Hokkaido: A Winter Drive

We’re still kind of in lockdown mode here, so there’s not a lot of things to do.

Hubby and I decided to hit up our favorite soba restaurant then went for a drive.

It was really nice.

The weather was warmer than usual and the sky was clear and sunny. It only emphasized the blue up above and the white, shiny snow on the ground.

When we walked out to the the parking lot of our apartment complex, we were just commenting on how we didn’t get a lot of snow this year. But then, you look at the snow pile in front of you, and you wonder what it would be really like if we had gotten the “usual” amount of snow for December and January.

Maybe three meters of snow?

And one more photo for comparison: me standing in front of this snow pile.

We went to Yuni Town, which is a small town about an hour away from us. They have a golf club that is really popular in the summer time. There’s also a wonderful garden that flower enthusiasts always come to visit. Right behind this flower park is the famous Yuni onsen, a small, but well-known hot spring in the area.

We were hoping the garden would be open, because it is also a kind of michi no eki (道の駅) that sells some local products. We were hoping to buy something, like an omiyage or maybe just a drink. Unfortunately, they were not open and won’t open until April.

A view of the farms in the area, from the top of a hill.

On the way to Yuni Garden, we pulled over the side of the road to look out into the town. It’s a small town, but you can see the mountains beyond the farms, and it was an awesome sight. We weren’t the only ones who thought so, too. As soon as we pulled out and went back on the road, a couple more cars stopped at the same spot and people got out to take photos 🙂

Along the way, we also came across a fantastic temple that had some history. Of course, it was closed to visitors, but I had to do a u-turn at their parking lot because I missed a turn that would have taken us back home. Not a loss as this gave me a chance to snap another picture:

One of these days, when the weather is warmer and we’re in the thick of spring, I’ll go for a visit to see the interior of the temple.

The snow is starting to melt now and it’s not so pretty any more. It’s dark with street junk and dirt. Plus it’s so slushy outside that it’s hard to walk. You’re mostly trying to find the dry areas that hasn’t accumulated any puddles.

But the good thing is, the farms are also starting to thaw. Farmers should be able to start the planting season soon. I’m excited for the return of locally-sourced vegetables and fruits. In fact, the supermarket is starting to stock vegetables grown in the southern part of Hokkaido, which means that prices for goods are starting to get cheaper as we don’t have to rely on shipping some of them from other parts of Japan.

Snow-covered farm in Naganuma

While I love winter, it’s no fun when you can’t go out and do things when events are canceled.

I’m looking forward to the spring.

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