1. The Music
This video features the 41st song in the Free Background Music Series and is the second video in my Travel Diary series. As with the other songs in the background music series, this song can be used for free in non-commercial projects and in YouTube monetized videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature) as long as credit is provided (“Music by longzijun”).
1.1 Download Links
Two versions are available. The one in the above video has been slightly compressed to reduce the dynamic contrast (the softer parts become a little louder). There is also a full dynamic range version available; this one has greater contrast between the quieter and louder sections.
- MP3 file 320 kbps, 48 khz (Box)
- MP3 file 320 kbps, 48 khz (Google Drive)
- MP3 file 320 kbps, 48 khz (OneDrive)
- WAV file (Google Drive)
- WAV file (OneDrive)
Music, photos and videos by longzijun
1.3 About the Song
‘Unfolded’ is an upbeat instrumental in a minor key. I was working on adding a melody, but I found that it having the melody there gave the song a more melancholy feel, so I am saving that melody to create another song. Instead I just left this song uncluttered. The synth parts were record using a Korg M50 while the drums, percussion and guitar parts are from loops.
1.3 About the Video
This video is my second travel video (the first one is a trip to Tokyo). This is a family trip to Hokkaido, Japan in the summer of 2017. Hokkaido has two peak tourism seasons. In the winter, people go for skiing and snowboarding, while flower farms attract lots of visitors during the spring.
2. Photo Gallery
The photos taken during the trip can be seen in this Flickr album: Visit to Hokkaido (140 photos).
Hokkaido is large island, so we only visited a few places.
Niseko and Furano are ski resort towns, so they had an off-season feel about them when we visited. The scenery there features farmland, flower farms and mountains. There are lots of outdoorsy things to do such as hiking and river rafting, but during this trip we just went on short hikes and tried wall climbing.
While visiting Niseko, we stopped by a small town called Kyōgoku, where the main street was closed off for a summer festival. A lot of the kids where dressed in traditional Japanese clothing called Yukata. Street stall vendors sold snacks like roasted corn in the cob and extremely long french fries, while a performer on a nearby mobile stage serenaded a small audience with enka songs.
2.2 Furano & Biei
While in Furano, I took a ski resort cable car to the mountains overlooking Furano and went on a short hike. Once on the ridge, you can see panoramic views of Furano and the surrounding farmland. The view on the other side—with the peaks of the Daisetsu Mountain Range jutting above a sea of clouds—was even more spectacular.
Going in the summer meant missing out on skiing and not seeing the flower farms in their full springtime glory. However, the flower farms were still quite pretty.
One advantage of going in the summer was that there was a lot of fresh produce from local farms. For example, when having a late dinner in a bar, we ordered a platter of fresh-off-the-farm vegetables. The vegetables were barely recognizable variations of things like cucumbers, eggplant, carrots and green beans and tasted amazingly good!
We visited a couple of nature tourist spots in the area: the Shinsen-numa Wetland and the the Blue Pond in Biei. Shinsen-numa was a nice place to walk around, but it would probably be better to go in the autumn, when you would be able to appreciate the fall foliage.
The Blue Pond is man-made, one of several ponds created from the construction of dams to protect the town of Biei from volcanic mud flows. The water flowing into this pond picks up traces of aluminium as it descends from Mt. Tokachi, giving the water its blue tint. The water also picks up sulfur and lime, which whitens the rocks at the bottom of the pond.
2.4 Lake Toya
We stayed at the largest town on the lake, Toyako. The lake is quite tranquil and pretty but all around is evidence of the region’s violent seismic and volcanic activity. The lake itself is a volcanic caldera produced after an eruption about 100,000 years ago.
The island in the middle of the lake—Nakajima Island—was created from another series of eruptions about 50,000 years ago. And there is still evidence of the damage caused by the most recent eruption of nearly Mt. Usu in 1980. On the shore near Toyako, there is a series of sculptures scattered around the parks and walkways.
Not far from Lake Toya is Jigokudani (Hell Valley), where one see volcanic steam plumes and sulfuric hot springs.
This is the largest city on the island and is the starting point for most Hokkaido journeys. We just stayed there for a couple of days—just enough time visit a few of the main attractions. The highlight was probably the cable car ride up to the top of Mt. Moiwa, where we had a delicious dinner at a fancy restaurant called The Jewels and then took in a panoramic view of the city.
There are lots of pleasant places to stroll around. For example, Odori Park is a long one-block wide park in the city center and not far away there are footpaths and bike paths along the Toyohira river. Our hotel was located near Hokkaido University, which has a beautiful campus.
On the way back to Sapporo, we stopped by the Hokkaido Greenland amusement park (about a 45-minute drive from Sapporo). Though it was a Saturday afternoon in the summer, there were barely any people there. This was great for the kids as there were no queues for the rides. After getting off the roller coaster, they could get run around to the gate and get right back on. The rides there are not spectacular, but the kids had lots of fun in a very short amount of time.
3. Jade’s Vlogs
If you are interested in the food we ate and the hotels and houses we stayed in, you can check out my daughter’s three-part Cantonese-language vlog about the trip:
View the Flickr album: Visit to Hokkaido (140 photos)