Leaving the icy north behind; Hokkaido to Tokyo

Overseeing our recovery, Furano is a relative recovery point interspersed with light snow hiking. P2 is feeling less energy, so there will be a snow business that hasn’t been completed after the trip.

The last time we were here, the temperature was in the mid-thirties, the sun rose at 3:30 in the morning. Unlike in January, the snow underneath is crusty and minus 13 to 15 Celsius in the morning. Our bodies are naturally under different pressure.

The landscape changes completely and is very relaxing to only see in winter conditions. We think our flu has improved enough to meet the 2018 travel features, Shingo-san, cafe owners, bicycle guides, and jacks of all trades, as is usual in the Hokkaido community. Luckily, the dress code for cold days is nose and mouth closed, on

in line with the disease protocol when you regularly stutter. P2 was content to look for a snowy shrine that morning for photography, while I went to see what was happening at our first snow boots, the old Furano-Shi golf course.

A recent Google map search shows that it has been moved to 11 km from Furano, and the possibility of a ‘picnic park’ and a separate area created on the lower slopes makes me interested. Accessing it through the hotel of the Old Prince, next to the same abandoned pink bus four years ago (now a place for someone’s ski equipment), I followed several prints of snow boots in the trees, hopefully getting a view. The view of the forest and the nearest ski track is the prize, with the nearest ski track looking suspicious.

I retrace my steps to the road using GPS, then turn parallel to the road to the New Prince hotel, finding the exact same tree line we passed that was planted in the ‘picnic park’. Heavy fresh snow covered everything, and the snow boots worked slow and sweaty, even at minus 5. I reached the bridge with a sign that contradicted ‘no-go’, but not with a clear rope, which might refer to the abyss. Fairways are partly planted, but the extent of the golf course is lost (and whether snow boots are really okay when space is not used) remains uncertain.

It’s time to go back to make our afternoon train meet with Shingo-san. The wagon service at 1.38 in the afternoon took us to Biei, and Shingo-san reliably appeared. This time he has a friend behind him, a cycle organizer who came from Yokohama to ‘research’ to ride the Tokachidake mountain bike in May 2020. We were given a brochure about him caring for some aspects of bicycle care, because he was introduced as ‘very famous’.

We were first taken to the Biei temple. This ‘place of power’ has many heart-shaped symbols in its architecture that show the strength and success of relationships. Taking a leaf and a lesson from Shingo-san’s leadership, we took off our hats, approached the altar, bowed (ojigi) twice, clapped twice then finished with one bow. The maneuver was preceded by the shock of the rope and the rowdy gong, and silent good wishes were made.

Deftly behind the wheel, he then escorted us to a large ice we saw in the yield lake in the summer. Blue
Biei Temple, place of power with many heart symbols Biei Temple, place of power with many heart symbols
Biei Temple, a place of power with many heart symbols
The pond was made as an unexpected lake used for water management methods, and we stopped there after climbing our Tokachi, the upper mountain road is only open until November. Upstream from the Pool is Whitebeard’s waterfall, where water emerges from the rock surface and joins blue minerals.

If there is time to look at it, winter will come and it surpasses all the other ice that has ever been seen. Just as we stopped but it was a selfie-city, a bridge full of tour bus visitors. Within fifteen minutes, besides the young couple at the wedding who were still preparing to take photos, the bridge was deserted.

Following several sides of the road with a low snow wall back to Kamifurano, we finished standing exactly like we had in the summer, where I tried to save my flat tire, on the famous roller coaster road and the Kamifurano sign. We have blurred Tokachidake’s view, but it was very quiet.

The appetite for dinner returned, and we spent the last night in Fukinotou served as

some authentic Japanese fare. The devout dog I saw chef-san walking the previous day looked to the side of the restaurant niche when we ate. With those desirous eyes, the aroma of the kitchen is good.

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