Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hokkaido Images

Hokkaido Island is the most northern of the four major islands comprising Japan. Being the least populated, it is a popular destination for cycle touring with low traffic roads meandering through fertile agricultural valleys, over volcanic mountain ranges and along many miles of remote coastline.

The following photos showcase some of the areas we biked through, people we met and fun things we did.

Note: To view enlarged photo, mouse over pic and clickItalic

Rice fields tucked away in beautiful valleys

In the tiny village of Tomeuchi, the community maintains a small train museum. The Takahashi family who oversees the museum allowed us to take a spin on the handcart. How fun . . .

Taking turns cranking down the quarter mile track. Old train station in background.

In early September, the weather was nice and warm on the northern island.
Leaving the village of Tomeuchi.

Encountering a very friendly flag man at a road construction site.
He bows as we ride by. Cool uniform!

Riding over one of several hundred bridges

Note how precipitously the forested mountains jut up from the flat valley floor.
This is typical of the terrain in Japan.

Onions are another major crop in Hokkaido. The bins hold freshly picked onions.

A well-tended rice farm in a spectacular setting.
This tidy farm reminds me of the Amish farms in PA.

Rolling hills of corn in the beautiful Furano Valley. Yes, I said KORN!

Kory is one fit kid and never tires. After a long day in the saddle he goes jogging up a hill.

A flying saucer shaped observation building overlooks a flower farm in Naka Furano

Couples get married under the arch at this flower farm

It is September and this place is beautiful. Can you imagine how nice it is in the summer when all the lavender plants (below the arch) are in full bloom?

Photo opp time in front of the first temple we encountered

A breath-taking view of the valley and mountains

Furano Valley is well known for its flower farms.
We stopped to "smell the roses".

At another flower farm

Beautiful picnic area at the flower farm

Aaahhh!! . . . such a cute dawg!

Riding over stunning river took us to a onsen campground

Cool totem pole signs mark the onsen campground

Group foto at the onsen campground

Typical winding road through the rolling green hills of Hokkaido

Hay rolls look like giant beach balls

Arriving on the northern coast of Hokkaido

A radar dome atop verdant hills along the north coast

The monument marks the most northern point of Japan

Relaxing at the Midoriyu Rider House in Wakkanai.
Rider Houses are cheap lodging for touring motorcyclists, bicyclists and hikers.

Taking a spin on Bike Friday's Japanese cousin

An old roadside temple

Lost again . . . a good excuse to ask a couple chicks for directions.
We were really lost . . . honest!

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