Story & PhotosHokkaido_Story_%26_Photos_1.htmlHokkaido_Story_%26_Photos_1.htmlshapeimage_13_link_0
Nuts & BoltsHokkaido_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlHokkaido_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlshapeimage_14_link_0

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Can't believe we got four pages into a tour of Hokkaido before showing you a photo of cows. Farm animals will not surprise you if you're from a farming area, but in most parts of Japan you'll see chickens at most - unless you go up into the mountains in places like Okayama and happen on a place that specializes in wild boar cuisine. In contrast, Hokkaido has dairy and cattle farms to satisfy even the most homesick farm boy.

Another of Lake Toya's attractions is this smoldering, active baby volcano. Showa Shinzan (or "Showa New Mountain") was born in the 1940s when a rice farmer suddenly noticed that a volcano had begun erupting in his wheat field... The "Showa" in the name refers to the Showa era (the reign of the Showa emperor, which ended with his death in 1989). Nearby is the larger and more aggressive Mt. Usu, which has erupted several times in the past few decades - most recently in 2000.