[Experience Report] A refreshing walk – Biei Patchwork Hills Walking (Takushinkan Course)
Exploring the hills of Biei by car is all well and good, but how about exploring on foot while slowly taking in the hilly scenery?
Our Biei Patchwork Hills Walking course accepts bookings for a long period of time between Spring and Autumn and by taking part you can get the most out of Biei's beauty season-to-season. One of our local guides will lead you so you don't need to worry about getting lost. The walk also takes place on some main roads, so you can participate easily without the need to take any special preparations. (Photos taken at the end of June).
Set off walking through a peaceful silver birch forest!
When you pass through the forest and walk a little further, beautiful Patchwork Hills scenery unfolds before you. It feels wonderful to walk as you listen to the birds chirping.
The line stretching to meet the sky is incredibly beautiful. If you look closely, you'll see that when the sun hits the earth, the earth sparkles. The sparkly particles are bits of quartz and volcanic glass and are evidence of violent volcanic activity in this area 1 – 2 million years ago.
We came across this lovely wheat field.
From the walking course, you have a commanding view of the Tokachi Mountain Range.
You can get a good look at the fields from up close. If you'd like to take some pictures, please stand on the asphalt to do so as all kinds of bacteria and seeds can hitch a ride on the soles of your shoes. If you trespass in the fields, it might cause weeds to start growing or bacteria might spread disease to the crops.
When we took part in the second half of June, we could see potato flowers in bloom.
On the far side of the pasture being swept by the wind, we could see the beautiful Mt. Asahi.
Along the way, we felt the cool breeze as we walked by this row of trees. When you climb to the top of this slope, it's actually the 330m summit of a tiny mountain called Mt. Mamamiya. We conquered Biei's one and only mountain, haha!
You can take your time to drink in Biei's beautiful hills. The highlight of this experience is being able to stop and take a picture as soon as you think you'd like to take one—totally different from being in a car!
The colours of all kinds of crops weave together to create the pattern of Patchwork Hills. That pattern changes every year due to a scheme employed by farmers called “crop rotation”, whereby the plots of land are not used for the same crop again and again. In order to preserve the nourishment in the earth and to defend against disease, the plots of land are cycled through plantations of potatoes, wheat, sugar beet and so on.
So not only can you enjoy beautiful scenery on this tour but through your guide's explanation, you can also learn all about why Biei's hills came to be so beautiful, the area's history and nature. Why don't you join us for a slow walk through the hills as you breathe in the lovely fresh air?