next in the Hokkaido series, is Biei.
Biei is a small town in Hokkaido, famous for its rolling hills.
Biei is about 30 minutes from Furano, and 30 minutes from Asahikawa.
we bought the Biei bus tour tickets one day in advance, because i figured it was going to be very popular among tourists. obviously if you’re planning to do a road trip (very popular option), you wouldn’t have to bother buying bus tour tickets. but for those who are not so lucky (i.e. you didn’t manage to apply for international driver’s license in time) or for those who prefer public transportation, a bus tour is probably the best way to explore Biei.
the other option is to rent a bicycle. but i did mention that Biei is famous for their rolling hills, so… good luck cycling up- and downhill under the scorching sun!
my mum and i were really glad we managed to buy the bus tour tickets. it was a very sunny day on our tour day and the bus had good ol’ air conditioning.
i bought bus tickets for two bus tours, to cover both the Patchwork Road and Panorama Road. each tour costs 2000yen.
the first tour was dubbed the “Tour of the Hills Course”. the bus left from the visitors’ center and took us through gorgeous views of the countryside. lots of rolling hills, green and golden fields. i even chanced upon a golden fox sniffing around outside a house while i was gazing through the bus window. it was a sunny day so the sky was a vibrant blue and the colours were striking.
the bus made short stops at the famous trees – trees that were used in popular commercials in Japan, such as a cigarette commercial (beautiful trees and landscape in a cigarette commercial?!?). these trees had names. there was the Ken and Mary tree, the Seven Stars tree and the Parent-and-Child tree, which we only passed by.
our last stop was at the Hokusei-no-Oka View Park where we got to climb up an observatory for a panoramic view of Biei.
the bus then dropped us back to the starting point and within 20 minutes, we were ready for the second tour.
the second tour was dubbed the “Blue Pond Course”.
if i had to pick just one tour between the two that we were on, i would pick this one.
our first stop was at Takushinkan, a gallery comprising of photos taken by a famous landscape photographer, Shinzo Maeda. his photos were stunning. there was one of a fox calmly staring at the camera whilst resting next to a bale of hay, which was my absolute favourite.
our next stop was Shikisai-no-Oka, a flower field which i felt, was prettier than that of the famous Farm Tomita. the photos do not do it justice at all.
our last stop, was the Shirogane Blue Pond.
why is it blue? it’s due to the natural minerals dissolved into the pond, so i was told. my mum guessed that they had chlorinated it. i told her to feel free to jump into the swimming pond.
we got back to the visitor center at 6p.m. as Furano Youth Hostel was fully booked for the night, we took a train back to Asahikawa where we managed to book a hotel room and headed into town for a sushi dinner.