Furano - April in Hokkaido - CycleBlaze


The next morning feels particularly cool - perhaps the slight rise in altitude, or maybe it's the strong head-on wind? 

It's actually zero.

I don two pairs of cycling bottoms, cover my face with a woolen scarf and descend back down the long hill. Debbie, too.

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Our next port of call is Furano, which boasts some of the world's best powder skiing, with winter sports fanatics from around the world packing the local hotels between October and February. 

By late spring, backpackers have usually started to arrive in Furano and in June the surrounding farmland comes alive with colourul fields of lavander and other blooms - attracting another swarm or tourists. Not that you'd know it when we cycle into town, the pistes are empty, the fields have a dusting of snow and most touristy businesses are taking a well-earned siesta.

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At night, we settle in a snug restaurant for dinner. I have a tapanyaki-style dish fried on the metal counter-top, which doubles as a bar, and Debbie enjoys some kind of local fishy soufle that seems to be popular with customers.

Or course, Sapparro Beer is served draught - it's brewed in Hokkaido's main city. But so are various other lagers, whose names now escape me. All I can say now is that by the time we leave, we've both had our fair share and stagger back through the deserted streets amid a flurry of swirling snowflakes.

Today's ride: 50 km (31 miles)
Total: 239 km (148 miles)

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