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PLANETSKI TURNS INTO PLANET HIKE - James Cove, Hokkaido, Japan
Saturday September 28, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

We're currently nosing round the mountains of Japan. With the snow yet to come it's time for hiking boots.

It started a couple of days ago as we put in a small walk while passing through the ski resort of Niseko.

We looked at the skiing possibilities before hiking up to see for ourselves:

Then it was a hike up to the crater of an active volcano - Mt Usu near Lake Toyo on the north island of Hokkaido.

And now we've headed up the mountains above the ski town of Furano.

It lies in the heart of a valley near the centre of the island of Hokkaido and is surrounded by mountains.

To the east is Mt Tokachi in the Taisetsuzan mountain range.

Heading west are the Yubari mountains which includes Mt Asjibetsu.

The region is 70% wilderness.

The area is famous for its autumnal colours and though the best is yet to come it was worth heading up for the colours alone.

We hiked through in late September as summer began changing to autumn above the Tokachi-dake hot springs area.

Furano, Hokkaido, JapanFurano, Hokkaido, Japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The colours ended as quickly as they began as we rose above the vegetation line.

Furano, Hokkaido, JapanFurano, Hokkaido, Japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The flat path eventually turned into large rocks as we headed ever higher.

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And on the way down the colours seem to have become even better.

Furano, Hokkaido, JapanFurano, Hokkaido, Japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And what about the ski resort of Furano?

Yes, we had a little stroll there too.

With a little mechanical help.

Seeing the slopes without their covering of snow:

Furano, Hokkaido, JapanFurano, Hokkaido, Japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And after all this exercise...

There was only one place to head to, The Bridge.

It's run by Bill Bridge.

Furano, Hokkaido, JapanFurano, Hokkaido, Japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He came from the USA over 20 years ago to work as a language teacher.

He still runs a language school and, since 2007, a bar.

It has 100 different cocktails, 48 whiskies and 25 varieties of beer.

The perfect place to re-hydrate after all this hiking.

Furano, Hokkaido, JapanFurano, Hokkaido, Japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what about the skiing in Furano when the snow falls?

It has a vertical descent of 1,000m and 23 different runs.

The linked area is accessed from two separate bases.

Furano ski areaFurano ski area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Look I may be biased but the snow here is probably the best in Japan. As we are in the centre of Hokkaido we don't have the maritime climate that the resorts near the coast have," he told me.

"We have light and dry powder by the metre. You should come here in the winter," he told me.

Having hiked up a few of the slopes I could think of nothing better than skiing down them in a few months time.

Watch this space...

So, what's next on the PlanetSKI tour of Japan?

There was a quick stop at the Blue Pond on the way out of Furano.

The Blue PondThe Blue Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue PondThe Blue Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is the result of works on the Biei River carried out after the 1988 eruption of Mount Tokachi, to protect the town of Biei from volcanic mudflows.

The colour is thought to result from the accidental presence of colloidal aluminium hydroxide in the water.

And if it looks familiar, that is because it is.

Apple selected the 'Blue pond' as one of the Mac's bright wallpapers, it became well known across the world.

Then it was to Tokyo to watch Wales v Australia in the Rugby World Cup.

It followed on from the England v Tonga game in Sapporo the previous weekend:

Let's hope on our return to Tokyo we can manage the metro a bit more successfully:

And then we're back to the mountains.

This time on the main island around the ski areas in the central Alps to the north west of Tokyo.

The first stop is Nozawa Onsen.

And we'll probably be lacing up our hiking boots.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

Related Articles

OCTOBER SKIING SECRETS (Friday October 18, 2019)
AUTUMN IN THE ALPS AND BEYOND (Thursday October 17, 2019)
IT'S TEMPLE TIME IN JAPAN (Monday October 14, 2019)
HEADING ONWARDS FROM NOZAWA ONSEN (Friday October 11, 2019)
THERE'S MUCH MORE TO JAPAN THAN SKIING (Friday October 11, 2019)
PLANETSKI HEADS SOUTH ON OUR JOURNEY IN JAPAN (Friday October 4, 2019)


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