+crowded world++japan++hokkaido++biei++may 20 2011

 north east asia galleries
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IN the heart of Biei is a tourist information office which has plenty of information of things to do in the town, and some cool models of the surrounding topography. Perhaps the most compelling local attraction, apart from the wildflowers of course, is the peak of Asahidake, which rises x meters to the east/west? Asahidake means "peak of the rising sun", and is the highest mountain in Hokkaido. I haven't been to Russia before, but this island has a Russian/Siberian feel to it in my imagination at least. I sat back in my seat, drank green tea, and enjoyed the view. Walking out in the wetlands looking for cranes, I was attacked by pesky marsh insects. For the first time since my last trip to Iceland in 2006, I feel like I am back in the sub-Arctic!

Those wetlands were in fact the Kushiro Shitsugen, and how we ended up there was an exercise in stupidity (my parents'). We were on the hunt for the elusive tanchou, but nobody told us they were not in season (havingt flown off somewhere cooler). It was a nice train ride, a one-man densha via Kitahama (North Harbor) to Abashiri. The hotel was cool. They had Chinese and butter making lessons downstairs... ..