Apr 1, 2015
There are no lack of things to do and check out in Tokachi. Ready for one of the most exciting adventures of your life?
This is the only place in the world offering such a form of horseracing. Horses weighing up to a ton (they are touted as the “world’s biggest horses”) pull an iron sleigh along an undulating course. Races take place every Saturday, Sunday and Monday. There is a shrine on-site where students are known to pray at for good luck at their university entrance exams.
The magnificent view of Tokachi from here is worth a visit! And when you get hungry, be sure to dine at Farm Restaurant vis known for its splendid Hungarian cuisine. Chef Viktor is adamant at keeping to the culinary traditions of his home country so patrons will get to enjoy authentic Hungarian dishes. The restaurant uses meat from the Mangalitsa pig – a hairy Hungarian porcine that is known as the “Kobe Beef of Pork”.
Part of the Hokkaido Garden Path, a 200km drive that stretches from Asahikawa to Furano, the Tokachi Millennium Forest is a huge piece of real estate consisting of several gardens, some award-winning, designed in different styles. Don’t expect organised, landscaped-to-death gardens. Plants and flowers are grown in a seemingly haphazard manner to resemble Nature. Segway tours are available and they take you through the gardens into the forest and up the hills for an exhilarating time.
The dogs are of husky-pointer mix and are well taken care of in a large compound where they are able to run free and have their own kennels. The dog sleigh experience is about two hours and includes training you how to operate the sleigh, and a tour through the winter landscape.
Although it is no longer operating, this train station is a popular stop with many because its name means “Happiness”. Write your wish and name on a Ticket To Happiness, and stick it on the walls of the wooden platform. A great place to have your wedding photos taken too!
Visiting Tokachi in winter? Then don’t miss out on the ice festival at the onsen resort located by Lake Shikaribetsu. Explore the igloos built on the lake specially for the season. Each igloo gives a unique experience: an ice bar where you can enjoy a drink from an ice glass you carved, an open-air onsen, a chapel … the structures are there until they melt with the arrival of spring.
Here’s a piece of advice regarding hotel stays: don’t book just one hotel for all your days at Tokachi. Split your stay between a hotel in the city, an onsen hotel and one that offers a farmstay experience. Fujita Farm Country Farmers is a milk-cow farm with lodges and a campsite for those who desire to experience what it’s like to work with livestock. During spring and summer, guests will be given the chance to milk the cows, come into contact with the calves etc.
If you can afford it, splash out on a night’s stay in one of its Spa Suites where your room will come with its own private onsen. The hot spring water of Tokachigawa wells from deep underground and gets its heat from solidified magma. Amber in colour, the water is alkaline and is effective in treating skin disorders, earning it the name “beauty onsen”).