Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Hokkaido!... The Middle Bits
From the coast, headed inland to Bibai. Here's the route:
The roads: 229 -> 913 -> 229 -> Fruit Road -> 5 -> 337 -> 275 -> 6 -> 33 -> Bibai -> 12 -> 116 -> 452 -> 135 -> 38 -> 237 -> 544 -> 253 -> 298 -> 291 -> 966 -> 237 -> Bibai
Along the way, seems a little touristy. The Otaru area is just close enough to Sapporo for a family fun style day trip, which means lame tourist attractions! Like some random space land.
Or a fruits information center.... with a massive slide!
What's the opposite of "Wheeeee!!!"??
Or a park dedicated to world famous Japanese sculptor Kan Yasuda. Actually that last one was kind of cool.
Stayed with a friend in Bibai. Fun fact, it has the 8th highest old people per capita population in Japan. Also there is a McDonalds within driving distance of the town. That's about it. My apologies to the Bibai tourism board, but your town is whack. Well, it's halfway between Sapporo and Asahikawa, which are the 2 biggest cities in Hokkaido. But check out the last train time from Asahikawa.
10:00pm! Some dudes invited me to their hip hop club in Asahikawa, but thats not even remotely possible.
Oh, and there was a big festival going on in Asahikawa.
Asahikawa is well known for it's ramen. Roasted pork bones stewed in a soy sauce base. If you want to know more about ramen, look at my other site, Ramen Adventures.
So what else is near Bibai? How about Furano! This is the spot, yo. If you've seen any Hokkaido tourism brochure, you have seen flowing fields of lavender flowers, stretching to the horizon. Visions of a magical land. Didn't Oz have miles of poppies on the way to the castle? Anyways, it's pretty breathtakingly beautiful.
Beautiful in photos. Turn around and there were no less than 30 tour busses full of people lining up to see this one field of flowers. Yeah, one field. Theres a lot of agriculture in Furano, but its all regular stuff like potatoes or beans or the like. Then you have this one field of pretty flowers, that probably was on TV at one time*, then people flocked to it, then that spawned another TV appearance, and the spiral went on. Whatever, they have lavendar ice cream which was kind of cool.
*It totally was I found out later!
Oh yeah, bonus story! I was driving through the mountains that day. I make a lot of passes on the bike, but I usually don't pass on the double yellow lines. So I'm behind 3 or 4 guys, waiting for that dotted white, and this Nissan Skyline goes flying around me. The chase is on! Skidding around corners, some quick braking to avoid random deer or foxes, and some frightened old ladies is all part of the game. The racing game. Then I see a giant staute of a dinosaur and quietly excuse myself from the festivities. I mean how often do you see a giant T-Rex statue in Japan? Ok, I know the answer is every other day, but thats not the point. Also a waterfall.
Then, about 5 km past the waterfall, I see that same Skyline, completely wrapped around a pole. Demolished. With an angry rich guy on a cell phone standing outside. So I guess I won... sort of.
The touring map recommended some roads up onto the western edge of Daisetsuzan nation Park. Lots of remote mountain hot springs up here, so bring your towel.
Next time: Daisetsuzan, dubbed the playground of the gods. Get my hopes up why don't you!