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Archive for August, 2011

Happy Birthday, Miku!

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Today is the birthday of Hatsune Miku.

She was born on August 31 in Hokkaido.

Happy birthday, Miku!

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ROYCE’ is not only for chocolate

August 30, 2011 2 comments

Toyohira river cycling road again!

This time our mission is going to Royce’ store in Ainosato by bicycle,

a journey of 30 km each way.

Luckily we can use the cycling road most of the time to get there.

The picture shows the almost north end of the Toyohira river cycling road

and the Ishikari river.

This is the Royce’ store in Ainosato, Sapporo.

Royce’ is famous for its chocolate, but Ainosato Royce’ also sells delicious bread.

You can choose take out or eat in (with free coffee).

I love their pastries!

Near the Royce’ store in Ainosato, on the way back to home.

It’s amazing that Sapporo is a big city with the population of 1.9 million

and still has such a beautiful natural environment.

Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park

August 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Today I’m going to go to the Takino Suzuran Park! 

“Takino” is a place name, and “suzuran” means “lily of the valley”,

which is an official flower of Sapporo. 

I’ve been there many times by car or even on foot (on foot!),  but never on my bike.

On the way to the Takino Park, I dropped in at Ishiyama Ryokuchi Park.

The picture above shows the entrance of the park.

Ishiyama Ryokuchi is a unique park built on a former quarry of a sand stone

called “Sapporo soft stone”. 

And then I passed the front gate of the Sapporo Art Park —

and also Takino Reien (Cemetery). 

It’s a mystery why this huge bigger-than-Tokyo-Disneyland cemetery has moai statues,

but it’s just surrealistic to see moai statues and four heavenly kings

(you can see one of them on the right) at the same time.

Now it’s Takino Park. 

The park has four falls, and  this is one of them, Ashiribetsu falls. 

This was selected as one of “One Hundred Waterfalls of Japan”.

And this is Furo Falls.  Furo means ever-young.

And then Shiraho Falls. 

The park area spreads over 395.7 hectares.

You might want to rent a bicycle (250 yen for 2 hours).

The picture above shows the rental bicycle shop in the park

and “Kinotan”, the mascot of the park. 

You can see Kinotan here and there in the park.

The falls of Masumi.

Here you can come closer to the falls and enjoy a splash of cold water!

Driving in Hokkaido: What is Country Sign?

August 16, 2011 2 comments

 “Country Sign” is a road sign that is erected at the side of roads to let you know that

you are driving into a certain municipality.

It’s on a municipal boundary, and the picture on the sign tells you what the local

specialities there are.

It’s up to the municipalities whether they have country signs or not.

Bur roads signs in Hokkaido are especially famous, because all the 179 municipalities

have their own country signs, and also because (this is important) they are so cute!

This is the country sign of Uryu Town.

Its specialities are skunk cabbages and the Uryu wetland!

This is the country sign of Urausu Town, and it features cherry blossoms and grapes.

Urausu is famous for wine production, thus grapes.

The country sign of Naie, a melon producing town.

This has a melon and a mountain ash (rowanberries).

The official tree of this town is the mountain ash.

The country sign of Fukagawa City, which is famous for its apples and rice.

The country sign of Bibai City.

This has flowers of hasukappu (blue-berried honeysuckle) and a white-fronted goose.

The city has the famous Miyajima-numa, the northernmost lake in Japan that

white-fronted geese fly to.

The country sign of Moseushi Town.

This has a picture of a cow holding a sheaf of rice and taking a hot spring bath!

Yes, this town is known for its rice and hot spring, and the cow comes from

the name of the town, Moseushi, in which “ushi” means “cow”.

Actually many country signs in Hokkaido feature cattle, like this one I’ve already introduced

in the “Driving in Hokkaido:Betsukai or Bekkai?”.

There are many, many other unique road signs in Hokkaido.

It’s fun to drive in Hokkaido and find those interesting and sometimes funny road signs!

Driving in Hokkaido: Betsukai or Bekkai?

August 12, 2011 2 comments

Bekkai is a small town located in eastern Hokkaido.

Interestingly, there are two pronunciations for the name of the town: Bekkai and Betsukai.

And both pronunciations have been accepted.

The picture above is the “country sign” for the town.  In this, it is “Betsukai”.

The population of Bekkai is about  16,000, while the number of cattle is 120,000!

Bekkai is well-know to have far more cows and bulls than people.

And the land area of this town is bigger than all of Tokyo’s 23 wards combined.

We drove through Bekkai on Sunday evening in July, but we hadn’t seen a single car

or a single person for one hour while we  were driving!

It is really fun to drive through beautiful meadows in Bekkai.

There’s a restaurant called “Roman” in Bekkai.

This restaurant is famous for its special pork chop.

Its thickness is 7 cm and it weighs 700 g!

It takes time to cook, so you need reservation before you visit the restaurant.

Another special menu is scallop hamburger with a big glass of Bakkai milk!

This scallop hamburger won the first place in the “New Hokkaido local gourmet grand prix”

in 2010 and 2011, too!

You might wonder, “Oh? a scallop in a hamburger?”,  but it’s really delicious!

Why don’t you try when you visit Bekkai?

 

 

Shiroishi Cycling Road Revisited

August 6, 2011 2 comments

We decided to visit Shiroishi cycling road & Elfin road again.

Last time when we went there, the road was beautiful with cherry blossoms, but

what would it be like today?

The temperature is already 29 degrees Celsius at 9 o’clock in the morning!

This is the picture of today’s “Munich Bridge” from the Toyohira river cycling road.

The water in the Toyohira river seems lower than usual.

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“Green tunnel” at Shiroishi cycling road.

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This is the “Rainbow Bridge”, a symbol of Shiroishi cycling road.

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From the Shiroishi cycling road to the Kitahiroshima Elfin road.

The forest smells good!

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Kitahiroshima cycling station.

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Today’s our destination, Kitahiroshima Railway Station.

There are many stalls, and they are selling yakisoba, takoyaki, shaved ice…

Now we go back to our place, 30 km (or more?) from here!

 

Both Sapporo and Kitahiroshia offer rental bicycles (rental fee varies).

Why don’t you enjoy cycling on the cycling road in Sapporo?

Good Day Sunshine

August 4, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s a fine day today!  The sky is blue and Mt. Moiwa also looks nice. 

There are many things to do, but I feel like going out on my bike on such a beautiful day,

throwing out everything. 

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Well, I couldn’t resist….

The good thing about Sapporo is that, although it’s a big city, there are many places

to enjoy beautiful nature. 

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I dropped in at Sapporo Art Park. 

This is an outdoor art museum exhibiting sculptures. 

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Three objets floating on the pond. 

It’s still early in the morning, so there were only a few people in the park. 

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The makomanai river that flows near Sapporo Art Park.