One of the great things about nature is that not everything goes the way you planned. This was a journey that made me realize the power of the land.
Hiking up Mt. Tokachidake to the hot spring located at the highest elevation in Hokkaido...at least, that was the plan.
Mt. Tokachidake is an active volcano located on the south side of Taisetsuzan National Park.
The Ansei crater, which erupted during the Edo period, and which continues to spew smoke now and then,
is a very popular trekking course, mainly because you can feel the heartbeat of the volcano up close.
So, we planned a girls' trip up there.
First we headed for Tokachidake Hot Spring Village,
where the "hot spring above the clouds" is located at an elevation of 1,280 meters, the highest hot spring in Hokkaido.
The mountains and sky felt within an arm's reach, and the 360 degree spectacular view of the area was breathtaking!
We drew energy and power from the natural hot springs and went to bed full of excitement over
the scenery and the possibilities that lay in store for us.
The unplanned secret hideaway. White birch colonnades dressed in golden grandeur.
The following morning we opened the curtains and were met with an unbelievable sight.
Fog, rain, wind, and no mountains in sight!
We had to give up climbing, but the mountain guide decided to escort us to a special hideaway.
"This area called Nisshin is located on the boundary of Kami Furano and Biei.
There are many Hokkaido squirrels, north foxes and Ezo deer here,"
the guide explained while we gazed at the intoxicating beauty of the white birch trees and their golden foliage.
While on our walk, the guide picked some wild grapes for us.
While feasting on these sweet and sour grapes, I wondered if the animals ate these as well.
Girls' time to enjoy herbs and sweets!
Next we visited a store where you can experience blending your own herbs.
After learning of the use of each herb from the staff,
we blended herbs according to our physical needs, then relaxed while we enjoyed a hot cup of original herbal tea.
At the confectionery nearby, we ate sweets made with Kamifurano ingredients such as Kitahonami wheat.
The patissier told us that once in awhile cakes made from potato or rice appear in the showcase.
I couldn't help but think that I wanted to try that the next time I came.
As I gazed upon Mt. Tokachidake from Wada Sogen and the Donguri-no-Sato, I wished that the next time I came, I would be able to climb the mountain.
Last we visited the Wada Sogen and Donguri-no-Sato.
On the east stood the Tokachidake Mountain Range,
and on the south Mt. Ashibetsu and Mt. Yubari. If you looked behind you,
you could see the entire city of Kamifurano; this was an amazing view point.
Though we were unable to climb the mountain, we were still able to enjoy so many aspects of Kamifurano.
I also realized that one trip here was not enough to fully appreciate the area.
"Next time we are climbing for sure!," We promised ourselves.
Tokachidake Hot Spring Village, Ryounkaku, Outdoor Mountain Guide [Tree Life],
Oka-no-Terrace (Herbal teas), Patisserie Merci, Wada Sogen and Donguri-no-sato(Kamifurano Hachiko)