After the excitement of buying Shinkansen-shaped sharpeners for the grandbabies, the rest of the day went very smoothly. First at 13:46, a train from Otaru Chikko on the I Shikari Liner (yes, there is an r at the end) to Sapporo – just over half an hour.
Our journey today - about ninety three miles by car, a bit further by train.
Ten minutes between trains and on we went on the Lilac Liner to Takikawa, passing this handsome chap at one of the stations we went through.
Possibly outside a university, we saw hundreds of bicycles parked in a long line.
Six minutes between trains to scurry to the Nemuro Line (no r at the end on this one), we boarded a one carriage – what we call a push-me-pull-you. The driver was snuggled up at the front leaving the rear end drivers seat for me to photograph. The dials, gadgets and the view.
This must be the hottest little train – ever. Anoraks and tops coming off all down the train.
Lots of farmland.
The countryside views just got better and better.
Then we saw a white speck in the tree line.
The white speck became fleeting dots that got bigger, until we could see the top half of a statue. Several attempts to get a picture proved that buildings are cunningly quick at jumping in the way. It wasn’t until we slowed toward Ashibetsu Station that I did indeed manage to capture the top half.....
...............as we pulled away from the town the track did a left turn and gave us the full view of the statue. The Dai Kannon of Kita no Miyako park ( 北海道大観音), also known as the Hokkaido Kannon, as well as the Byakue Kannon, is the third-tallest statue in Japan, and is the tenth-tallest statue in the world, tied with the Grand Buddha at Ling Shan. It was considered the tallest statue in the world when it opened in 1989 at 88 metres (289 feet), holding the world record until 1991.
Planning of the statue first began in 1975 and construction occurred until its completion in 1989. The statue depicts Guanyin (Avalokiteśvara). The statue contains over 20 floors with an elevator, with floors containing shrines and places of worship, eight in total, and a platform providing a panoramic view of the area to visitors.
Housing has gone from blocks of flats to dwellings of all shapes and sizes.
'Torii' - a gateway at the entrance to a Shinto shrine, as the afternoon sun turned everything red.
Crossing the River Ashibetsu.
Dusk and mountains as we near Furano.
Leaving the train, Bear standing at the back and his new friends.
Pointing to Furano - the middle of Hokkaido Island.
There is a happy welcome to this town, actually a city.
We had twenty minutes to wait for our bus, the Tourist Information Office was next to the station so in we went. Ayshe (originally from Seattle) was really helpful with advice on the touristy front and made sure we got on the right bus up to our hotel. Bear had to convince the driver that our cases needed to go in the hold and that gave me time to suss out the ticket business. You take a ticket when you get on stamped with the bus stop number, as you go along the cost in yen clocks up on an electronic display at the front. So, we got on at number eleven, when we got off we shoved our tickets and money into a machine by the driver, baby conveyor belt and all, and off we got at our hotel, Beds was soon settled, small the room looks but behind our bed is a corridor that takes in a wardrobe and sink, further along is a door that you step up into the bathroom. Yes, Bear, it’s one of those toilets and yes, I’ve switched the seat temperature up to high................the best thing about our room is the television takes our external hard drive. We watched episodes of Longmire and cobbed a squat – had a picnic at our small table.
ALL IN ALL A VERY PRETTY JOURNEY
A HUGE VARIETY OF SCENERY AND TRAINS