Tsurunuma Winery and Vineyard in Urausu Town!

by Kazu

The winery run by Hokkaido Wine Inc. in the vineyard of Tsurunuma area in Urausu Town was still open at the end of 2012.
I heard that it sells the limited 1,100 bottles of vintage red wine this year.
Which bottles do you think are the vintage wine of 2012?

The name of the vintage is "Ronde". The staff explained me that it is the namesake of London Olympic. Of course, I bought one of 1,100 bottles but I have not tried yet.
Various kinds of reputations can be heard from the people who have tried this vintage but I decided to lay down the bottle in the trunk room of my condominium. It requires some time to stable the quality of the contents of the bottle, I think.
Held by Mt.Shokanbetsu(dake), the winery and vineyard are fast asleep in the snow but steadily they are accumulating the power to flourish in summer and autumn. If you think that the vintage bottle of Tsurunuma winery is appropriate for the present to the winner of the monthly quiz for January of 2013, please leave your comment on this blog site.
So many people are trying to found their own winery and vineyard in Hokkaido. Do we have to arrange the scheme to avoid the case in which the new comers lead a dog's life at the beginning of their establishment? It is so difficult to lead them back to the original career track.    


Karamatsu-en in Naie Town recommended by "Le Guide Rouge"!

by Kazu
"Bib Gourmand"「ビブグルマン」
means that the researchers of Michelin company strongly recommend to visit the restaurant, considering the cost performance and the quality of dishes. In the Michelin's guide book "le Guide Rouge", these restaurants are introduced with the face mark of Monsieur "Bibendum", the character of Michelin. This sign and standard started to be
used for restaurants in 1997 and for hotels in 2003. In the outskirts of Paris, the average cost should be under 29 and in Paris it should be under 35 Euro, and in the U.S.A., the price of under 40 dollars is required for two dishes  and wine or dessert. In the special edition of "le Guide Rouge" for Hokkaido area, 3,500 Japanese yen is the border to be listed on the guide.
The owner of the restaurant is sticking with the buckwheat flour called "botan soba" produced in Urausu Town without pesticide and the buckwheat noodle is made from the mixture of 20% flour and 80% buckwheat flour.
Buckwheat helps our body to discharge the waste matter, helps our intestine to digest and absorb what we need, and further more, has the effect to avoid colon cancer and large intestine cancer.
 On top of that, it contains three times as much  pantothenic acid  as white rice and the acid works enough to compound hormone, to recover from the physical weary and to strengthen the liver. It is also so high in Rutin that strengthen the blood vessel and stabilize the blood pressure. The owner's policy is at
http://www.karamatsu.co.jp/  but only in Japanese.
Do you know that Japanese people eat buckwheat noodle soup at  the midnight of December 31 every year?


Diner "Fuji-en" in Shintotsukawa Town!

by Kazu

One coin lunch diner "Fujien" is at the roadside of Route 275 in Shintotsukawa Town. Every lunch-set menu costs 500 Japanese Yen. It offers hors-d'oeuvre for year end dinner for 7,000 Japanese yen or more.
It seems that the staff of the town hall uses the diner frequently.  
I chose "Stamina Don" which contains sauteed beef and onion. The surface is covered with melted cheese that keeps the bowl hot and tasty. It was so hot that it took long time
 to eat up the bowl.

It should be tried by the people who visit the town, I think. Pickled Chinese lettuceand radish were also nice to have. To be honest, I prefer more strong flavour and twist but it is the best taste for ordinary people. Have a great holidays!


Winner of the quiz for December!

by Kazu
The illuminated trees are in front of the Hotel named "MIURA KAEN" in Takikawa City,
Sorachi sub-prefectural area of Hokkaido!
Details of the facility is at
The winner of the quiz is****************
Fatinnadiah in Malaysia!???? Congratulations!

The present to the winner in December is "Pan Forte", the traditional whole cake of Siena in Italy but I don't  think it is appropriate to send the cake to you in Malaysia.  Is it acceptable for you Fatinnadiah to receive the coupon worth 3,000 Japanese yen issued by credit card company? 

If it is OK, please send me the address in secret to send the coupon for you  to ikeda.kazuaki@pre.hokkaido.lg.jp ;)    

Thank you very much for attention and sending me the right answer.
It may be a special treat of December because you are living not in Japan but in Malaysia.
But because I really appreciate your attendance to this blog, I would like to send you the present. 

The very best of happiness for you!
I pray for your good health, happiness and success in 2013.
I will be waiting for your response to send the present!
Kazuaki IKEDA
Director, Regional Policy Division
Local Policy Planning Department,
SORACHI Sub-prefectural Office,
Hokkaido Government


Hint of the quiz for December 5!

by Kazu

So far no right answer has reached me.
I can not send the Christmas present to the winner of the quiz this month, can I?

Then I post the fifth hint.

The city where the facility exists has the population of 43,170.(full census as of 2010 ), household of
18,947(full census as of 2010 )
The city has the width of 115.82 square kilo meters.

This is the main entrance of the facility. The illuminated Christmas trees are in front of the entrance.
Field mustard is the popular flower which decorates the east area of the city beautifully.

Have you got the idea where is this ?
Please send your guess to ikeda.kazuaki@pref.hokkaido.lg.jp
The first person who has sent the right answer to me get the traditional whole cake of Siena in Italy, Pan Forte shown on the left.
 I guarantee the fantabulous taste of this cake!


Hirafu, Niseko in Shiribeshi sub-prefectural area!

by Yukihiro Hiro Takahashi
What a fabulous powder snow!
 Amazing special quality and quantity of the snow in Niseko Hirafu!
It is still snowing!


Finished Snow clearing by Snowblower .!

Finished Snow clearing  by Snowblower with Hiro.
朝の除雪終了。by Yukihiro Hiro Takahashi
I have just finished snow clearing this morning! What a tough work every morning but the top grade powder snow enable us to ski in wonderful white world!


Hotel Suizantei 翠山亭 in Jouzankei !

by Alan

I was so impressed by the interior and the atmosphere created by the total coordinate of furniture and the decorations in the hotel. I thought that is the sophisticated Japanese style of subtle hospitality.If I had a bit of chutzpah, I could have ask the staff of the hotel who had designed the building and the interior. 
One of my Japanese friends introduced this hotel in Jauzankei that is called the special guest room of Sapporo City.
All the room of this hotel were booked up on the day before Christmas and year end. This area is very popular even for the citizens of Sapporo City, who live near Jouzankei area.
   My friend explained me that even such sophisticated hotel that offers reasonable prices and excellent service as well as superb cuisine had a tough time affected by economic recessions. But after pursuing "only one" and "number one" to attract the tourists and citizens,  this hotel was reborn as other hotels around this area were.     
This is very Japanese but was adjusted to the modern taste to make the visitors the repeaters. Occidental way to absorb the oriental taste seems so snobbish for me but I love this real sophisticated fusion of oriental taste and western.
These kinds of furniture make me expect what will happen during my stay in the hotel. Actually, this hotel has a special traditional Japanese-taste spa for the guests who are staying.    
The main hot spring bath is on the second floor and the approach to the spa is decorated with bamboos and white stones.
The souvenir shop is also filled with items covered with Japanese lacquer and oriental flavour.
But I am not sure if the citizens of Sapporo City and adjacent cities buy such Japanese japans in this hot spring spa and hotel.
The floor of the locker room is warmed up with the hot water from the spring.
Almost all the guests who stay this hotel soak in the hot spring bath before dinner but not so many people were in the bath at four o'clock.
I was the only person to soak in the Jacuzzi at that time.
It was minus 10 degrees in Celsius outside but the hot spring bath outside is the "must" for the guests who love that.
The steam hides the bath tub in the air of minus 10 degrees.  
I read the Japanese book for over one hour in this bath tub while many guests came in, soaked and went out. As a result, the towel on my head and the hair on my back were frozen up albeit I kept perspiring on my face and head.  
It has another bath tub for Jacuzzi outside.
 Cold air from outside makes fog with the steam from these bath tub. This type of Jacuzzi is very popular in the resort of North America and Europe, I think. But, different from the ones in those countries, we do not have to wear a swimming gear.
Some icicles are made up at the end of my hair and towel. But I was really relaxed in the hot spring bath outside. I could not have soaked in the bath if I had chose inside. 
The plain hot water gave me the real world of imagine. I heard that many famous authors loved and had their own nests in the hotel of hot spring area to write up their works of letters. I understand the effect of those elements such as superb cuisine, comfortable hot spring spa and excellent hospitality that inspire the Japanese novelists.  
The total relaxation encourages the guests to buy what they do not need in their usual life. But for mementosof their jaunts, something unusual might be required to forget the house and office chores.
Am I right, Norm


Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa City!

 by Kamikawa Sub-prefectural Office of Hokkaido Government

Ashahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa City may be the most famous zoo in Japan. The zoo places the accent on  showing the natural behavior of the animals to the visitors.
Among the various types of exhibition, its penguins' parade is the most popular and
 pretty exciting event in winter. The course of penguins pilgrimage is fixed in the zoo and the visitors have to wait for the penguins along the course. 
Of course, the manner to see the penguins closely should be strict. But looking at the penguins going around the zoo in line and excellent manner may be the best code of conduct for the visitors including the kids who are struggling to control their desire to touch and hug the penguins. In the Antarctic area, the penguins of this kind called king penguin walk 100 km on the ice even in the harsh blizzard. do they like to walk a long distance? Its small
steps lead them to the pretty brood steadily. Shall we minimize the occasion to drive a car in the city?


Hint of the quiz for Decembe 4!

by Kazu

So far no right answer has reached me.
I can not send the Christmas present to the winner of the quiz.

Then I post the fourth hint.

Now that the restaurant on the ground floor in the facility of the quiz is offering such kinds of lunch and dinner

Stellar ☆lunch  ¥1,800(including tax)
  Amuse   Soup & pie
  Appetizer   Coctail of avocado and tuna
  Pasta      Spaghetti of house-made
                         smoked salmon and veggie
  Main dish   Fricasse'e of scallop and shrimp
                        Sauteed chicken with cranberry sauce
  Dolce     Mini roll cake bush de Noel
          House-made bread & coffee
Nave☆lunch・dinner ¥3,500(including tax)
 *reservation is required for lunch
  Amuse   Soup &pizza
  Appetizer  hors-d'oeuvre (two kinds of the day)
  Pasta    Spaghetti of shrimp and root of lilly
                       with tomato Americane
  Main dish  Grilled crab meat and white fish
                        flavoured with sea urchin
                        Marin'e of roasted lamb with herb
  Dolce    Chocolate mousse & fruit tarte
          House-made bread & coffee

Have you got it?
Please send your guess to ikeda.kazuaki@pref.hokkaido.lg.jp
The first person who has sent the right answer to me get the traditional whole cake of Siena in Italy, Pan Forte shown on the right.
 I guarantee the fantabulous taste of this cake!
It is good to have it with red wine.

Again, where are these illuminated Christmas trees?


Hint of the quiz for December 3 !

by Kazu
So far no right answer has reached me.
Is it too difficult this time?

Then I post the third hint.

The municipality where the facility exists is exert an effort to promote sky sports.

The facility has played a roll as the venue of wedding, parties and various kinds of meetings for a century. The well-established facility has taken steps with the citizen of the city.

Please send your guess to ikeda.kazuaki@pref.hokkaido.lg.jp
The first person who has sent the right answer to me get the traditional whole cake of Siena in Italy, Pan Forte shown below. I guarantee the fantabulous taste of this cake!
Have a great weekend and happy merry Christmas!
                                                                                                Adding to the hint above, the facility has a nice Italian restaurant that serve the dishes shown below on the ground floor.                                                                         
 It also has an excellent Japanese restaurant on the third floor that serves the dishes above. Have you got it?