My family and I just returned yesterday from a vacation to Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. I have to say, we had a wonderful week and I was NOT at all eager to come back to the humidity of southern Japan where summer is still in full swing.
Out of the nearly 400 pictures I took, at least a dozen of them were new manhole covers (we did a lot of driving :)). This one from Nakafurano illustrates my entire reason for planning a trip to Hokkaido in the first place:
Yes, that’s lavender on there and Nakafurano – indeed, the whole Furano area – is famous throughout Japan for its summer displays of lavender flowers. Although I had previously lived in France for quite some time, I never managed to make it to Provence in July when the lavenders fields there burst forth in color. France is a bit far these days but I still wanted to get my purple flower fix.
Surprisingly to me, most of the lavender in Furano is contained within farms – we only saw the odd field here or there of wild lavender. But the farms (which are free to visitors) have done a beautiful job of carpeting the landscape with not just lavender but a host of other flowers as well, everything from poppies to marigolds to sunflowers. Hokkaido is a bit off the beaten track for most visitors to Japan, but if you’re making your way here in the summer, a drive through the Furano area is a must.