富良野 Furano – the Blue Pond, More Flower Farms, and Shops in the Forest

After being awed by the lavender fields of Farm Tomita, we were on our way again. However, I had no idea what our next stop was. I don’t remember ever receiving a travel itinerary. We were in the hands and at the whims of our two accompanying teachers from Hokkaido Japanese Language School. It turns out that our next stop on our highway coach field trip was to the Blue Pond, or Aoiike (青い池).

the Blue Pond

The beautiful turquoise coloured water was a popular draw on this July weekend, as well. There was another long queue of cars along this quiet two lane road in the middle of the forest. I’m sure over half the people in the traffic were lining up to get into the parking lot for the Blue Pond.

The V tree in the blue pond

I had seen photos of this small, but picturesque pond before. I had no idea that we’d be visiting this pond that very day. It was actually quite exciting because I didn’t know what to expect when we finally got off in the parking lot and walked in.

The barren trees add an eerie juxtaposition on top of the stunning blue water in which the trees stand. There’s a sad beauty to the whole place. It was a tiny pond at which we didn’t spend much time, but the imagery of this little nook of Hokkaido was memorable.

more of the blue pond

After the Blue Pond, we got back on the bus and headed to our next stop, 四季彩の丘 (Shikisai no Oka). Shikisai no Oka is another of the famous farms in the Furano featuring beautiful fields full of colourful flowers in the summer.

四季彩の丘 shikisai no oka

This farm was not as busy as Farm Tomita, but it’s landscape and setting were just as marvelous. The farm had set up a few more things in addition to the flower fields for visitors to partake. Apart from the standard souvenir shop, there was the giant straw man and woman figures, the alpaca petting area, and the tractor trailer ride.

buried in the flowers

Most of the students were happy enough to just wander the fields and go snap-happy with our cameras. A few of the students splurged a little and boarded the tractor ride around the fields.  Standing in the middle of this farm, I couldn’t help, but admire its wonderful view of the surrounding landscape. It was like the farm was perfectly situated among the most perfectly shaped rolling hills in the background.

the rolling hills of 四季彩の丘 shikisai no oka

Shikisai no Oka is definitely not as big nor as popular as Farm Tomita, but it’s certainly no slouch when it comes to the beauty of its environment and the rich colour of its flowers. With less crowds milling about the flowers, it actually feels more pastoral. And pastoral is what I figure a farm should feel like.

the rolling hill of flowers

As the sun started to descend upon the mountains to the west of Furano, our bus made its way through the city of Furano towards the New Furano Prince Hotel. The highlight was not the hillside hotel itself. We had come to visit the forest beside the hotel.

new furano prince hotel and the surrounding forest

In the forest, we found a small collection of wooden cabins connected a wooden boardwalk that went from one cabin to another. There were gift shops, artisans, and cafes hidden within these little cabins. This was the Ningle Terrace, or ninguru terasu (ニングルテラス).

shops & cafes in the woods

Our school director recounted how he would drive up here from Sapporo in his younger days and enjoy a cup of coffee in the woods. This must have been his secret romantic getaway spot from the city. What’s more romantic than savouring a cup of coffee in this serene forest setting.

Back on the bus to Sapporo

That was our last stop of a great little day trip to Furano. We were back on the highway to Sapporo. It would be well into the evening by the time we got back to Sapporo. It was extra special to be able to go on this trip with all my classmates and many of the other students from JaLS. Plenty of photos were shot and memories made with our new found friends. A day just didn’t seem like enough.

Lastly, my classmate, Kacy, filmed our day in Furano and posted up her video on YouTube. So I’ll finish off with her little vlog post.

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