Hokkaido Shreds

    • August 3, 2022
    • September 1, 2022

    All About Beginner Cyclist’s Preparation for His/Her First Rode Race

    Hokkaido is blessed with mountains, and there are so many ways to enjoy them. Climbing, jogging, driving, rafting, bird watching, sightseeing, photograph, skiing and snowboarding, and cycling. Which do you want to do here? The other day, I went cycling to Mt. Tokachi with one of my colleague. Mt. Tokachi is an active volcano accessible from Asahikawa and a popular sightseeing spot where you can enjoy climbing and hot springs. Now, in our case, the cycling meaned a practice-run in preparation for Niseko Hanazono Hill Climb in a week’s time! Below is a cross-section of the course in Mt. Tokachi. As you can see, it’s a killer hill! Good for practicing. As I said before, I was never a very enthusiastic cyclist actually. How did I change my mind even to participate in the hill climbing race… It’s all a mischievous idea by my boss. As soon as he found […]

    • July 27, 2022
    • September 8, 2022

    Stubborn Craftsmen in the Disaster-Less City

    The highest compensation on disaster-related court dicisions Last month, two important disaster-related court decisions were handed down in Japan. The first was a lawsuit by shareholders against the former management of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which caused the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The amount of compensation was an unprecedented 13 trillion JPY. This was the highest amount of compensation ever charged for causing a particular type of environmental pollution. It was namely radioactive pollution which resulted in the extensive and long-term damage to many people. Photo Credit: The other was lawsuit by bereaved families of the victims at the 2014 Mount Ontake eruption, suing the government and the prefecture. They claimed it was illegal for the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) to leave the eruption-warning level lower without sufficient consideration. In conclusion the plaintiffs’ claim […]

    • July 8, 2022
    • September 22, 2022

    What Kind of Fun in the Playground of the Gods?

    A virtual hotel built on the bedrock of Daisetsuzan Recently our company launched a virtual hotel, Hokkaido Rock House designed by Sou Fujimoto. It is built on the bedrock of Daisetsuzan in Hokkaido. I am sure that anyone who was born and raised in Hokkaido can feel sympathy for its concept. The landscape on that virtual world is said to be modeled after Daisetsu National Park. Daisetsuzan, meaning “geat snowy mountains”, is the largest national park in Japan. There are 16 peaks over 2,000 meters, offering the most rugged scenery from the foot of mountain. It is also known as the nickname of “the playground of the gods” in native Ainu. Ainu is  the indigenous people of Hokkaido. Asahidake is popular spot for outdoor activities Asahidake (2,290 meters), located in the north of Daisetsuzan Natonal Park, is the highest peak in Hokkaido. The mountain is familiar to Asahikawa citizens because it’s close and […]

    • June 17, 2022
    • June 19, 2022

    A Little Curious About the Guardian of the River

    Asahikawa is a paradise of rivers The bike path along the river is one of the most comfortable road to run in Asahikawa. Most of pedestrian and bike paths laid out on the top of embankments. You can pedal along the river to your heart’s content without worries about cars. Asahikawa ctiy has 130 rivers and more than 750 bridges, and “Kawa” means “river,” so as the name of city suggests it is a paradise of rivers and accompanying small paths. Objects of curiosity and their various designs Do you notice anything that catches your attention, when you are running along the river? Yes, they are small structures scattered along the embankment. They are called “樋門” (Himon) in Japanese which means sluice gates in English. I found there are amazingly different designs in the city. Unfortunately, I have no other place to show off my collection of photos of these […]

    • June 10, 2022
    • June 13, 2022

    How about Cycling in Hokkaido?

    What would you like to do on your free time in Hokkaido? If you were to move to Hokkaido and start a new life, what hobbies would you like to do on your free time? Hokkaido is one of the most comfortable places in Japan for cycling. Roads are usually straight, wide, and with less traffic. Even if you are not an avid cyclist, going for a bike ride a little further afield is a great idea to keep active during the weekend. Asahikawa is well suited place for cycling I am not an enthusiastic cyclist, just started riding a bike about a year ago. As soon as I moved here, I realized how well suited Asahikawa is for cycling. With the vast Kamikawa Basin and several rivers running through it, there is no shortage of places to ride. On weekends, when my body feels like lead after a week […]

    • June 7, 2022
    • June 25, 2022

    Flourishing July

    In 2021, due to the epidemic, foreign tourists can’t come to Japan. Otherwise, this period of the year (I’m writing this in July) is usually the peak period of tourism in Hokkaido in early summer, though flowers bloom brilliantly as usual. One of popular tourist attractions in Hokkaido is Farm Tomita, a huge lavender farm spreading over hills. The popular sightseeing spot reminds me of something. I used to work at a small hotel run by two Taiwanese girls, of which name is Lavender Cottage. When traveling in Hokkaido, they were impressed by the magnificent lavender scenery at Farm Tomita to establish a company and open a villa in Biei town in Hokkaido with their own lavender garden. Their start-up has a touching background story. They didn’t build a villa from scratch but bought an existing one run by a Japanese owner. He started the villa with his wife, but […]

    • July 5, 2021
    • June 7, 2022

    The Way Home

    When working in Tokyo, I always left the office after dark and rushed back home. After getting back to Hokkaido, I’ve noticed the busy city made me forget to pay attention to the beauty around my life. Hokkaido has been covered with snow and ice for nearly half a year. When the snow melts in spring, all the flowers and plants burst into bloom. They seem to try to show their beauty that has been frozen for a long time. Now, I leave the office earlier, and always enjoy the view and take pictures of the flowers and plants on the way back home. Although I don’t know their names, their beauty remains in my heart. The world is full of beauty, but we sometimes rush too much to miss it. Why don’t we get some rest and pay more attention to things around us, like flowers on the roadside. […]

    • June 28, 2021
    • June 7, 2022

    Biei Walk

    Which season do you like best? My favorite is autumn. After the extremely hot days of summer, everything is dyed in red, like wearing makeup. Of course, the autumn leaves soon wither, but their short lives make the autumn scenery look more attractive. Walking on the street in Biei town, Hokkaido, you can see photogenic spots everywhere. Even if it’s not a famous spot, the contrast of red leaves and the indigo sky always makes you feel like walking in a famous painting or movie; so beautiful that you will never forget it. I like to travel around Japan and actually visited many places. When it comes to the natural landscape in Japan, I’m sure Hokkaido is second to none. Why don’t you come and see for yourself? You can take beautiful pictures anywhere like a pro!

    • June 23, 2021
    • September 20, 2022

    The Playground of the Gods in Spring

    I think one of the best things about living in Asahikawa city in Hokkaido is nature right next to us. Mountains, rivers, forests, and the vast sky always enrich my body and soul. Daisetsuzan National Park is a prime example. The native Hokkaido people, the Ainu, have called it ‘Kamuy Mintar’ meaning the playground of the gods. On my way to work, I sometimes find myself checking it up through my car how those gods are doing up there. The park covers Mt. Asahidake, the highest mountain in Hokkaido. Even though the summit is so close to the spring sun, the deep snow on the mountain stays for long where we can enjoy both the snow and the bright sunshine showering down and reflected by snow below. One day in mid May, 2016, I went for the very first snowshoeing at the park, together with my colleagues who love mountain […]

    • June 16, 2021
    • June 7, 2022

    My First Impression of Hokkaido: Biei Blue Pond

    What comes to your mind when you hear Hokkaido? Freezing snow, lavender fields, the ginkgo street of Hokkaido University? For me, it’s the Blue Pond in Biei town. When deciding to work in Hokkaido, I made some preliminary research and saw the photos of the Blue Pond on the internet. The beauty took my breath away and made me decide to go to Biei town. I never forget the day when I first visited the Blue Pond. That day, my work finished earlier. Having said that, it was already two o’clock in the afternoon, though. The autumn sun sets so quickly. I got on a bicycle and climbed up the long slope leading up to the Blue Pond. As it got colder and darker, I kept on pedaling the bicycle, shivering and regretting a little. After more than two hours of riding, it finally came up in front of me. […]