I have to say this is a place you should visit, Furano, Hokkaido. After getting off the train yesteraday, I started riding north out of town on my push bike. The valley stretched before me, the mountains climbed in the distance... the wind gave a gentle push behind me, snacked on peanuts and listened to music riding along, and soaked up the beautiful country scenery.
Ahead, there were some lavender farms. The colours were amazing. Didn't expect that at all! And, free... no entry. Tomita Farm was a beautiful place, flowers of all colours. Visited a few other places in Naka-Furano, and then kept riding as the sky was just starting to grow a little dark.
A few more kilometers and I made it to Kami-Furano. This was my place for the night. The chain came off my bike, but no real problem... just put it back on (but then had greasy hands!) Found the campsite and got an early night after eating some dinner.
Up early the next morning, packed up the tent and headed to the train station to get the 7am bus to go up the mountain. Then realized I didn't understand the timetable, and the first bus was 9:33 am! Anyway, got that bus, and enjoyed a superb onsen. 600 yen, but I got it for 400 yen because I stayed at the campsite the night before (for only 500 yen).
Then onsen had a washing area, hot dripping water section, sauna, cold water pool, quite hot water pool, bubbling pool, and then 3 different out-door hot pools (two of them impossibly hot!), and there was also a covered section. Like usual, men and women in seperate private areas and naked (that's the style here in Japan), and there was also a mixed section (for those with swimming clothes) which had little slipperly slide into warm water. The pool in the mixed area was quite large and deep... large enough to do swimming! The weather outside was about 15 degrees, foggy, cloudy, misty, rainy weather. The steam was rising off the hot pools outside, and just let all worries drift away...
Up, on the bus, back down the mountain to the train station. The bus got back 20 minutes after the train I wanted to catch had left. The results are cascading, meaning my whole itinerary is changed for the next 5 days until I get back to Hiroshima. I can still just make it back home in time for work on Monday... I'll have to do some bike riding though... at least I don't have to pay any extra money.
Well, time to go... been good talking with a person next to me on the computer. He's from Hong Kong and reminds me of my Asian friends from Melbourne. Good to talk.
Now, to study more Japanese on the train.