I do not approve off Zoo’s. The idea of animals in captivity does not appeal to me. The only reason I had to visit Asahiyama Zoo was I couldn’t come back from Japan without meeting the Polar Bear. With their numbers plunging by 40% in the last 10 years, this might be my only chance of seeing the white bears.
It was supposed to be a drift ice cruise. Each year ice forms near the mouth of the Amur River in Russia. From there it drifts southward, aided by currents, until it eventually rolls onto Abashiri. The drift ice appears around late January and stays till mid-April. Unfortunately it was gone, almost a month early. What is going on!! Can someone please take a stand and stop this global warming?
We go on an incredible journey into the lives of the Ainu people at the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples. The true origins of the Ainu people remain a big mystery to this day. It is common knowledge that the Japanese language is inspired by Chinese but it has to be stated that the Ainu speak a language that resembles no other language in Asia or its surroundings.
Ainu Kotan is a small Ainu village near Lake Akan. The village comprising some 40 Ainu households live here in scattered huts in an attempt to preserve the Ainu culture. The Ainu are greatly skilled in wood works and various shops can be found in the village selling wood carvings and embroidery.
We ride to lake of the Gods. The aborigine Ainu called it so, for a reason. Surrounded by 200 m high crater walls, the deep blue mirror-like waters of Lake Mashu make for a unique landscape. We are lucky travelers I guess, for it is frequently blanketed in heavy fog and a rarity to view at its scenic best
Iōzan, also known as the Sulfur Mountain spews volcanic gases, rich in sulfur all year round. Standing amidst these steam bellowing vents and yellow crystallized rocks, it feels like we are on a different planet altogether.
Lake Kussharo is the largest of the three caldera lakes that make up Akan National Park. In winter the lake becomes home to hundreds of whooper swans and other migratory birds. The still simmering volcano keeps the water warm for these feathered tourists from the Russian Arctic
We ride to Lake Shikaribetsu, the highest lake in Hokkaido to visit a phantom village. Hidden deep in the mountains, the “Lake of the Sky,” as named by the Ainu, makes for a very serene and peaceful experience. The village exists only during the winter months and disappears with the onset of spring.