Manhole Monday: Nakafurano

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.

Lavender at Farm Tomita
Lavender at Farm Tomita
Lavender at Farm Tomita
Lavender at Farm Tomita

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.

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