On day 2, we had a super leisurely breakfast and checked out of the ibis, headed across the street to the Times Car rental where we picked up our car, and commenced our drive to Furano, where lavender fields await!
The whole ride wasn’t that long actually. It’s just that in between, we took a detour to the gorgeous Moerenuma Park.
I would highly recommend making a stop here for a really nice walk. Perfect to spend an hour just lounging around and taking pictures for the ‘gram – it is just a very pretty place generally. The entrance / glass sculpture really does take your breath away. Can’t afford the Louvre? Nevermind, come here instead. Similar structure, WAY FEWER PEOPLE. It’s quite fun exploring the inside of the pyramid because you really don’t quite know what to expect at each turn.
After Moerenuma Park we continued our drive to Furano.. and about 2.5 hours later, at 3pm, we ended up at Kumagera (1*).
Famous for its thin-sliced wagyu beef sashimi on rice and miso hotpot, we got one of each to share. Gotta say that the wagyu beef sashimi on rice is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in life. I think it really has to be because of how thinly the beef is sliced, placed atop a bed of warm, fluffy Japanese rice, with just the right amount of wasabi and soy marinade (which you pour over the beef before tucking in).
It wasn’t cheap at about 3,000 yen but it was worth every single cent. It was a magical experience, and I don’t want to forget how it tasted. I really think the warm rice was an essential ingredient which cooked the sliced beef a little resulting in a semi-cooked sliced beef sashimi with rice. Each mouthful was just mindblowing.
The miso stew was heartwarming, but that’s really just about it. The wagyu sashimi on rice was just too good. There was no longer a queue when we reached at 3pm (free parking at the back btw!) but it was still fully packed. I saw other customers eating baked potatoes with butter but we really didn’t have the stomach space for that.
After our meal at Kumagera, we headed to Furano marche, a market selling omiyage with Furano specialties – melon cheesecake, lavender biscuits, etc. It was fun to just browse around and try samples but don’t spend too much time in there.. as Farm Tomita closes at 5pm.
If you didn’t come here, did you really come to Hokkaido? I think I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking here – it is really as gorgeous as it appears:
Also, what is Farm Tomita without the melon and lavender soft serves!? I would honestly just skip the melon because I found it too sweet 😦 Perhaps it’s just we are so used to sub-par quality melons that we are so not used to sweet tasting melons? I really can’t tell??
Warning: Farm Tomita is full of tourists – so if you’re a misanthrope like me, just make sure you’re mentally prepared.
Only about 15 minutes drive away, so we decided to go see the Blue Pond. It’s nice, but you can look at it online. Also, it looks better online.
An hour from Biei / Blue Pond, we arrived at dormy inn Asahikawa – our accommodation for the night. As compared to the ibis, this was certainly squeezier for sure. But we were here to explore the city, so off we went to Aeon to shop for
breakfastsnacks to bring home! Protip: BYOB (bring your own bag) as Japanese supermarkets charge for plastic bags.
I’d highly recommend starting a walk from Aeon/Asahikawa Train Station because it’s the start (or end) of a really lively, pedestrian-only street, paving the way from the train station to what I think is the centre of the city. It’s quite fun at night where there’s nothing much to do.
Dinner was at this izakaya run by the loveliest couple (located at the basement of a random office building too!). We shared a crab omelette, miso pork, zangi (hokkaido fried chicken), and some fried shishamo. The crab omelette was actually a bit too salty for my liking but the texture and the crab was top-notch. The miso pork is a must try – not a huge fan of pork but this was really quite excellent and the miso never once overpowered the pork. The pork was also not too tough, which is great – this was clearly, hands down, our favourite dish of the night. Portions here are generous so definitely bring a bunch of friends and order away! Alcohol is also very cheap; we spent 700yen for a small bottle of sake to share. But what makes it fun is the atmosphere and how happy the couple was to serve their customers. It is a must visit.
Also, if you wanted to check out what we got from our breakfast run turned snack run, see below:
Out of the lot, I’ve only tried the Tsuta ramen noodles, yuzu potato chips, peach yogurt and Godiva orange chocolate drink thus far. As far as prepackaged cup noodles go, the Tsuta is my new favourite – even topping my favourite spicy yuzu ramen cup noodles from Afuri. Both the texture of the noodles the menma (bamboo) that comes with it are spot on. The soup is fragrant and has just a tiny hint of truffle. If the standard of this instant noodles is anything to go by, the original must be truly epic.
Hokkaido Road Trip (July 2018)
Hokkaido Day 0: Driving in Hokkaido
Hokkaido Day 1: Sapporo
Hokkaido Day 2: Sapporo – Furano – Asahikawa (this post!)
Hokkaido Day 3: Asahikawa – Lake Saroma
Hokkaido Day 4: Lake Saroma – Lake Akan
Hokkaido Day 5: Lake Akan – Kushiro
Hokkaido Days 6 and 7: Kushiro – Obihiro, Obihiro – Sapporo
Hokkaido Days 8 and 9: Sapporo