As the ever present and vibrant sun dawned a new day, I arose from my makeshift campsite. Today should be pretty eventful.
After reaching the Sea of Japan, it's time to head back east and check out the Furano area of Hokkaido.
I know the area is well renowned for its Ski resorts in the winter, but the main reason I'm going there is to check out the infamous "blue pond".
From the looks of it, the pond is located in a town called Biei, just outside of Furano.
With breakfast out of the way and everything tied back onto the DZed, it's time to head towards Biei.
The route on my GPS says that Furano is around 3 and a half hours away, so it appears that I'll have a new record for seat time on the bike.
While I do have multiple routes to choose from, I need to make sure I have one with a gas stop along the way.
One downside of the DZed is its fuel capacity. With a 2.6 gallon tank, it's great for daily commutes and fun rides, but it's not set up stock with a highway-friendly gas tank.
Fortunately, the fuel efficiency on the bike is quite good. 2.6 gallons should last longer on it than initially expected.
If this were my bike, I would throw an aftermarket tank on and double the fuel range of the bike. Maybe for another trip.
The ride is fairly smooth across the peninsula and back into the wilderness of the Sapporo area. As I head east of Sapporo, I begin to see another change in the landscape.
The elevated wilderness gives way to vast fields of flowers and rolling hills.
After being here for 5 days, it's become very evident that Hokkaido has earned the reputation for being the "picturesque" prefecture of Japan.
Ironically, a lot of this landscape reminds me of home. The grassy, uneven plain. The signs of agricultural work. Not to mention, the air has a fresh and untainted scent.
It's like riding across my home state, only re-imagined.
As I begin to enter the Furano region, I make a pit stop for fuel. Depending on the routes I take in the future, I might invest in a separate gas can to carry in my luggage.
The DZed has handled its highway miles fine, but I'm just not a fan of being short on gas during these long trips.
With a few hundred yen out of my pocket and a full gas tank, I made the stretch run towards Biei.
I made reservations at a popular Ryokan (Japanese Inn) tonight, so I'll be able to enjoy an onsen after my journey to the pond.
I safely arrived at the Ryokan and checked into my room. Within seconds of walking into this place, I knew that this was one of the nicer places I'll stay on this trip.
Aside from the standard amenities in my room, this Ryokan has everything from a breakfast buffet to a complete spa area.
There's no question that I'm going to take advantage of the spa area, as 5 days of budget travel has already added a stench to my body.
As I get settled into the room, I meander over to one of the vending machines on-site to give me an energy boost.
Unfortunately, they were out of the cold brew coffee I wanted so I opted for an energy drink. No, I didn't consider Pocari Sweat as an option.
I proceeded to make the short drive over to the Blue Pond and take in the sight of this unique body of water.
There's a walking trail around the pond, so I should have plenty of good angles to get good photos.
As for the pond itself, it's unlike anything I've ever seen before. The shade of blue in this water is hard to describe. It's like an icy shade of frostbitten blue, with a hint of sky blue.
I've been told that the shade of blue changes, with the season dictating the hue.
One thing of note about the pond is the number of trees that are growing from the pond, itself.
From what I understand, this is a man-made pond that was created to help protect Biei from any volcanic overflow that could be caused by a nearby Volcano.
As a result of the location and nearby environment, a multitude of different minerals are found in the pond and help give it its unique tint of color.
With the trail around the pond only taking minutes to walk, I quickly found the most appealing shots and worked my way towards the nearby waterfall.
This entire area is connected to the Biei River and serves as the lifeblood for the residents around here.
The rare phenomenon of this lake has been somewhat of an odd fortune for the areas, as it was originally built to protect the locals.
Regardless, the photos I got from this area are stunning and I can't wait to see them, in better resolution.
After my afternoon visit to the Blue Pond, I headed back to the Ryokan and took in the spoils of the spa area.
I'm not one to regularly attend spas but I have to admit, a hot/cold combo of a sauna session, followed by a brisk shower, was incredibly refreshing.
After cleaning up, I got a meal from room service and crashed. As you can imagine, many hours on the bike and some sightseeing left me exhausted.
Tomorrow, I'm heading to a nearby resort. The reason for me going there is to see if I can witness the "Sea of Clouds".
Apparently, there's a handful of places in the country that allow tourists to get this kind of view.
Hopefully, weather permits, and I'll be able to add some photos to an already awesome collection.
Thanks and I look forward to seeing you soon!
Biei Blue Pond