Japan Diaries 4: Day 236

 

Day 236: June 25, 2022

Saturday - Asahikawa x Biei

It's a beautiful morning here in Rumoi City. However, we won't spend our weekends here. Instead, we'll be going to Asahikawa City. It's all because Engan bus offered a 2-day "Bus Free Day". My wife already booked our hotel 3 weeks back so we're all set for this adventure.

Engan Bus - Free Bus Day

Waiting for the bus at Motokawa-cho Bus Stop

We left Rumoi City on the first bus (7:09AM) to Asahikawa City (旭川市) and luckily, we still got seats when we boarded at the Motokawacho bus stop which was one of the last bus stops in Rumoi.

Asahikawa JR Station

Baggage drop at Hotel Amanek

Relaxed a bit before continuing on our itinerary

Upon arriving at the bus stop at Asahikawa JR Station, we immediately went to Hotel Amanek to drop off our baggage since check-in was still at 3PM. 


Quick brunch before going to Biei

Since we didn't eat breakfast on our way to Asahikawa, we decided to buy some food at 711 in front of the hotel. There were seats outside the store so we ate the food there. 

Checking out the price of the ticket going to Biei

We boarded the special Furano-Biei Norokko Train

It has large windows that allow passengers to enjoy the view

The Furano-Biei Norokko Train is seen from the overpass. 

Arrived at Biei Station

From there, we rushed back to Asahikawa JR Station to catch the Furano-Biei Norokko Train going to the town of Biei (美瑛町). There were almost no passengers when we boarded which was surprising knowing that this train is sought after by densha otakus around Japan. The train was slow but it was perfect as we got to enjoy the view better. 

Checking out the digital map of Biei

I got the Biei Station stamp for my collection

Biei JR Station
Biei Station

Biei Tourist Information Center

Inside Biei Tourist Information Center

Biei Manhole Cover

When we arrived at Biei, I didn't miss the opportunity to get the eki stamp at the Biei JR Station and the city stamp at the Biei Tourist Information Center. I also got a tourist map of the town from the tourism officer. 

Team Nicerio visits the Biei Landmark Bell

Biking in Biei
We rented a bike at Masaka Shoten

We naturally made the best of the chance to shoot pictures in and around the train station area. From there, we walked to the nearby bike rental shop - Masaka Shoten to rent bikes to explore the neighborhood.

Biking around Biei

We wanted to bike to the Hokusei-no-oka Observatory Park but my wife and daughter weren't ready for uphill biking so we decided to just bike around town. 

Biei's Four Seasons Tower

The view from the Four Seasons Tower

Our first stop was the Four Seasons Tower. It stands 44.5 meters tall and has an amazing view of the city and the Daisetsuzan Mountain Range. Aside from that, it's a FREE entrance. We spent a bit of time there to rest as it was a hot day as well.

Next stop: Misora Museum and Observatory

Inside Misora Museum and Observatory

From there, we just crossed the road to our next destination which is the Misora Museum and Observatory. Entrance here is also free. There were only a few displays about the history of Biei but it was totally worth it as we learned something new about the town. 

Biei Biking
Time to return the bikes

Biei Roadside Station

Biei soft cream

We did some photoshoots before heading to Biei JR Station 

Since we were already tired after biking for almost 2 hours, we decided to head back to return the bikes and also catch the next train back to Asahikawa. After returning the bike at Masaka Shoten we found out that we still had time before the next train arrived so we headed to the nearby Biei Roadside Station / Biei Michi no eki Oka-no-Kura

Hokkaido Roadside Station Stamp Book

I got my Michi-no-eki stamp here and also met a foreigner living in Hokkaido who was also collecting michi-no-eki stamps. He introduced me to the Hokkaido Michi-no-eki stamp book. I got one myself and it cost only 300 yen. 

Heading back to Biei JR Station to catch the train to Asahikawa

Waiting for the train going back to Asahikawa

Finally, boarded the train back to Asahikawa

Asahikawa JR Station

We then went back to Biei JR Station and purchased a train ticket to Asahikawa City. The train that we rode back was ordinary but I still got to take videos of the tracks in front of the train as it moved. When we got back to Asahikawa City we checked in at Hotel Amanek. This is actually the second time that we booked Hotel Amanek. The first time was last May 14 - 15, 2022 which was my 28th weekend here in Japan as an Assistant Language Teacher under the JET Programme. 

Check-in @ Hotel Amanek - Room 1602

Time to rest a bit and charge our devices.

The view from Room 1602 of Hotel Amanek

We were given Room 1602. Compared to our last stay, this is by far the best room that we had as it has an amazing view of Asahikawa Station and the hills beyond.

I went out to have my haircut at Barber Plage

Haircut at Barber Plage

While my wife and daughter were resting, I headed out and had a haircut at Barber Plage near Hotel Amanek. This is also the same thing that I did during our visit last May. 

The Saxophonist and his Cat @ Asahikawa Heiwa Shopping Street

There are also some street performances at Heiwa Shopping Street

Asahikawa Heiwa Shopping Street

Did some shopping at REPRESENT

We also checked out the Furarito which is a dining alley

After my haircut, my family and I went to check out the Shopping Park Festival at Heiwa dori Shopping Street and also looked for a restaurant to eat dinner at. However, since it's a shopping street, my wife was drawn to the pre-loved stores and she bought several clothes at REPRESENT

Asahikawa JR Station at night


As for our dinner, we settled for the takeout bento from 711 which we consumed at the dining area of our hotel. Before calling it a day, we took a dip at the onsen area at 17F. Overall, today was a great day. We visited one new town as part of the #Hokkaido179 challenge. 

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Comments

  1. We stayed in Hotel Amanek last long weekend. The breakfast was great.

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