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Hokkaido Shreds

    • January 25, 2023
    • January 25, 2023

    Hokkaido adventures: First Experience at the Biei Snow Cycle Festival

    Joining the Winter Cycling Race in Biei Town Last weekend, on January 22, I had the opportunity to participate in the Biei Snow Cycle Festival for the first time. The Biei town is known for its picturesque scenery, with rolling hills, sprawling fields of colorful flowers and a variety of landscapes that make it a popular tourist destination. The Snow Cycle Festival is an annual snow cycling race that takes place in the Athletic field in Biei. Participants are divided into teams and have to ride two hours in turn on a one-round track, completing as many cycles as possible. It’s a challenging and physically demanding race that requires a good balance of endurance, strength and strategy! The Blue Pond, a famous spot in Biei, Hokkaido – © Akiko_Kubosawa  Falling Down and Getting Back up: The Excitement of the Crazy Race My experience at the Biei Snow Cycle Festival was […]

    • January 25, 2023
    • January 25, 2023

    Hokkaido adventures: Exploring the skiing gems of northern Japan #3

    Ski in Pippu: Enjoy the Unbeatable View of Daisetsu Mountain Range Pippu’s ski area is a hidden gem in northern Hokkaido, that offers skiers and snowboarders a truly unique experience. One of its main draws is the breathtaking views of the Daisetsu mountain range, which can be seen from the ski runs. It’s one of the few ski areas where you can clearly see the entire range, and if you’re lucky, the views are truly awe-inspiring. The ski area itself is small and caters to local enthusiasts, but it offers a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. It’s a great spot for those looking for a low-key and authentic ski experience with a side of natural beauty. And after a day on the slopes, don’t forget to treat yourself to a soak in one of Pippu’s hot springs! Location Nami

    • January 25, 2023
    • January 25, 2023

    Hokkaido adventures: Exploring the skiing gems of northern Japan #2

    Discover the Simple Pleasures of Skiing at Tohma Town’ Tiny Ski Area While large ski resorts offer an array of amenities and facilities, sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and enjoy the simpler things in life. Tucked away in the northern countryside of Asahikawa lies the tiny ski area of Tohma town, a contrast to the bustling large ski resorts. Local residents gather here to enjoy the simple pleasures of skiing, and the best part? It’s completely free! Though the facilities may be limited, with only one line of pony lift, which is a lift which is usually smaller and slower than the chairlifts. Though the pony lift may tire out your legs, it’s hard for you to complain because it is completely free. Experience the Charm of a Small Ski Area with Pony Lift So if you are in the mood for just an hour of skiing, […]

    • January 25, 2023
    • January 25, 2023

    Hokkaido adventures: Exploring the skiing gems of northern Japan #1

    Kamui Ski Links: A Biggest Powdery Paradise in Northern Hokkaido Kamui Ski Links, located in Fukagawa city in Hokkaido, is a skier’s dream come true. With its early December opening, Kamui Ski Links is one of the first ski resorts in Japan to receive the coveted powdery snow that skiers and snowboarders crave. The resort consists of impressive 20 courses, ranging from beginner to expert level, and is known for its long and wide runs and well-groomed snow. Early Season Snow at Kamui Ski Links The latter half of December saw me and my 4 co-workers hitting the slopes of Kamui Ski Links for a weekend of fun. As a group, we were a mix of one skier, one snowboarder, and four snow scooters. The main course was well-groomed and provided a smooth ride for all of us. However, the upper side of the mountain was where the real excitement […]

    • October 12, 2022
    • December 28, 2022

    Giant Tree Hunt in Hokkaido #2

    As I wrote before, finding big trees on googlemap is one of my hobbies. One day when I had things to do in the east of Hokkaido, I went to the following point to visit a giant tree there. Toyotomi elm stands alone on a roadside in a small local town, Bihoro, in the northwestern part of Lake Kussharo. Guess how old the tree is from the following image. The giant tree is 550 years old and stands out most in the middle of vast farmland. The local town government designated it as a preserved tree in 1977. Although some parts of the tree trunk surface are damged like being peeled off, etc. by aging, the giant tree looks good on the whole due to the generous public care. Just think about it: 550 years ago is so long ago, when Japan was still at the height of the samurai […]

    • October 6, 2022
    • October 6, 2022

    Civil engineering heritage in Hokkaido #1

    What’s the civil engineering heritage? Does your city or region have civil engineering heritage? They may be a big bridge, dam, bund, tunnel, and any construction or architecture that have a significant impact on the development of local industry and have supported people’s daily life. In Japan, JSCE (Japan Society of Civil Engineering) have conducted an award program for such important architectures. Several architectures are selected annually, through nomination and public solicitation. 51 Civil engineering heritages tell the history of Hokkaido Hokkaido has 51 heritages, of the approximately 400 in Japan. The breakdown is as follows: 21 inland waterways management facilities (dam and river bank protection), 10 bridge, 5 railwoads and roads, 4 landscapes, 10 seawalls, and 1 coal mine. All of these structures are recognized for their importance in Hokkaido’s pioneering history, and have supported or are still supporting the livelihood of 5.3 million people today. You can see […]

    • September 30, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Woodworking experience in Hokkaido

    Wood lathe craftsman in Hokkaido The other day, I attended a trila session of wood lathe. It was a rare opportunity to learn from a veteran craftsman, who has 60 years of experience in this field. Until a decade ago, all the legs of chairs and beds were handmade with a lathe. Asahikawa is known as a town of woodworkers, and there used to be dozens of craftsmen who handled such wood lathes and opened workshops. Mr. Abe, the instructor of this workshop, is one of them, and his Christmas trees are popular in online stores. Christmas trees crafted with lathe, designed by Abe Yasunori Asahikawa craft center The class was held at the Asahikawa Craft Center. Since woodworking is a major industry in the city, the municipality has established a product testing center for crafts. The Craft Center is located in a quiet ground on a hill, called Asahikawa […]

    • September 11, 2022
    • October 6, 2022

    What is the best kindling for a bonfire in Hokkaido?

    The charm of bonfires Do you like bonfires? What kinds of things have you burned in your childhood? I was a very serious child and never played with fire, but I completely got fascinated by bonfire when I grew up and started camping. When building a fire, you are immersed in a routine process. The process of growing a small fire into a large flame requires a kinds of concentration. At the beginning of the fire you would be busy to take care, but once a large flame is built up, it’s no more so much work, and then you can just spent time gazing at it on your favorite chair. Cedar leaves are good kindlings in Kyoto When I was living in Kyoto, I spent relatively longer time as bachelor and graduate student. I used to go camping wtih friends whenever I found free time. In Kyoto the most […]

    • August 30, 2022
    • September 7, 2022

    Giant Tree Hunt in Hokkaido #1

    Giant trees are symbolic of the nature Giant trees are nurtured over a long period of time to be symbolic of the nature or climate of the land. They have been the home of various creatures, the object of people’s faith, and the symbol of the region. Here in Japan we have the world’s oldest wooden building, Horyuji, and the world’s largest wooden buildings, Great Buddha Hall of Todaiji. For Todaiji, people seeked giant red pine trees that has more than 1 meter of diameter with height of 24 meters. It is said people decided to dig at the base of trees rather than cutting down to keep trees from spliting. Since the ascient times, trees have been used as resources like building materials, wood products, and fuel. Whether it is a huge public building or a individual house, trees are one of the most important resources for human life. […]

    • August 30, 2022
    • September 12, 2022

    First Road Racing Experience in Niseko, Hokkaido

    What’s the Niseko HANAZONO hill climb? The 11th running of the Niseko HANAZONO hill climb was held on August 7th. This is a road race time trial to Niseko Annupuri Goshiki Onsen (Niseko Town boundary, elevation 796m). The total length is 13.9km; the average gradient approximately 4.6 %. It’s one of the most popular hill climbing event in Hokkaido. In 2022 it was held for the first time after the covid restriction, with more than 400 people taking part the event as runners or spectators. Time table of the race Saturday, August 6, 2022 Registration: 12:00~16:00 at the headquartersPlace: Yukinkokan venue at the Asahigaoka ski resort in Kutchan town The access from my place Asahikawa to Kutchan took 4 hours (231 km) by car. After the long drive, I did not train in order to rest my body. I stayed B&B called Tabitsumugi in front of the event venue, in […]