Next to Sorachi is the Kamikawa subprefecture. For many years, the area has been a favourite with local Japanese who want to experience the special ‘diamond dust’ snow of Hokkaido but it is quickly rising in popularity with foreign tourists hoping to experience authentic Japanese sightseeing and activities. Most locals travel around the area in a car, as there are many interesting stops to be made in between attractions.
There are many areas to explore within Kamikawa, starting with Bifuka. The small town is known for its stunning nature, especially its forests. An activity called ‘forest bathing’ is highly recommended in the area. To try forest bathing, head to Torokko Ohkoku to take a trolley train ride through the forest. While on the ride, passengers can take in the scenery of the surrounding forest comfortably. The idea of forest bathing is to be rejuvenated and reenergised from looking at the trees’ lush foliage and appreciating the wonders of nature. Along the 5km trail, be sure to look out for hidden treasures like gushing waterfalls and even wildlife like deer, squirrels, and even owls.
Bifuka is also the largest rearing area of sturgeon. One of the best places to savour sturgeon is at Bifuka Hot Spring. The traditional hot spring are like many found in Japan and has two indoor baths, an outdoor cold bath and a sauna. However, apart from spending a relaxing time at the therapeutic baths, many visitors to Bifuka Hot Spring will also indulge in a sturgeon kaiseki, a multiple course meal featuring seasonal produce. For this particular kaiseki, diners will be able to try sturgeon cooked and prepared in a variety of ways.
After visiting Bifuka, travellers can start to make their way towards Asahikawa but not without visiting two small towns, Nayoro and Kembuchi, along the way first. In Nayoro, make a snack pitstop at Shimizu Farm, which sells a wide variety of Hokkaido food souvenirs, such as daifuku, which is a Japanese mochi confection. At Shimizu Farm, the large daifuku come in lots of different flavours; traditional ones include matcha green tea or strawberries with red bean filling and more novel ones include cantaloupe, and even green peas.
From Nayoro, more fun and feasting awaits in Kembuchi onwards to Asahikawa. In Kembuchi, families with young children should definitely check out Viva Alpaca Farm. The true highlight of this farm are of course, the alpacas. Fluffy and wild-haired alpacas are raised on this farm and visitors can buy small
FROM TOP The beautiful scene of forests in Bifuka on the trolley ride