Ezura Farm (Hokkaido)

We tried out this farm in Monbetsu, Hokkaido in winter and have no regrets.

We set off for the farm from Furano, where we stayed for 2 nights (read more about our Furano trip here).
From Furano, it was about a 3 hours drive to reach the farm.
This was during winter when the snow was falling heavily and the roads were frozen, and the average driving speed was around 50km/hr.
(In Hokkaido, unless you are staying only in Sapporo city, a car is a must-have given that a lot of places are not accessible by public transport.)

There are 2 accommodation options, to stay with the hosts in the same house, or in a separate cottage owned by the hosts about 5 minutes walk away.

As we were a group of 6, we took the cottage. Though it was a 5-minutes walk, it was definitely better to drive as it was cold and snowing heavily outside.

Cottage

We reached our destination just before dinner, familiarized ourselves with the cottage, and went to the hosts’ place for dinner. Everything was home-cooked and it was a very nice and satisfying dinner after a long drive.
They also have a wood-burning stove for heating which created a warm cozy feeling, especially as we were there during the Christmas season.

The cottage has 2 floors and 5 rooms in total so it can accommodate quite a number of people.
Everything was well-kept and the interior is modern and comfortable.
We had the whole cottage to ourselves and it was very enjoyable.
There is also a kitchen though I think most will prefer to try the food there than cook.

The next day, we tried some of the activities, like snow-shoeing and wood-chopping.
The morning view is so breathtaking and you can see a vast patch of untouched, thick, powdery snow.
Well, untouched snow save for a foot trail left behind overnight by a fox, which is common there.

We went snowshoeing on the wonderful snow and the feeling was fantastic though tiring after a while.
The kids had it better as we pulled them along on a sled for most parts of the walk.

The lady host can also conduct a Himmeli workshop for a small fee if you like.
Himmeli is a traditional Finnish ornament or decoration made out of straw.
Their house also has several Himmeli decorations exquisitely hand-made by the lady host herself.

As we went during winter, the fields are all covered in snow and farmers take a break during this season.
Come Spring, they will start their farming routine and you can experience farm work here as well.

Nearby to Ezura farm, you can also take part in dog sledding. This is a full day event.
The operators came to fetch us from Ezura farm in the morning and sent us back mid-afternoon.
The initial part of the course was to build rapport with the huskies that will be driving us, as well as learn how to control the ride. After that, you just enjoy the adventure and I must say it was a pretty darn good experience.
More on this in our post on dog sledding.

Overall, the hosts were very nice and friendly.  They are a young couple with a cute little girl who got along very well with our own girls. They moved to Hokkaido away from city life in Tokyo many years back. They can also speak good English.

*Tips for Driving in Hokkaido during winter

Driving in winter conditions in Hokkaido is different than other parts of Japan.
Extra care must be taken mainly because of the frozen road surface, especially when you drive further in to the colder parts of Hokkaido.
Vision may be impaired too on snowy days, not to mention nights.
Keep to a comfortable speed, avoid sudden turns as your vehicle may skid, keep your eyes open and you should be fine.
Most rental cars in wintry Hokkaido should be equipped with 4-wheel drive but just in case, confirm with the rental company as you will need the control of a 4WD car in winter, especially in Hokkaido.

Reservations for Ezura farm can be made at their website.

Links:
Ezura Farm

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