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Japan Hour

BINGO Theme: Local Bus Trip In Hokkaido - Part 2

The bingo race enters its final stretch with Team Tagawa and Team Takashima capturing squares by completing interesting missions such as harvesting a giant asparagus and eating horseradish ramen.

The two-day bingo race journey between the Tagawa and Takashima teams continues in Hokkaido. Team Takashima is at Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway and must take photos at all five observation decks here as part of their mission. After completing this mission, they take the ropeway down and then catch the 5.35pm bus to Otaru Station. From there, they board a Sapporo-bound train at 6pm. Team Tagawa, in the meantime, is going to a place connected to the clue, “a seafood tower bowl that not many tourists know about”. They had earlier found out they must go to Shihachi Sengyoten, which is popular for fresh fish purchased directly from fishermen. They easily complete the mission here, which is to finish a seafood bowl, and get another square on the bingo card. 

On the second day, Team Tagawa starts from Shihachi Sengyoten. They will go to a "giant asparagus farm" in Sapporo. They are told there is a direct bus going to the Toretagoya Fujii Farm. They also ask about Ishikari City’s famous sheep spot, the Ishikari Sheep Farm, which is near the asparagus farm. They head to the asparagus farm first.

On the other hand, Team Takashima decides to forget about the ramen shop they visited the day before as it only opens at 11am. It is now 9.05am so they choose to go to Jozankei to mark two bingo squares there. A Kappa Liner bus leaves for Jozankei at 10am. They use the waiting time to ask about "Sapporo's biggest waterfall", which is Ashiribetsu Waterfall, and a "curry shop that's extremely difficult to find". The latter, called Aiiro, is located in Toyohira Ward, Fukuzumi, and they can later alight at Sumikawa Station. They also find out that in Jozankei, the "historic hot spring inn with all the rooms facing the valley" is Shogetsu Grand Hotel and the nearest bus stop is Jozankei Jinja-mae. 

Team Tagawa reaches the asparagus farm in the suburbs of Sapporo after a one-hour bus ride. Toretagoya Fujii Farm is one of the biggest farms in Sapporo, boasting an area equivalent to about 40 tennis courts. The team must harvest an extra-large asparagus which weighs at least 45g and eat it.

Team Takashima reaches Jozankei and goes to the information centre to ask for directions to Shogetsu Grand Hotel and about “a ramen that makes you cry”. The latter is Seicomart's horseradish ramen and the place is nearby. So the team will go to Seicomart first and then Shogetsu. 

Team Tagawa completes the mission at the farm, after finding a giant asparagus which weighs more than 45g and trying it. They then take a bus from the farm towards the Ishikari Sheep Farm, which is linked to the clue "great sheep spot with an incredible view". 

Team Takashima arrives at the store with the "ramen that makes you cry" and they have to each finish one bowl of horseradish salt ramen. The team completes the mission and gets another square on the bingo card. 

Team Tagawa transfers buses and catches the 12pm bus from Asabu Station to the sheep farm. They alight at the nearest bus stop and walk for 20km to Ishikari Sheep Farm. It is known for its spectacular views of mountains such as Mount Teine. The mission here is to guide 15 sheep into a sheep pen, which requires a lot of skill and patience. 

Team Takashima is heading to Shogetsu Grand Hotel in Jozankei Onsen. It is located in a lush valley full of greenery and attracts 1.6 million tourists every year. The popular hot spring inn boasts a magnificent view of the valley from every single room. The team easily completes the mission here, which is to enjoy an open-air bath with an incredible view of the Toyohira River. They then take a bus back to Sapporo. They enquire about getting to the curry shop in Toyohira Ward, Fukuzumi. They are told to take a one-hour bus ride from Jozankei Jinja-mae to Susukino and then travel on the Namboku Line to Sumikawa Station.

Team Tagawa completes the mission at the “great sheep spot with an incredible view” and uses the “special card” to steal a bingo square from Team Takashima. Team Tagawa next tackles the clue on "Japan's number one pudding" in Ebetsu, about 30km away. They use their “taxi card” to head there. 

Team Takashima arrives at Sumikawa Station and goes to the soup curry shop called Aiiro. Their mission is to finish its popular spicy chicken curry made with chicken, fruit, potherb and more than 10 spices. 

Team Tagawa reaches Santa Cream, a pudding shop located in Ebetsu City, at around 2.35pm. The mission is to eat and guess its third-most popular pudding among the shop’s top five puddings. They correctly identify the two-layered “queen's pudding” as the third-most popular one and claim another square on the bingo card. They now have one square left to get bingo so rush to the “farm of God”, which is Machimura Farm Milk Garden. They travel on a JR train from Oasa Station to Ebetsu Station and must switch to a bus to go to the farm. It is now 3.05pm and the next bus is only after an hour. So Team Tagawa decides to walk about 5.5km to the farm instead. Machimura Farm has a history of more than 100 years. Its founder, Mr Machimura, is known as the “God of Cattle Breeding”.

Team Takashima completes the mission at the curry shop and rushes by taxi to Sapporo’s biggest waterfall, Ashiribetsu, their last bingo square. The taxi drops them at the parking area and they must walk for nearly 30 minutes to the Ashiribetsu Waterfall, which has been selected as one of the 100 best waterfalls in Japan. 

Both teams are on their way to their respective last squares to complete their final mission. The team which completes its mission first wins the race. Team Takashima must take a photo at the waterfall, while Team Tagawa has to feed milk to a newborn calf at Machimura Farm. In the end, Team Tagawa completes the mission first and is thus declared the winner of the two-day bingo race journey in Hokkaido. 


1)    Ashiribetsu Waterfall is said to be Sapporo’s biggest waterfall 
2)    Visit the Ishikari Sheep Farm for its spectacular views of the surrounding mountains


Source: CNA


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