Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hokkaido Summer 2012 北海道夏季之旅 - Patchwork Road 拼布之路

Travelled 12.07.2012

- Buckwheat, asparagus and barley fields -
Patchwork road is located on the northwestern side of Biei, and passes through various agricultural fields which are all arranged in square plots of land. These plots of vegetation resembles patchwork when viewed from above, thus explains how its name came about. To me, it was indeed an eye opener as I finally got to see how some common vegetables looked like before it ends up on our plates. As we passed by each field, our taxi driver will stop and introduce that vegetable to us - buckwheat, asparagus, potatoes, barley, rice, etc.

Biei is well-known for its scenic natural landscape of fields and hills. Another highlight of Patchwork Road is its "famous" trees that are located along the route. Most of them became "celebrity" trees after appearing on TV commercial or packaging.

(1) Ken & Mary tree - this giant poplar, standing in the middle of a field, was featured in Nissan skyline "Love Skyline"commercial in 1972. It is named after the actor & actress in the commercial.
(2) Seven stars tree - a lone oak tree that appeared on Seven Stars cigarette packaging in 1976.
(3) Family tree (亲子の木) - made up of two taller trees with a smaller tree protected in between by both.

(4) Mild Seven hill - this colony of trees appeared in Mild Seven cigarette advertisement.
(5) Northwestern Hill Observatory Park - a pyramid shaped observatory which allows one to see Mt Tokachi range on a good day.

- View from observatory -

How to get there? 
(1) Twinkle Bus Biei Course. Route covers Ken & Mary tree, Seven stars tree, Family tree and Northwestern Hill Observatory Park. Departs from Biei JR Station and entire bus trip takes about an hour. Bus service is only available from June to October. Fee = 500 yen.
(2) Bicycle is another popular mode of transportation to tour the Patchwork Road. Do take note that it takes approximately 3 to 4 hours to cover the entire course and there are slopes (uphill) to overcome along the way.

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