Formally known as “Ezo”

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What city do you think of when you hear western style buildings, beautiful country side, large farms, amazing bakeries, quaint coffee houses, monthly festivals and ice hockey?

Probably thinking somewhere in North Eastern United States, Canada or Europe, but you should be thinking JAPAN! Japan… you must think I’m crazy and in fact if you had told me the same thing I too would have guessed incorrectly, but after a recent vacation to Japan’s Northern Island of Hokkaido I know better now.

I have been fortunate enough to travel throughout the different regions of Japan and have come to know that each region holds there own culture and style. Best way to describe Japan is like a beautiful blanket when you look at it from a distance you see how it makes this large wonderful design, but as you examine closer you will start to see each individual strain of yarn and see how each piece is beautiful and different in its own way. Such as Kyoto is very traditional and has numerous awe inspiring shrines and temples, Tokyo has the high end shopping and is a modern living, Okinawa has white sand beaches and islanders mentality, and Sapporo is open and clean.

Sapporo is known for the festivals they continuesly hold through out the year. Such as Sapporo Ice festival, beer festival, food festival and jazz festival are only a few of the many they have near the heart of the city. If that alone does not tempt you to explore this northern paradise then maybe the food will. Hokkaido is known for thier seafood, ramen and dairy products they also hold organic vegitable events, which are produced on nearby farms throughout Hokkaido. 

Still not sure if this is a place you would like to visit, since you could be more interested in seeing ancient shrines, parks or other recreational activities. Well Sapporo still could be the spot for you since there is a beautiful shrine only a couple of minutes away by by the Sapporo rail system. And if you feel like venturing a little further with children or going on a pic nic there is an absolutely wonderful park designed by Isamu Noguchi only about 30 minutes by train. The part displays beautiful achitecture, but more importantly the designer wanted to bring families together here, so the landscape and aesthics viewing is relaxing.

Relaxation, well maybe you just want to take it easy after all you are on vacation. Hokkaido also has hot spring towns where you can book a room and go to the spa for the day. Unfortunately last time we were there I simply ran out of time to do that. Next time, very soon, I hope to report differently! 

I am begining to feel a lot like a travel agent now, but I can not stress enough how much fun I had in Sapporo. One big reason why I believe fellow furniture makers or people looking for quality hand made furniture will love Hokkaido is because Hokkaido is known as the furniture capital of Japan. As I said before in a previous blog one of my favorite furniture makers resides in the mountains of Hokkaido. His furniture might hold the inspiration he recieves from living in such an amazing location. I know that by being there I was inspired as I am sure you would be too.

So if your still not sure about visiting Hokkaido, just go and see for yourself and then when you come back let me be the first person to say I told you so!

-Hokkaido Ikou-  “Let’s go to Hokkaido!”


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