Sunday, June 5, 2011

Asahiyama... A View From A Park

2nd August, 2010 - Asahiyama Memorial Park stands between Maruyama Kouen and Moiwa-yama, and provides excellent views out over the city. We've been here before during the autumn of 2003. This park was first opened in 1970, just prior to the Winter Olympics. It often gets confused with Asahiyama Zoo... which strangely enough is actually in Asahikawa City, a couple of hours to the north of Sapporo.

View Sapporo Map in a larger map

They undertook a major rennovation a few years back, and the more formal garden fountain of 2003 has been replaced by a much more open summer wading pool which was getting a good working out when we were there.

A gratuitous photo of moi.
A gratuitous photo of moi.

An as always mysterious photo of my wife, T-chan

The park has definitely become a lot more family-centric now, which is always a great thing to see. Sapporo doesn't seem to make much of the fact that it's on the coast - even during summer you wouldn't know it. So children find relief from the weather wherever they can (and this year it was actually kind of uncomfortable with the humidity).
A portrait of both my son, L-kun and a sneeze (in 340 milliseconds)
The other good thing about the park is that it's surrounded on one side by a large forested area (known as the Learning Forest)... and there's plenty of good walks (or runs) to be had. One of the things that T-chan's parents noticed this time around is just how much more active L-kun was. A lot more exercise being had by all...

And forests means very forested. Nothing particularly manicured about this part of the park.

The forest has a number of different tree species, but an awful lot of shirakaba, a form of white birch that is very prominent in Hokkaido.

The shirakaba has a beautiful papery bark... that I have to say just beckons to small boys (and not so small boys) to pull some off. Still, it makes for a good subject for look-but-don't-touch photography too.

And that's not the only good photo subject to be found. I was definitely trying out the macro quite a bit... and discovering the joy of taking insect photos. 

Despite T-chan's aversion to insects back in Australia, there's an abundance of insects in Sapporo, if you look. The one big difference... ants in Sapporo don't bite. They bite like there's no tomorrow back in Australia (and often, there is no tomorrow for those ants - let's just say, I don't increase my positive kharma around ants back home). Now it's a quick look at a small hornet having a feast... thankfully not the giant Japanese hornet which can grow up to 4 cm in size.

And of course, it couldn't be summer in Sapporo without some very yummy soft-serve icecream. Hokkaido icecream has a great reputation - and well earned. Then again, if it's cold and made of milk, it's pretty good as far as I'm concerned.
And no... I'm only holding the second icecream.... honest.


  1. my friend has been recently bitten by a large (about half an inch) ant in Sapporo and was left with a large swelling on his forearm. I just hope it was a visitor from Australia and not a native species.

  2. Yeah - I should be a bit more specific... ants bite in Japan, but not indiscriminantly like they do here in's annoying to be standing out in the garden (just minding your own business) when ants crawl up and start biting you. Still - I wouldn't mind off-loading a few of our ants in Japan (if it meant less here).

    Hope your friend's arm is better... kawaisou!