Sunday, 18 September 2016

2016 Hokkaido Trip Day 1 (2 Sep):

Furano 富良野
Popura Farm ぽぷらファーム
Farm Tomita ファームとみた
Accommodation: Oyado Ichirin お宿一輪

After a short transit in Haneda airport, we arrived at Shin-Chitose to pick up our rental car from Nippon Rental Car which we booked online. At the counter in the airport, we were given a coupon with a number which we were to show the shuttle bus driver. The shuttle bus took us to the car rental center to complete the rental procedure and we collected our car to start our 7-day self drive across Hokkaido.

Our route was:
Shin-Chitose Domestic Airport (pick up car) - Furano, Biei (2 nights) - Asahidake (1 night)  - (stop by at Hokkaido Ice Pavilion nearby) Sounkyo (1 night) - Akanko (1 night) - (stop by Lake Mashu) Shiretoko (2 nights) - Memanbetsu Domestic Airport (return car) - Shin-Chitose Domestic Airport -train to Sapporo (3 nights)

In retrospect, the following is possible and would have been cheaper since you pick up and return the car at the same place:
Shin-Chitose Domestic Airport train Sapporo (pick up car) - Furano, Biei - Asahidake - Sounkyo - Shiretoko - (stop by Lake Mashu) Akanko - (maybe) Obihiro area to break the drive - Sapporo (return car)

Our first stop was Popura Farm ぽぷらファーム because I wanted my first meal in Hokkaido to be half a melon with soft ice cream... Hahaha! Here's the Popura Farm menu. We ordered the mixed (vanilla and melon).

I struck first blood ultra-kill (shopping) at the lavender shop in Farm Tomita ファームとみたHahaha!
Farm Tomita
Cafe at Farm Tomita
We then checked in at Oyado Ichirin in Biei for two nights. We had booked this pension because we planned to visit Shirogane onsen 白金温泉 area and were really looking forward to Aoike 青池 (Blue Pond) but two weeks before our departure, a typhoon swept that region and destroyed the blue pond. As a result, we spent more time in the Furano and Biei flower parks.

Our stay in this pension has been one of the most memorable and delightful among all our stays in Japan. We were won over by their Japanese hospitality from the heart おもてなし心 (omotenashi). When we left, the owners stood at the entrance and waved goodbye UNTIL OUR CAR WAS OUT OF SIGHT (which was a long way away).

Snacks at check-in
The room is very clean and had everything we need. It had a balcony but there were moths on the wall so we didn't really use it. 


The meals were simply amazing! The way the chef used minimal condiments to enhance the natural flavour of the freshest Hokkaido ingredients reflect deep thought and respect for the art of Japanese cuisine. We appreciated the fact that the chef prepared different meals for our two-night stay.

Dinner on first night
Breakfast on second day
Dinner on second day
The vegetables were sooooo tasty! I swear they taste better than the wagyu steak!
Superb green tea pudding and melon sorbet that tasted so natural without a hint of added sugar

Breakfast on third day
Love their breakfast veggie and fruit smoothies!
The home-made corn dressing is super delicious!

Some clam soup (not asari but I didn't catch the name)
We enjoyed both of the wonderful private bathrooms in our short two-night stay. One of them had a wooden bath tub and the entire bath tub was filled with a woody fragrance similar to that of hinoki scent (except that it's not hinoki, I was told by the owner). The other bathroom had an indoor tub and an outdoor tub facing a small garden with a momiji tree. I can only imagine how beautiful it will look in autumn.
Bathroom 1 Indoor tub
Bathroom 1 Outdoor Tub
Bathroom 2 Wooden Tub
It costs about ¥89,000 for two nights with dinner and breakfast for two. Payment by CASH only.

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