view of a never-ending greenery.


As we weren't that hungry at all, we just decided to get some cakes and coffee/tea to just chill out and enjoy the tranquility of the place. 
For the cakes, the sponge itself was quite dry. However with the ridiculous amount of frosting on top, it actually worked out pretty okay. 

By this time, the BF and I were both pretty worn out and so we decided to call it a day and headed back for Asahikawa. And also partly because we need to rush back for dinner before Jiyuuken closes! HAHAHA! 

As the signboard states, they're famous for yakiniku (grilled meat) and tonkatsu (fried breaded pork cutlet). The shop is tucked away at the corner of a small aisle from the main street (Heiwa Shopping Street), so be sure to keep an eye for this lit-up standing signboard in order to not miss your turn.


If I'm not wrong, they do have Chinese menu available apart from Japanese menu. And while most travel food blogs raved about their grilled beef, there wasn't any beef available when we visited. I've also specifically asked the staff if there's beef available, but she told us that there's only pork. 


Not sure if it's because they were super busy, hence the chef was a little too hasty but my pork was still slightly pink inside, which really threw me off. I mean, you can't eat pork when they're not well cooked, right?

But anyway, the gravy was really flavourful and the meat still extremely tender, which kind of made up for the not well cooked meat. But comparing Jiyuuken and Santouka, I would have preferred the latter though.

And there you have it! This marks the final post of my Hokkaido travelogue! Whew, finally all done! 
As you know (if you follow me on IG), I've just returned from Yogyakarta, so do expect that coming up real soon. But before that I think I have to finish Khao Yai first, eh? 

Till then,
Mia Foo

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