Hokkaido - Daisetsuzan/Asahidake to Sounkyo
Updated: Nov 25, 2022
Today, we're travelling from the southern aspect of Daisetsuzan mountain range to the northern side. Breakfast at La Vista Daisetsuzan was generous. I'm sure my parents would like to stay there.
Lunch @ Fratello Di Mikuni
11am-2:30pm, 6-8pm. Closed on Mon.
http://fratello-di-mikuni.com/ Can book via their website
Booked for 11:30am.
We were blown away by our dining experience at Fratello Di Mikuni. The person who set the restaurant up is a genius. The small grey container-like building sits on the edge of a small quiet hill. The seats are arranged such that their diners are able to appreciate in the vast scenic view that lies in front of them, be it lush green during summer, or pearly white during winter. We had the 母なる大地のコース which set us back by ¥5500 for 6 courses. The creamy freshly picked corn soup sets the tone for the meal: heart-warming, simple yet well-thought through.
The second course is a shower of Hokkaido scallops and grilled eggplant coated with tomato foam. Confit of Duck gizzard on a baked sweet potato is a unique dish that we enjoyed. The Spaghetti tossed with Zuwai crab and broccoli was super yums.
The main dish was a thick juicy slice of Amamu Pork Roast (from Ebetsu) with a symphony of grilled vegetables.
We spent a good 3 hours dining, enjoying the view and each other’s company. The place is so remote that our WiFi router had no signal, but that didn’t matter.
Fratello di Mikuni featured in a Magazine
Daisetsuzan no Mori
Entry is ¥800 per adult.
Free parking - entrance is by the field, not up the hill.
Not too far away from our lunch spot, the Daisetsuzan no Mori’s flower garden is a visual theme park to roam around, and as we do so, we can start to digest our heavy lunch. The flower park has five different sections, each has its unique architectural layout and flora make up. The experience in wandering around this park is different from those which I had when we were visiting the Lavender farms. The Daisetsuzan no mori flower garden is interactive. There are more flower species for us to gaze at. And at the back of the garden, there is a huge swing for us to play with.
Kurodake Ropeway Station
We got the round way ticket - for both the ropeway and the chair life (¥3000 per adult)
I wished that we got here earlier. Preferably 3pm so that we could enjoy a slow stroll. But despite the short period of time, we managed to cover a lot of ground. The first segment of our journey is covered by the Ropeway which runs at every 20 minutes. You can appreciate the size of the valley, and the whole of Sounkyo town through the windows as the cable car travels up. At the Ropeway Kurodake station, one can climb up to the roof to enjoy that priceless bird’s eye view.
A short walk away is the base of the Kurodake Chairlift. It’s a gentle ride up to the 7th station, from where serious hikers can climb to the summit of Kurodake and beyond. Technically one can climb across the mountain range, and descend via another ropeway to La Vista Daisetsuzan, where we stayed the night before.
Thanks to the cloudy day, we were enveloped in mist as we ascended Kurodake. This lends a dreamy effect to our experience. Unforgettable.
This is the hand-drawn poster of the Momijidani hike which starts slightly east to the Kurodake Ropeway station. Google map link
Momiji-no-taki Waterfall © fork and foot
We were hoping that we had a bit more time in Sounkyo before checking in. We would have liked to check out the Momijidani hike, but the sun was going to set soon.
Stay @ Sounkyo Kanko Hotel
Checked in 6:15pm - it was a short drive from the Kuradake Ropeway Station.
This appears to be a popular choice amongst tour agencies - we noticed several large groups of Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese visitors checking in as we arrived. The buffet is generous, though a lot of dishes didn’t appeal to me. Apart from the Ramen self-cooking station and freshly cooked Tenpura counter, a lot of the dishes had a South-East Asian slant to it. Sashimi options was mainly limited to Soumen-ika (thinly sliced squid), and Ama-ebi which I had to peel the head off myself. (Upon reflection, those heads would be better utilised if i could simmer them into a stock). The reason why i picked this hotel is because they have free flow Zuwai crab. Period. Haha. If I was back in Sounkyo again, I would like to try out another hotel.
Tomorrow: we want to see the beautiful views at Bihoro pass, and make our way to Shiretoko. [Click on me for tomorrow's itinerary]