Saturday, December 21, 2013

Combined Christmas Winter Vacation to Hokkaido, Japan and South Korea in December 2013 ~ Section 3

Welcome to the third section of my combined Christmas winter vacation in Hokkaido, Japan and South Korea in December 2013. There will be a total of five focus topics that will be covered in this segment of the report. They will mainly be our driving journey towards the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano, spending our first day of exploring in Furano, my culinary train journey towards Obihiro and our evening shopping trip towards Sapporo, followed by my relatively long train journey towards Abashiri.

Part 1 ~ The Road Journey Towards Forest View At The Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

After spending three enjoyable days of food and railways in Sapporo, it was finally time to head towards Furano to spend the week. On the morning of Monday (16 December), I woke up at around 6.30 a.m. after having a well-earned good night's sleep. As it was still too early to do anything, I simply did some surfing on my laptop and shot some early morning picture views of the Toyohira River.

Soon enough, by around nine o' clock, all of us were finally awake. The very first thing we did was to have a nice, and hot shower before changing into our respective attires for the day. Upon changing into our daily attires, we simply spent the rest of the entire morning packing up our baggage in our hotel rooms in preparation for the long road trip towards the sparse, rural city of Furano.

The beautiful early morning view of the Toyohira River from my Room No. 1136 shortly after I woke up

The dark view of my Room No. 1136 shortly after I woke up

A cloudy winter's morning view of the Toyohira River from my Room No. 1136

After spending the rest of the entire morning packing up our baggage in our hotel rooms, the clock was finally showing 10.45 a.m.. Checking both rooms to see that none of our personal belongings had been left unpacked, we sorted out our baggage sizes one by one, taking the elevator to and from the first basement car parking level of the hotel, with the heaviest baggage going first and our lighter baggage last.

Once all of our baggage had been loaded into the boot of our rented car, we drove up from the first basement car parking area towards the main hotel entrance, where my mum went to check us out at the main hotel reception counter, while the rest of us waited in the car. As soon as the check-out process was completed, we finally departed the compound of the Renaissance Sapporo Hotel by 11.20 a.m. for our long road journey towards the sparse and rural city of Furano.

In conclusion, the Renaissance Sapporo Hotel was of quite good quality, though it has much wider space than the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. This really made it a really good stay at the hotel. Through this, I can safely say that the Renaissance Sapporo Hotel has become my second-most favourite hotel in Hokkaido, Japan, after the Grand Park Hotel Otaru.

Furano (富良野市) is a small and sparse rural city located within Kamikawa Sub-prefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. The city is famous for its lavender fields in spring and summer, as well as the Furano Ski Resort for the winter. Access to Furano is relatively limited, with the nearest airport being Asahikawa Airport, and the main railway terminal being Furano Station on the Furano Line and Nemuro Main Line. The sparse, rural city has a total population of 23,555, as of 1 December 2013.

The first basement car parking area in the Renaissance Sapporo Hotel

Finally travelling along the roads of Toyohira-ku, Sapporo

Bypassing some housing areas in Toyohira-ku, Sapporo

Bypassing a steak restaurant in Toyohira-ku, Sapporo

Finally turning towards the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway

Bypassing a scrapyard along the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway in Sapporo

Bypassing a snowy open field along the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway near Ebetsu

Travelling along the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway near Iwamizawa

The view of a ski resort and a ferris wheel near the suburban city of Iwamizawa

Bypassing some houses in the suburban city of Iwamizawa

Travelling along the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway between Sapporo and Mikasa

Bypassing a snowy hill forest between the cities of Iwamizawa and Mikasa

Bypassing some snowy farming areas between the cities of Iwamizawa and Mikasa

Bypassing a snowy plot of land between Iwamizawa and Mikasa

Crossing a small river along the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway

Travelling along the quiet roads of the rural city of Mikasa

Bypassing some rural infrastructure in the rural city of Mikasa

Travelling past a rural, snow-covered field in the rural city of Mikasa

Bypassing some sparse and snowy rural settlements in Mikasa

Travelling past some leafless trees along a snowy road near Mikasa

A view of a mountainous snow forest between the rural cities of Mikasa and Ashibetsu

Bypassing a small ski resort in the rural and sparse city of Mikasa

A view of another mountainous snow forest between the rural cities of Mikasa and Ashibetsu

A small river flowing gracefully as we stop along a bridge between Mikasa and Ashibetsu

The view of an iron road bridge crossing a small river between Mikasa and Ashibetsu

Bypassing a snow-covered road in Ashibetsu

The view of another iron road bridge crossing a river in Ashibetsu

The view of several hilly snow forests in Ashibetsu

Bypassing more leafless trees in a snow forest in Ashibetsu

Bypassing some hilly snow forests between Ashibetsu and Furano

Bypassing a snowy hill between Ashibetsu and Furano

Bypassing a snowy open field along a secluded road between Ashibetsu and Furano

Bypassing another snowy hill between Ashibetsu and Furano

Bypassing some sparse snow forests along a secluded road between Ashibetsu and Furano

A warning sign on the snowy roads that warns motorists to beware of bears crossing the road in the summer

Bypassing some hilly snow forests near Furano

About to turn towards a road leading towards Furano

Bypassing some snowy farming areas in the sparse, rural city of Furano

Crossing the Sorachi River towards downtown Furano

The view of the Kitanomine Ski Mountain as seen from the car parking area at Furano Marche

Finally parking at the car parking area outside Furano Marche

After a relatively long road journey time of approximately 2 hours 10 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Sapporo, we finally arrived at a local food complex, known as Furano Marche (フラノマルシェ) at 1.30 p.m.. Leaving most of our belongings in the car, we went into the food complex and decided to search for a nearby cafeteria to have some hot beverages prior to resuming our journey towards the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano.

Soon enough, we finally managed to stumble upon a small cafeteria and bakery, which was known as Cazeres & Furano Café. Entering the bakery and cafeteria, we went towards an empty table, and ordered several hot beverages, such as hot cocoa and hot green tea latte. That afternoon, we had some nice, warm hot beverages at Cazares & Furano Café to warm ourselves up before resuming our journey towards the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano.

The exterior view of the Furano Marche food complex shortly after we arrived

The entrance to Cazares & Furano Café at Furano Marche

The interior of Cazares & Furano Café at Furano Marche

The main beverage counter at Cazares & Furano Café at Furano Marche

Four cups of cool water for us

Our nice and warm hot beverages at Furano Café at Furano Marche

After having some nice and warm beverages at Cazares & Furano Café at Furano Marche, the clock was finally showing two o' clock. Feeling ready to resume our journey towards the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano, we got all of our belongings and left the bakery and cafeteria by 2.05 p.m. to look at some more food stores prior to resuming our journey, of which, there were not much food items around.

Since we were also feeling quite hungry at the same time, we decided to look around the entire city of Furano to find a good restaurant to eat at for lunch. Heading towards the car parking area at Furano Marche, we boarded our rented car and departed the compound of Furano Marche by 2.10 p.m.. Upon leaving Furano Marche, we looked around the sparse city carefully to search for a good restaurant to eat at for lunch.

The view of the concourse of Furano Marche from outside Cazares & Furano Café

Turning back on to the main roads of Furano

A small ramen noodle restaurant located across Furano Marche

Bypassing some shops in downtown Furano

Furano Station located just ahead of us

Bypassing a 7-Eleven convenience store in Furano

Finally stumbling upon A-Coop Forest Furano

After driving through the frozen roads of downtown Furano for approximately 20 minutes, we finally arrived at a local supermarket, by the name of A-Coop Forest Furano (エーコープフォーレスト) by 2.30 p.m.. This supermarket has a total of two levels, with the first level housing the supermarket, and the second level housing a few restaurants. Feeling rather hungry already, we left our belongings in the car and went into the supermarket for lunch.

Climbing up the stairs towards the second level, we finally stumbled upon a local restaurant, by the name of Shiki no Megumi (四季の恵). Upon entering the restaurant, we requested for a non-smoking table for the four of us, eventually being led to one by a restaurant waiter. As soon as we were ushered to our table, we were left with the food and beverage menus for our own reviews before placing our main meal orders for lunch.

Having made a good review through the food and beverage menus, a waiter came by to our table to take down our main meal orders for lunch. We ordered several dishes that seemed to be suitable for our tastes and preferences, which included side dishes such as deep-fried chicken gristle. That afternoon, we had quite a filling and sumptuous lunch meal at Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano.

The main entrance to Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano

The main interior of Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano during lunch hours

The cover page for the food and beverage menu in Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano

Reviewing the food and beverage menu in Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano

A plate of fried chicken gristle to be shared among us

A plate of European pasta for my mum

A Wafu Steak Teishoku set for myself

A nice, warm bowl of ramen noodles for my dad

A sizzling hot plate of hamburg steak for my younger brother

After having a sumptuous and filling lunch at Shiki no Megumi, the clock was finally showing 3.05 p.m.. Feeling stuffed to the brim already, we paid our lunch bill and left the restaurant by 3.10 p.m. to look around the supermarket on the first level for some groceries. While at the supermarket itself, we bought some additional food items to ensure that we had some meat during our stay in Furano.

Upon shopping for some of our necessary food items for the stay in Furano, we headed back towards our rented car and loaded all of our groceries into the car. Soon enough, we finally departed the compound of A-Coop Forest Furano at 3.15 p.m. to resume our road journey towards the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano. The entire journey from A-Coop Forest Furano took no more than approximately 10 minutes.

About to climb down the staircase towards the first level in A-Coop Forest Furano

The interior of the supermarket in A-Coop Forest Furano

The view of the car parking area outside A-Coop Forest Furano during the early hours of dusk

The view of the Kitanomine Ski Mountains from the car parking area outside A-Coop Forest Furano

The exterior view of A-Coop Forest Furano just as we were about to resume our road journey

Our rented car at the car parking area outside A-Coop Forest Furano

Turning back onto the main roads of Furano again

The view of some snowy mountains in Furano during dusk

Crossing a road bridge in the direction of the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

Climbing up the road towards the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

Bypassing a snow-covered field near the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

Finally arriving at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

After a rather quick 10-minute drive through downtown Furano from A-Coop Forest Furano, we finally arrived at the car parking area outside the main entrance towards the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at 3.25 p.m.. While my parents went to check us in for the five-day stay in Furano, my younger brother and I remained in the car with the windows down to do our own personal things with our portable electronic gadgets.

Soon enough, our parents came out of the hotel with the hotel owner, Masaki Ikeno, with our Forest View chalet room keys. My parents then informed us that we would be staying at Chalet A for the week's duration in Furano. Once everything was completed, Masaki-san went into his hotel van, and showed us the direction towards Forest View Chalet, eventually arriving there by 3.35 p.m..

As soon as we had arrived at the Forest View Chalet, Masaki-san offered to assist us in the unloading of our baggage from our rented car. Once we stepped foot into the chalet, I could see that the chalet had a very interesting layout. The first level consisted of two bedrooms, along with a toilet and bathroom, whereas the second level housed the living room, dining room and kitchen, as well as a compartment containing several recycle bins and a washing machine by the kitchen.

Finally arriving at Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

The two bedrooms located on the first level of our chalet, with the left soon to be taken up by my brother and I, and the right taken by my parents

The view of the kitchen on the second level in our chalet

The view of the snowy mountains from our chalet in Furano during dusk

The view of our living room on the second level in Chalet A at the Forest View at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

The view of the road bypassing Forest View at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano during nightfall

After spending the entire evening unpacking our baggage and sorting our attires for the upcoming days, we were finally getting pretty hungry. Since we were lucky that we had a sufficient amount of groceries, my parents did all the cooking in the kitchen, while I helped out by setting up the dining table. That night, we had a very nice in-chalet dinner within the dining room on the second floor of our chalet.

Upon having dinner, we cleared the dining area and washed all the used dishes before we had a nice, hot shower and changing into our pyjamas for the night. For the rest of the entire night, we were left with nothing else to do other than to set up our electronic devices and the chargers so that we could have our own devices. It was not really until around three o' clock late that night when I finally turned in for a good night's sleep in the living room.

Part 2 ~ Spending Our First Afternoon Exploring Furano

The next morning, which was Tuesday (17 December), I woke up at around 10.30 a.m. after having a well-earned good night's sleep. Since I was still rather tired to stand up, I simply lay on the sofa surfing my laptop while still under my covers. The entire view of the very snowy surroundings around our chalet was very beautiful, especially at this time of morning.

Feeling rather bored already, I went to have a nice, hot shower and changed into my day's attire to start off the day. My parents also got up and made some breakfast for us before we deciding to start off our day. With the outer views from our living room, my parents also had to agree that the snowy surroundings outside our chalet was indeed quite beautiful.

The interior of our living room and dining room in the Forest View at The Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano during the late morning hours

The view of the deep snow-covered plateau located near our chalet in Furano

The view of the snowy mountains from our chalet in Furano

After spending the entire late morning resting in the chalet, the clock was finally showing 2.15 p.m.. Feeling rather bored already, we decided to go for some afternoon explorations around the sparse rural city of Furano. With that, we prepared all of our necessary items for the day, and went towards the car by 2.40 p.m..

Feeling rather hungry already, we decided to stop somewhere to eat for lunch first. With all of our necessary belongings ready, we hopped into the car and finally departed the snowy compound of Forest View at The Petit Suzuran Hotel Furano by 2.45 p.m., heading into the city centre of Furano to search for some good places to eat at for lunch.

The view of our car from the main entrance towards our Chalet A at Forest View at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

The exterior view of the Forest View semi-detached chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano just as we were about to begin our day's outing

The view of the snow-covered plateau from outside the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

The view of the snow-covered road bypassing some houses near the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

The view of a mountainous snow forest located near our chalet at Forest View at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

Our rented car parked just outside our chalet

The view of the snowy plateau near the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano as we begin our journey towards downtown Furano

Bypassing a roadside restaurant in Furano near the Forest View at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

Bypassing a 7-Eleven convenience store near the Petit Suzuran Hotel Furano

About to turn towards the road bridge that crosses the Sorachi River towards downtown Furano

Crossing the Sorachi River again towards downtown Furano

Finally arriving at the car parking area at A-Coop Forest Furano

After a very short 15-minute drive from our chalet at Forest View at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano, we finally arrived at the car parking area at A-Coop Forest Furano at three o' clock. Feeling very hungry already, we went into the two-storey building, and went up towards the second level to find a good restaurant to eat at for lunch.

Soon enough, we managed to stumbled upon Shiki no Megumi again, where we had eaten for lunch on the previous day. Entering the restaurant, we immediately requested for a non-smoking table for the four of us. We were then ushered to an empty non-smoking table by the self-service hot beverage corner, and were left with the food and beverage menus to make our reviews prior to placing our main meal orders for lunch.

The car parking area at A-Coop Forest Furano during the late afternoon hours on a sunny winter's day

The main entrance to Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano during the late afternoon hours

The cover page for the food and beverage menu in Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano

Reviewing the food and beverage menu in Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano

The side order menu for Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano

The interior of the inner non-smoking table dining section in Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano

After having a very good review through the food and beverage menus of Shiki no Megumi, a waitress finally came by to our dining table to take down our main meal orders for lunch. We ordered several set meals that seemed to be suitable for our tastes and preferences, including side dishes, such as fried cuttlefish, spicy fried potatoes and deep-fried chicken. That afternoon, we had a very sumptuous lunch at Shiki no Megumi.

Once my parents had finished lunch, they decided to head down towards the supermarket to purchase some more groceries. My younger brother and I opted to stay at the restaurant to finish off our meals and have some drinks before heading down to meet them. Soon, my parents paid the bill and left us at the restaurant at 3.40 p.m. to commence their shopping, while I had two cups of nice, warm hot cocoa, with my brother having his own drinks.

Our first platter of deep-fried chicken on our dining plate

A small platter of deep-fried cuttlefish on our dining table

A small platter of spicy fried potatoes to be shared among us

A small platter of potato and prawn gratin for my dad

A nice, mouthwatering meal set of deep-fried Tonkatsu pork cutlet for myself

A mouthwatering hamburg steak meal set for my younger brother

A fresh sashimi bowl for my mum

Our second platter of deep-fried chicken on our dining plate

My first nice, warm cup of hot cocoa for myself

The view of several mountainous areas from Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano

Another nice, hot cup of hot cocoa for myself

The main interior of Shiki no Megumi in A-Coop Forest Furano during afternoon tea hours

After having a nice, filling and sumptuous lunch at Shiki no Megumi Restaurant, the clock was finally showing four o' clock. Knowing that my parents had already paid for our lunch bill in advance, my younger brother and I headed down towards the supermarket to meet our parents to help out with some grocery-shopping for some meat items for a barbecue dinner later that night.

Once we had purchased and paid up for all of our meat groceries, we headed back to our rented car, where we loaded our groceries into the boot of our car, before finally departing the compound of A-Coop Forest Furano by 4.15 p.m. for the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano. Along the way, I decided to stop over at Furano Station to make a seat reservation for a planned journey towards Abashiri on Friday (20 December).

Upon making my Green Car (first class) seat reservation for my planned day trip towards Abashiri on Friday (20 December), we made one more stopover at Hyper Media Shop to see what else was there to buy. With my parents seeing that there was nothing to purchase at Hyper Media Shop, we resumed our journey back towards the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano, with the overall journey taking approximately 55 minutes.

Our rented car waiting for us outside the A-Coop Forest Furano

About to turn back into the main roads of Furano

Travelling past some houses near a petrol station in the sparse, rural city of Furano

About to make a turnaround towards Furano Station

The early evening view of downtown Furano from our car near Furano Station

The exterior view of Furano Station during dusk hours

The main station concourse of Furano Station during the early evening hours

Our rented car waiting outside the entrance to Furano Station

About to turn back into the main roads of Furano near Furano Station at night

Stopping at a car parking area near a necessity and games shop in Furano at night

Bypassing a petrol station in Furano at night

Crossing the Sorachi River from downtown Furano at night

Making a brief stop at 7-Eleven convenience store to purchase some light groceries

Climbing up the road back towards the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

About to make a turn towards Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

After a relatively long 55-minute road journey from downtown Furano, we finally arrived back at the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at 5.10 p.m.. Unloading all of our groceries from the car, we went into the chalet and stored all of the food items in the kitchen before having a nice, well-earned rest and preparing the dining table for dinner, with my parents preparing all the food in the kitchen.

Once all the food and cutleries had been prepared on our dining table, our parents finally called us out to announce that dinner was already prepared. With that, my younger brother and I headed over towards the dining table before we settled down for our dinner. Soon enough, that night, we had a very sumptuous home-made barbecue dinner in our dining room at our Chalet A.

The interior of the dining room as seen from our living room in our Forest View Chalet A at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at night

Our dining table ready for our in-house barbecue dinner

Two pieces of beef chuck and five sausages being grilled on our barbecue pan

Three pieces of pork jowl and four pieces of bacon grilling on our frying pan at our dining table

Two pieces of scallops and sausage, along with three pieces of pork jowl and beef chuck, grilling on our frying pan at our dining table

A nice glass of sparkling wine for myself

More beef and pork cuts, along with two scallops and four sausages grilling on our frying pan in the dining area

More pieces of pork jowl, along with some pieces of beef tongue and beef small intestines grilling on our frying pan in the dining room

A few pieces of chicken and mushrooms, along with some more pieces of pork jowl, grilling on the frying pan on our dining table

More pieces of beef tongue, chicken and pork jowl grilling on the frying pan on our dining table

Several pieces of pork jowl, sausages, chicken and beef small intestines grilling on our frying pan in the dining room

More pieces of bacon, mushrooms, pork jowl and scallops grilling on our frying pan in the dining area

The pieces of beef cube steak grilling on our frying pan in the dining room

The last pieces of chicken grilling on our frying pan in the dining room

The view of the living room in Chalet A at Forest View at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

After having a large and sumptuous home-made barbecue dinner in the dining room, we cleared the dining table and disposed all of the used plastic cutlery and washed all of the dishes in the kitchen. We then had a nice, hot shower and changed into our pyjamas prior to settling down for the night.

I then did some packing of my necessary belongings in preparation for my culinary journey to Obihiro the next morning by train before setting my mobile phone alarm to wake me up at five o' clock the next morning. After that, by around eleven o' clock late that night, I finally turned in for a well-earned good night's sleep.

Part 3 ~ My Culinary Trip Towards Obihiro

The next morning, which was Wednesday (18 December), I woke up at 4.30 a.m., half an hour prior to my alarm going off. Since I was already up, I switched off the planned alarm on my mobile phone and went up towards the living room in order to prepare the remainder of my necessary belongings for the day, having prepared most of them the night before the train journey. For the in-bound journey towards Obihiro, I would catch a Furano Line local train bound for Asahikawa, which would be scheduled to depart Furano Station at 6.02 a.m., and arrive at the Asahikawa terminal station at 7.15 a.m.. Because of that, I knew that I had to leave my chalet no later than 5.45 a.m. for Furano Station.

Upon arrival at Asahikawa Station, I would have a 40-minute layover before connecting to the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, which would depart Asahikawa Station at 8.55 a.m., and arrive at Sapporo Station at 10.20 a.m.. For the final segment, I would have a layover of approximately 1 hour 30 minutes before connecting to the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 5 bound for Kushiro, which would depart Sapporo Station at 11.51 a.m., and arrive at Obihiro Station at 2.22 p.m..

Once the clock struck 5.15 a.m., I went down to the bathroom to have a nice, hot shower and changed into my attire to start off the day. My dad then woke up and offered to give me a lift to Furano Station. Upon doing this, I went back up towards the living room to prepare the remainder of my necessary belongings for the day, which also included the packing of my electronic device chargers before setting off for my culinary trip to Obihiro.

The view of the dining area and kitchen during the wee hours of the early morning shortly after I woke up

The view of the dark surroundings located near our chalet in Furano in the wee hours of the early morning

The view of the deep snow-covered plateau located near our chalet in Furano in the wee hours of the early morning

After preparing all of my necessary belongings for the day in the living room, the clock was finally showing 5.35 a.m.. Since I was officially ready to go for my culinary journey towards Obihiro, I wore my warm winter coat and followed my dad down to our rented car, and loaded my belongings into the boot before boarding it for the short early morning road trip towards Furano Station.

Once all of my belongings were loaded into the car, we finally departed the very pitch black compound of Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at 5.45 a.m. towards Furano Station located in downtown Furano, crossing the Sorachi River again along the way. The entire journey between Forest View Chalet A at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano and Furano Station took no more than just 10 minutes.

Furano Station (富良野駅) is the main railway station serving the sparse rural city of Furano, Hokkaido, Japan. The station serves as an interchange station for the Furano Line and the Nemuro Main Line. It serves as the southern terminus for the Furano Line from Asahikawa, and is served only by a few local trains, since the Furano Line and Nemuro Main Line are simply just quiet and secluded rural railway lines.

Our rented car parked just outside the entrance to our chalet in the wee hours of the early morning

The view of the dark surroundings outside our chalet in Furano in the wee hours of the early morning

The exterior view of the Forest View semi-detached chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano in the wee hours of the early morning

The view of the snowy plateau near the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano as we begin our journey towards Furano Station in downtown Furano

About to turn towards the road bridge that crosses the Sorachi River towards downtown Furano before dawn

Bypassing a closed shop in downtown Furano

Finally arriving at Furano Station

After a short 10-minute road journey from the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano, I finally arrived at Furano Station at 5.55 a.m.. Unloading all of my belongings from the car, I thanked my dad for the lift before he headed back towards the chalet to get more sleep. I then rushed into the station concourse to check what time the nearest Furano Line local train bound for Furano would depart from.

According to the departure information board, the first and nearest Furano Line local train bound for Furano would depart at 6.02 a.m. from Track No. 5. Knowing that there was no more time to lose, I quickly went through the ticketing gate, without any station staff around since it was still the wee hours of the early morning, and crossed the station footbridge leading towards Tracks No. 4 and 5.

Once I was on the platform, I managed to find a 2-car KiHa 150 series DMU set, operating on the Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, waiting on Track No. 5. I then went onto the train and quickly snagged a seat in the first car at the Asahikawa end. At exactly 6.02 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Furano Line local train finally pulled out of Furano Station for its early morning journey towards Asahikawa.

I was then on my way for a short early morning journey of 1 hour 13 minutes towards the suburban city of Asahikawa. The train began to get more crowded as more passengers boarded at Naka-furano and Biei Stations. Dawn and sunrise were also beginning to break as the train travelled through the rural settlements of Naka-furano and Biei along the way, which was a really beautiful sight in the winter.

Asahikawa (旭川市) is a mid-sized suburban city located within Kamikawa Sub-prefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. The city is currently known for its ramen and the Asahiyama Zoo (旭山動物園), which is the northernmost zoo in the country. The city is also served by Asahikawa Airport and Asahikawa Station on the Hakodate Main Line, Sekihoku Main Line and Soya Main Line. Asahikawa is also notable for recording an extremely low temperature of -41ºC (-41.8ºF) on 25 January 1902, making this the lowest temperature ever recorded in Japan.

The exterior view of Furano Station during the wee hours of the early morning

The view of the station platforms of Furano Station from the ticketing gates in the wee hours of the early morning

The overhead pedestrian bridge linking the platforms of Furano Station in the wee hours of the early morning

The view of the station platforms of Furano Station as seen from the station's overhead bridge

The 2-car KiHa 150 series DMU, which would soon take me towards Asahikawa as the Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, on Track No. 2 at Furano Station

The departure information board for trains departing from Tracks No. 2 and 3 at Furano Station in the wee hours of the early morning

Tracks No. 2 and 3 serving the Furano Line trains at Furano Station in the wee hours of the early morning

The LED destination panel of the 2-car KiHa 150 series DMU, which would soon take me towards Asahikawa as the Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, on Track No. 2 at Furano Station

The interior of the 2-car KiHa 150 series DMU, operating on the early morning Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, during the boarding process at Furano Station

キハ150形 富良野線 普通列車 旭川行き 富良野駅から学田駅間

Travelling past a dark field along the Furano Line between Furano and Naka-furano Stations in the wee hours of the early morning

The interior of the 2-car KiHa 150 series DMU, operating on the early morning Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, between Furano and Naka-furano Stations

Making a brief stop at Naka-furano Station

Reading the first section of my holiday report on my iPad

The first sights of dawn breaking through the very snowy plateau between Naka-furano and Kami-furano Stations on the Furano Line

Making a brief stop at Kami-furano Station

The interior of the 2-car KiHa 150 series DMU, operating on the Furano Line local service bound for Furano, between Kami-furano and Bibaushi Stations

Bypassing some snowy farming areas between Kami-furano and Bibaushi Stations on the Furano Line during the first sights of dawn

Bypassing a snowy forest near Bibaushi Station during the first sights of dawn

Making a brief stop Bibaushi Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the rural town of Biei during dawn

Making a brief stop at Biei Station

The interior of the 2-car KiHa 150 series DMU, operating on the Furano Line local service bound for Furano, between Biei and Chiyogaoka Stations

Bypassing a snowy construction area in the rural town of Biei

The moon shining brightly and beautifully over the early morning dawn sky in winter

Bypassing a snow-covered field between Biei and Chiyogaoka Stations during dawn

Crossing a small stream between Biei and Chiyogaoka Stations during dawn

Making a brief stop at Chiyogaoka Station

Bypassing a large snow-covered field between Chiyogaoka and Nishi-seiwa Stations on the Furano Line during the first sights of sunrise

Making a brief stop at Nishi-seiwa Station

Bypassing a snow-covered field between Chiyogaoka and Nishi-kagura Stations during sunrise

Travelling alongside a small road in Asahikawa

A small, suburban area located in Asahikawa near Midorigaoka Station

キハ150形 富良野線 普通列車 旭川行き 緑が丘駅から終着旭川駅間

After a short journey time of 1 hour 13 minutes from the sparse, rural city of Furano, I finally arrived at the Asahikawa terminal station at 7.15 a.m. on Track No. 2. Ensuring that I had all of my belongings with me, I alighted the train and went down towards the manned ticketing gate to have my Hokkaido Rail Pass stamped, since there was no sign of any station staff at Furano Station during the wee hours of the morning. Upon having my Free 4-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass stamped, I headed over towards a nearby station kiosk to purchase some light snacks and beverages before proceeding through the manned ticket gate.

I also decided to check the departure information board to see which platform the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport would depart at 8.55 a.m. from Track No. 4. Though it was still very early before my train towards Sapporo, I went up towards Tracks No. 3 and 4 in preparation for the second train segment of the day between Asahikawa and Sapporo. While waiting for my train, I did some train-spotting on the platform.

Asahikawa Station (旭川駅) is the main railway terminal station serving the suburban city of Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan. The station serves as the western terminus for the Sekihoku Main Line, southern terminus for the Soya Main Line and the northeastern terminus for the Hakodate Main Line. The Furano Line also starts and terminates here.

The station serves as a mandatory stopping point for the Super Soya and Okhotsk limited express services towards Wakkanai and Abashiri, as well as the northeastern terminus for the Super Kamui limited express service. On 10 October 2010, a new elevated station building was opened for business to replace the older ground level station building, which had been in operation since the station's opening on 16 July 1898.

The Super Kamui (スーパーカムイ) is a limited express train service operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) between Sapporo and Asahikawa in Hokkaido, Japan. It runs over the Hakodate Main Line over its route, with a typical journey time linking between Sapporo and Asahikawa taking approximately 1 hour 25 minutes. The service is capable of reaching a maximum top speed of 120 km/h (25 mph).

The service commenced on 1 October 2007, using new 5-car 789 series EMUs and existing 785 series EMUs previously used on Super White Arrow (スーパーホワイトアロー) limited express services, with both trains operating at a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). There are 23 daily workings operating in both directions, with 12 services continuing to New Chitose Airport, functioning as Rapid Airport trains between Sapporo and New Chitose Airport.

Green Car (first class) accommodation is not available on the Super Kamui limited express service, though reserved seats ("u" seats) are available in Car No. 4 of the 5-car formation. Foreign tourists using the Japan Rail Pass and / or Hokkaido Rail Pass can ride the Super Kamui limited express service free of extra charge. From 1 November 2013, after a series of limited express train breakdowns in Hokkaido, the maximum top speed was reduced from 130 km/h (80 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph).

The 2-car KiHa 150 series DMU, which took me from Furano earlier as the Furano Line local train, on Track No. 2 at Asahikawa Station

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Furano Line trains at Asahikawa Station

The main station concourse of Asahikawa Station in the early morning

The station platforms of Asahikawa Station in the early morning

Another view of the 2-car KiHa 150 series DMU, which took me from Furano earlier as the Furano Line local train, on Track No. 2 at Asahikawa Station

A 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 10 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 4 at Asahikawa Station. This train would form as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 92 between Sapporo and New Chitose Airport

The snowy railway tracks facing the direction towards Iwamizawa and Sapporo at Asahikawa Station

The overall exterior view of the station platforms of Asahikawa Station in the morning

A 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 1 bound for Asahikawa, arriving at the Asahikawa terminal station from Sapporo

Another 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 12 bound for Sapporo, departing Asahikawa Station

Playing LEGO Racers on a station bench in the race, Alien Rally Asteroid, with Willa the Witch (played by me as the player) attacking Gypsy Moth (host of Circuit 6) with Three Homing Missiles

Track No. 4 of Asahikawa Station shortly before the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo arrived at the station

After spending approximately 1 hour 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, a 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 14 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, finally entered Asahikawa Station at 8.42 a.m. on Track No. 4. Once the doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 4, which was the reserved seating ("u" seat) car, and found my assigned Seat No. 2D for the short train journey time of 1 hour 25 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo.

More passengers boarded the train as time went by. At exactly 8.55 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 14 finally pulled out of Asahikawa Station for its journey time of 2 hours 06 minutes towards New Chitose Airport located in the suburban city of Chitose. The train would form as the Rapid Airport train No. 102 between Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, and I was then on my way for a short journey time of 1 hour 25 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo.

785系 L特急スーパーカムイ14号 札幌経由新千歳空港行き 旭川駅に入線シーン

A view of my seat, 2D, during the boarding process at Asahikawa Station

The front view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on board the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, during the boarding process at Asahikawa Station

The rear view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on board the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, during the boarding process at Asahikawa Station

The view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, from my seat during the boarding process in Asahikawa Station

Awaiting departure from Asahikawa Station

785系 L特急スーパーカムイ14号 札幌経由新千歳空港行き 旭川駅から深川駅間

Making a brief stop at Fukagawa Station

My reserved seat ("u" seat) ticket for the segment between Asahikawa and Sapporo

Bypassing some housing areas in the small suburban city of Fukagawa

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the small suburban city of Fukagawa on a bright winter's morning

The front view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on board the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, between Fukagawa and Takikawa

The rear view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on board the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, between Fukagawa and Takikawa

Crossing the Sorachi River between Fukagawa and Takikawa

The view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, from my seat between Fukagawa and Takikawa

Making a brief stop at Takikawa Station

Crossing the Sorachi River between Takikawa and Sunagawa

Bypassing a snow-covered farming area in Sunagawa

Making a brief stop at Sunagawa Station

785系 L特急スーパーカムイ14号 札幌経由新千歳空港行き 砂川駅から美唄駅間

Making a brief stop at Bibai Station

Crossing a small stream between Bibai and Iwamizawa

Bypassing a snow-covered farming area in Iwamizawa

Making a brief stop at Iwamizawa Station

The view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, from my seat between Iwamizawa and Ebetsu

Crossing the Yubari River between Iwamizawa and Ebetsu

The view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 bound for Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, from my seat between Ebetsu and Sapporo

Crossing the Chitose River between Ebetsu and Sapporo

Bypassing some small housing areas in the suburban city of Ebetsu

785系 L特急スーパーカムイ14号 札幌経由新千歳空港行き 大麻 (通過) ~ 札幌 (到着)

After a short train journey time of 1 hour 25 minutes from the suburban city of Asahikawa, I finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 10.20 a.m. on Track No. 5. The Limited Express Super Kamui No. 14 was to then undergo a change of direction at Sapporo before forming as the Rapid Airport train No. 102 bound for New Chitose Airport. Ensuring that I had all of my belongings with me, I alighted the train and sorted out all of my belongings before heading down towards the main station concourse.

Once I went down towards the main station concourse, I headed over towards the manned ticket gate to ask the officer which platform the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 5 bound for Kushiro would depart from. According the manned ticketing officer, the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 5 bound for Kushiro would depart at 11.51 a.m. from Track No. 5, which was the same platform I had arrived at earlier. Though it was still early, I headed back up towards Tracks No. 5 and 6 to do some train-spotting before my train towards Obihiro.

The 5-car 785-series EMU, which transported me here as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 14 from Asahikawa earlier, on Track No. 5 at Sapporo Station. This train is now forming as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 102 bound for New Chitose Airport

Track No. 5 of Sapporo Station shortly after the Rapid "Airport" train No. 102 bound for New Chitose Airport departed the station

The main station concourse of Sapporo Station crowded with passengers on a busy winter's afternoon

An out-of-service 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU on Track No. 5 at Sapporo Station shortly after arriving from the suburban city of Obihiro as the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 4 bound for Sapporo earlier

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the Rapid "Airport" trains bound for New Chitose Airport at Sapporo Station

A 7-car KiHa 281 series DMU on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station shortly arriving from the southwestern port city of Hakodate as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 1 bound for Sapporo earlier. The train would then have another return journey towards the same city as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 10 bound for Hakodate

Two limited express trains at Sapporo Station as seen from Tracks No. 5 and 6

A 6-car 721 series EMU, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station

Another 6-car 721 series EMU, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 106 bound for New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station

A 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 15 bound for Asahikawa, on Track No. 5 at Sapporo Station. This train had arrived as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 103 from New Chitose Airport earlier on

The departure information board for trains departing from Track No. 5 at Sapporo Station

A 6-car 721 series EMU, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 110 bound for New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 5 at Sapporo Station

A 5-car 789 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Suzuran" No. 2 bound for Muroran, on Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station

A 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 112 bound for New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station. This train had arrived as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 18 from Asahikawa earlier before undergoing a change of direction at Sapporo Station

Tracks No. 5 and 6 at Sapporo Station shortly before the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro arrived at the station

After spending approximately 1 hour 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, a 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 11.29 a.m. on Track No. 5. The train had arrived from Kushiro as the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 2 bound for Sapporo, and was to undergo extensive cleaning before becoming the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 5 bound for Kushiro. The entire cleaning process took no more than 15 minutes.

Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the ropes were finally cleared at 11.45 a.m., allowing the passengers to board the train. I then boarded the train through Car No. 2 and went into Car No. 3, which was the Green Car (first class) carriage, eventually finding my assigned Seat No. 8A for the journey time of 2 hours 31 minutes towards the suburban city of Obihiro.

At exactly 11.51 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 5 finally pulled out of Sapporo Station for its long journey time of 4 hours 07 minutes to the northeastern suburban port city of Kushiro located in Kushiro Sub-prefecture. I was then on my way for an early afternoon journey time of 2 hours 31 minutes towards the northern suburban city of Obihiro located in Tokachi Sub-prefecture.

Obihiro (帯広市) is a suburban city located in Tokachi Sub-prefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the largest and only city in the Tokachi area, with a population of approximately 168,561, as of 1 December 2013. The city is served by Obihiro Station and the Tokachi-Obihiro Airport, which only caters to limited domestic flights towards Tokyo (Haneda). Obihiro is accessible by a train ride of approximately 2 hours 30 minutes from Sapporo. The city is also famous for Butadon (豚丼), which is a bowl of rice served with pork glazed in special meat sauce.

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら5号 釧路行き 札幌駅に入線シーン

The 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, which would soon take me towards Obihiro as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, on Track No. 5 at Sapporo Station

The LED destination panel of the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, at Sapporo Station in Japanese

The LED destination panel of the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, at Sapporo Station in English

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, during the boarding process at Sapporo Station

A view of my seat, 8A, during the boarding process at Sapporo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, during the boarding process at Sapporo Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, during the boarding process at Sapporo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, from my seat during the boarding process at Sapporo Station

Awaiting departure from Sapporo Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら5号 釧路行き 札幌駅から新札幌駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-sapporo Station

Several infrastructure located in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo, near Shin-sapporo Station

Passing through Kami-nopporo Station

A small and leafless forest located near Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

Bypassing some suburban housing areas in the suburban city of Kitahiroshima

Passing through Kita-hiroshima Station

Bypassing a snow-covered field between the suburban cities of Kitahiroshima and Eniwa

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Shin-sapporo and Minami-chitose Stations

Passing through Shimamatsu Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the segment between Sapporo and Obihiro

Drafting out my essay report on my blog, using Helvetica as the core font for this report

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Chitose

Passing through Chitose Station

Travelling alongside the roadway near New Chitose Airport

Making a brief stop at Minami-chitose Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら5号 釧路行き 南千歳 (発車) ~ 追分 (通過)

Two cups of orange juice for myself

Bypassing a snow-covered field along the Sekisho Line in the rural town of Abira

Playing LEGO Racers Set No. 6 Race No. 1, which is Alien Rally Asteroid, with myself playing as Willa the Witch (player) attacking the host, Gypsy Moth, with homing missiles, between Oiwake and Shin-yubari

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Oiwake and Takinoue Stations

Bypassing another snow-covered field between the rural towns of Abira and Yuni on the Sekisho Line

A scene in "Gordon's Christmas Carol (2010)" where the Mallard conveys her condolences to Sir Topham Hatt after she learns of Henry's fatal accident on the viaduct

Crossing the Sorachi River along an iron trestle bridge on the Sekisho Line

My most favourite scene in Gordon's Christmas Carol (2010): The Mallard chides her sister, Bittern, for her unbecoming behaviour of a true A4 class engine in the future of Sodor

Bypassing a snow-covered field by a mountain on the Sekisho Line near Takinoue Station

Passing through Takinoue Station

Bypassing a farming area near the rural city of Yubari

A small river flowing by a roadway near the city of Yubari

The view of a dry snow mountain near the city of Yubari

The view of the sparse, rural city of Yubari as the train passes through Shin-yubari Station

Crossing the Yubari River in the sparse, rural city of Yubari

Bypassing a snowy hill near the sparse, rural city of Yubari

Waiting at a railroad junction between Shin-yubari and Shimukappu for a passing train in the opposite direction

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Shin-yubari and Shimukappu Stations

A scene in "Gordon's Christmas Carol (2010)", where the Flying Scotsman argues with the Mallard over his famous speed records in front of Gordon at Wellsworth Station

Bypassing a small rural settlement area between Yubari and Shimukappu

The view of a dry snow mountain near the rural village of Shimukappu

Passing through a dry snow valley in the rural village of Shimukappu

Playing LEGO Racers Set No. 6 Race No. 1, which is Alien Rally Asteroid, with myself playing as Willa the Witch (player) attacking the host, Gypsy Moth, with homing missiles, between Shin-yubari and Shimukappu

About to bypass a secluded house in the snow near Shimukappu Station

Passing through Shimukappu Station

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the rural village of Shimukappu

Travelling alongside a hillside roadway in the rural village of Shimukappu

Crossing the Mukawa River between Shimukappu and Tomamu Stations on the Sekisho Line

Bypassing a hilly snow forest in the rural village of Shimukappu

The view of a small, secluded roadway by some hilly snow forests as the train travels through the rural village of Shimukappu

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Shimukappu and Tomamu Stations

Crossing a roadway tunnel in the rural village of Shimukappu

Waiting at a railroad junction between Shimukappu and Tomamu for a passing train in the opposite direction

The view of several snow mountains as the train makes its final approach towards Tomamu Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, from my seat as the train approaches Tomamu Station

Making a brief stop at Tomamu Station

The mobile phone use area on board the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations

Bypassing a relatively dry field between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations on the Sekisho Line

Crossing a small stream between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations on the Sekisho Line

Bypassing a ski resort in the rural town of Shintoku

Making a brief stop at Shintoku Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Shintoku and Tokachi-shimizu Stations

Bypassing a relatively snowy field in the rural town of Shintoku

The view of a snowy open field in the rural town of Shimizu

Bypassing some rural infrastructure in the rural town of Shimizu

The view of a dry field in the rural town of Shimizu

Bypassing some housing areas in the rural town of Shimizu

Bypassing a dry field between Mikage and Memuro Stations on the Nemuro Main Line

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら5号 釧路行き 芽室 (通過) ~ 帯広 (到着)

After a journey time of 2 hours 31 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Sapporo, I finally arrived at Obihiro Station at 2.22 p.m. on Track No. 1. Ensuring that none of my belongings had been left behind on board, I alighted the train and shot a video of the train's departure from the station. Once this was done, I took the escalator down towards the main station concourse, where I exited via the manned ticket gates.

Once I was in the main station concourse, I was beginning to feel rather hungry. Without wasting anymore time, I went out of the station building and walked along the cold but sunny streets of Obihiro to look for a good place to have some mouthwatering Butadon, Obihiro's famous pork dish glazed on top of rice and accompanied by a special Butadon meat sauce, which cannot be found outside of Japan.

Obihiro Station (帯広駅) is the main railway station serving the northeastern suburban city of Obihiro, Hokkaido, Japan. The station is located on the Nemuro Main Line and is operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido). The station serves as the eastern terminus for the Super Tokachi limited express service from Sapporo, which operates five times daily from Sapporo, whereas it is a mandatory stop for the Super Ozora limited express service between Sapporo and Kushiro.

The 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro, on Track No. 1 at Obihiro Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら5号 釧路行き 帯広駅から出発シーン

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Nemuro Main Line trains bound for Kushiro at Obihiro Station

The main station concourse of Obihiro Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The view of a taxi stand located just outside the main entrance to Obihiro Station

The exterior view of Obihiro Station as seen from across the road

The exterior view of the Richmond Hotel Obihiro on a clear winter's afternoon

After walking through the streets of downtown Obihiro for approximately just five minutes, I finally stumbled upon a local restaurant by the name of Fujimori (ふじもり). Feeling rather hungry already, I entered the restaurant and requested for a non-smoking table for myself. A waitress then ushered me to a non-smoking table located adjacent to the main entrance and provided me with the food and beverage menus to make my reviews before placing my main orders for lunch.

Upon making my good reviews through the food and beverage menus, a waitress finally came over to my table to take down my main meal orders for lunch. I then placed my order for a bowl of Obihiro's famous Butadon, along with a bottle and glass of Tokachi White Wine and a plate of french fries. Soon enough, once all of my orders was delivered, I had a very sumptuous lunch of Butadon, with the taste of the meat melting in my mouth. The Tokachi White Wine was also a perfect accompaniment for such a fine lunch like this.

The main entrance to Fujimori Restaurant Obihiro

The interior of Fujimori Restaurant Obihiro in the afternoon

The cover page for the food and beverage menu at Fujimori Restaurant Obihiro

Reviewing the food and beverage menu of Fujimori Restaurant Obihiro

A nice bottle and glass of Tokachi White Wine for myself

My nice, mouthwatering bowl of Butadon with Miso soup on my dining table

A nice overall view of my Butadon meal at Fujimori Restaurant Obihiro

A small platter of french fries for myself

The interior of Fujimori Restaurant Obihiro shortly after I had finished my meal

After having a sumptuous lunch of Butadon at Fujimaru Restaurant Obihiro, the clock was finally showing 3.15 p.m.. Since there was not much left to do for the day, I decided to head back towards Obihiro Station. With that, I paid my restaurant lunch bill and ensured that I had everything with me prior to leaving the restaurant by 3.20 p.m.. For the return journey back towards Furano, I was originally scheduled to catch the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 10 bound for Sapporo, which would be expected to leave Obihiro Station at 5.50 p.m., and arrive at the Sapporo terminal station at 8.19 p.m..

Upon arriving at Sapporo Station, I was to have a brief layover of just 35 minutes before catching the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 45 bound for Asahikawa, which would depart Sapporo Station at nine o' clock, and arrive at the Asahikawa terminal station at 10.25 p.m.. I was also to catch the last Furano Line local train bound for Furano, which would depart Asahikawa Station at 10.39 p.m., and arrive at the Furano terminal station at 11.43 p.m..

However, I suddenly had a change of plans and decided to catch an earlier train for my trip back towards Furano via Sapporo and Asahikawa. Arriving at Obihiro Station by 3.30 p.m., I went over towards a station cafeteria, known as Buta no Butahage (豚丼のぶたはげ), where I purchased four large Butadon meal boxes for my family, along with four bottles of Butadon sauce, each carrying 360 millilitres before heading towards the JR Ticket Office to make my necessary changes to my seat reservations for the return trip towards Furano.

As for the new itinerary for the return trip towards Furano, I would catch the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 10 bound for Sapporo, which would be expected to leave Obihiro Station at 4.13 p.m., and arrive at the Sapporo terminal station at 6.43 p.m.. Once I had arrived at Sapporo, I would have a short layover of approximately 1 hour 10 minutes prior to catching the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 41 bound for Asahikawa, which would be scheduled to depart Sapporo Station at eight o' clock, and arrive at the Asahikawa terminal station at 9.25 p.m..

After arriving at Asahikawa Station, my dad would pick me up from the station at 9.30 p.m. before we would head back towards the Forest View Apartments at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano. Upon making the necessary changes to my seat reservations, I went to the main station concourse to see which platform the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 10 bound for Sapporo would depart from.

According to the departure information board in the station concourse, the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 10 bound for Sapporo would depart at 4.13 p.m. from Track No. 3. With that, I proceeded through the ticket gates and went up towards Tracks No. 3 and 4, only to find a 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU still undergoing extensive cleaning on Track No. 3. The train had arrived from downtown Sapporo as the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 5 bound for Obihiro earlier.

The Super Tokachi (スーパーとかち) is a limited express train service operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) between Sapporo and Obihiro and Hokkaido, Japan. The service runs over the Chitose Line, Sekisho Line and Nemuro Main Line over its route, with are a total of five daily return workings operating in each direction. The fastest service takes approximately 2 hours 28 minutes, with a maximum top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).

The service commenced operations on 1 September 1990 as simply Tokachi (とかち), using KiHa 183 series DMUs. From 27 July 1991, four of the daily return Tokachi workings were upgraded to Super Tokachi services, using enhanced KiHa 183 series DMUs that included a bi-level Green Car (first class) carriage. From the start of the revised timetable on 11 March 2000, KiHa 283 series DMUs were introduced on some of these services.

From 1 October 2007, new and enhanced KiHa 261 series DMUs were introduced on these services, eventually displacing the older KiHa 183 series DMUs previously used on these services by 30 September 2009. From 1 October 2009, the remaining two Tokachi services were upgraded to Super Tokachi services, eventually reducing the total travel time between Sapporo and Obihiro by 18 minutes.

However, after a series of limited express train breakdowns on 15 July 2013, some limited express services operating in Hokkaido were suspended until further notice, although the Super Tokachi services remain unaffected by the breakdowns. From 1 November 2013, the maximum speed was reduced from 130 km/h (80 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph), increasing the fastest journey time from 2 hours 25 minutes to 2 hours 28 minutes, with the rolling stock used for these services being standardised to solely KiHa 261 series DMUs.

The exterior view of Fujimori Restaurant Obihiro on a clear winter's afternoon

The exterior view of Obihiro Station on a clear winter's afternoon

A shopping area selling souvenirs located in the station concourse in Obihiro Station

The exterior view of Butadon no Butahage (豚丼のぶたはげ) cafeteria in the station concourse of Obihiro Station

The exterior view of the JR Ticket Office in the station concourse of Obihiro Station

The departure information board showing the departure timings for the trains bound for Shintoku and Sapporo in the station concourse of Obihiro Station

A 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, being serviced at Track No. 3 at Obihiro Station. This train had arrived from Sapporo as the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 5 bound for Obihiro earlier

The logo of the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, being serviced at Track No. 3 at Obihiro Station. This train had arrived from Sapporo as the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 5 bound for Obihiro earlier

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the Nemuro Main Line trains bound for Shintoku, Takikawa and Sapporo

After spending just a few minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, the train doors were finally opened at 3.55 p.m., allowing the passengers to board the train. I then boarded the train through Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) cabin, and went towards my assigned Seat No. 7A for the journey time of 2 hours 30 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo.

At exactly 4.13 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 10 finally pulled out of Obihiro Station for its evening journey time of 2 hours 30 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo. I was then on my way for a journey time of 2 hours 30 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of Sapporo, and for the first sector of my return trip towards Furano.

The front view of the Green Car (first class) interior on board the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, during the boarding process at Obihiro Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) interior on board the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, during the boarding process at Obihiro Station

A view of my seat, 7A, during the boarding process at Obihiro Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) interior on board the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, from my seat during the boarding process at Obihiro Station

Awaiting departure from Obihiro Station

キハ261系 特急スーパーとかち10号 札幌行き 帯広駅から芽室駅間

Making a brief stop at Memuro Station

Two cups of orange juice for myself

The view of the Green Car (first class) interior on board the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, from my seat between Memuro and Tokachi-shimizu Stations

Bypassing a deserted snow field in the rural town of Shimizu during sunset

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the segment between Obihiro and Sapporo

Bypassing another snowy field between Memuro and Tokachi-shimizu Stations with the last lights of sunset

A nice bottle of Coca-cola and a box of almond chocolates for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Making a brief stop at Tokachi-shimizu Station

キハ261系 特急スーパーとかち10号 札幌行き 十勝清水駅から新得駅間

Making a brief stop at Shintoku Station

Bypassing some pitch black fields in the rural town of Shintoku near Shintoku Station at night

The view of the night scenery between Shintoku and Tomamu Stations on the Sekisho Line

The view of the Green Car (first class) interior on board the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, from my seat between Shintoku and Tomamu Stations

About to enjoy my box of almond chocolates

Making a brief stop at Tomamu Station

Watching "Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern: Japan" on my laptop

The front view of the Green Car (first class) interior on board the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, between Tomamu and Shimukappu Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) interior on board the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, between Tomamu and Shimukappu Stations

A view of my seat, 7A, in its fully reclined position between Tomamu and Shimukappu Stations

Making a brief stop at Shimukappu Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) interior on board the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, from my seat between Shimukappu and Shin-yubari Stations

Travelling through the sparse, rural city of Yubari at night

Making a brief stop at Shin-yubari Station

Continuing with my draft essay report on my blog with the font Helvetica

Playing LEGO Racers Set No. 6 Race No. 1, which is Alien Rally Asteroid, with myself playing as Willa the Witch (player) attacking the host, Gypsy Moth, with homing missiles, between Shin-yubari and Oiwake Stations

Pulling into Oiwake Station

キハ261系 特急スーパーとかち10号 札幌行き 追分駅から南千歳駅間

Travelling through the suburban city of Chitose at night

Passing through Chitose Station

Travelling between the suburban cities of Eniwa and Kitahiroshima at night

キハ261系 特急スーパーとかち10号 札幌行き 北広島 (通過) ~ 新札幌 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Shin-sapporo Station

キハ261系 特急スーパーとかち10号 札幌行き 新札幌駅から終着札幌駅間

After a relatively long train journey of 2 hours 33 minutes from the northeastern suburban city of Obihiro, I finally arrived back at the Sapporo terminal station at 6.46 p.m. on Track No. 7, three minutes behind schedule. Ensuring that none of my belongings were left on board, I alighted the train and went down towards the manned ticket gate located in the station concourse to check which platform the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 41 bound for Asahikawa would depart from.

According to the man at the manned ticketing gate, the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 41 bound for Asahikawa would depart at eight o' clock from Track No. 5. Although it was still early, I went up towards Track No. 5 and 6 in preparation for the second segment between Sapporo and Asahikawa. While waiting for my train, I did some train-spotting on Tracks No. 5 and 6 to pass the time.

The logo of the 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, which operated on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo from Obihiro earlier, on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

The 5-car KiHa 261 series DMU, which took me from Obihiro as the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 10 bound for Sapporo earlier, being taken out of service on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

Tracks No. 7 and 8 at Sapporo Station during the evening rush hour

The busy station concourse of Sapporo Station during the evening rush hour

A 5-car 789 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 37 bound for Asahikawa, on Track No. 5 at Sapporo Station. This train had arrived as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 183 from New Chitose Airport earlier

A 7-car KiHa 281 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 22 bound for Hakodate, on Track No. 4 at Sapporo Station

A 6-car 721 series EMU, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 190 bound for New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the Rapid "Airport" trains bound for New Chitose Airport at Sapporo Station during the evening rush hour

A 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 39 bound for Asahikawa, on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

Another 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 192 bound for New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station. This train had arrived as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 40 from Asahikawa earlier

A 6-car 721 series EMU, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 194 bound for New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station

A 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 11 bound for Kushiro, on Track No. 4 at Sapporo Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら11号 釧路行き 札幌駅から出発シーン

The overall view of the station platforms of Sapporo Station during the evening hours

A 6-car 721 series EMU, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 196 bound for New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station

Tracks No. 5 and 6 at Sapporo Station shortly before the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 41 bound for Asahikawa arrived at the platform

After spending approximately 1 hour 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, a 5-car 785 series EMU finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 7.55 p.m. on Track No. 5. The train had arrived from New Chitose Airport as the Rapid Airport train No. 193 earlier, and was to undergo a change of direction at Sapporo Station before becoming the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 41 bound for Asahikawa.

I then boarded the train through Car No. 4, which was the reserved seating ("u" seat) car, and secured my assigned Seat No. 7D for the short journey time of 1 hour 25 minutes back towards the suburban city of Asahikawa. At exactly eight o' clock, all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 41 finally pulled out of Sapporo Station for the remainder of its journey towards the suburban city of Asahikawa. I was then on my way for a short journey time of 1 hour 25 minutes towards the suburban city of Asahikawa.

785系 L特急スーパーカムイ41号 旭川行き 札幌駅に入線シーン

The front view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on board the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 41 bound for Asahikawa, during the boarding process at Sapporo Station

A view of my seat, 7D, during the boarding process at Asahikawa Station

785系 L特急スーパーカムイ41号 旭川行き 札幌 (発車) ~ 大麻 (通過)

Travelling through the suburban city of Ebetsu at night

The view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 41 bound for Asahikawa, from my seat between Ebetsu and Iwamizawa

My reserved seat limited express ticket for the final segment between Sapporo and Asahikawa

Passing through Horomui Station

Travelling alongside a roadway between Horomui and Iwamizawa Stations

Bypassing some suburban housing areas as the train approaches Iwamizawa Station

Making a brief stop at Iwamizawa Station

785系 L特急スーパーカムイ41号 旭川行き 岩見沢駅から美唄駅間

Making a brief stop at Bibai Station

The view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 41 bound for Asahikawa, from my seat between Bibai and Sunagawa

Travelling past some snowy fields in the suburban city of Bibai

Bypassing another snowy field in the sparse, suburban city of Sunagawa

Making a brief stop at Sunagawa Station

Crossing a river bridge between Sunagawa and Takikawa Stations

Making a brief stop at Takikawa Station

Bypassing a snowy field in the suburban city of Takikawa

Travelling between the suburban cities of Takikawa and Fukagawa at night

The rear view of the reserved seating ("u" seat) car on board the 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 41 bound for Asahikawa, between Takikawa and Fukagawa

Making a brief stop at Fukagawa Station

785系 L特急スーパーカムイ41号 旭川行き 深川駅から終着旭川駅間

After a relatively short train journey time of 1 hour 25 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo, I finally arrived back at the Asahikawa terminal station at 9.25 p.m. on Track No. 3. Ensuring that I had all my belongings with me, I alighted the train and received a text message from my dad on my mobile phone, telling me to meet him outside the South Entrance to the station, where he was waiting with our rented car.

Without wasting anymore time, I took the escalators all the way down towards the main station concourse, where I went for a brief washroom break prior to heading towards the South Entrance of the station. Heading towards the South Entrance of Asahikawa Station, I finally found my dad and younger brother waiting for me at the drop-off and pick-up area in our rented car.

My dad then got out and offered to help load my baggage into the rear boot of our car. Amazingly, my younger brother told me that he had seen a fox roaming just outside the South Entrance to Asahikawa Station. Soon enough, we finally departed the compound of Asahikawa Station at 9.35 p.m., for a late night road journey time of 50 minutes towards the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano.

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the Hakodate Main Line trains towards Takikawa and Sapporo at Asahikawa Station at night

The 5-car 785 series EMU, which took me back from Sapporo as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 41 bound for Asahikawa earlier, on Track No. 3 at Asahikawa Station. This train will have another return trip as the last train towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo for the day as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 48 bound for Sapporo

The station platforms of Asahikawa Station at night

The station concourse leading towards the platforms of Asahikawa Station

The main station concourse of Asahikawa Station at night

The main ticketing gates in the main station concourse of Asahikawa Station at night

My rented car waiting outside the South Entrance towards Asahikawa Station

Finally departing the compound of Asahikawa Station

Crossing the Ishikari River near Asahikawa Station

Stopping at a snow-covered road junction somewhere near the sparse, rural town of Biei

Travelling through the dark and secluded road between Asahikawa and Biei

Driving along a curvy road near the rural town of Biei

Travelling down a hilly road near the rural town of Biei

Bypassing a dark and secluded car parking area in the sparse, rural town of Biei

Driving along another dark and deserted road between Biei and Furano

Bypassing a deserted pedestrian road crossing in the sparse, rural city of Furano at night

Travelling along a dark road in the sparse, rural city of Furano somewhere near the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

Finally arriving back at the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

After a 50-minute drive from Asahikawa Station located in the suburban city of Asahikawa, we finally arrived back at the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at 10.25 p.m.. While my younger brother and I alighted from the car, my dad helped to unload all my baggage from the car before all of us went into our Chalet A, where I stored all of the food in the kitchen in the upper floor of the chalet.

Having a nice, hot shower and changing into my pyjamas for the night, we all had a nice and sumptuous family dinner of Butadon in the dining room. Upon finishing dinner, we cleared up the dining area before we settled down to our own devices for the night. Feeling rather exhausted from my long day, I finally turned in at around one o' clock late that night for a well-earned good night's sleep.

Part 4 ~ An Evening Shopping Trip Towards Sapporo

The next morning, which was Thursday (19 December), I woke up at around 8.30 a.m. after having a well-earned good night's sleep. As it was still too early to do anything, I simply had a nice, hot shower and changed into my attire for the day before settling down to surf my laptop to pass the time.

Soon enough, my parents came up towards the living room after they had their showers and changed into their attires for the day before making breakfast in the kitchen. Since we were still feeling rather tired that morning, we decided to stay in the chalet for the entire morning and go out later that afternoon.

The interior of our living room and dining room in the Forest View at The Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano during the late morning hours an hour after I woke up

The view of the snowy open fields near our chalet covered in the winter morning fog

The outer surroundings located just outside of our chalet shortly before we commenced our day's outing

After spending the entire morning doing nothing but our own stuff inside the chalet, the clock was finally showing 1.45 p.m.. Since we wanted to get our muscles some stretching, we decided to go on an early evening shopping trip towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo. With that, we prepared all of our necessary belongings and went down towards our rented car, which was parked just outside our chalet.

Upon reaching the car, we hopped on board and finally departed the secluded compound of the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano by two o' clock, stopping at a few convenience stores located in downtown Furano and in Mikasa to purchase some light food and beverages, and stopping at a very high dam along the way. The entire journey towards downtown Sapporo took approximately 2 hours 35 minutes.

The view of the snowy open fields near our chalet just as we are about to begin our drive towards Sapporo

The view of the snowy plateau near the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano as we begin our journey towards Sapporo

The view of a mountainous snow forest located near our chalet at Forest View at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano as we head down towards the road near downtown Furano

Bypassing some several small houses near the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano

The view of the road bridge crossing the Sorachi River towards downtown Furano

Travelling across a small bridge towards the road in the direction towards Ashibetsu and Mikasa

Travelling past some small trees with the view of a forested mountain in the background

Bypassing a somewhat snowy and dry mountain as we drive along the secluded road from Furano

Bypassing a snowy hill forest between Furano and Ashibetsu

Travelling through a long road tunnel between Furano and Ashibetsu

Bypassing a large mountainous snow forest as we climb up a mountainous road

Bypassing another large mountainous snow forest along the mountainous road somewhere near Mikasa

Driving along a secluded curved road by some leafless plants in a snowy plateau

Bypassing a snow-covered field with several leafless plants and a snowy mountain near Mikasa

Bypassing a snow-covered hill between Ashibetsu and Mikasa

Travelling past a river while climbing down the road between Ashibetsu and Mikasa

A large snowy mountain overlooking a snow-covered car parking area near the river between Ashibetsu and Mikasa

Another large mountain located between Biei and Ashibetsu as we drive along the lonely road near Mikasa

Climbing along a mountainous road between Ashibetsu and Mikasa near a dam

A large river and dam bordering the rural cities of Mikasa and Ashibetsu

A snow-covered road located near the river and dam between Ashibetsu and Mikasa

Crossing the road bridge between the dam and the main road between Mikasa and Ashibetsu

Bypassing a road junction in the sparse, rural city of Mikasa

Bypassing some small houses in the sparse, rural city of Mikasa

Crossing a small river via a road bridge in the sparse, rural city of Mikasa

Bypassing a snowy field in the sparse, rural city of Mikasa

Bypassing a petrol station in the sparse, rural city of Mikasa

Travelling along the road leading towards the Asahikawa-Sapporo Expressway in the sparse, rural city of Mikasa

Bypassing a snowy field between the cities of Mikasa and Iwamizawa

The view of a large, snowy field in the suburban city of Iwamizawa

Travelling through the suburban city of Ebetsu along the Asahikawa-Sapporo Expressway

Crossing the Yubari River between Ebetsu and Sapporo

About to pass through a toll gate near downtown Sapporo

Stopping at a traffic junction somewhere around Higashi-ku, Sapporo

Bypassing a restaurant somewhere in Toyohira-ku, Sapporo

Crossing the Toyohira River between Toyohira-ku and Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Bypassing a Maruhan Pachinko arcade between Toyohira-ku and Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Stopping at a busy road traffic junction near Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Bypassing a busy road traffic junction in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Finally arriving at a car parking area near Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo

After a relatively long drive of 2 hours 35 minutes from the sparse, rural city of Furano, we finally arrived at a car parking area near Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo at 4.35 p.m.. It was completely dark, especially by this time. Parking our car at the car parking area, we took all of our belongings and crossed the road towards Tokyu Hands Department Store, where my parents went into the store to shop for some home necessities.

By this time, my younger brother was beginning to feel rather hungry after the long drive from Furano. It was then that my parents gave me some money and told me to take him to a nearby fastfood restaurant, Mos Burger for a light meal. While my parents went into Tokyu Hands Department Store, I escorted my younger brother towards Mos Burger, where we arrived by 4.45 p.m.. It was there that my younger brother had some fastfood and that we waited for our parents to arrive.

The exterior view of Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo in downtown Chuo-ku, Sapporo

The relatively busy roads of downtown Chuo-ku, Sapporo, at night

The interior of Mos Burger at Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo

The main cashier and order counter at Mos Burger at Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo

After spending approximately 20 minutes of resting at Mos Burger fastfood restaurant, my dad finally met up with us at 5.05 p.m.. He then offered to take me to a yakiniku barbecue restaurant, with the name Mikakuen (味覚園), for an early father-son dinner in Minami-nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo. I could clearly remember that I had previously eaten at this yakiniku restaurant before in December 2011.

My younger brother, who was feeling too tired, decided to stay on at the restaurant to wait for my mum. With that, my dad and I left Mos Burger fastfood restaurant at 5.10 p.m., and walked carefully along the lively streets of downtown Chuo-ku, Sapporo, eventually arriving at Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen by 5.15 p.m.. There were some cuts of meat on display in a cool glass display casing beside the entrance to the restaurant.

Entering the restaurant, we immediately requested a non-smoking table for both of us, and were directed to one by the bar area. With the food and beverage menus provided for us and a portable barbecue griller placed on our table, my dad and I ordered several thick marbled beef and chicken cuts for this fine early father-son dinner. That evening, we had a very nice and sumptuous father-son yakiniku barbecue dinner at Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen.

The exterior view of Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen in Minami-nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

The interior view of Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen in Minami-nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

The Japanese food and beverage menu in Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen in Minami-nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

The English food and beverage menu in Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen in Minami-nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

A large glass refrigerator containing several large cuts of beef from our table in Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen in Minami-nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Our first platter of gooey beef large intestines ready to be grilled on the portable charcoal barbecue griller

A nice mouthwatering platter of chicken koniku ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Several pieces of beef large intestines and chicken koniku grilling on the charcoal barbecue griller

Our first platter of Wagyu beef tongue ready to be grilled on the portable charcoal barbecue griller

Several pieces of gooey beef large intestines and Wagyu beef tongue grilling on the portable charcoal barbecue griller

A nice glass of white wine for myself

A nice, mouthwatering platter of thickly-cut Wagyu beef karubi ready to be grilled on the portable charcoal barbecue griller

Two pieces of thickly-cut Wagyu beef karubi and a piece of chicken koniku grilling on the portable charcoal barbecue griller

Our second platter of Wagyu beef tongue ready to be grilled on the portable charcoal barbecue griller

Our second platter of gooey beef large intestines ready to be grilled on the portable charcoal barbecue griller

More pieces of gooey beef large intestines and Wagyu beef tongue grilling on the portable charcoal griller

The last pieces of gooey beef large intestines and Wagyu beef tongue grilling on the portable charcoal barbecue griller

After having a very sumptuous and filling father-son yakiniku charcoal barbecue dinner at Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen with my dad, the clock was finally showing 5.55 p.m.. As my dad was feeling rather full, we paid up our bill and thanked the restaurant staff for their warm services before leaving the restaurant by six o' clock and walking along the street back to the Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo to meet up with my mum and brother.

Arriving at the store and meeting them at 6.05 p.m., we walked back towards the nearby car parking area, where we had packed our car earlier, and loaded all of my mum's purchased merchandise into the boot of our car. Wanting to head towards Bic Camera at Sapporo Esta next, we departed the compound of Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo by 6.10 p.m., with the entire road journey throughout downtown Sapporo taking no more than 20 minutes.

The exterior view of Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen in Minami-nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo just as we are about to walk back towards the Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo

Walking along the alley in Chuo-ku, Sapporo, in the direction towards Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo

About to cross a pedestrian road crossing towards Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

The icy car parking area near the Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo in Chuo-ku, Sapporo, just as we are about to depart for Sapporo Esta

Driving along the busy roads of downtown Chuo-ku, Sapporo, at night

The view of the Sapporo TV Tower at night as we drive through Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Driving along the road near Sapporo Esta in Chuo-ku, Sapporo, at night

The exterior view of Sapporo Station and the JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo at night

Finally parking our car at the car parking area just across Sapporo Esta and Sapporo Station

After a short 20-minute drive through the crowded roads of Chuo-ku, Sapporo, from the Tokyu Hands Department Store Sapporo, we finally arrived at the car parking area located just across Sapporo Esta and Sapporo Station at 6.30 p.m.. Having our bags with us, the first thing I decided to do was to head to the Twinkle Plaza Travel Service Center to make a seat reservation for a train journey towards New Chitose Airport for Sunday (22 December).

My parents then told me to meet up with them and my younger brother at Bic Camera at Sapporo Esta after making my seat reservations. With that, while my family headed towards Sapporo Esta, I crossed the road towards Sapporo Station, eventually entering the station by 6.40 p.m.. Reaching the Twinkle Plaza Travel Service Center, I made my round trip seat reservations for Sunday's journey between Otaru-chikko and New Chitose Airport.

At the Twinkle Plaza Travel Service Center, I paid a total of ¥3,700 (S$45.15) for both round trips, eventually receiving my reserved seat ("u" seat) tickets with allocated seats facing the Sea of Japan between Teine and Otaru-chikko Stations. Upon making my necessary seat reservations and having a quick restroom visit by seven o' clock, I immediately headed over towards Sapporo Esta, with the walk taking no more than just 10 minutes.

The overall view of the entire station building of Sapporo Station in the evening

About to cross the busy roads of Kita-ku and Chuo-ku, Sapporo, towards Sapporo Station

The ticketing gates in the main station concourse of Sapporo Station during the evening rush hour

The exterior view of the Ticket Office and Twinkle Plaza Travel Service Center at Sapporo Station

The "Children's 110 Safety Stations with Thomas & Friends" sticker outside the entrance to the Ticket Office and Twinkle Plaza Travel Service Center at Sapporo Station

The interior of the Twinkle Plaza Travel Service Center at Sapporo Station in the evening

Bypassing the main ticketing gates in the main station concourse of Sapporo Station again

The main station concourse of Sapporo Station during the evening rush hour

The exterior view of Sapporo Station as I make my way towards Sapporo Esta

After a very short 10-minute walk from the Twinkle Plaza Travel Service Center in Sapporo Station, I finally arrived at the main entrance to Sapporo Esta at 7.10 p.m.. Entering the mall, I took the elevator up towards the second level, where the timepieces section of Bic Camera was located. There, I met up with my family and did some shopping around a few levels in the mall, including shopping for new footwear.

Upon spending approximately 45 minutes of quick shopping, the clock was finally showing 7.55 p.m.. Since we were beginning to feel rather exhausted from our late afternoon out in Sapporo, we decided to head back towards the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano. With that, we took the elevator down towards the first level and crossed the road towards the car parking area near Sapporo Station.

Once we had reached the car parking area, we loaded all of our purchased merchandise into the boot of our car and got on board. Soon enough, we finally departed the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Chuo-ku, Sapporo, by 8.05 p.m. for a night driving time of 2 hours 05 minutes back towards the sparse, rural city of Furano, stopping at some nearby convenience stores along the way to purchase some snacks and drinks.

About to cross the busy roads of Chuo-ku, Sapporo, towards the car parking area located just across Sapporo Station

Our rented Toyota car parked at the car parking area located across Sapporo Station in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

About to depart the hustle and bustle around Sapporo Station in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Driving along the roads of Chuo-ku, Sapporo, as we begin our journey back towards Furano

Stopping at a Lawson convenience store in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Bypassing a road traffic junction between Chuo-ku and Toyohira-ku, Sapporo

About to turn towards the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway in Toyohira-ku, Sapporo

Driving along the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway between Sapporo and Ebetsu

Bypassing a snowy open field along the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway near Ebetsu at night

The view of a ski resort and a ferris wheel near the suburban city of Iwamizawa at night

Turning towards the road leading towards Mikasa and Ashibetsu from the Sapporo-Asahikawa Expressway

Stopping at a road crossing in the sparse, rural city of Mikasa

Bypassing a dark and secluded car parking area in the sparse, rural city of Mikasa

Travelling past a dark, snowy field in the sparse, rural city of Ashibetsu

Travelling through a long road tunnel between Mikasa and Furano

Travelling past a dark, snowy field between Ashibetsu and Furano

About to turn towards the road leading to the sparse, rural city of Furano at night

Finally arriving back at the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at 10.10 p.m.

After a relatively long late night road drive of 2 hours 05 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo, we finally arrived back at the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at 10.10 p.m.. Alighting from the car with our haversack bags, we unloaded all of our purchased merchandise from the boot of the car before going into the chalet.

Upon entering Chalet A, which was our chalet, my parents and younger brother took all of the merchandise upstairs into the living room. As for me, I was so exhausted that I could hardly do anything, even too tired to have a nice, hot shower. It was then that I suddenly fell asleep, thus missing out on the family supper due to extreme exhaustion, and to have a well-earned good night's rest for my train trip towards Abashiri the next morning.

Part 5 ~ My First Trip Towards Abashiri

The next morning, which was Friday (20 December), I woke up at around 7.30 a.m. after having a well-earned, good night's rest. Upon doing some personal things on my laptop, I went to have a shower and changed into my day's attire before preparing my necessary belongings for the day. I had been planning to take a day trip towards Abashiri on this day, and I was very lucky since I had made my necessary seat reservations a few days in advance. This would also mark my first time visiting Abashiri.

My itinerary for the in-bound journey towards Abashiri would be to catch an early morning Furano Line local train bound for Asahikawa, which would depart Furano Station at 9.57 a.m., and arrive at the Asahikawa terminal station at 11.05 a.m.. Upon arriving at Asahikawa Station, I would have a short layover for approximately 10 minutes before connecting to the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 3 bound for Abashiri, which would be scheduled to depart Asahikawa Station at 11.19 a.m., and arrive at the Abashiri terminal station at 3.09 p.m..

Unfortunately, my dad was feeling under the weather to fetch me to Furano Station, leaving me with no other choice but to arrange for Masaki-san to fetch me towards Furano Station via the hotel van at 9.15 a.m.. While waiting for Masaki-san to give me a lift towards Furano Station, I packed up all of my necessary belongings, including my electronic devices and their battery chargers, for the day in preparation for my upcoming long train journey towards Abashiri.

The outer surroundings located just outside of our chalet during the early morning hours

The interior of our living room and dining room in the Forest View at The Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano during the early morning hours

The outer surroundings located just outside of our chalet shortly before Masaki-san arrived in his hotel van

After spending the morning packing up my necessary belongings for the upcoming train journey towards Abashiri, Masaki-san finally arrived at the entrance to our chalet in his van at 9.10 a.m.. I then opened the chalet door and got out my necessary belongings after I had put on my footwear and winter jacket. Masaki-san was also very kind to assist me with the loading of my baggage into the van.

Seeing that I was the only one out of the chalet, I explained to Masaki-san that I was going on a long train journey towards Abashiri today. Soon enough, once all of my belongings were loaded into Masaki-san's hotel van, I finally departed the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at 9.15 a.m.. The entire van journey between the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano and Furano Station took no more than just 10 minutes.

Masaki-san's hotel van waiting outside my chalet with Masaki-san helping me with my baggage

The view of the snowy plateau near the Forest View Chalet at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano as I make my journey towards Furano Station

Crossing the Sorachi River towards downtown Furano on a relatively sunny winter's morning

Travelling through the roads of downtown Furano on a sunny winter's morning

Finally arriving at the main entrance to Furano Station

After a very short van ride of just 10 minutes from the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano , I finally arrived at the main entrance towards Furano Station at 9.25 a.m.. Ensuring that I had left none of my belongings inside Masaki-san's van, I paid him ¥1,200 (S$14.64) for the ride and thanked him for his services before he left me at the station to commence my long train journey towards Abashiri.

Entering the station, I went towards the nearby station kiosk to purchase some beverages before heading towards the station's passenger waiting room. I also went to check which platform the nearest JR Furano Line local train bound for Asahikawa would depart from. According to the departure information board, the nearest Furano Line local train bound for Asahikawa would depart at 9.57 a.m. from Track No. 4. Since it was still early, I joined some other waiting passengers in the passenger waiting room.

The passenger waiting room at Furano Station on a sunny winter's morning

The JR Ticket Office in the station concourse of Furano Station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting in the passenger waiting room, the boarding announcements for the JR Furano Line local train bound for Asahikawa were finally made at 9.35 a.m.. Once the ticket gates were opened, I immediately showed my Hokkaido Rail Pass to the station ticket officer, and walked along the station pedestrian footbridge towards Track No. 4 for my train towards Asahikawa.

Soon enough, I was finally on Track No. 4 of Furano Station at 9.40 a.m., where I found a single KiHa 54 series DMU set, operating on the JR Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, waiting on the platform. Boarding the train, I secured a window seat for the short hop towards the suburban city of Asahikawa. At exactly 9.57 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Furano Line local train finally pulled out of Asahikawa Station for its short journey time of 1 hour 08 minutes towards the suburban city of Asahikawa.

The view of the station platforms of Furano Station as seen from the station's overhead bridge on a sunny winter's morning

The single-car KiHa 54 series DMU set, waiting to take towards the suburban city of Asahikawa as the JR Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, on Track No. 4 at Furano Station

Tracks No. 4 and 5 serving the Furano Line trains bound for Asahikawa during the mid-morning hours

The interior of the single-car KiHa 54 series DMU, operating on the JR Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, during the boarding process at Furano Station

Awaiting departure from Furano Station

キハ54系 富良野線 普通列車 旭川行き 富良野駅から中富良野駅間

Making a brief stop at Naka-furano Station

Bypassing some sparse, rural houses near Naka-furano Station

Bypassing a somewhat hilly settlement in the rural town of Nakafurano

Bypassing a snow-covered farming area in the rural town of Nakafurano

Bypassing a snow-covered between the rural towns of Nakafurano and Kamifurano

Bypassing a few houses located in the sparse, rural town of Kamifurano

Making a brief stop at Kami-furano Station

Bypassing an open, snow-covered field between the sparse, rural towns of Kamifurano and Biei

The interior of the single-car KiHa 54 series DMU, operating on the JR Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, between Kami-furano and Biei Stations

Crossing a frozen river by a road bridge in the sparse, rural town of Biei

Bypassing some sparse housing areas in the sparse, rural town of Biei

Making a brief stop at Biei Station

Bypassing a vehicle yard located in the sparse, rural town of Biei

Bypassing an open, snow-covered field between Biei and Asahikawa

The interior of the single-car KiHa 54 series DMU, operating on the JR Furano Line local service bound for Asahikawa, between Biei and the Asahikawa terminal stations

Bypassing a snow-covered farming area in the suburban city of Asahikawa

Making a brief stop at Nishi-kagura Station

Travelling alongside a roadway in the suburban city of Asahikawa

キハ54系 富良野線 普通列車 旭川行き 西御料駅から終着旭川駅間

After a short journey time of 1 hour 08 minutes from the sparse, rural city of Furano, I finally arrived at the Asahikawa terminal station at 11.05 a.m. on Track No 2. Ensuring that I had all of my belongings with me, I alighted the train and went down the escalators towards the main station concourse to check what time and which platform the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 3 bound for Abashiri would depart from.

According to the departure information board within the main station concourse, the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 3 bound for Abashiri would depart at 11.19 a.m. from Track No. 5. With that, I took the escalators up towards Tracks No. 5 and 6 in preparation for my onward train journey towards Abashiri. While waiting for the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 3 bound for Abashiri to arrive at the platform, I purchased some light snacks from a nearby station kiosk on the platforms.

The Okhotsk (オホーツク) is a limited express train service operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) between Sapporo and Abashiri in Hokkaido, Japan. There are a total of four daily return workings operating in both directions along the Hakodate Main Line and Sekihoku Main Line, with an average travel duration of 5 hours 30 minutes, and the fastest travel duration taking approximately 5 hours 15 minutes.

The service is named after the Sea of Okhotsk, and is capable of reaching a top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph), reversing its direction at Engaru Station along the way. The service commenced operations on 2 October 1972, using KiHa 80 series DMUs at a top speed of 100 km/h (60 mph), until they were retired from these services in November 1986. From the same timing, the main rolling stock used for these services was standardised to KiHa 183 series DMUs.

Services are normally formed of four cars, but may be lengthened between six to seven cars on certain days and months. Green Car (first class) accommodation is provided in half of one car (Car No. 3), which is capable of seating up to 21 passengers. There is no extra charges required for the Okhotsk limited express services for Japan Rail Pass and / or Hokkaido Rail Pass holders.

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Furano Line trains at Asahikawa Station during the late morning hours

The station concourse leading to the station platforms at Asahikawa Station

The boarding structure for the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri on Track No. 5 at Asahikawa Station

The departure information board for trains departing from Track No. 5 at Asahikawa Station

The station platforms of Asahikawa Station during the late morning hours

Track No. 5 at Asahikawa Station shortly before the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri arrived at the platform

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the station platform, a 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 3 bound for Abashiri, finally arrived at Asahikawa Station at 11.15 a.m. on Track No. 5. I then boarded the train through the rear of Car No. 3, which was the Green Car (first class) cabin, and settled down into my assigned Seat No. 4A for the long journey time of 3 hours 50 minutes towards the northeastern suburban city of Abashiri.

At exactly 11.19 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 3 finally departed Asahikawa Station for the remainder of its very long journey towards the northeastern suburban city of Abashiri. I was then on my way for a long journey time of 3 hours 50 minutes towards the northeastern suburban port city of Abashiri. The train would also reverse direction at Engaru Station on the Sekihoku Main Line along the way.

Abashiri (網走市) is a small, northeastern port city located within Okhotsk Sub-prefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. The city is located along the Sea of Okhotsk, and has a total population of 38,132 as of 1 December 2013. It is home to the Abashiri Prison, which was used to keep political prisoners as punishment during the Meiji Era. During the winter season, the city is popular for drift ice.

Like Wakkanai, access to Abashiri can be quite limited, being it by air or by rail. Abashiri is served by Memanbetsu Airport (女満別空港) in the town of Ozora, which serves limited domestic flights. The Okhotsk limited express train service operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) also connects Sapporo with Abashiri four times daily via the Hakodate Main Line and the Sekihoku Main Line.

キハ183系 特急オホーツク3号 網走行き 旭川駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, during the boarding process at Asahikawa Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, during the boarding process at Asahikawa Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, from my seat during the boarding process at Asahikawa Station

Awaiting departure from Asahikawa Station

キハ183系 特急オホーツク3号 網走行き 旭川 (発車) ~ 東旭川 (通過)

Two cups of orange juice for myself

Bypassing a snow-covered farming area in the suburban city of Asahikawa along the Sekihoku Main Line

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the segment between Asahikawa and Abashiri

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, from my seat between Asahikawa and Kamikawa Stations

Bypassing a snow-covered open field along the Sekihoku Main Line between Asahikawa and Aibetsu

A packet of Jagariko potato sticks for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Bypassing another snow-covered open field in the sparse, rural town of Aibetsu on a sunny winter's afternoon

Crossing a large river along the Sekihoku Main Line between the sparse, rural towns of Aibetsu and Kamikawa

Crossing a small stream adjacent to a road bridge between the rural towns of Aibetsu and Kamikawa

Bypassing a snow-covered open field near the sparse, rural town of Kamikawa

Bypassing a snow-covered farming area in the sparse, rural town of Kamikawa

Making a brief stop at Kamikawa Station

Bypassing a snow-covered farming area in the sparse, rural town of Kamikawa, with the view of a snowy mountainous forest in the background

Travelling alongside a small river between Kamikawa and Shirataki Stations along the Sekihoku Main Line

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, from my seat between Kamikawa and Shirataki Stations

A view of my seat, 4A, between Kamikawa and Shirataki Stations

Waiting for a passing train in the opposite direction at a rail junction on the Sekihoku Main Line

Drafting out my essay report outline on my blog, using Helvetica as the main font

Travelling past a snow-covered open field along the Sekihoku Main Line as the train enters the sparse, rural town of Engaru

Travelling alongside a small road near Shirataki Station as the weather changes from sunny to cloudy

Passing through Shirataki Station

Bypassing a small housing area in the sparse, rural town of Engaru

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, between Shirataki and Maruseppu Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, between Shirataki and Maruseppu Stations

Travelling past a small snowy field by a snowy mountain as the train approaches Maruseppu Station

Bypassing another snow-covered open field as the train approaches Maruseppu Station

Making a brief stop at Maruseppu Station

キハ183系 特急オホーツク3号 網走行き 丸瀬布駅から遠軽駅間

Making a brief stop at Engaru Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, during the change of direction at Engaru Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, during the change of direction at Engaru Station

キハ183系 特急オホーツク3号 網走行き 遠軽 (発車) ~ 安国 (通過)

Travelling past a snow-covered area by some trees near Yasukuni Station in the sparse, rural town of Engaru

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, from my seat between Engaru and Rubeshibe Stations

Bypassing some rural houses covered in snow in the sparse, rural town of Engaru

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, between Engaru and Rubeshibe Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, between Engaru and Rubeshibe Stations

Travelling past a snow-covered mini-forest along the Sekihoku Main Line in the sparse, rural town of Engaru

Bypassing a snowy mountain forest along the Sekihoku Main Line in the sparse, rural town of Engaru

Travelling past another mountainous snow forest along the Sekihoku Main Line between Engaru and Kitami

Bypassing a snow-covered forest along the Sekihoku Main Line between Engaru and Rubeshibe Stations

A nice bottle of Coca-cola and a box of almond chocolates for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

About to enjoy my box of almond chocolates

Bypassing a snow-covered open field along the Sekihoku Main Line as the train approaches nearer towards Rubeshibe Station

Making a brief stop at Rubeshibe Station

Bypassing a snow-covered open field along the Sekihoku Main Line between Rubeshibe and Kitami Stations

Travelling past some sparse housing areas in the suburban city of Kitami

Passing through Nishi-kitami Station

Bypassing some clustered housing areas in the suburban city of Kitami as the train approaches Kitami Station

Making a brief stop at Kitami Station

The view of the suburbs of Kitami along the Sekihoku Main Line as the train races out of the suburban city of Kitami

Crossing a large river along the Sekihoku Main Line between Kitami and Bihoro

Bypassing a snow-covered open field along the Sekihoku Main Line between Kitami and Bihoro Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, from my seat between Kitami and Bihoro Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, between Kitami and Bihoro Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, between Kitami and Bihoro Stations

Making a brief stop at Bihoro Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, from my seat between Bihoro and the Abashiri terminal stations

Travelling past a snow-covered open field along the Sekihoku Main Line between the sparse, rural towns of Bihoro and Ozora

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, between Bihoro and the Abashiri terminal stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, between Bihoro and the Abashiri terminal stations

キハ183系 特急オホーツク3号 網走行き 女満別駅から終着網走駅間

After a long journey time of 3 hours 50 minutes from the suburban city of Asahikawa, I finally arrived at the Abashiri terminal station at 3.09 p.m. on Track No. 1. Ensuring that none of my belongings had been left behind on board, I alighted from the out-of-service train and exited through the manned ticketing gate before heading out into the suburban city area outside of the station itself. At the same time, I informed my mum that I had already reached and that I was alright as usual.

Once I stepped outside of the station, I could see that Abashiri was a very secluded city with not much livelihood in it. Feeling very hungry after the long train ride from the suburban city of Abashiri, I decided to search for a nearby restaurant to eat at for a late lunch. Without wasting anymore time, I departed the vicinity of Abashiri Station at 3.15 p.m., and crossed the road towards the other side of the city to search for a good restaurant to eat at for my late lunch.

Abashiri Station (網走駅) is the main railway station serving the northeastern suburban port city of Abashiri in Hokkaido, Japan. It serves as the eastern terminus for the Sekihoku Main Line, and the northern terminus for the Senmo Main Line. The Okhotsk limited express train service links Abashiri with Sapporo four times daily. As of 16 March 2013, there is one side platform and an island platform serving a total of three tracks.

Track No. 1 serving the Sekihoku Main Line trains towards Engaru and Asahikawa at Abashiri Station shortly after I had arrived at the station

The 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, which took me from Asahikawa earlier as the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 3 bound for Abashiri, being taken out of service on Track No. 1 at Abashiri Station

The main station concourse of Abashiri Station during the late afternoon hours

The exterior view of the station building of Abashiri Station during the late afternoon hours

The exterior view of Victoria Station Restaurant Abashiri located across the road in downtown Abashiri

The view of downtown Abashiri during the late afternoon hours

About to cross the road towards Victoria Station Restaurant Abashiri

After a short walk of just five minutes across the road from Abashiri Station, I finally arrived at a restaurant, named Victoria Station Restaurant at 3.20 p.m.. Since I was feeling very hungry already, I entered the restaurant and requested for a large table for myself. Soon enough, I was kindly escorted to a large empty table located by the window by a restaurant waitress. I was then left with the food and beverage menus to make my selections for my upcoming late lunch.

Having a good review through the food and beverage menus, a restaurant waitress came up to my table to take down my main meal orders for lunch. I ordered a thick-cut beef steak with juicy fried chicken in a sizzling plate, along with two side orders of mozzarella cheese sticks and a glass of white wine, as well as a bowl or corn soup with croutons taken from the self-service beverage and soup corner of the restaurant. That afternoon, I had a very sumptuous and filling lunch at Victoria Station Restaurant Abashiri.

The cover page for the food and beverage menu at Victoria Station Restaurant Abashiri

Reviewing the food and beverage menu at Victoria Station Restaurant Abashiri

A nice, warm bowl of corn soup with croutons for myself taken from the self-service beverage and soup area at the restaurant

The self-service beverage and soup buffet area at Victoria Station Restaurant Abashiri

My main course: Thick cut beef steak with juicy fried chicken in a sizzling plate

My first plate of mozzarella cheese sticks to be enjoyed at lunch

A glass of white wine to be enjoyed during lunch

My second plate of mozzarella cheese sticks to be enjoyed at lunch

The interior view of Victoria Station Restaurant Abashiri during the late afternoon hours

After having a sumptuous and filling lunch at Victoria Station Restaurant Abashiri, the clock was finally showing four o' clock. Since I was feeling stuffed to the brim already and there was nothing much to see in Abashiri, I paid up my restaurant lunch bill and decided to head back to Abashiri Station. For the return trip back towards Furano, I would catch the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 8 bound for Sapporo, which would be scheduled to depart Abashiri Station at 5.18 p.m., and arrive at Takikawa Station at 9.38 p.m..

Upon arrival at Takikawa Station, I would have a short 25-minute break before connecting to the last Nemuro Main Line local train bound for Furano, which would be scheduled to depart Takikawa Station at 10.04 p.m., and arrive at the Furano terminal station at 11.11 p.m.. With that, I left the restaurant at 4.05 p.m., and crossed the road all the way back to Abashiri Station, eventually arriving there by 4.10 p.m..

Once I arrived at Abashiri Station, I went over towards a nearby Lawson convenience store to purchase some beverages before entering the station by 4.15 p.m.. I then went to have a seat in the passenger waiting room and checked the departure information board to see which platform the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 8 bound for Sapporo would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 8 bound for Sapporo would depart at 5.18 p.m. from Track No. 1. While waiting for the last train of the day bound for Sapporo, I sat down to have a rest in the passenger waiting room.

About to cross the road back towards Abashiri Station

The view of downtown Abashiri during nightfall

The exterior view of the station building of Abashiri Station during nightfall

A Lawson convenience store located just outside Abashiri Station

The interior of the passenger waiting room at Abashiri Station

The departure information board for the Sekihoku Main Line trains departing towards Kitami, Engaru and Sapporo at Abashiri Station

After spending 35 minutes of anticipated waiting in the passenger waiting room, a 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 8 bound for Sapporo, finally entered Abashiri Station at 4.50 p.m. on Track No. 1. This train currently serves as the last train for the day towards Sapporo from Abashiri, as of the revised timetable on 16 March 2013. A boarding announcement for passengers to board the train was then made, where I waited for the manned ticket gate to be opened.

Once the manned ticket gate was opened, I quickly went onto the platform and boarded the train towards the rear of Car No. 3, where the Green Car (first class) cabin was located prior to settling into my assigned Seat No. 7A before the long evening journey time of 4 hours 20 minutes towards the suburban city of Takikawa. More passengers began to board the train as the 28 minutes of waiting went by.

At exactly 5.18 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Okhotsk No. 8 finally pulled out of Abashiri Station for its long evening journey time of 5 hours 20 minutes to the hustle and bustle of Sapporo. I was then on my way for a relatively long journey time of 4 hours 20 minutes towards the suburban inland city of Takikawa. At the same time, the train would reverse its direction at Engaru Station along the way.

Track No. 1 serving the Sekihoku Main Line trains towards Engaru and Asahikawa at Abashiri Station at night

The LED destination panel of the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, on Track No. 1 at Abashiri Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, during the boarding process at Abashiri Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, during the boarding process at Abashiri Station

A view of my seat, 7A, during the boarding process at Abashiri Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express tickets for the segment between Abashiri and Takikawa. Note that the additional ticket below is actually an extension ticket between Asahikawa and Takikawa

Awaiting departure from Abashiri Station

キハ183系 特急オホーツク8号 札幌行き 網走駅から女満別駅間

Making a brief stop at Memambetsu Station

Two cups of orange juice for myself

Making a brief stop at Bihoro Station

Travelling past a snow-covered open field along the Sekihoku Main Line between the sparse, rural towns of Ozora and Bihoro at night

Playing LEGO Racers Set No. 4 Race No. 3 (Mirrored Dark Forest Dash), with myself playing as Gyspy Moth stalking the host, Johnny Thunder, with three homing missiles

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Bihoro and Kitami Stations

Travelling past some housing areas in the suburban city of Kitami at night

The view of the suburbs of Kitami along the Sekihoku Main Line as the train approaches Kitami Station at night

Making a brief stop at Kitami Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Kitami and Rubeshibe Stations

Bypassing some clustered housing areas in the suburban city of Kitami at night

Travelling past some sparse housing areas in the suburban city of Kitami near Rubeshibe Station at night

Making a brief stop at Rubeshibe Station

Bypassing a snow-covered open field along the Sekihoku Main Line between Rubeshibe and Engaru Stations at night

The pitch black night scenery along the Sekihoku Main Line between Rubeshibe and Engaru Stations

Bypassing a snowy mountain forest along the Sekihoku Main Line in the sparse, rural town of Engaru at night

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Rubeshibe and Engaru Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Rubeshibe and Engaru Stations

A view of my seat, 7A, between Rubeshibe and Engaru Stations

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural town of Engaru at night as the train approaches Engaru Station

キハ183系 特急オホーツク8号 札幌行き 安国 (通過) ~ 遠軽 (到着)

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, during the change of direction at Engaru Station

Making a brief stop at Engaru Station

キハ183系 特急オホーツク8号 札幌行き 遠軽駅から丸瀬布駅間

The pitch black night scenery along the Sekihoku Main Line near Maruseppu Station

Bypassing a small housing area in the sparse, rural town of Engaru at night

A nice bottle of Coca-cola and a box of almond chocolates for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

About to enjoy my box of almond chocolates

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Maruseppu and Kamikawa Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Maruseppu and Kamikawa Stations

A view of my seat, 7A, between Maruseppu and Kamikawa Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Maruseppu and Kamikawa Stations

Playing LEGO Racers Set No. 6 Race No. 1, which is Alien Rally Asteroid, with myself playing as Basil the Batlord, attacking the host, Gypsy Moth, with three homing missiles, between Maruseppu and Kamikawa Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, as the train approaches Kamikawa Station

Playing LEGO Racers Set No. 6 Race No. 1, which is Alien Rally Asteroid, with myself playing as Willa the Witch (player) attacking the host, Gypsy Moth, with homing missiles, between Maruseppu and Kamikawa Stations

Making a brief stop at Kamikawa Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, shortly after departing Kamikawa Station

Playing LEGO Racers Set No. 5 Race No. 1 (Mirrored Amazon Adventure Alley), with myself playing as Gypsy Moth, attacking Commander Cold with three homing missiles

The pitch black night scenery along the Sekihoku Main Line between Kamikawa and Asahikawa Stations

Travelling past a dark hilly roadway as the train nears Asahikawa Station at night

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Kamikawa and Asahikawa Stations

Playing LEGO Racers Set No. 4 Race No. 3 (Mirrored Dark Forest Dash), with myself playing as Gyspy Moth, attacking the host, Johnny Thunder, with three homing missiles

Bypassing a snow-covered farming area in the suburban city of Asahikawa along the Sekihoku Main Line at night as the train approaches Asahikawa Station

キハ183系 特急オホーツク8号 札幌行き 新旭川 (通過) ~ 旭川 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Asahikawa Station

Travelling alongside a river and a road bridge in the suburban city of Asahikawa at night

The night view of the suburban city of Asahikawa as seen from the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo between Asahikawa and Fukagawa Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Asahikawa and Fukagawa Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Asahikawa and Fukagawa Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, between Asahikawa and Fukagawa Stations

The pitch black night scenery along the Hakodate Main Line between the suburban cities of Asahikawa and Takikawa

Travelling through the suburban city of Fukagawa as the train approaches Fukagawa Station

Making a brief stop at Fukagawa Station

キハ183系 特急オホーツク8号 札幌行き 深川駅から滝川駅間

After a long evening journey time of 4 hours 20 minutes from the northeastern suburban port city of Abashiri, I finally arrived at Takikawa Station at 9.38 p.m. on Track No. 5. Ensuring that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted the train and filmed a short video of its departure for its remaining journey towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo on the platform before changing to the Nemuro Main Line platform of the station.

I then took the elevator up to the station footbridge and checked the departure information board to see what time the last Nemuro Main Line local train bound for Furano would depart from. According to the departure information board, the last Nemuro Main Line local train bound for Furano would depart at 10.04 p.m. from Track No. 1. With that, I crossed the overhead station pedestrian footbridge from Tracks No. 4 and 5 towards Track No. 1, with the crossing over taking no more than 10 minutes, as I walked slowly since I was feeling rather tired.

Takikawa Station (滝川駅) is the main railway station serving the suburban city of Takikawa, Hokkaido, Japan. The station is served by the Hakodate Main Line and the Nemuro Main Line. It also serves as the western terminus for the Nemuro Main Line, which runs through Furano, Obihiro, Kushiro and Nemuro. The station is also a mandatory stopping point for all limited express trains on the Hakodate Main Line. As of 16 March 2013, there are a total of two island platforms and one side platform serving five tracks.

The 4-car KiHa 183 series DMU, which took me from Abashiri earlier as the Limited Express "Okhotsk" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, on Track No. 5 at Takikawa Station

キハ183系 特急オホーツク8号 札幌行き 滝川駅から出発シーン

Tracks No. 4 and 5 serving the Hakodate Main Line trains bound for Sapporo and Otaru at Takikawa Station

The station name plate of Takikawa Station on Tracks No. 4 and 5

The view of the Hakodate Main Line and Nemuro Main Line tracks from the pedestrian overhead bridge at Takikawa Station

After walking across the overhead station pedestrian footbridge from Tracks No. 4 and 5, I finally arrived at Track No. 1 of Takikawa Station at 9.50 p.m.. On the Nemuro Main Line platform, I found a single-car KiHa 40 series DMU, operating on the last Nemuro Main Line local service bound for Furano, waiting for the last passengers heading towards Furano to board the train. I immediately boarded the last train and secured a seat in preparation for the short late night run of 1 hour 07 minutes back towards the sparse, rural city of Furano.

There were not much passengers on board the last Nemuro Main Line local train bound for Furano late that night. At exactly 10.04 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the last Nemuro Main Line local train finally pulled out of Takikawa Station for its short late night run of 1 hour 07 minutes towards the sparse, rural city of Furano. I was then on my way for a short journey time of just 1 hour 07 minutes back towards the sparse, rural city of Furano.

The single-car KiHa 40 series DMU, which would soon take me back towards the sparse, rural city of Furano, as the last Nemuro Main Line local service bound for Furano, on Track No. 1 at Takikawa Station

Track No. 1 serving the Nemuro Main Line trains towards Furano, Obihiro and Kushiro at Takikawa Station

The interior of the single-car KiHa 40 series DMU set, operating on the last Nemuro Main Line local service bound for Furano, during the boarding process at Takikawa Station

キハ183系 根室本線 普通列車 富良野行き 滝川駅から東滝川駅間

Making a brief stop at Higashi-takikawa Station

The pitch black night scenery along the Nemuro Main Line between the cities of Takikawa and Akabira

Making a brief stop at Akabira Station

Bypassing a snow-covered open field along the Nemuro Main Line in the sparse, rural city of Akabira at night

The pitch black night scenery along the Nemuro Main Line between the sparse, rural cities of Akabira and Ashibetsu

Making a brief stop at Ashibetsu Station

Crossing a river alongside a roadbridge in the sparse, rural city of Ashibetsu at night

Making a brief stop at Kami-ashibetsu Station

Bypassing a snow-covered farming area in the sparse, rural city of Ashibetsu at night

The interior of the single-car KiHa 40 series DMU set, operating on the last Nemuro Main Line local service bound for Furano, between Ashibetsu and the Furano terminal stations

The pitch black night scenery along the Nemuro Main Line between the sparse, rural cities of Ashibetsu and Furano

Making a brief stop at Shimanoshita Station

キハ183系 根室本線 普通列車 富良野行き 島ノ下駅から終着富良野駅間

After a relatively short late night journey time of 1 hour 07 minutes from the suburban city of Takikawa, I finally arrived back at the Furano terminal station at 11.11 p.m. on Track No. 3. Ensuring that none of my belongings had been left behind on board, I alighted the train and crossed the station pedestrian footbridge towards the main entrance towards the station. The station was completely deserted as it already late at night, and that the station staff had gone home hours ago.

Arriving at the main entrance to the station at 11.15 p.m., I managed to meet my dad, who was waiting for me at the drop-off area in our rented car. He then helped me to load all of my belongings into the back of the car, while I hopped on. Soon enough, we finally departed the quiet vicinity of Furano Station for a short late night drive of just 15 minutes back to our chalet at the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano.

To summarise, my first ride on board the Limited Express Okhotsk service towards Abashiri was not a bad one. However, I personally think that JR Hokkaido should try to consider some options to enhance travel between Sapporo and Abashiri. They can either replace the older KiHa 183 series DMUs with newer DMU rolling stock, or refurbish the Green Car (first class) seats on board the existing trains used for these services.

Tracks No. 2 and 3 serving the Nemuro Main Line trains at Furano Station at night

The inside of the overhead station pedestrian footbridge at Furano Station

The cab stand and pick-up area outside Furano Station late at night

Travelling through the roads of downtown Furano late at night

Crossing the bridge over the Sorachi River on the way back towards the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano late at night

About to turn towards the road leading towards the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano late at night

Travelling along the dark road leading towards the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at night

Finally arriving back at the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at 11.30 p.m.

After a short late night drive of just 15 minutes from Furano Station, we finally arrived back at the Forest View Chalets at the Petit Hotel Suzuran Furano at 11.30 p.m.. Unloading my belongings from the car, my dad and I went towards our Chalet A, and went inside in order to keep warm from the cold weather. I then went to have a nice, hot shower and changed into my pyjamas prior to settling in for the night.

Feeling very hungry after my long train journey from Abashiri, I had some supper with my parents in the living room and did some stuff on my laptop, since there was nothing much left to do for the remainder of the night. As we would be heading towards Otaru the next day, I finally turned in at around one or two o' clock late that night for a well-earned good night's sleep.

This officially brings the third segment of my special combined Christmas winter vacation to Hokkaido, Japan and South Korea to a formal conclusion. All the remaining three sections of the entire special holiday blog report will be published once I have selected the highest quality photographs and videos for them.

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