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The Fourth Day ...
- Biei (美瑛)
The main attractions in Hokkaido in July/August are the
flower and lavender fields in Biei and Furano regions.
Lavender has been cultivated in Hokkaido for more than
half a century. When the arrival of lower priced,
imported lavender led to a decrease in demand for
Hokkaido's lavender in the 1960s and 70s, the local
lavender's main function shifted from agricultural
product to tourist attraction.
- Shinnei Hill (新榮之丘) & Takushinkan-Shinzo
Maeda Museum (前田真一,
- Furano (富良野)
Flower Land in Kamifurano is a tourist attraction
with fields of seasonal flowers, art garden,
observatory providing panoramic views,
restaurant, gift shop, lavender cutting field,
tractor bus riding through flower fields, and a
hand-on studio where we had a workshop to make
our own lavender scented pillows.
Tomita, a farmer in the area, was introduced to
lavender by a neighboring farmer through these
words, "This flower makes perfume".
Tomita started his life as a lavender farmer at
age 25. As Japans economy grew bigger in
the 60s, Tomita's lavender fields also
grew, reaching up to 400ha. This boom was short
lived however, the once sort after fragrance was
replaced by an artificial substitute and all the
lavender farmers in the Furano area suffered.
Tomita was the only one who didnt loose his
passion for the purple flower although struggling
financially and emotionally.
One day in early Summer, a photographer visited
his farm asking to take pictures of the flower
fields. One of those pictures was later featured
on the June page of the Japan Railways
national calendar. After which, photographers
began to flock to Tomita's farm.
- Yubari (夕張)
The orange-fleshed Yubari melon, similar in appearance
and size to the common cantaloupe, has become a Japanese
favorite for giving as a gift of thanks to friends or
bosses. In the food section of large department stores,
Yubari melons - reputed to be Japan's Cadillac of melons
- are often sold for upwards of 15,000 yen (a generic
melon might fetch 500 yen).
We stopped in Yubari to have an all-you-can-eat melon
snack. It's so good that everyone tried to eat as much as
possible to top each other. This was definitely the most
delicious food I have ever had in Japan!
The Last Day ...
We had a morning to see more around Sapporo before we headed
to airport in the afternoon.
- Hokkaido Government Building, Sapporo
- Hokkaido Jingu (北海道神宮), Sapporo
Established through an imperial edict of the Meiji
Emperor on Sept 1, 1869, Hokkaido Jingu is the enshrined
home of both the pioneer and guardian deities of
- Tanukikoji (貍小路), Sapporo
||Shopping is a must in the
itinerary when you join a tour. The guide led us
to various tax-free stores in Tanukikoji and
somewhere I could not recognize. We had lunch at
a Ramen restaurant close to Tanukikoji. I think
this is maybe the only meal we had in Japan that
a normal Japanese may eat for his regular daily
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