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Hokkaido Sightseeing: Enjoy an elegant holiday at the soothing Daisetsu Mori-no Garden!

Hokkaido Sightseeing: Enjoy an elegant holiday at the soothing Daisetsu Mori-no Garden!

Date published: 2 May 2019
Last updated: 26 April 2019

If you visit Daisetsuzan or Sounkyo Onsen in Hokkaido, the Daisetsu Mori-no Garden is a spot you will definitely want to add to your sightseeing itinerary. In this sculpted flower garden with a view of the Daisetsu Mountain Range, you’ll enjoy spending a relaxing time in the soothing embrace of nature. There is a restaurant and café in the park that are owned by master French chef Kiyomi Mikuni, where you can also savor an elegant lunch and exquisite sweets made with the finest Hokkaido ingredients.

▲ The plateau garden set amidst flowers and trees. In autumn the foliage is bathed in colors around the end of September (Photo provided by Daisetsu Mori-no Garden)

What is the Daisetsu Mori-no Garden?

The Daisetsu Mori-no Garden is a garden situated at Daisetsu Kogen Asahigaoka located at the northern foot of the Daisetsu Mountain Range. It is one of eight famous gardens in Hokkaido registered in the Hokkaido Garden Highway and is located about one hour by car from Asahikawa Airport and about 30 minutes from Sounkyo Onsen.

▲ The garden is set in the midst of a majestic landscape

The Flower Garden in the Forest is the main garden and boasts more than 700 varieties of blooming flowers as well as the Forest Guest House set within an enclosure of trees. Here also is the Daisetsu Mori-no Garden's symbolic Dress Garden TWIN. In this soothing space it almost seems that you can hear the breath of the seasonal flowers.

▲ Dress Garden TWIN looks like dresses made of flowers and is a great photo spot! (Photo provided by Daisetsu Mori-no Garden)

From spring to autumn, you can enjoy the vibrant colors of the flowers and the aroma of the forest in each season, but in the winter it becomes a silver wonderland blanketed in deep snow.

▲ In winter you can enjoy activities such as snow rafting and snowmobiling (Photo provided by Daisetsu Mori-no Garden)

The Garden Shop and Garden Café are located at the garden entrance. This is the perfect spot to take a break and have a look for souvenirs either before or after sightseeing. While there is an entrance fee for the garden there are none for the shop and café areas which you can freely enjoy.

▲ The wood deck in the vicinity of the entrance to the garden is perfect for taking a short break

The Fratello di Mikuni, owned by Kiyomi Mikuni, sits atop a small hill located a short 5-minute walk from the garden entrance. An exquisite lunch while viewing the Daisetsu Mountain Range provides visitors with a time of bliss.

▲ Fratello di Mikuni sits on a hill up above the garden

Follow along as we explore each of the major areas in the park!

Feel like a movie heroine in the Flower Garden in the Forest!

Let’s begin with the garden.

▲ The vibrant colors of the Flower Garden in the Forest greet you at the end of the wooden deck. This is just inside the entrance (800 yen for adults, free for junior high school age and younger)
▲ First take a leisurely stroll through the Flower Garden in the Forest and enjoy the flowers

The Flower Garden in the Forest was designed by Sayuki Ueno, senior gardener at Ueno Farm located in Asahikawa City. In all, there are five themed gardens such as Kamui Mintara, Fountain of Flowers, and Familiar Garden.

Kamui Mintara is an Ainu word meaning “Playground of the Gods”. It represents a world view with large plants, herbs, and wild grass.
▲ Kamui Mintara covers the largest area among the five

One of the garden’s special features is that the flowers have been planted so that their beauty can be enjoyed throughout all the seasons as opposed to coming into bloom only at one particular time. Whether you visit in spring, summer, or autumn, the garden will be awash in colorful flowers.

▲ Flower Fountain gives the image of a spring bubbling up from the ground by using plants that grow leaves and flowers as they crawl along the ground
▲ Familiar Garden was designed to enable the flowers and their fragrances to be enjoyed with all the senses

In the back of the Flower Garden in the Forest there is the Forest Guest House. The Dress Garden TWIN is near the boundary between the Flower Garden in the Forest and the Forest Guest House, and is a great place to snap some photos! Taking a selfie here you may feel like the heroine in a movie or a fairy in the woods.

▲ The two dress gardens side by side
▲ The flowers change with the season, so each time you visit the atmosphere is slightly different
▲ Nearby there is a wreath of artificial flowers you can put on your head for taking a selfie

Forest Guest House: Where your relaxing time seems to pass more slowly

After snapping selfies at the Dress Garden TWIN, meander on to the Forest Guest House sitting atop the broad hill. The colorful landscape of the Flower Garden in the Forest suddenly turns into a landscape of lush greenery.

Having for its concept "forest hospitality", the Guest House in the Forest was created in a way that utilizes the trees growing there. Here, too, there are five theme gardens.

▲ The Gateway to the Forest at the entrance of the Forest Guest House

There is a kitchen, dining area, and bar in the "Forest Living Room". You cannot eat or drink here, but you can savor the atmosphere of relaxing in the forest.

▲Tables and chairs beneath a large canopy. A place to rest and take shelter from the sun
▲ The wooden bar counter is embedded with planters. It has an awesome natural feel!

Incidentally, please note that you are not allowed to bring food or drink here other than bottled drinks and gelato bought at the garden cafe and garden shop.

▲ Around late September the Forest Guest House is bathed in gorgeous autumn colors (photo provided by Daisetsu Mori-no Garden)

Valley of Healing, set in a recessed area, is a highly recommended spot for those who want to escape the fatigue of daily life.

▲ Seats on the terrace offer a spectacular view!

Why not sit here on the terrace bathed in sunlight filtered through the trees and forget the time while enjoying the view of the fields spread out before you? Sitting under the warm sun you may catch yourself dozing off. It’s really quite relaxing.

▲ It was so relaxing I actually dozed off ...

After relaxing at the forest garden and guest house in the forest, visit the other facilities.

Items sold at the garden shop

The exit of the garden is directly connected to the garden shop. Here you may be able to find something you were looking for among the many Hokkaido souvenirs and other items displayed here.

The most popular item here is the Forest Gaufrette (6 pieces, 741 yen less tax). It is a confection of framboise cream sandwiched between gaufrette wafers made from glutinous rice produced locally in Kawakami Town.

▲ The refreshing acidic flavor and crisp, light texture of the wafers make it hard to resist eating more than one
▲ Here you can also find Kamikawa Taisetsu Shuzo, a locally brewed sake
  • Daisetsu Mori-no Garden
    大雪 森のガーデン
    • Address 841-8 Kikusui, Kamikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido
    • Phone Number 01658-2-4655

    [2018 garden summer hours of operation] April 28 ~ May 18: 9:30 a.m. ~ 5:30 p.m. (Last admission 5:00 p.m.); May 19 ~ September 9: 9:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m. (Last admission 5:00 p.m.); September 10 ~ October 14: 9:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m. (Last admission 4:00 p.m.)
    [2018 garden winter hours of operation] December 22 ~ end of March 2019 (tentative)
    [2018 garden shop hours of operation] April 28 ~ October 14: 9:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m. ※Times may vary. Closed during winter
    ※ Times of operation vary each year
    Days closed: Open daily during season
    Garden admission: Adults: 800 yen (including tax); free for junior high aged and younger

Enjoy light meals and sweets made with local ingredients at the garden cafe

The Ryokkyu (Green Hill) Tea House is located just outside the garden shop. Guests can enjoy drinks and snacks while viewing the garden from the inside of the shop. Recommended are the snacks and sweets made with sake lees and sweet sake from the Kamikawa Taisetsu Brewery. You really must try them!

▲ Hot Dog Sakekasu (sake lees) Cheese in bun made with Hokkaido wheat (with fries, 850 yen; only hot dog 600 yen, tax included)

Hot Dog Sakekasu Cheese is a grilled hot dog topped with cheddar, shredded cheese, and sake lees. The delicious aroma of sake permeates each bite. The cheese and sake lees go well together! It’s really delicious!
And this is the perfect drink to go with it.

▲ Rokkyu Original Seasonal Soda (500 yen including tax). The ice decorated with flowers is certainly garden-like!

A non-alcoholic drink, the content changes according to the season, but on the day I visited it consisted of orange juice and tonic soda topped with cassis ice cream. Its dry flavor was a perfectly marriage with the hot dog.

Here are some recommended sweets.

▲ Parfait Kamui Mintara (left, 700 yen including tax, quantity limited) and Sweet Sake Frozen Strawberry (right, 400 yen including tax)

The parfaits, such as the strawberry one, contain seasonal fruit and sweet sake to which is added soft ice cream, shiratama (rice-flour dumplings), matcha (green tea), and lots of cocoa crumble. The presence of the sake is not that strong, so the parfait has a refreshing flavor to the very last bite!
Sometimes the sweetness of sweet sake can be a bit much, but combined with the acidic frozen strawberries it becomes refreshing. Here they are perfectly balanced!

▲ The Flower Garden in the Forest unfolds beyond the large windows

You can leisurely enjoy gelato at the Ryokkyu Tea House. The gelato, made with milk from dairy cows raised on the organic pastures of the Toyohara Ranch in Kamikawa Town, is handmade by the Fratello di Mikuni chef.
When served in cups, gelato is 300 yen for a single scoop, 400 yen for a double, 500 yen for a triple, and when served in cones there is an additional 50 yen per scoop (all include tax)

▲ Double scoops of Tokachi Azuki Matcha (top) and Kamikawa-machi glutinous rice and Ryokkyugura Sweet Sake ~ Citrus flavor ~ (bottom)
▲ Double scoops of Berry Millefeuille (top) and Freshly Squeezed Fresh Milk (bottom)

There are many varieties of gelato with about 10 kinds displayed in the store every day. It's fun to imagine which types will be offered on the day you visit!

  • Garden Cafe Ryokkyu Tea House
    ガーデンカフェ「緑丘茶房」
    • Address 841-8 Kikusui, Kamikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido
    • Phone Number 01658-2-4655

    [2018 Hours of Operation] April 28 ~ October 14: 9:30 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m. (Light meal last order 3:00 p.m.) ※Times may vary. Closed during winter season
    Holidays: none during the season

While enjoying the majestic landscape, savor Mikuni’s delicious cuisine

Last of all, I will introduce Fratello di Mikuni, a garden restaurant where you can enjoy a memorable lunch.

▲ The mountains of the Daisetsu Mountain Range, such as Mt. Aibetsudake, rise majestically in the background (Photo provided by Fratello di Mikuni)
▲ The majestic Daisetsu Mountain Range viewed through the large windows. The interior with its arrangement of Asahikawa Design tables and chairs creates a bright and quiet atmosphere (Photo provided by Fratello di Mikuni)

Here you can savor courses created with seasonal Hokkaido ingredients.
We ordered the Daisetsu Four Seasons Course (3,500 yen, including tax, per person; for two or more; reservation required).

▲ This is a classic lunch course using vegetables of the four seasons. This was served on the day we visited

The first course was the Vegetable Garden Style Vegetable Salad. This artistic creation evoking the image of flowers and trees rising up from the earth was such a delight to behold it seemed almost a shame to eat.

▲The pumpkin puree at the bottom and green peas puree at the top go well with the vegetables while the spicy green mustard sauce and sweet and sour fig jam go well with the veal terrine

The second course was the "Ruru Rosso" Tagliolini made with Rumoi wheat, snow crab, and spring cabbage.

▲ The chewy texture of the pasta and delicious crab meat perfectly seasoned with a hint of garlic whet the appetite

The main course was Ebetsu Amamu Maiale Arrosto. Chef Mikuni samples pork from various regions in Hokkaido and uses the pork loin which he feels to be the most delicious. It goes well with the mustard sauce.

▲ The fatty meat has a sweet flavor! Not at all heavy, but light and smooth. The potato puree perfectly and deliciously complements it! Lightly seasoned with salt, it goes well with the sautéed vegetables

The final course is dessert and coffee. The dessert on this day was a chocolate terrine topped with a strawberry mousse served with milk gelato.

▲ It sits on a bed of pistachio sauce. It has a bitter sweetness and acidity; a dessert for adult tastes
▲ This is an exquisite course to be savored while looking out at the magnificent scenery. One can spend quite a luxurious time here (Photo provided by Fratello di Mikuni)

Afterwards relax for a while in the salon gallery near the entrance.

▲ There are magazines and other items on hand for your enjoyment
▲ When I looked out the window, I saw a wild rabbit jumping about in the grass! So cute!

According to the staff, wildlife often appears outside the window. I was once again reminded that this was not a restaurant in the city but one situated in the midst of nature.

There are villas near the restaurant where it is possible to spend the night (rates are from 19,440 yen, including tax and service fee, per individual per day with two meals included). For dinner, you can enjoy a full course Mikuni dinner made from the natural bounty of Hokkaido, and for breakfast a special plate made with morning grilled vegetables selected by the chef himself.

▲ Villas nestled amongst the trees (Photo provided by Fratello di Mikuni)
▲ Breakfast plate (Photo provided by Fratello di Mikuni) ※ The content varies from day to day
  • Fratello di Mikuni
    フラテッロ・ディ・ミクニ
    • Address Kikusui Asahigaoka, Kamikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido
    • Phone Number 01658-2-3921

    Open: All year. However, between December and March lunch is served at Ryokkyu between 10:00 a.m. ~ 3:00 p.m. at which time light meals and drinks are served and only dinner is served at Fratello di Mikuni (reservations are required for villa accommodations)
    Hours: 11:30 a.m. ~ 2:00 p.m.; 6:00 p.m. ~ 8:00 p.m.
    Closed: Tuesdays

In the Daisetsu Mori-no Garden sprawling across the plateau at the foot of the Daisetsu Mountain Range, there are gardens of colorful flowers and plants where you can feel the breath of nature as well as cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy delicious cuisine made with local ingredients. Here you can forget the stress and fatigue of daily life in a relaxed and soothing atmosphere where time passes by slowly. Why not come here and experience firsthand all the pleasures nature has to afford?

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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