Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Tomamu Apha Resort, Hokkaido

Tomamu is a ski resort basically - a cluster of towers and other hotel-related buildings in the middle of a basin with mountains all around. Driving there was very cool because after a long, long drive from North Furano these babies were pretty easy to spot in the distance.

In the winter it looks amazing, with the huge towers rising from the snow filled valley, and that was how I saw it on No Matter Board (a snowboarding TV show that I found infinitely more entertaining than most snowboarding DVDs in that it's not just people jumping off the top of a mountain, and flipping through an avalanche, or ten awesome boarders spectacularly grinding the same rail. Seriously, I've never known anything like snowboarding DVDs, except possibly Michael Bay's Transformers movies, for reducing the jaw-dropping to the yawn-inducing through brain-stewing repetition). But they can't stay open if they only operate in the winter, so Hokkaido's resort hotels have to try and rope customers in for the summer too. Rusutsu has some huge Pokemon festival and an undewhelming looking amusement park. Tomamu has forest hikes, a balloon ride, rafting, a mountain-top restaurant, a golf course and things like that. We just wanted a cool hotel to stay in near Furano, and maybe to take a balloon ride (something that we ditched in favour of a good nights sleep). The hotel is nice, but kind of generally worn around the edges, which is kind of to be expected since as Matt pointed out, it was built at the end of the 80s and as I hypothesize, it must get hideous wear and tear in the winter when people are constantly tracking snow inside.

Still it was a pretty cool place, partly because of things like this:

And this, a network of raised passages through the forest that we had to navigate to get our breakfast (which was also pretty good):

We couldn't actually go hiking very far into the forest though, since it was closed off as someone spotted a bear there a few days prior. A bear! I want to spot a bear, although as Yuki kept pointing out - it may have been the end of me.

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