Hey!!! How was your week? Recently Pokemon Go was released in Japan and everyone is so crazy about it at the moment.
I was planning to hunt some pokemon, but actually last Friday I fell when I did some work out routine, so I can’t really walk in a long distance.
That’s why I decided to give you guys a new post! hahahaha just kidding. I already prepared for this post since last week.
Anyway, let’s get into the topic.
Some of you probably already knew that last December-January, I decided to go to Hokkaido (again). Wew, it was already 7 month ago. Time flies ne..
This time, I go with this cutie, Pamela from Taiwan and we decided to explore some parts of Hokkaido other than Sapporo. Our first destination is Biei!
The town itself is listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Japan. Let’s see how beautiful it is.
Biei 美瑛 is located at the northern part of Hokkaido. You can reach there from Furano or Asahikawa. Since we were staying at Sapporo, it was more convenience for us to go from Asahikawa. There’s a express train that can take you to Asahikawa from Sapporo in just 2 hours, and the one way trip cost you around 5000. But if you travelling in pair, you can get a cheaper price. I don’t really remember how much we paid for the express train because we got that discounted ticket.
And from Asahikawa, you need to take a local train to Biei, which is about 30 minutes. If you come with Japan Rail Pass, the entire trip is fully covered.
Since the location is a little bit on the north part, the temperature is lower than the one in Sapporo. When I went there, it was a clear, sunny day and the temperature was -15C during the day and it rose at night. If you go there on winter, don’t forget to stay warm.
Don’t forget to wear gloves too
The town itself is so lovely. In every building, you can see the years the building was built. And most of the building has this European, stairs-like roof (that kind of roof that you can find in Denmark and other European countries). I was not as crowded as we expected.
We arrived at around 10ish, we were hungry but no restaurant opens before 11. Hahahhaa I got tired waiting for the food. Our itinerary for that day is quite packed.
Our first destination is the Shirogane Onsen. We did not plan to go to the onsen, but around that onsen, there’s a small waterfall where the water was really blue. It was kinda similar with the blue ponds. Except, this one is a waterfall.
Actually we planned to go to blue ponds during the day, but the tourist information center told us that the pond was already frozen at december and you can’t see anything blue. We were advised to go there at night for the light-up. Therefore, we changed the destination to Shirogane Waterfall.
To go here, you can take a bus from in front of the tourist information. The bus took around 30 mins ish and it costs 540 ¥ one way. I don’t remember if they have a one day ticket or not.
The blue river
To go visit this place, take the bus and get down at Shirogane onsen. This place is only 10 mins walk from the bus stop.
After visiting the waterfall, we went back to the tourism center and wait our taxi tour to Patchwork Road. It’s a beautiful, scenic landscape in Biei. Yes you read it right.. Taxi tour. In summer you can rent a bike and bike around this area. However, in winter you don’t really have a choice about the transport. That’s why, this tourism center, provide you with the taxi tour.
The price depends on the route you choose. Me and my friend want to see the Patchwork Road and the taxi cost like 8000¥ ish. But don’t worry, they’ll ask you if you want to share with other tourist and we opted to share. That’s why we share with other 2 tourist from HK.
Taxi Tour, STARTED!!!
The patchwork road is famous for the rows of trees and some of them are used in commercial. Like this larch trees used in Mild Seven Hills (it’s a cigarette) commercial.
The sun was pretty bright and it made the snow looks like a desert.
Another popular tree is the Seven Star Trees, which is also used in another cigarette commercial.
There’s another tree named Ken and Mary.
And the my favourite is the father and son tree.
This was taken from a far. Our driver was so kind. He told us that actually there was a small tree in between those two taller trees, but it had to be cut down. Later, he brought us closer to the tree.
We started our Patchwork tour at around 2 PM and we get back to the tourist center around 3:30.
Then we wait for our next bus to go to see the blue pond. The bus departs at 4 PM.
It was so cold already.
Ah! Yes… In Hokkaido during the winter, it gets dark quickly. I think at 4 or 4:30 ish it was already starting to get dark.
We dropped by the onsen again to see the lit up and then we took the bus and got off at Aoi Ike Iriguchi to go to the Blue Ponds.
Blue ponds is just 15 mins walk from the bus stop. However, be careful because the road is slippery and it was kind of dark (minimum lightning).
However, the illumination in blue ponds was really stunning
In early winter or late winter (when the snow has melted), you can see the pond with blue water and white snow on its surrounding. But in the middle of winter, usually the pond is frozen and that’s why they lit it up to make it prettier.
I want to see the blue pond, but prolly I need to go there again next time. For now I am quite satisfied with the frozen one.
Lastly! When you went to the blue ponds for the lit-up please be careful of the last bus. If you don’t drive, the modal of transportation around Biei might be not convenience enough. Me and my friend were supposed to take the last bus from the Aoi Ike to the station, however it was TOO COLD, and we decided to go back earlier. However we need to wait the bus for an hour and I kinda got frostbite already. So we decided to call the cab company.
Luckily we found another 2 tourists from Malaysia and 4 of us shared the cab together.
Alright, that was my journey at Biei.
And if you asked me several tips, I’ll summarise my tips here:
- Plan what you want to see in Biei, especially if you don’t drive. As I mentioned several times, the transport during winter is not that convenience.
- Grab the bus schedule and don’t hesitate to share your itinerary with the tourist centre staff. They’re really friendly and they can suggest you the route to cover all your itinerary (that was what me and my friend did, we just followed their suggestion).
- Stay warm!
- Make friend, probably you can share a cab with some other tourists hehehe
- If you prefer a more relaxing journey, you probably want to stay at Asahikawa (so you don’t have to go back and forth to Sapporo)
That’s all for me. If you have ever visited Biei, please share your experience in the comment below.
And as usual, your comments are very much loved! Stay tuned for my next adventure in Hokkaido!
Amazing place, beautiful pictures.
Awww thank you Nash, you’re the best!
Around what time was it when you took those really cool night photos? (the last few)
Thanks so much for your blog, beautiful picture. May I ask where is the tourist office in Biei? Which part of Biei would you recommend me staying? I would like to see the same things as you did.
Yes, there is a tourist office in front of Biei Station. Once you get out from the train station you can see it immediately.
I stayed at Sapporo and I went for a day trip to Biei. If you want to stay closer to Biei, I think Asahikawa has several ryokan or hotel.
I barely saw any hotel in Biei, so I think for accommodation I’d suggest Sapporo or Asahikawa.