Japan Diaries 4: Day 313


Day 313: September 10, 2022

Saturday - 9.9-11 Family Road Trip D2

Good morning! I woke up to a beautiful day, grateful that it hadn't rained last night. Although there was some moisture left in our tent, it reminded me of our previous camping trip in Hamatombetsu, where we experienced a rainy day. However, the sun rose and came to our aid, helping to dry out the interior of our tent.

Sato Auto Campground of Firefly

Off to Numata town proper

Stopover at Seicomart Numata for breakfast


Numata Shrine torii gate

Numata Shrine

We parked near the Numata Agricultural Cooperative Agricultural Warehouse

Numata manhole cover

We left the Sato Auto Campground of Firefly a little before 7 AM. Our first stop was in the town of Numata (沼田町), where we decided to buy breakfast at Numata Seicomart before heading to Numata Shrine. It was important for us to pay our respects and offer some prayers there as part of our family tradition of visiting the main shrines of the municipalities that we go to for the first time.

Off to our next destination - the outskirts of Fukagawa City

Totoro Pass

Continuing our journey, we drove south, passing through 
Fukagawa City
 (深川市). Along the way, we made a brief stop at Totoro Pass, where we saw the Catbus. It's nothing much but some fans of Studio Ghibli made this place a "pilgrimage" site. 

Passing through a tunnel at Route 38

Farm Tomita

Enjoying the lavender and melon soft cream of Farm Tomita

Tomita Melon House
Tomita Melon House

Originally, our plan was to spend the entire day in Ashibetsu City. However, since we arrived earlier than expected, we decided to venture further and explore the next town to the east, Nakafurano (中富良野町). It was a great decision because most renowned lavender flowers were still in full bloom at Farm Tomita / Tomita Farm

Nakafurano Shrine

Even the irrigation system looks very scenic

The sunny weather was perfect for indulging in some lavender soft cream from Tomita Farm and trying the melon soft cream from Tomita Melon House. We also visited the Nakafurano Shrine to pay our respects and offer a prayer as part of our family tradition of visiting the main shrine of a municipality that we visited for the first time.

Driving back to Ashibetsu City via Route 38

Takisato Dam Museum

Team Nicerio visits the Takisato Dam Museum

Takisato Lake

After admiring the beautiful landscapes of Nakafurano, we returned to Ashibetsu City (芦別市). Our first destination was the Takisato Dam Museum, situated on the northern shores of Takisato Lake on the outskirts of Ashibetsu City. It was an intriguing place to visit.

Ashibetsu manhole cover

Ashibetsu Roadside Station

Ashibetsu Shrine

Next, we headed into town to obtain the roadside station stamp at Ashibetsu Roadside Station, which was part of my Hokkaido Roadside Station Stamp Rally. Afterward, we visited Ashibetsu Shrine, where my daughter and I paid our respects and offered our prayers.

A replica of Kensington Station

Canadian World Park

But our exploration of Ashibetsu City didn't end there. We decided to visit Canadian World Park, an abandoned theme park that is currently maintained by the local government. It was fascinating to see the structures transformed into little museums, showcasing the beauty of Lucy Maud Montgomery's timeless children's literature, Anne of Green Gables, which was published in 1908.

Hokkaido Kannon

We then drove to Akabira City (赤平市), the last city on our itinerary for the day. Before leaving Ashibetsu City, we attempted to visit the Hokkaido Kannon, one of the tallest Buddha statues in Japan. Unfortunately, it was closed, and it seemed to have been abandoned. Disappointed, we took a photo and continued our journey to Akabira City.

Akabira Town Exchange Center "Mirai"

Our first stop in Akabira City was the Akabira Town Exchange Center "Mirai", also the Akabira JR Station. We collected the eki stamp for our stamp collection but found there was little to do there.

Akabira Shrine

Akabira Tokugawa Castle

The Backpack Adventures visits Akabira Tokugawa Castle

Next, we visited the Akabira Shrine to pray and pay our respects. Following that, we briefly stopped at the abandoned Akabira Tokugawa Castle. Although there wasn't much to do there, I was eager to see it after stumbling upon it months ago while exploring Google Maps.

Lawson Akabira Horooka

Check out this Red-crowned crane made from a discarded tire

Akabira Base

The road in Horookacho going to Elm Highland Resort

We only lingered briefly and decided to grab some food at the nearby Lawson Akabira. We also couldn't resist buying the renowned hot legs from Akabira Base, which we planned to enjoy for dinner later. Finally, we drove to Elm Highland Resort Kazokuryokomura Camping Ground to set up our camp.

Dinner time!

After setting everything up, my family and I treated ourselves to the relaxing Elm Highland Onsen, immersing ourselves in its rejuvenating waters after a long day on the road. As usual, we returned to our cozy tent and called it a day after our dip in the onsen.

Elm Highland Onsen

Freshening up before calling it a day

Well, that's all for today's adventures. For today's trip, we visited 3 cities and 2 towns. Please join us for the next day our road trip. See you, guys!


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