Thursday, June 27, 2013

Japan 2013 - Day 4: Furano

We've arranged with the hotel that we were to have our breakfast earlier (5-530am) since we were driving to Furano. It was about 150kms away, roughly a 3-hr drive. We didn't use the expressway (with toll) and just followed the national highways. There's not really much difference in travel time and distance anyway.

our route map to floral heaven

Our first destination was Farm Tomita (phone number: 0167-393939). We arrived just in time (about 845am) for the opening . There were only about 3-4 cars at the carpark. We knew the place wasn't that crowded yet.

this was taken at the entrance, in front of the main building (Hanabito House) at Farm Tomita.

We entered through the main building which also sells souvenirs (eg. different lavender products). 
the back of the building with recently planted flowers beautifully lined across the area

This was the Hanabito Field

It was a bit disappointing to see only a portion of the farm with colorful blooms but we already expected this because I emailed Farm Tomita before our trip and we were informed that some of the plants were not in bloom at this time of the year.

we had to make do with these first few plots of flowers 

this is the map of Farm Tomita (taken from their website)

Farm Tomita
Address: Kisen Kita 15-go, Nakafurano-cho, 
Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido, 071-0704
Tel#: 0167-39-3939

The Irodori Field was bare during our visit. The had just cultivated the land. So were the traditional Lavender Garden and Sakiwaki Field. We didn't see the need to go to the Forest House since there was nothing to view. The Flower House and Poppy House are 2 of the places where visitors can see and buy flowers and other products of the lavender farm.

few they were, but still wonderful to look at. The first few plots at Hanabito Field.

these were the other plots of flowers which were either recently transferred or planted
peak of bloom probably a few more months from now, at the far end of Hanabito Field

From Hanabito Field, we walked inwards to this small garden

Kelvin trying to interpret the sign for us. It said something like cafe is that way.

so where to next?

we've also seen some of the farm's transportation. It's workers used mopeds to go around the farm.
Then we found this minivan parked near the greenhouse.

the greenhouse located at Hanabito Field

some lavender blooms inside the greenhouse

bumble bees hovering around the colorful flowers

one of my favorite shots in this trip

After visiting the greenhouse, we walked past The Square (glimpsed at their products) and headed down to the neighboring fields.

as you can see, there were mostly greeneries on the left, Sakiwaki Field, 
with these pink flowers springing from the slopes

We walked down the steps to get to the Autumn and Spring Fields.

same as the other fields, the flowers were still young and not in full bloom


some lavender blooms

even though we didn't see Farm Tomita in its full glory, the view of the snow-capped mountains in the backdrop kept us entertained for a while

Autumn Field

a nice view of the mountains from the deck of one of the buildings in front of the Autumn Field

lavender flavoured ice cream cone

they also had a giant cone! Something that we always see in Japan. 
But this was the only lavender flavoured / coloured one.

While the boys took in the view of the mountains and field, I ushered myself to one of the shops. They had a wide variety of products, from potpourris, bookmarks, calendars, diaries/planners, umbrellas, soaps, teas, candies, candles, perfumes, etc. It was very tempting to buy all of them. But there were still 3 or 4 more shops around that I should check before I made my final purchase. I picked up a few from the shop and we headed back to the Hanabito Field where the other shops were located.

Farm Tomita models?

Farm Tomita staff working their magic with these plants

Farm Tomita and several of its blooms at this time of the year (early June)

At about 11am, bus loads of people started to arrive (and I really mean bus loads!). We knew it was time to make our exit and visit the other flower farm nearby. I grabbed a few stuff from the shop, then we walked back to the carpark.

I found this stamping spot just before we exited the building

my first stamp from Hokkaido
We later found out that there were several other places which have stamping facilities :)

the boys were interested in a different thing while I do my stamping.
This old telephone amused them.

After Farm Tomita, we drove to Flowerland Kamifurano, about 10-15mins drive north.

here we are!

Flowerland Kamifurano
27 Nishi-gosen-kita, Kamifurano
Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido 071-0505
Tel#: 0167-45-9480

As expected, flowers were not really in bloom at this time of the year, and not all plots/fields have plants yet. But we were able to see some flowers and colors and the view of the alps.

there's even a map to show the mountain range facing the fields

the map of Hokkaido in landscape

Flowerland has a tractor that brings guests around the farm (for a fee)

the lavender field

there was also a frame for some photo effects (i guess)


it was terribly hot at that time of the day

3D effect?

more dandelions in the field

Flowerland has a warehouse (sort of) just before you reach the fields in the front of the farm. It houses products from the field as well as other food items and souvenirs. There was also a small cafe where guests can buy drinks and some snacks. The lavender pillow-making was also located in this warehouse.

After the two flower farms, we drove back to Furano town and looked for Furano Marche hoping to have lunch there. But there wasn't much food options, to our disappointment. Before we left though, we had to stop and take a photo in this spot....
It was really that hot! (coming from temperatures not higher than 25 in the past few days)

Our next stop was at Ningle Terrace, which features the arts and crafts of Furano. We had lunch at KFC on the way there. I would have loved to show photos of the different products they were selling, unfortunately, photography inside the shops was not allowed. You just have to take my word for it when I say they do have very good products there from leather goods (wallets, keychains, animal displays), glass pendants/bracelets, wooden handicrafts, and paper arts.

Ningle Terrace
New Furano Prince Hotel
Address: Nakagoryo, Furano-shi,
Hokkaido 076-8511
Tel#: 0167-22-1111

outside one of the shop cottages

tall trees surrounding the area

the cottages / shops were nestled in the forest located across the street from the New Prince Furano Hotel

Ira making his way in and out of the cottages
which had sliding doors

while walking around the area, we saw what looked like a giant staple wire
that connected the wood planks together

If you are looking for a place to stop-by,  be in tune with nature, at the same time admire (and shop for) local handicrafts, I suggest you visit Ningle Terrace. I'm glad we did. It was such a peaceful place, a good choice for a final stop before we head back to the city, 3 hours away (long drive back). The boys had a great time walking around (several times), visiting each and every cottage (as did I) and simply just being around these trees. It gave a calming feeling.

My only regret was not being able to buy one item from each of the shops there. Will definitely want to go back, if given the chance. Maybe next time, when we visit the flower farms in full bloom :) (has to be July or August though, not in time for kids' school holiday).

on our drive back to Sapporo, we passed by this rapids/waterfalls 
and hubby couldn't resist going down to take a few shots

while Ira and I preferred to stay in the car, Kelvin went down to see what the fuss was all about

In Sapporo, we stopped by Sapporo Factory since we still have some time left before retiring at the hotel. 

Sapporo Factory 
Address:4 Kita 2 Johigashi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, 
Hokkaido Prefecture 060-0032, Japan
Telephone#: 0112-07-5000

the inside of Sapporo Factory

we walked around the see the shops
They sold different products, some were even from Otaru.

a view of the hallway of shops... very tempting to go shopping

Bear in mind that parking is free for the first 30 minutes. So if you won't take long to walk around, or don't plan to shop around but need a place to park for FREE, this is the place to be.

Our next stop, the famous tokei dai (clock tower).

this structure is the symbol of Sapporo (for some reason), constructed during the early period
of Sapporo's development in 1878 as a drill hall of the Sapporo Agricultural College. It is now
a museum showcasing the building's history and Sapporo (first floor) and displays about the clock and a ceremony hall (second floor).

it would have been better if we could take an unobstructed view of the building, 
but that would mean cutting down the trees around it, 
and risking your life standing in the middle of the busy road

These shots I took of tokeidai were from the side and front of the building, while the boys were waiting in the car (with engine running, as we couldn't find a parking space).

We then drove around to get a closer look of the Sapporo TV tower located at the end of Odori park.

that's 7:27pm, still with a little light from the sun

So there goes Day 4 of our Japan/Hokkaido roadtrip. Just the right pace, not really rushed, not too tired, and definitely not bored.

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