Asahikawa to Shirogane – Thursday 7 June

John: when do we start to climb?

Sue: we are climbing … 2 – 3%

A very late start. The kind ladies at the tourist office booked 2 nights for us. We weren’t able to do it online ourselves and they spent invaluable time with us to phone and book.

So now we can cross the mountains and not backtrack. Whew!!

We stocked up on 11’s and lunch from the Deli France, bakery at the station … they have the best produce … yesterday by popular request from my kids I had to have a ‘Sapporo Cheese Tart’ it turns out locally it is a ‘Kinotoya’ and it was delicious. Today I had a double cheese bread … OMG a square bread roll topped with cheese and inside soft cheese … to die for!!! (11’s taken at 12:45pm); ‘lunch’ a salad roll … yummy and cranberry bread roll … also yummy. Lunch at 1:50pm at a road rest stop in the silver birch forest.

Memories of a picnic lunch with Mum and Dad in Caloundra, Queensland at some tables at a roundabout and as a 13yo I was so embarrassed.

A 47km day along a water channel with hills as a backdrop to rice paddies and greenhouses.

Loving the striking colour schemes of houses and their gardens with spring blooms.

Then we have some amazing rolling hills with spectacular patchwork views.

We go through the lovely town of Biei – they have put a lot of effort into tourism; street signs in English; cycle paths in place.

The road to Shirogane is straight and a gentle 1-3% climb – we don’t even feel it. Lots of tourist buses … ummm! Now I know Blue Pond!!

We have been just behind the rain today … before us is puddles that look fresh and cars with wipers on. Blue Pond turn off, the carpark has 10 buses … people everywhere. We join the hundreds and are amazed at the beautiful coloured pond.

Only 3km to our guesthouse … an onsen then the rain starts … luckily after dinner the rain stops and we venture down towards a bridge … John looks back and a WOW factor … the snow scattered mountain of Mt Tokachi what a sight along with the waterfalls. By now there is low cloud and visibility is restricted … tomorrow we will come back for another look.

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