Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Ecorin Village えこりん村, Ten-Man

Visited 11.02.2013

Wanted to visit a farm in Hokkaido this time round though not the best time to do so. Most farms are not open to visitors during the cold winter season. After much research, I found this farm - Ecorin Village, which is located not too far away from Sapporo (about 40 minutes by local train) and was operating in winter. Was contemplating whether to visit Tsudome site (part of Sapporo Snow Festival) or Ecorin Village - as I was unsure what the farm could offer in winter. Decided to put this into my backup list instead.

After attended several snow/winter festivals throughout the journey, we decided to give Tsudome site a miss and made a last minute change in itinerary - to visit Ecorin Village in the morning, before heading down to Otaru in the late afternoon. Took the train to Eniwa JR Station and transferred to the free shuttle bus to Ecorin Village.



(1) Ecorin Village 

- The two main attractions in Ecorin Village are Ginga Garden and Green Farm. Ginga Garden is an outdoor botanical garden, decorated with about 1,000 different species of plants. Green Farm is home to many alpacas, sheeps, lamas, miniature horses, etc. Ginga Garden is closed in the winter, while Green Farm is flushed against a white background and transformed to a snow playground for both animals and visitors!  

See how a Shepherd dog herds the sheep
- Visitors can come close to these adorable alpacas, e.g. feeding and petting them. There are also animals shows arranged at different times of the day. Watch demonstrations on how a Shepherd dog herds the sheep, such as gathering the sheep together and directing them from one place to another. Visitors can even participate in the sheep race by guessing which is the winning sheep. You will get to feed the sheep if your guess is spot on. Apart from that, you can also try out other snow activities such banana boat (pulled by snowmobiles) or take the farm tour truck (additional fee required). Read that the other highlights in Ecorin Village during winter is the annual sled dog race held on one of the weekends in Feb (typically one week before Sapporo Snow Festival).

Sheep race - some sprinited to the finishing line when the gate was opened, while others took their own time...


(2) Ten-Man

- Decided to settle our lunch in Ten-Man, located within Ecorin Village. Housed in a fairy tale-like cottage, Ten-Man offers a salad bar buffet and ala carte items such as meat patties and soup curries. Very comfortable interior and overall dinning experience was excellent. The salad bar is packed with seasonal vegetables, that are grown without any pesticides and chemical fertilisers, and delicious desserts/puddings. Love the savory (and not too spicy) soup curry which will make one crave for more (and more rice)! Was a pleasant surprise to find such a good restaurant tucked in this farm.

- We also put our hands into making our own alpaca out of sheep wool in one area of the restaurant. The entire process took about 20 minutes, with step by step guidance by the instructor. A good DIY souvenir to bring back home from this holiday.

Right: Our own alpaca made out of sheep wool. 

(1) Ecorin Village えこりん村
Opening hours (normal):
0930 - 1700 hrs (26 Apr - 30 Sep); 0930 - 1600 hrs (1 Oct - 3 Nov)
Entrance fee = 1,200 yen (Ginga Garden and Green Farm)

Opening hours (winter):
1000 - 1530 hrs (2 Jan - 28 Feb)
Entrance free = 500 yen

(2) Ten-Man 
Opening hours: 1000 - 1800 hrs


How to go there?

(1) Free shuttle bus service from Eniwa JR Station.
Bus timetable:

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