Roadside station in Yoichi Town!

by Chiseko

This is the roadside station in Yoichi Town where the Japanese first astronaut, Mr. Mamoru Mouri was born and NIKKA distillery that has got the best whisky award few times.
Can you imagine the aisle in the space station that has inclination. This box is showing the aisle of the space craft,I think. It has tilt of about 5 degrees from the horizontal level so I felt the gravity from the left.
The exit of the box is like that of a space shuttle.
The roadside station is called "Space Memorial Museum DOME "in Yoichi Town.
The design is so intriguing and has the charm of earth color.
Many tourists visit this station every week end.
This is NIKKA distillery where the tourists can enjoy the taste of real whisky derived from Scotland. The founder of this distillery Mr. Masataka Taketsuru learned how to make whisky in Scotland and got married with a Scotish lady Lita. He helped another distillery run by Suntory in Kyoto City but he sought for the best place to make the real whisky and stick with peat and the water from the peat.
They have no kids like us but adopted a boy to continue to run this distillery. I can imagine how Lita had a tough time to settle in and get used to the culture of Japan, particularly in Hokkaido. At first they run the farm and orchard and sold the fruit juice to earn the money to establish this distillery. I was very happy to hear that the Whisky Magazine wrote about the distillery and the single cask of the whisky distilled in this distillery got the first award of whisky on this globe. I can not drink alcohol but the atmosphere and the culinary delicacy provided  in the restaurant of this distillery  is so nice. Some kinds of whisky can be tasted for free in the restaurant  with snacks. Yoichi Town has the most bars and bistros for the population in Japan.   


Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa, Kamikawa!

by GEN(Kamikawa Sub-prefectural Office)

How is going everybody?

Today I would like to introduce Asahiyama Zoological garden in Asahikawa City though many people know about it. 
Asahiyama Zoo was opened in 1967. While other zoos in Japan were having tough time to allure the visitors in the decrease of kids, it introduced the way of exhibiting animals in which the visitors could see the creatures swimming, roaming, flying and doing other activities in close distance in 1997. The way of exhibition was called "KODO TENJI" which means "exhibition of action "in Japanese , and introduced by Asahiyama Zoo for the first time in Japan. The introduction of this way of exhibition attracted many visitors and number of visitors increased by leaps and bounds. In 2011 FY, affected by the devastating earthquake and Otsunami in eastern part of Japan, the number of visitors to the zoo decreased so much but it recorded the number of approximately 1.72million people. It can be said that the zoo has kept its position as one of the best three zoos as well as Ueno Oncho(Grace) Zoological Garden in Tokyo and Higashiyama Zoological Garden in Nagoya. 

This photo shows one of the famous "exhibition of action" in which a seal is swimming through the transparent pipe that connects the pool for seals inside and outside the building.The visitors in opposite side can be seen through the transparent pipe.
This is Humboldt Penguins.In winters, the penguins show the parade in the zoo and as they stroll just in front of the visitors, that drive the kids crazy !
this polar bear is the most popular in this zoo. The bear is facing the window made of sheet glass. the visitors and the bear are gazing at each other from opposite side of the glass shield. It is so popular that the visitors may have to make line to gaze at the bear in close distance from opposite side of the glass shield.
The kid chimpanzee is jumping from the rope to another and the performance like a acrobat performer in circus makes the cheers of the audiences.
This is called "mixed exhibition" in which active animals and lying animals are in the same place. A jefroik monkey and capibara is in the same place. It is so humorous that the capibara pay no attention to the monkey and  is lying down so comfortably. Other than that the mixed exhibition of spotted seals and sea gulls can be seen in the zoo. 
Familiar animals such as lions, tigers, hippopotamus and orangutans are raised in this zoo as well as endangered species such as lesser pandas and eagle owls called "shima fukuro". On every Sunday and holiday, the breeders of each animal give the lecture on the behavior of the animal and other interesting attractions are arranged so much.  The annual passport can be purchased for 1,000 Japanese Yen and the entitles the guest to visit the zoo as many times as he/she can for a year since the purchase. Please buy the annual passport  of the zoo and visit it again and again. Needless to say, not only the kids but also the adults can enjoy enough their stay and walk in the zoo for all day long, being eased their pain and given the comforts. I guarantee! 

Address: Postal Code 078-8205
         Kuranuma, Higashi Asahikawa-Cho, Asahikawa City
Phone: 0166-36-1406
URL: http://www5.city.asahikwa.hokkaido.jp/asahiyamazoo

Entrance Fee: Adult 800 Japanese Yen
          (The citizen of Asahikawa City 580Japanese Yen
       Group 700Japanese Yen/ person(
           (The citizen of Asahikawa City 480Japanese Yen)
       Junior High School student and younger kid: for free

 ・Open            ~Nov.3, 2012        9:3017:15
  (Night zoo)     Aug.12~16, 2012  9:3020:00
            Nov.18, 2012~Apr.7, 2013 10:3015:30


Winner of the quiz, June!

by Kazu

Yes! This is Kunashiri Island off shore of Shiretoko Peninsula! It is a part of Hoppo Ryodo(Northern Territory) called Kuril Islands in English.

Thank you very much for sending me the right answer.

The winner is Andy from the U.K. If any prefernce on the present to you, Andy, please do not hesitate to send me ! But the present should be selected from the ones produced in Sorachi sub-prefectural area.

Thnk you again for attention and visiting this blog site!

Another dragon in Uryu Town!

by Kazu

This is the roadside station along the route 275 in Uryu Town.
There is no dragon in the town.
The roadside station was closed at 17:00 so we could not get the stamp for "stamp rally" to get the present such as the products of Mikasa City, coupons to stay in the hotel at the roadside station in Hokuryu Town, the products
in Naie town, coupons to stay in Naganuma Onsen Hotel, 30 kg rice produced in Uryu Town, pickled veggies and bottles of wine produced in Utashinai City, coupons to stay in the cottage in Fureai-no-sato of Takikawa City, bottles of wine produced in Tsurunuma Winery in Urausu Town, culinary delights produced in Cippubestu Town and Yubari City.

The toilet in the roadside station can be used around the clock but the vendors open from 10:00 to 17:00 and the stamp is available bin the same hours.

Mr.You Ooizumi(right) is the local personality and actor in Hokkaido but is very popular nation wide.  Mr. Youji Kimura(left) is the anchor man of Sapporo Television Company and very popular in Hokkaido. He can be seen around Sapporo JR station, particularly in the drug store at the station.
In this languid days, please get the present produced in Sorachi sub-prefectural area by getting the stamp in each roadside station from 10:00 to 17:00. The application form is placed in each roadside station beside the box to put in the form. Please enjoy driving safely!                                                



Dragon? Hokuryu Town!

by Chiseko

I think the legends of dragon in Japan was made by the people who saw the tornades that connect the ground with sky.
Speaking of Hokuryu Town, it was devided from Uryu Town located  in the south of Hokuryu Town. The name  of Hokuryu derives from north of Uryu that is the namesake of Urirobetsu that means the river where many cormorants range in the language of indegenous people in Hokkaido Ainu.   
The gate of the roadside station in Hokuryu Town is concocted with two dragons.
Hokuryu means northern dragon, can I say?
There is no legend of dragon in Hokuryu Town but the citizen of Hokuryu Town need the power of dragon in the economy.
Iis this building like Amalienborg Slot in Copenhagen of Denmark?
I am not sure how the design of the building was decided. In the rice fields the building is existing.
Hot spring spa is also in the building.
Hokuryu Town produces the rice of high quality so the restaurant Fusha (windmill) should be tried even though it was not on the Michelin's Guide Book.Rice burger is very popular.  
Hokuryu Town produces black soy beans and sunflowers, too. The products made from black soy beans and sunflowers are sold in the souvenir shop in the building.
This is the entrance of the hotel ad spa.
The stairs to the nursing room are decorated. "Stamp rally"is arranged by the associatuion of roadside station. If you can collect all the stamps of the roadside station in Mikasa City, Ashibetsu City, Utashinai City, Takikawa City, Urausu Town Fukagawa City, Chippubetsu Town, Yubari City and Hokuryu Town on the form placed in each station and put it to the post in any roadside station, something will be sent to your address as a present. 


Michelin's Guide Book recommends ! Soba-dokoro Ashimoi

by Chiseko

Anybody could remember the soba restaurant in Horoshin Onsen, Numata Town that is recommended to visit to stay in comfortable space?
In Michelin's Guide Book, 100% buckwheat cold noodle is recommended to have as well as 20% wheat and 80% buckwheat noodle that is made of grains of wheat and buckwheat kept in storage air-conditioned with snow.
Those hand-made soba noodle is amazing to swallow with the fresh smell of buckwheat like sushi -grade raw fish.
I chose the small rice bowl set with three colour topping made of minced and sauteed chicken,  scramble egg and tuna.  Hot noodle soup with a shrimp tempura accompanied with it. After soaking in the onsen spa, having these bowls is recommended in the guide book and I could understand what the writer intended.  
Besides, the quiz of the month, June is politically difficult to answer, maybe.
I think the island can be seen from the pass in the area listed on the World Heritage of UNESCO. I am not sure the name that the residents of the island call it.
If anybody got the right answer, please send it to 

It is getting hotter today! I think it is much cooler in the island. 



Ashimoi Station in Numata!

by Chiseko

I have posted the photos of this station ASHIMOI before but I did not have enough time to walk around the station at that time. So I took more photos of Asimoi railway station.
The station and the old ryokan near the station was used for TV drama of the national broadcasting company NHK.
The name of the old inn is Nakamuraya Ryokan. Actually the camera shot  inside this building.
This is the station for the railway that connects Numata Town in Sorachi subprefectural area and Rumoi City on the coast facing the Sea of Japan and its current name is Ebishima station.
The downtown of Numata Town is in this direction.
Rumoi City and the Sea of Japan are in this direction. I have not tried the train to go to Rumoi City from Numata Town. I have not seen the train before. Is it really connecting Rumoi and Numata? 

Sekkasai, Snow Festival in Summer!

by Chiseko

It may be a much smaller snow hill  than I imagined but it is very difficult to preserve the snow mountain in this season.
The name of the festival in Mumata Town in Sorachi sub-prefectural area is SEKKASAI. Snow board and ski aerial competition is held in this suburban area of Numata Town.
During the competition, the slope should be repaired again and again to avoid falling down and extract the best performances.

It was so cool for the beginning of summer that I had to eat hot noodle soup at the venue of the festival.
The performers showed us almost perfect 360 degrees turn and monkey flip on this slope.
The mayor of the town, Mr.Kanehira  will visit British Columbia of Canada for sister relationship of the municipalities. 
All the performers were enjoying their going overboard in their play.
Those are the present to the superior performers. Of course, rice produced in Numata Town. I am eager to eat the rice.
I think this is the only one place to do snow fight in summer. In winter, the snow fight tournaments are held in various place of Hokkaido.
If the member of the snow fight team was hit by the snowball, he or she has to get out of the battle field.
The firefighters team was so strong and showed very nice teamwork and speed to conquer.
YOTAKA ANDON MATSURI(Fighting lantern festival) will be held in Numata Town on August 24(Fri.) and 25(Sat.) this year. I strongly recommend to visit and see the festival because I extremely enjoyed the festival last year guided by the mayor.
Everybody is enjoying the performance and the food sold at the stands.
Skewered grilled chicken and hot noodle soup were so popular in this cool weather.
I got very nice FUKI, petasites japonicus, at the venue of the festival and it will be in my lunch box tomorrow after boiled, sauteed and flavoured with soy sauce with broth.