Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nakafurano’s Lavender Farm

SEPTEMBER 13, 2007 - Part 2
The main purpose of visiting Furano was to visit the lavender farms here.
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Lavender has been cultivated in Hokkaido for more than half a century. When the arrival of lower priced, imported lavender led to a decrease in demand for Hokkaido's lavender in the 1960s and 70s, the local lavender's main function shifted from agricultural product to tourist attraction.
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Nowadays, Furano's lavender fields attract large numbers of visitors to the region every July and August, when the plants are in full bloom.
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There are fields of various sizes all across the Furano and Biei region.
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If you think those photo above are spectacular, wait until you see what's ahead. Those shots above are actually taken at Nakafurano’s Lavender Park. It was one of the place to enjoy the spectacular view of blooming lavenders during the summer.
However, when we were in Nakafurano, it was already almost mid-September and most of the lavenders have dried off. However, as we had made all the effort of getting there, we were determined to at least have a look at how the farm looks like, even though there is a possibility that we could find no lavenders at all already by that time.
One of the best spots to view the lavender is Farm Tomita, whose lavender and flower fields with the Daisetsuzan and Tokachi mountain ranges as backdrop are spectacular. It was about 30-minutes walk from Nakafurano station. Farm Tomita also features a dried flower exhibition, perfume and distillery workshops, a green house and several gift shops selling lavender goods ranging from lavender soft cream to dried flower bouquets, oils, perfumes and soaps.
As expected, there wasn't much lavender left in the farm.
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To be honest, I was thinking of photoshoping the photo above, by replacing those green leaves with purple lavender blooms. However, I guess there wasn't a need for me to do that after I got to another section of Farm Tomita.
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Yes, those are lavenders. Not just the normal purple lavenders. Only after getting to this farm, I realized that lavenders come in white as well.
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Reena said this looks like a French flag, which I couldn't disagree anymore.
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I can't recall any place in Malaysia which has such a breathtaking view. It wasn't a surprise when I heard the Japanese visiting the farm went "Wahh, sugoi!!" or "Sugei!!". I understand. The Japanese don't have any other word else to describe something nice. Same thing applies when they are watching fireworks. My conclusion - they lack adjectives in their language.
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Beautiful, magnificent, breathtaking, amazing, awesome, or whatever word you use to describe the place, they were just colourful.
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If you are wondering how lavenders look like from up-close, here is a macro shot of the purple lavender.
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There is also a species of lavender, with a mixture of purple and white.
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I was told that during the peak season of lavender, the whole farm will be full with the nice soft smell of lavender. No visit to a lavender farm will be complete without trying the lavender soft in the farm. It was one of the best ice cream I had ever tasted so far.
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Yes, Michelle, I know. That was my third soft in a single day. Just once in a while only, okay? Hehe =P
After the experience in the lavender farm, we left for Asahikawa. Dinner was sushi at one of the Kaitenzushi restaurant there.
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It marked my sushi feast for the night. These sushi were just too delicious for me to find a better word to describe it. Eel to start to ball rolling.
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Tuna.
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Sea urchin.
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Mackerel.
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Scallop.
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Raw pink shrimp.
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Mantis shrimp or "squilla".
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Smoked salmon.
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Yes, it was a lot. Even for some of them, I ate more than one plate. I didn't realized about the different pricing of each sushi. I thought all come in one flat price - 120yen per plate.
Towards the end of our sushi-ing session, I suddenly felt something was wrong. I looked back and there was a price list on the wall. It indicated that the plates WITHOUT white lines around it cost 120yen. Plates WITH white lines comes at 220 one plate.
That time, as far as I could remember, I was eating only sushi from plates WITH white lines. In total, I ate only 3 (three) WITHOUT white lines and a freaking 9 (NINE) WITH white lines.
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I was tricked made to pay 2457yen (RM82) for my dinner!

10 comments:

michelleg said...

AHAHAHAH!! who asked u to be so greedy =P but those sushi really looked good. i guess it must be worth it. =)

kokhong said...

just so happen today, i got pissed off by the words 'sugehhhh''yabeehhhhh' again...

the next bitch to utter that word is sooo gonna get a tight slap in her dreams...

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
that is not greedy. it just didn't cross my mind of the possibility of different pricing for the sushi.

but those sushi were really fresh and taste great. so, nothing much to regret =)

calvin said...

@ kok hong:
yabeehhh!! sai mm sai mou? =P

tkc said...

sushi, yeah i only had eaten sushi once after coming here..dunno if sushi really tat delicious meh?? haha, tat proves u hv a good sense to choose the more expensive ones..hehe

calvin said...

@ tkc:
i almost never had sushi before i came here. but during the hokkaido trip alone, i had gone for sushi more than once (three times i think). nevertheless, it was an experience =)

lasilasi said...

ahhh i want the lavendar icecream ='(

i heard that there are 25 species of lavendar... hmmm i only know some of the names like blueberry lavendar, boysenberry, rasberry etc =p but i haven't seen white one before... do they smell the same?

and i missed sushi in japan! i think they are much cheaper than in KL or melb =p

calvin said...

@ lasilasi:
to be frank, i'm not sure how many species of lavender are there. the smell of the lavender, whether the purple or the white ones wasn't as strong as i expected.

i guess it's because when i was there, it wasn't the peak season. but the potpourri i got from there smell really nice =)

~ SweeChing ~ said...

Hi,

Came across your blog while I was google-ing for lavender season in Hokkaido. I am planning for a trip to Hokkaido on July'10 and will be arriving Furano on ~12-14 July. Do you know whether lavender will be in full bloom by then?

calvin said...

@ ~ sweeching ~:
hi swee ching! nice to see you dropping by.

when i visited the lavender farm three years ago, it was around mid-september, and most of the lavenders have dried off. the peak season for lavender sight-seeing is around july to august. so, i guess it fits your schedule nicely :)

enjoy your time in hokkaido to the fullest and i would love to hear more about your trip in the future!