Go walking with a guide atop the hills of Biei, which are normally out of bounds. But on this tour, we have special permission from a farmer to enter their land. The scenery that you can see only as part of this tour is sure to move you! Listen to your guide give fascinating explanations about the farming, farm goods and nature of Biei while getting a close look at the produce growing in the fields. The development of the crops will differing depending on what season you take part as well as the changing scenery are the real charms of this plan. (Pictures taken in May).
Before you head into the fields, first you must take care to disinfect your shoes with lime. If you don't do this, there's a chance that bacteria and tiny bugs stuck to the underside of your shoes can mix in with the soil underfoot. This can cause havoc in the fields and can mean that the produce growing will be unsuitable for harvest.
With that out of the way, let's head to the fields!
Though our first obstacle is a steep hill, haha…
Our hearts are pounding with excitement at the thought of what kind of scenery will expand before our eyes…
Truly this is a road that seems to lead right into the sky. The line where the sky meets the hills is so beautiful. It's quite a surprise to imagine that farmers work on these steep slopes!
Along the way, you can see the plume of smoke rising from Mt. Tokachi before your very eyes. The contrast of snow lingering on the mountaintops and the fresh green of wheat planted in autumn is scenery that is characteristic of Biei. We also recommend that you try comparing the difference in development of wheat planted in autumn against wheat planted in spring.
On this tour, you can get a close look at all kinds of produce being raised in the fields. (Pictured: Sugar Beet). If you look very closely you can see young seedlings poking up out of the earth. These seedlings start to emerge around halfway through February, before the snow starts to melt. Walk a little more and this time you can see a field with sugar beet planted directly into the soil. Even though it's the same crop, you can see differing stages of its development depending on the time of year you visit.
If you're lucky, you might even see a tractor at work. Seeing one up close really makes a strong impact!
Do you know why this stalk of bamboo has been left sticking up in the field? It's been placed there to accurately mark the ridgelines in the empty earth. Using this bamboo stalk as a guide, the tractors can spread water and manure over the fields. This is a clever trick employed by the farmers of Biei to work more efficiently in the huge fields.
Since 2012, it seems that the water channels between fields that once connected to the plains have become enormous holes due to damage by heavy rains. It seems they've tried to fill them in many times but the rain just keeps hollowing it out. Now it's so deep that you can see right down to the bedrock! Farming really is at the mercy of mother nature.
As you gaze at the white plume of Mt. Tokachi right in front of you, the footpath comes to an end.
After you explore the footpaths, head to La Laiterie Ferme Biei and enjoy a yummy soft serve ice cream as a bonus! The rich, creamy flavour encased in a waffle cone baked in-house is exquisite.
La Laiterie Ferme Biei is about 20 hectares big (that's about four Tokyo Domes!) and on this vast plain they raise over 120 cows of three different species—Jersey, Brown Swiss and Holstein.
There's a footpath here at La Laiterie Ferme Biei, too. If you still have the energy, why don't you give this one a try? If your timing is right, you can get a close look at grazing cows.
You can enjoy differing development stages of produce and scenery depending on the time of year you join this Footpath Walking experience.
Biei's beautiful scenery has been created by the hard work and skill of the town's farmers. Give thanks to them as you walk, gazing at our treasured scenery, and enjoy this experience that is unique to the town of Biei.