Ken & Mary Country House: Hokkaido

A Nissan Skyline ad from the 70’s featured an aspirational American couple, Ken and Mary, which became so popular with the Japanese. The couple inspired this Country House accommodation for tourists in Biei: You can inquire about room availability for your Biei/ Furano visit here:  Pension Ken & Mary. And just outside this Country House…

Rainbow-coloured Shikisai Hills: Hokkaido

Shikisai Hills has an Alpaca Farm and rainbow-coloured flower fields!! Except… the blooms were just hinting at what they will become as they were still in the process of growing.  In the fullness of time, these hills would look like a multi-colored carpet bursting with color! In certain seasons of our lives, we’ve already planted…

Kamifurano Lunch Stop by Miyamatoge Art Park: Hokkaidoo

We had a barbecue lunch by Miyamatoge Art Park.  We didn’t have time to go inside the museum but just went to the adjacent Yakiniku restaurant. The view is beautiful, the photo can’t quite capture the natural beauty of this poetic landscape. I liked the sausage for the yakiniku but the other meats were a little…

Shirahige Falls, Biei, Hokkaido

A very short drive away from the Biei Blue Pond is the Shirahige Falls. The flowing water to the beautiful turquoise waters below resembles a “White Beard” and that is the meaning of its name, “Shirahige.”  The waterfall descends from 600 meters above sea level. We can view this pretty waterfall from Shirogane (Blue River)…

The Philippines Through The Eyes of a Japanese: Yoshida Nobara

Yoshida Nobara is a Japanese illustrator and graphic designer from Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu.  She earned a degree in Scenography, Space, and Design at Musahino Art University (Tokyo) and then worked at RISSIINC Creative Studio.  In 2017 when her husband came to the Philippines for work, Nobara-san left behind her comfort zone…

Lavender Farm Tomita, Hokkaido

Ever since I saw in Provence how the lavender is hailed for its medicinal, culinary, decorative, aromatherapy, domestic application uses, my esteem for this plant has blossomed. It’s been my longtime dream to come to the Lavender Farm Tomita in Furano City, (Hokkaido Island) and wade in a purple sea of flowers. So much excitement…

Mac OSX Mountain Lion Screensaver: Biei Blue Pond, Hokkaido

In 1988, the tallest volcano in the Tokachi Volcanic Group from Daisetsuzan National Park, Hokkaidō in Japan— Mount Tokachi— erupted.  In order to protect the nearby town of Biei from mudflows, Biei River was treated.  This process accidentally put colloidal aluminium hydroxide in the water which then caused the water to turn this gorgeous hue of blue. So grateful that despite…

Hokkaido: Chateau Furano

Not far from the Furano Cheese Factory  is Chateau Furano in Hokkaido. They use local ingredients for their wine production.  A visit to the factory allows you to learn about how they make their wines with a walk-through to the wine cellar/ aging warehouse. Free wine samples are available. There is also a gift shop…

Hokkaido: Furano Cheese Factory

Furano Cheese Factory (富良野チーズ工房, Furano Cheese Kōbō) has an open window for guests to see how the Japanese Camembert cheese is made. Squid ink cheese and other cheese samples welcome you. Informative displays and vintage dairy memorabilia are on display. Interactive displays are available for guests to explore: Educational workshops are also available. Besides the…

Shogo the Violinist, Osaka

Was walking around Osaka Station and by Lucua Depato, saw a violinist performing. He had an upcoming concert at the Piccadilly Beronica at that time.  This is one of those times when I really wish the microphone on my phone worked well. At least it captured some of the sound but if you are around…

Chouette Owl Cafe, Osaka

Google Maps prematurely says “You have reached your destination” one building away from the actual Owl Cafe.  [Map] If this hasn’t been corrected and the building in front of you doesn’t look like an owl cafe, walk a little further and look for these signs: Ow..live owls stay in round-the-clock airconditioning in ho(o)t 😅Osaka’s Happy…

Osaka: Organic Building by Gaetano Pesce

“Co-existence of greenery, architecture, and human beings” is the concept of Gaetano Pesce-designed Organic Building, completed in 1993 to embody the corporate ideal of Oguraya Yamamoto Co., Ltd. Its shiny terra cotta-coloured facade has protruding steel-encased concrete planters which nurture over 50 varieties of plants irrigated by a computer-controlled hydrating system in a Vertical Garden…

Rokkosan Part 2: Alpine Botanical Garden

Rustic botanical garden at Rokkosan. The Gardener who designed this is brilliant 😍 Thank You Lord for these beautiful flowers, trees, mountain, brooks. So refreshing to be in the midst of this beautiful garden. John 15: 1 NIV [Jesus said,] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”

Rokkosan Part 1: Rokko Garden Terrace

From Arima Onsen station, you can take the cable car to go up Mount Rokkosan (Rokko Sancho Station). From the top of Rokkosan, you can see a panoramic view of Kobe and Osaka. There is a Japanese version of Peter Rabbit mascot at the garden. and you can find him at the bus as well!…