Saturday 15 June 2019

Finally. Japan! And it did not disappoint.

At age 49 I finally got to Japan. The trip was 3 years in the making and the objective was to ski and snow board. We chose Hakaido to ensure maximum snow and hopefully reduced crowds. Furano to be precise. Furano is a skiing location around 3 hours drive east from Sapporro.
The trip hit top gear from the very moment we landed and set off in our rental car. Using the in car sat-nav, we self drove through the most inspiring land scape from Chitose airport to Furano.  This route takes an incredible highway through Shimakappu which includes no less than a dozen tunnels through stunning mountain ranges, some tunnels up to 9km long! The land scape was spectacular with a beautiful winter, snow covered blanket..

Our cabin at the foot of Kitanomine, Furano.

One of the many tunnels. The snow fall was relentless.

Driving in Hakaido is safe as the roads are meticulously cleared of snow and traffic friendly. That said, we averaged just 70km/hr on the highways as we adjusted to the sometimes heavy fog and snow conditions. This made the drive all the more exciting for us, stopping occasionally for the kids to run out of the car and dive into 20 foot high walls of snow!

Furano has 2 mountains with a total of 11 lifts. The longest runs around 8km. For beginners its perfect. And for the more experienced it offers enough variety for a good week. 50% green runs. 25% red and 25 % black. We spent just a day or 2 on green and spent most of our time on the red runs, even graduating to black in our final days. I snow boarded for 5 days then switched to skiing for the next 5. A few youtube videos and about 2 hours to learn. Me? I'm a skier. Loved it. Kids can keep the snow boards.

Our accommodation choice was the possibly  the most impressive AirBnB I have ever stayed in. A newly built timber cabin at the foot of the mountain with every convenience imaginable - In true Japanesse style.
After a day of skiing, we actually preferred getting a bag full of delicious supermarket dinner packs and sitting back at the cabin each night, eating sushi, noodles and fried chicken. That said, we tried a good number of local restaurants in our 2 weeks in Furano including Ramen houses and Sushi restaurants. The trip was a gastronomical delight.

All in all - Furano was fantastic and one of the best trips we've ever had. Already booked flights for next year.