Patchwork Road Rolling Hills in Hokkaido, Japan

After viewing the beautiful flowers in Furano, we wandered further afield, to the rolling hills of the “Patchwork Road” where we were to view not only flowers but also some “famous” trees . We all know patchwork means sewing pieces of different materials together in a pattern. Here with flowers blooming, the scenery looked like a carpet of blossoms woven like patchwork on the rolling hills when viewed above from a distance.

The Patchwork Road is the scenic area northwest of Biei’s town center. Patchwork Road is a misnomer, it refers to an area rather than a road. It offers  beautiful rural landscapes all year round, with beautiful colors against a  green background in the summer and  white when everything is covered under a deep layer of snow in the winter.

Around late June / early July you can see the beautiful potato flowers in the Biei hills. Oddly enough, the color of flowers changes depending on the types of potatoes. Potatoes originating from Ireland “danshaku” (meaning baron) have light violet flowers. Potatoes originating from England “may queen” have bold purple flowers. Potato chip potatoes “toyoshiro” we see here have beautiful white flowers.

Over the years, the area’s  immense beauty has attracted the attention of marketing people, and some trees were used in commercials or for package label designs.

Among these “famous trees” are a row of larch trees ( above and below) on the Mild Seven Hill (from a cigarette commercial), a poplar named Ken and Mary Tree (from a car commercial by Nissan in 1972) , the Seven Star Tree (which appeared on  cigarette packages). and a   group of oak trees is known as the Parents and Child Tree.

A common sight in this area also included  fields of gold.

Tracing a gentle curve of green above the hill, the Larch trees stand together and create a natural wind-break. Since its appearance in the filming of a 1978 Mild Seven commercial, this hill has come to be known as the Mild Seven Hill.

This scenic spot representative of Biei appeared in 1976 on Seven Star cigarette packages. The image of a lone oak tree standing in the middle of a wide field is now closely associated with  Hokkaido.

These trees (below) are called the Oyako no Ki, literally parent and child trees. Three oak trees (two bigger trees cuddle up the small one) are seen standing closely to one anther  giving a warm feeling of the parents and a child.

The Ken and Mary tree was popularized in an old Nissan commercial in  1972. Almost all tour books and magazines cite this as a “must see” spot in Biei. The tree itself is sitting next to a road, so today, you can see bus loads after bus loads of tourists stopping by  discharging tourists who rush out to the middle of the road  to take a quick snap shot of  the tall tree.

Surrounded by magnificent mountains of Daisetsuzan volcanic group and vast open fields,  we found ourselves wandering aimlessly in this romantic open fields.

After hours of wandering around, exhausting ourselves from one site to another, we were tired and decided to have lunch in this restaurant which seemed to have a very Alpine feel. To remind ourselves that  we were actually in Japan, we ordered some Japanese curry  which we found very delicious and different from the curry we used to have . . . . . .  . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   . .  .

For those who are interested in the time table for blooming of flowers in Hokkaido, the local Tourism Board do publish a flower calendar showing the what flowers will bloom in the summer months:

65 thoughts on “Patchwork Road Rolling Hills in Hokkaido, Japan

    • Have been to both Hokkaido and Switzerland and as you said, Japan has an alpine feel and resembles Switzerland in some way. Thanks for the comment! Michael

  1. Hey, that looks a might bit like home. I live in the Canadian prairies, 4.5 hours from the Rocky Mountains to the West. I don’t usually look out the window of a plane, but once on a turn I looked and saw miles and miles of patchwork farm fields, very pretty. The restaurant surely would feel at home in the Swiss Alp’s, especially that big beautiful dog. What a surprise to see.

    • I saw similar rolling fields in the UK from the windows of a plane. They can look very attractive from a distance! I like the look of the boy and the dog in the last photo. The only thing that gives away that it is not Europe or Canadian prairies are the small Japanese car parked there. Thanks for the comment! Michael

  2. Wow! I am just looking at the images again and that last one particularly looks so peaceful. A Japanese curry? That does sound intriguing. Do they use wasabi for the curry, I wonder.

  3. I didn’t know that Japan has such a beautiful landscape. I’ve always thought of it as a modernized country with lots of billboards and buildings.

  4. Michael … first when I look at the photos – I thought you they where taken somewhere else .. and I couldn’t find the connection with Japan – it looks like somewhere in Europe or US – even here in Sweden. Have been to Japan, but never been out in country – I have missed a lot. Been ito Sapporo. Stunning – and that they are growing potatoes to chips … fantastic. I was in Japan 1978-79. Visit the website … what a place/area … thank you so much for sharing this. Stunning photos as always.

  5. I hope you don’t tired of hearing that your photos are just gorgeous! I’m hoping to win the lottery so I can just travel and see all the the amazing sights in the world.

    • Hi tiny leesons blog, thanks very much for the nomination. I have decided not to pursue or accept any nomination / award during my retirement and for this reason, I have already turned down all similar awards. Knowing that my blog is read in many places of the world is already my biggest reward. With regret, I have to decline the nomination. Thank you once again for the nomination which is very much appreciated! Regards, Michael

    • Hokkaido is somewhat different from the rest of Japan; so it is quite posible that you will have a different perspective on seeing the pictures. Many thanks for the comments & regards, Michael

  6. Wonderful photos – I’m always drawn to rolling fields – actually any kind of field – and open spaces. But it takes the Japanese to name just about every tree, doesn’t it? Thanks for taking the time to share this.

    • Hi bluebrighty, sometimes I wonder whether those trees are planted intentionally and judiciously so that when seen together with the landscaape give you a feel of a painting. Thanks for the comment! Michael

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