On our third day in Furano, we visited the Furano Cheese Factory, and it's sister factories, the Furano Pizzeria and Furano Ice Milk factory. Truth be told, they are just that, shops that sell cheese, pizza and ice cream. For an up close look, one needs to arrange for paid workshops. Furano's local cheese tastes mild in my opinion. The weirdest thing they have is a squid ink cheese. We just tried a slice of their cheese tart. Pizza wasn't on our list so we went straight for the ice cream.
The place was mobbed by a whole bunch of Japanese high school kids. With a double scoop of cheese and tomato milk ice cream, we went people-watching at the picnic area. Some school kids napped on the benches, some talked with their friends and a rare few guys started ballroom dancing on the grass! Many young parents also came with toddlers, and it was fun watching their kids play in the fields and pick wild flowers.
We had no idea where to go next, so KH consulted the many tourist maps. The nearest attraction was the Asahigaoka Park which is famous for sakura viewing. Although we knew that the hanami season was over we went there anyway. Everything was green with pine cones and acorns on the ground. Also discovered Cafe Nora in there that served hand-crafted drinks and sold some crafts. We didn't stop there for coffee.
Coincidentally, it was Wesak Day and we celebrated by going stone Buddha statue hunting at the park. We drove up to the hill to try to find all 87 statues (a copy of the statues on Shikoku Island) that were placed along walking trails. Pokemon's "got to catch 'em all" attitude pushed us on, so we succeeded to spot all of them. The 88th was supposed to be at Furano's Shinto shrine in town, but we couldn't find it. Sad. All that walking had worked up our digestive juices so we headed to Furano Marche to look for food.
Surprisingly, Furano Marche is a place on popular with the local tourists. In addition to restaurants and cafes, it has a small farmer's market, and a souvenir shop that is well-stocked with products from other places. Decided on noodles at 煮干中華
The afternoon was a hot 32 degrees celcius, so we hid indoors at the nearby marts and supermarkets. Roamed the many shelves of Japanese products, all confused on what to try. To draw customers to a sale item, Japanese supermarkets commonly use a small speaker with flashing lights. The music was so catchy that we kept humming it. On our way out, bought a taiyaki from a vendor at the entrance.
Back at the hotel, I fiddled with my phone (better to fiddle KH) while KH went out running in his skanky pants. Pre-dinner entertainment was Ningle Terrace, a small log village near the New Furano Prince Hotel. Each cottage houses one artist who uses the space to showcase their works and some even work there. Quite an interesting place to buy unique (and of course more expensive) souvenirs there. The art medium ranges from paper, wood, plants to metal and everything in between.
That night, we ate in again since we still had unagi, tomatoes, instant sausages, dorayaki, beer snacks and sake. Yummy!