Hokkaido Summer 2017 ~ New Chitose Airport

Hello Kitty Happy Flight Park at New Chitose Airport
I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel with my family these 2 years. Travelling with a kid is new to us, and definitely a good thing as it made us slow down our pace. Work is already so hectic, so why should we keep up with the pace when we should be enjoying it? :) I don't deny that it's super tiring travelling with a kid, but I enjoyed every moment of it. If not now, then when?

Hokkaido Summer 2017 ~ Day 9 Jigokudani - Sea Station Plat Seaport Market - Chitose

Jigokudani (Hell Valley)登別地獄谷
It was a rainy day and the only day I decided to wear shorts. Although it was summer, it was quite cold that morning! Jigokudani was just a stone's throw away from our accommodation, probably a good walking distance if you are not travelling with kids. We parked at one of the hotels' carpark and saved 500yen parking fee. From the photos I saw online, I assumed that it was going to be a touch-and-go place, as the photos I saw online all looked the same (like above). But it was quite an interesting place to walk around a bit if you are fine with the strong sulphuric smell. Hold on to your kids tightly though!! 

Hokkaido Summer 2017 ~ Day 8 Lake Shikotsu – Lake Toya – Noboribetsu

The itinerary was packed for that day, since we were travelling from Furano to stay at Noboribetsu and had plans to visit both Lake Shikotsu and Lake Toya. The drive from Furano to Lake Shikotsu  itself took about 3 hours (132km). It was a good thing that we set off early at about 8am. 

Hokkaido Summer 2017 ~ Day 7 Hokuryu Sunflower Fields and Ohashi Cherry Picking

Hokuryu Sunflower Field 北竜町ひまわりの里
We travelled about 3 hours from Furano to Hokuryu for the biggest sunflower field in Hokkaido. The weather was really sunny, so much that it was hard to take photos in the fields and no one except me wanted to stay longer among the flowers. We were there on 26 July 2017, and some of the fields have not bloomed. It was a pity as I would imagine it to be really magnificent. 

Hokkaido Summer 2017 - Furano & Biei Days 4 to 6 ~ Flowers and Food!

Day 4 was a tiring day. We woke up early to collect the car at Nippon Rent-a-car's branch at Sapporo Station, but ended up checking out late from the airbnb. Since we wanted to drive back to collect the luggages instead of bringing them to the rental car company, we left everything there including our passports and international driving licenses. In the end we had no choice but to ask our parents to take a cab down to pass us the documents. 

The rental process took about an hour, including explanation on driving in Japan, calculation on whether we should get an expressway pass for 6 days, waiting for the car to be ready (we requested for baby car seat), checking of the car and explanation on the features of the car. We were given the Subaru Crossover 7, which barely fitted our 2 large and 2 medium luggages + 1 stroller. The drive from Sapporo to Furano took about 2 hours (100km), and it was very squeezy at the back because of the huge baby car seat. 

Furano Cheese Factory 富良野チーズ工房
Furano Cheese Factory was our first stop in Furano after the tiring 2-hour ride. Unless you intend to attend a lesson on how to make cheese or to have your lunch there, walking around the place takes less than 1 hour. In fact, we only stayed there for 30mins before proceeding to our lunch destination.

Cheese samples

Teppan Okonomiyaki Masaya (Okonomiyaki) MASAYAてっぱん お好み焼き まさ屋
We had lunch at Masaya as it's one of the highly recommended restaurants in Furano. The food was good but the queue was long. We waited for about 30mins before getting a table, and by then we were all hot and sticky because the ventilation in the restaurant was not good and there's no air-con or fans near the entrance. The entrance is also very cramped, definitely not too stroller-friendly. 
Overall I'll still recommend it, do go earlier!
Family Amenities: Baby chairs (very limited)

Furano Marche 1 & 2フラノマルシェ
The second stop was the most important stop to get fresh local produce! We still had many days left for the trip but it didn't stop us from getting corn, garlic, onions, etc. Corn is available at the airport though so if it's too much of a hassle, you can get it at the airport at a premium price.

The 2 Marches are just opposite each other. Marche 2 is much bigger, with children's facilities like diaper changing room, children's play area.

Little V running around in the children's play area
Furano Marche 2
Furano Marche 2
Furano Marche 1
Melon with soft serve ice cream at Marche 1
Tiny watermelons

Ningle Terrace ニングルテラス
If you love handicraft items, don't miss Ningle Terrace! I almost wanted to give it a miss since it didn't look very interesting from the photos I found online. After visiting the place, I understand why! No photos are allowed in the shops as items are hand-made by local artists. Some of the artists actually work on the items within the tiny shops. Sounds like a dream to me! I enjoyed my time there and brought home a hand-made scented candle!

There's ramps on some parts of the trail so you can bring your stroller if you want. I chose to use the baby carrier as it's more convenient to shop.

Kumagera くまげら
It was a rainy afternoon so the weather was perfect for hotpot! The restaurant was already crowded by the time we reached, but thankfully we didn't have to wait too long for a table. There was a lady who tried to cut my queue by saying that they are a big group, but the staff was quick to point out that I was there first. We were seated at the second floor, and the restaurant was really busy. Since the restaurant was divided into different seating areas, it was quite hard to find a staff when we needed one. We ordered 2 sets and they were just right for the 4 of us. 

English & Chinese menu available
Meat set
Seafood set

Farm Tomita ファーム富田
Day 5 - Farm Tomita is the must-go attraction during summer in Hokkaido. Although all of the other tourists to Hokkaido will think the same as you, and you will probably have many instances of being photo-bombed, I highly recommend that you visit it, and allow more time for this stop!
Mapcode: 349 277 672
Family facilities: Diaper changing table on second floor of Hanabito House (but no rubbish bin), diaper changing table (inside handicapped toilet near Potpourri House)

Sakiwai Field
Hanabito Field
Lavender Forest Field
Lunch break at Potpourri House
The milk was sooooo nice! Little V doesn't take fresh milk in Singapore but she loves it! Kept asking for "more more"!

We had our lunch break at Farm Tomita's cafe (at Potpourri House) out of convenience. Little did I know that the food are sooo delicious! I loved the croquette and the broccoli! I can finish a whole bowl of that broccoli!! The menu looks quite limited (curry dishes if you want rice), but all of us enjoyed the meal tremendously! 
Lavender soft serve is a must at Farm Tomita! Just because it's pretty!!
Dried lavender sold at the shops
Potpourri House
View from the greenhouse
Irodori Field
Little V was super happy climbing up and down the slopes
Tomita Melon House is within the same compound, so don't miss it!
Mapcode: 349 306 108

Sweet melons! But sitting outdoors during summer is really quite hot!

Furano Jam Garden, Kyohsai Farm ふらのジャム園 有限会社共済農場
Mapcode: 550 803 272
Since we overstayed at Farm Tomita, I decided to skip Flower Land Kamifurano and go straight to Kyohsai Farm. 
We passed by the Anpan man shop but didn't enter since we are not fans.
Little V was very interested in the fountain just outside the store, so we stopped by for some water play.

Lots of different jams available for sale and there's samples for trying! We bought a few bottles of jams, walnut honey (highly recommended!!) and miso. I regretted just buying one small bottle of walnut honey. It was gone within a week or two!
There's a diaper changing room as well!
Hascap fruit vinegar

Rokugo Viewing Platform 麓郷展望台
Rokugo viewing platform is just a short drive from Kyohsai Farm. Just continue driving from the direction where you entered from and you will find the platform at the top of the hill.

Hitsujinooka ひつじの丘
We reached Hitsujinooka at about 5pm and thought we should just have early dinner. It was a good call as the last order was at 6pm. The restaurant staff asked if we were campers there (probably there'll be a discount for them or priority seats). We were seated outdoors - dining with a beautiful view of sunset. The tables were REALLY sticky though.
Family facilities: Baby chairs
Mapcode: 349 199 021*63

Tents of campers

My mil doesn't take mutton, but the "special meat" was good enough for her! It's probably one of the best meals in Hokkaido! We ordered 1 portion of special meat/ pax + 1 vegetable set, and it was just nice! I could have eaten more vegetables but it's quite expensive!

Shirogane Blue Pond 白金青い池 美瑛
Day 6 - First destination of the day was the blue pond in Biei a.k.a the famed Apple wallpaper. We were blessed to have great weather that day so the pond was really blue! There's not much to do there  as it's just a small path along the pond. We took a lot of selfies in between the trees though!
Mapcode: 349 568 888

Shirahige Waterfallしらひげの滝
This was another touch and go attraction as you can only view the waterfall from the bridge.
Mapcode: 796 182 604

Mt.Tokachi Observatory 十勝岳望岳台
There's a lot of bees at the observatory! The 360 view was good though! 
Mapcode: 796 093 373

Santōka Biei-ten 山頭火 美瑛店 
Lunch was ramen at Santoka! They have an outlet in Singapore at Cuppage and I really love the pork cheeks! There's actually not a lot of lunch choices in Biei, but this was a good choice! We were served quite quickly, and there's detachable baby chairs available! Little V was excited to sit in the baby chair (for a while only). 

Hokusei No Oka Observatory Park 北西の丘 展望公園
Mapcode: 389 070 315
The observatory was about 15mins walk from the carpark we parked at, which I think was the wrong carpark. It was an upslope walk from the carpark, with many steps!! Not so child / elderly friendly in my opinion.

View from the top of the observatory

Hill of Zerebu ぜるぶの丘 
Hill of Zerebu is quite an interesting location if you have older kids. There's ATV riding here and it looked so fun! There's also a cafe and shop, and ice-cream! 
Mapcode: 389 071 384

Pay for your ice-cream using the vending machine first and then pass your receipt to the staff to collect your ice-cream
Yet another ice-cream selfie with awesome backdrop

Shineinookatenbo Park 新栄の丘展望公園
This was one of those places which I bookmarked but didn't intend to go unless we run out of places to visit. But since I had recorded everything on my google calendar, my hubby the driver automatically keyed in the mapcode and off we went! Great job!!! The sunflower field was sooooo pretty! 
Mapcode: 349 790 676*01

My favourite photo of the trip! <3

Shikisai No Oka 四季彩の丘
Shikisai no oka was the last flower farm of the day, and it was packed! The carparks were packed, the shops were packed, there were tourists everywhere!!! I guess it's a popular tour bus destination since there's a lot of things to buy there!
Mapcode: 349 790 676

Sennari 千成
It was fortunate that we were able to find the restaurant as we left the wifi dongle back at the airbnb! The meat was freshly sliced upon ordering, and although we were just dipping the meat into plain water and then dipping into the sauces (optional), it was sooo good! We ordered pork and mutton and both were delicious. The old gentleman told us "swipe 4 times for medium rare, 8 times for well done". There's a minimum order of 1 serving per pax, and the meat was quite overwhelming for us. We managed to finish them though.

The meat went very well with the sauces! Ahhh now I'm hungry!

And that's the 3 days of adventure in Furano and Biei!