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Archive for the 'Furano & Biei' Category

From our May 2007 trip to Furano and Biei, Hokkaido

Photos of Farming in Japan for Captain Bill

I popped down to South Carolina to visit my brother Alan and to join him in a road trip back up to Ohio, and on the flight last night I sat next to an off-duty pilot for US Airways who lives on a 250-acre farm in Ohio and commutes to his flight hub in Charlotte for work. We had a nice chat.

He knows nothing of Japan, and enjoys farming, so I thought I'd put a post of random "farming in Japan" photos for him. It's somewhat of a challenge to find appropriate (but still unpublished) shots among the 130,000 [...]


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One Year Ago: Furano (Hokkaido, Japan)

"Golden Week" is about to start here in Japan, a bunch of national holidays in short order that, along with a weekend or two, gives people willing to use them a long vacation. I work for myself so it doesn't matter to me on that level, but now that Anthony's in school, we have to match our travel to the national schedule. (For a laugh, see this humorous but sadly accurate description of Golden Week.)

We had been planning to bring Anthony to Tokyo Disneyland today, but that plan got scrapped with recent events, so instead I'm showing some pictures [...]


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Amazingly Large Drifts of Snow

As I mentioned yesterday, Kyoto city proper doesn't normally get much snow, but today we had occasion to be in the mountains a bit and Anthony got a few moments to play in some snow that hadn't melted yet.

That's not what these pictures are from.

I thought to use the occasion to post some pictures from last Spring – April 30th – when we found more than a bit of snow on top of a mountain in Kitafurano (Hokkaido, in northern Japan), where the snow doesn't melt away until July.

The "bad example" referenced in the caption above [...]


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Yet More from Picturesque Biei (Hokkaido, Japan)

Taking a pause from mossy temple pictures for a moment, I'll return to our trip to Hokkaido (northern-most island in Japan) last month, and the picturesque countryside of Biei. (Previous posts on Biei: one, two, three).

More random shots from the mostly-overcast days of our visit....

I wasn't the only one to enjoy the views...


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Tiniest Train Station

While driving around on our trip to Furano, Hokkaido during Golden Week, we came across the smallest train station I've ever seen. Heck, I've seen larger bus stops.

It was at the junction of Nowhere and Boondocks, near where a road crossed the train tracks. Here's the view one direction from the road....

And the view the other direction....


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Furano Wine House Park

During our trip to Hokkaido a month ago, we twice ate lunch at the Furano Wine House (富良野ワインハウス), a pleasant restaurant at the top of a small monadnock that offers commanding views in three directions. Even though the top of the hill is only 50 meters above the surrounding plane, the views make it feel like it's much higher.

There's a tiny park next to the restaurant that's thoroughly enjoyable for a four year old, including steep banks to climb along with the normal attractions of a park (place to run, bugs, spider webs, etc).


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More Biei Countryside

More pretty views from Biei, Hokkaido, Japan from our trip a month ago. Unlike those posted before, these are from our first day there, when it was much more hazy, overcast, and gloomy. Still, a few nice shots came out, I think, with common themes throughout.

The trees in the last shot (which is better viewed with the larger version -- as with most photos I post, click on the image to view) are somewhat famous, even being marked and labeled on area maps. There were at least a dozen people along the road taking pictures of these trees when [...]


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New Furano Prince Hotel, Furano Hokkaido Japan

That's Mt. Furano and a host of other peaks, 15 miles in the distance. The view from our 8th-floor hotel room on our trip to Hokkaido was wonderful. We stayed at the New Furano Prince Hotel, which is not to be confused with the non-new one some distance away.

As I mentioned in a post the other day, I love how low-angle shots like these really compress distance, especially all the tracts of farmland in the foreground.

As for the hills, the near edge of the hills in the shot above are 4 miles away, but the dark square patch [...]


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Abandoned Houses in Hokkaido

During our drives around the countryside on our recent trip to Hokkaido, I noticed a fairly large number of abandoned houses. I love them for their photographic opportunities, and because I find them to be quite intriguing.

I wonder who built the house? Who lived there? Were kids raised there? (How did they like it, and where are they now?) Why did someone leave it? What's happened to it since? Who owns it now, and where are they?

Mostly, I wonder about who might have lived in it first, when it was new. How wonderfully peaceful it must have been, [...]


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Sunset From The Ferry

Sunset photo taken handheld on a gently rocking car ferry off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan. The mountain peak to the left is about 25km (16 miles) away (with the sun being a bit further away than that )

For sun pictures, I still think my Malaysian Sunrise is my favorite.


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Car Ferry to Hokkaido: Our Trip on the Suisen

In our trip to Hokkaido last week, we took a car ferry most of the way. We drove the 83 miles from Kyoto to the Tsuruga ferry port, then boarded the Shin Nihonkai Line's ferry named Suisen (which means Daffodil).

Looking at that big rope, I have to ask: if you had to choose, would you rather be caught between the ship and the dock, or read my blog? It's a question of whether you'd prefer to be moored to death, or bored to death....

(yeeach, that's rank, I know )

Anyway, the boat is 200 meters long, and is [...]


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Stinky Feet

I ended my previous post with the sad tale of having most unfortunately thrust my foot into a large, gooey pile of finely aged cow poop.

The story doesn't end there. In fact, that wasn't even the low point of the tale -- it turned out to be one of those "one of those days" days.

So, to continue the story, I washed it off as best I could in a puddle of what I fervently hoped was water. I was able to get it to appear fairly clean, but then again, the shoe was brown to begin with, so [...]


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Pretty Fields in Biei, Hokkaido, and the Price of Photography

As I mentioned yesterday, Biei, Hokkaido is a really pretty area, and we went three days in a row. Each day's weather was different, so each had its own feel.

The fields all seem to be in different states, with some recently plowed (deep brown dirt), some green (grass?), some dried yellow dirt. A very few had dotted rows of tiny seedlings that could be seen only up close.

I loved the endless combinations of rows, colors, and shapes, along with the many different types of backdrops. I was forever stopping to take pictures; Fumie is a patient woman.

The [...]


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Koinobori in Biei, Hokkaido

The other day I posted about a koinobori bento that Fumie made for Anthony, featuring koinobori (carp streamers) made from wieners.

Today is the Children's Day national holiday in Japan, for which koinobori are flown. We saw many more koinobori flown while driving around Hokkaido than we do in Kyoto. It was nice.

The ones above are in front of what looks like a small hotel in the middle of nowhere, in Biei, an hour's drive north of where we stayed in Furano. (A bit of search after the fact shows that it's indeed a small hotel with the odd [...]


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Snow in May: Visiting Hokkaido

We're on vacation in Furano, Hokkaido (northern Japan). It's my first time to Japan's big northern island, and it's turning out to be a really nice trip.

It started with the idea of coming to see one of the things Furano is famous for, its huge fields of lavender and other brightly colored flowers. It's apparently spectacular, but due to an unfortunate image / calendar mismatch in one of Fumie's guidebooks, we're here two months early for that. (The other thing Furano is famous for is that it's the setting for a Japanese soap opera that's been running for the [...]


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