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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hokkaido Summer 2012 北海道夏季之旅 - Day 3 Itinerary: Furano 富良野, Biei 美瑛

Day 3 - 12.07.2012

Breakfast: Furano Natulux Hotel

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Sightseeing taxi picked us up from hotel at 0800 hrs.
(1) Saika no sato, flower park in Nakafurano
(2) Roller Coaster Road, in Kamifurano
(3) Shikisai no oka, flower park in Biei
(4) Aoi ike (Shirogane Blue Pond), in Biei
(5) Patchwork Road, in Biei
(6) Hill of Zerubu, flower park in Biei

Time taken = 3.5 hours
Fare = 23,100 yen

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Lunch: Asperges, in Biei Senka. Reservations made beforehand.

Biei Senka > Biei JR Station
approx 10 - 15 mins walk.

Biei JR Station (1508 hrs) > Lavender Farm Station (1543 hrs)
via Furano-Biei Norokko Train.
Fee = 740 yen (reserved seats)

Lavender Farm Station > Farm Tomita
approx 5 - 10 mins walk.

Farm Tomita > Furano Natulux Hotel
via taxi.
Note: Took a taxi back to hotel due to heavy downpour. Alternatively, one can choose to walk back to Nakafurano JR station, which will take approx. 20 mins.

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Visited Furano Marche again, for last round of shopping.

Dinner: Kodamaya, for handmade soba.

- End of Day 3 -

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hokkaido Summer 2012 北海道夏季之旅 - Kumagera 熊啄木鸟

Visited 11.07.2012



Came to Kumagera, another well-received restaurant in Furano, to settle our dinner on the second night. Similar to Yuigadoxon, I got to know this restaurant through Taiwan's gourmet search TV programme - 食尚玩家. Exterior of the restaurant is covered with stone and grapevines, giving it a rustic feel. Interior was spacious and business was pretty brisk - spotted a couple of tourists from Hong Kong and Taiwan too.

With both English and Chinese menu available, food ordering was an ease. Ordered a Sanzoku (Bandits' hot pot) which served two persons and a waygu Japanese beef shabu-shabu hot pot. Sanzoku consists of three types of meat - venison, duck and chicken, cooked on the spot in miso-based soup. It was unexpectedly delicious despite the unusual combination of proteins. Soup was very tasty, all the natural sweetness of meat and vegetables were surfaced within one hot pot. As for the shabu-shabu hot pot, it comes with beancurds, golden mushrooms, udon noodles to go with the beef. Beautiful patterns of fat was "imprinted" on the thin slices of beef, and the tender beef is best eaten after a few swishes in the kombu soup. Oishi!

We all agreed that this was one restaurant we will definitely patronise again if we get to visit Furano again!

Recognition: Restaurant was rated 1 star in Michelin Guide Hokkaido 2012.

Pricelist: 
Sanzoku, bandits' hot pot = 3,300 yen (serves two persons)
Waygu beef shabu-shabu hot pot = 3,900 yen

Another Kumagera's specialtiy is raw beef rice, which we were all not daring enough to try = 1,980 yen.

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Kumagera 熊啄木鸟
< 5 mins walk from Furano JR Station
Opening hours: 1130 - 0000 hrs
http://www.furano.ne.jp/kumagera

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Video: Restaurant was featured in 食尚玩家. Fast forward to 17:30 for their recommendation on Kumagera.

Hokkaido Summer 2012 北海道夏季之旅 - Furano Marche

Visited 11.07.2012, 12.07.2012



Personally like the concept of Furano Marche. A one stop shop for all made in Furano products, Furano Marche is made up of three buildings and four zones - sweets/desserts cafe (Sabor), farmers' market selling locally grown agricultural products (Hogar), dining area (Furadish) and souvenir shop (Argent). Only managed to look around in Argent for both days because we reached near its closing time.

A wide range of products is available in Argent. Local specialties such as jams from Furano Jam Garden in Rokugo, grape juices and wines from Furano Grape Juice Factory and Winery, lavender products from Farm Tomita and the list goes on. Tried out this famous cheese cake filled blueberry jam from Shinya, another well-known confectionery shop established in Furano - both flavours blended very well, just the right amount of sweetness. If you missed out the main shop, which is nearer to Furano JR Station, you can also get their products in Furano Marche.

Will definitely spend some time in its sweets cafe and dining area, if I happen to visit Furano again.

Do make a mental note that there is still this shop in the heart of Furano to do all your last minute shopping for food and souvenirs, if you have missed out buying anything from other tourist attractions/destinations.

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Furano Marche
北海道富良野市幸町13-1
Opening hours: 0900 - 1900 hrs (15 Jun to 23 Sep); 1000 - 1900 hrs (other periods)
http://www.furano.ne.jp/marche/

大きな地図で見る

How to get there?  
(1) 10 mins walk from Furano JR Station.
(2) Kururu bus, only available from 1 July to 15 August. Alight at bus stop B.
(3) Furano bus, heading Nishatappu (西达布) or Rokugo (麓乡) from Furano JR Station.
http://www.cbnet.co.jp/furanobus/rosen.html

Hokkaido Summer 2012 北海道夏季之旅 - Furano Delice 富良野菓子工房

Visited 11.07.2012


Decided to put this confectionery shop into my itinerary after reading numerous rave reviews about their desserts on the Internet. Opened in 2001, Furano Delice was well-known for their milk pudding that is served in conventional milk bottles. Apart their top selling milk pudding, their double fromage cheese cakes are equally well-received. One thing to note is that Furano Delice uses dairy products and eggs from Furano and other ingredients from Hokkaido as much as possible.

There was no direct public transportation to this shop located in the Kitanomine area, making this place quite inaccessible for those who do not drive. Decided to skip the Twinkle Bus return trip back to Furano JR Station and took the Kururu bus (penultimate bus) from New Furano Prince Hotel (bus stop D) instead. Alighted at Naturwald Hotel (bus stop F), the nearest bus stop to Furano Delice, and walked for another 10 mins to reach the shop. Sad to say, we could only allocate 1 hour for this shop as we had to catch the last Kururu bus back to Furano JR Station.


A pleasant looking house located at the top of a small hill, one has to walk through this covered footpath before reaching the main building. The cafe sits at one corner of this sweets shop, overlooking the greenery and flowers planted on the gradient of the hill. Joined the queue to order their specialties and drinks to go with the desserts. Milk pudding and cheese cakes were indeed smooth and creamy to the palate, definitely irresistible for dairy lovers. If not for the infrequent bus timing, we could have spend more quality time, sit back and enjoy the delectable desserts for the rest of the afternoon.

Will recommend paying this place a visit, especially for sweets/desserts lovers.

Pricelist: 
Milk pudding + double fromage cheese cake + 1 drink = 1,000 yen
Madeleine eggs, 6 in one egg tray (original or chocolate flavour) = 850 yen

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Furano Delice  富良野菓子工房
北海道富良野市字下御料2156-1
Opening hours: 1000 - 1800 hrs
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 
http://shop.le-nord.com/

大きな地図で見る

How to go there? 
(1) Kururu bus, only available from 1 July - 15 Aug. Alight at Naturwald hotel (bus stop F) and approx 10 mins walk.
(2) Furano bus, using Goryo line (御料线). Alight at Naturwald hotel.
http://www.cbnet.co.jp/furanobus/rosen.html#goryou

Hokkaido Summer 2012 北海道夏季之旅 - Furano Cheese Factory 富良野芝士工 房,富良野起司工房

Visited 11.07.2012


Fourth attraction on the Twinkle Bus Furano route.
Another popular tourist destination in Furano, especially well-known for its dairy products. Opened since 1983, this factory produces milk, butter and cheese, in various flavors - squid ink and red wine cheese are available for taste testing.


Located nearby is an ice milk factory which sells ice cream in a variety of flavours. Bought cheese, corn, pumpkin and melon sorbet ice cream for the family and all tasted reasonably good.
There is a pizza restaurant located within the same compound, if you are searching for other food options. Did pass by the restaurant and the food looked pretty tempting! However, we were only given limited time to tour this factory (20 mins) and had to give this restaurant a miss.

Given 20 mins for this attraction, we could only view the manufacturing line and exhibits in the factory and savour the ice milk. For those who are visiting the factory on their own, you can choose to join classes to learn how to handmade your own butter, ice-cream, bread and cheese are available (for a nominal fee). However, reservations for these classes are required up to 3 days in advance.
Classes information: http://www.furano-cheese.jp/cgi-bin/furano/siteup.cgi?category=5&page=0

Perk: 10% discount voucher for ice-cream purchase given to Twinkle Bus passengers. Single scoop cost 225 yen after discount.

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Furano Cheese Factory 富良野芝士工房,富良野起司工房
北海道富良野市中五区
Opening hours: 0900 - 1700 hrs (Apr - Oct), 0900 - 1600 hrs (Nov - Mar)
http://www.furano-cheese.jp/

大きな地図で見る

How to go there?
(1) Twinkle Bus Furano, makes a 20 mins stop at this attraction. Only available in Jun - Aug, weekends in Sep and Oct. Fee = 1000 yen.
(2) Furano Bus, for Furano Cheese Factory.
Only available in July and August. Fee = 150 yen (from Furano JR Station).
Refer to Furano Bus website for bus schedule (information only made available during summer period): http://www.cbnet.co.jp/furanobus/
(3) Twinkle Bus Furano Lavender Course, makes a 20 mins stop at this attraction.
One bus per day, departs from Furano JR Station at 1010 hrs. Bus service only in operation in July and August. Fee = 1500 yen.
Refer to JR Hokkaido website: http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/index.html