Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Asahikawa Accommodation: Asahikawa Ride

Asahikawa Ride, just a kilometer from Asahikawa Station, is a small guesthouse with dorm beds. There are 4-bed and 8-bed mixed dorms, and a 4-bed female dorm. Each bunk has a curtain for privacy, a reading light, a socket, a laundry line, coat hooks and hangers. The dorm rooms are not that big but the bunk is quite spacious (you can keep your luggage in the bunk, beside the futon). The dorms share toilets (one for each gender) and shower rooms (one for each gender). The guesthouse also has a common room and a small kitchen. From the station to the hostel, there are many restaurants and convenience stores.

Upon entering the guesthouse, I noticed two things: a fat cat and a reception area full of sports stuff—bikes, skis, tools, etc. Looks like the owner, Tetsu, is into sports...biking, skiing, mountain climbing, etc... and has thought of ways to make it easy for his guests to keep their sports equipment. Tetsu would be happy to assist his guests, whether sports–related or not. His cat, Tama, would be happy just stalking about in the guesthouse.

Guesthouse Asahikawa Ride
2F Nissho Building, 6-jodori 7-chome, Asahikawa City
+81 166737923
facebook page: @asahikawaride
A dorm bed costs around 3700 yen per night
Book a bed at Asahikawa Ride through booking.com

 Common area

6-bed mixed dorm

Note: Photos of Asahikawa Ride were grabbed from booking.com

What's to see in Asahikawa? Not much. On one afternoon when I had a bit of free time, I just went for a walk in the area near Asahikawa Ride. That little walk brought me to Tokiwa Park (just 500 meters from the guesthouse), where, because it was summer, there were many booths set up. Locals were selling food, some had set up small summer games for kids (such as catching little fish using a paper scoop). There were also people giving out fans (the fans were actually ads). It was pretty nice to see an ordinary local event.

 Booths at Tokiwa Park

A little girl caught some fish!

Why, then, did I stay two nights in Asahikawa? Although I had a Hokkaido Rail Pass for this trip and, therefore, could have stayed in Sapporo the entire time and could have just gone on day trips to wherever, I wanted to save some time on journeys to/from Biei, Nakafurano, and Daisetsuzan National Park. By train, Asahikawa is 1.5 hours from Sapporo; then from Asahikawa, Biei is 40 minutes by train, Nakafurano is 1 hour 10 minutes by train, Asahidake (part of Daisetsuzan National Park) is 1.5 hours by bus.

Staying in Asahikawa did save me time and Asahikawa Ride did give me some good(?) memories:

Japanecdote #1: I booked a bed in Asahikawa Ride using booking.com. I booked it early. And over the next few months, I'd check again for other options (hoping for cheaper rates and/or other options closer to the station) and every time I found the price at Asahikawa Ride had dropped, I would cancel the booking and book a new one. I think I did it four times until finally, the owner, Tetsu, suggested to book directly on the guesthouse's website. He probably thought I was such a cheapskate to change my booking for a 200–yen difference!

Japanecdote #2: During my stay, there were maybe four or five other guests. But I only had a conversation with one guy, and he enthusiastically told me he was in Hokkaido on a biking trip. Over the course of our conversation, I asked him, "Are you from Singapore?" Surprised, he answered, "Yes, how did you know?" I pointed to his cap with the flag of Singapore. (It was his accent really, but I didn't tell him that.)

Japanecdote #3: I just came back to the guesthouse and had brought with me a small container of cherries which I had bought from Biei earlier. I shared the cherries with Tetsu. He took maybe three or four cherries. After our small talk, I looked in the container to get some cherries for myself and saw there were some seeds I had spit out earlier in the day! Yipes! Guess that's why he only took a few!

Japanese Summer 2018
Otaru on Foot
Asahikawa Accommodation: Asahikawa Ride (you're here!)
Beautiful Nature in Biei Town
Lavender Fields in Nakafurano
Daisetsuzan National Park: A Short Hike in Asahidake
Shikotsu-Toya National Park: Hiking Thru Hell in Noboribetsu
Six Short Hours in Hakodate
Shikotsu-Toya National Park: Walking Through Abandoned Places in Toya
Hokkaido Rail Pass
Itinerary and Expenses: 9D/9N Hokkaido and Sawara Town

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