This article first appeared in our old blog on September 22, 2013.
We arrived at Obihiro at noon. From the airport we were taken by a bus to Kofuku Station. With this same bus, we would travel around Hokkaido for the next five days. Kofuku means happiness. They believe if you visit this place, it will bring you happiness. According to a survey lately, of all places in Japan, the happiest people live in this area. There is a former waiting room, which wall is full of wishing paper and business cards. Written on them are people’s wishes and dreams. Some asked for happiness in life, others asked for partners or other needs.
Other than the waiting room, there are two souvenir shops, a wishing bell and a locomotive.
From there we went to Tokachigawa Park in Otofuke with the famous Flower Clock called Hanack. It’s face is 18 m in diameter and the second hand is 10.1 m long.
From there we went to our hotel for the night – Daiheigen Hotel which is in the Tokachigawa Onsen area. The hotel has a public bath and ryokan (traditional Japanese inn).
A typical ryokan has paper sliding door. Inside a standard ryokan we can find:
1. Tables plus footed and non footed chairs
Futon can be used as a mattress, put on a tatami (Japanese mat), and as a blanket, put atop of the mattress. To experience a Japanese life, sleep on a tatami is a must! The size of a room is described with how many tatami cover it, usually six, eight or ten tatamis. No sandals or shoes allowed on tatami!
3. Yukata and tanzen. Yukata is a kimono made from light cotton. A tanzen acts like a jacket worn over a yukata in winter. The fact that you can wear this yukata almost everywhere is beyond appalling to me. You can wear it to the hotel’s restaurants to have dinner, to the public bath, outside the hotel and to bed!
This is a small part of the room with kakejiku (painting or writing framed and hung on the wall), a little piece of decor and / or ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) put on a place slightly higher than the floor.
5. Tea set.
Asians love tea, including the Japanese.
After dinner, you might go to onsen for a good night sleep after.
Note : Toilet paper is water soluble and most of the toilets are hi-tech (automatic).