It has been an amazing experience using the tour experience of Junko's tour guiding. We will go back to our home, with the feeling, we visited an exceptional area around Abashiri. We were taken around a complete day ( 8hours), and visited two museums, the surrounding lake, the volcano and had a wonderful private lunch including the famous "soba noodles". The lunch on himself is worth the visit. During the whole day together, we had plenty of time, to discuss about the culture and the people of this area. We are going back, with the hope, to visit again, and learn more about this unique place, and the way of life here.
I booked the soba-making experience while I was holidaying in Hokkaido in early April. Junko went above and beyond as a tour guide! I took the overnight bus from Sapporo to Abashiri, and Junko met me at the bus terminal at 6am even though the soba class was not until 10am. Over the next four hours, she took me on a walking tour of the old town and drove me around to some of her favorite spots that I wouldn't even have known about or been able to access on my own. Junko has such a warm personality, and I had a great time exploring Abashiri with her!
Learning to make soba surrounded by snow-covered woods and looking out on the Okhotsk sea is a wonderful experience I will always treasure. The chef is so kind, patient and knowledgeable, and the soba was absolutely delicious!
Thank you again Junko for making my Abashiri day trip so enjoyable!
My travelling companion and I had a fantastic day being shown around the north coast of Hokkaido by Junko Fukuda. She is a veritable expert on the history and natural history of the Abashiri area, particularly about the drift ice (this is the southernmost place in the Northern Hemisphere that sees drift ice arrive each winter) and the poignant history of the prisoners who built the Hokkaido Military Highway. Junko is really very friendly indeed, evidently has fun meeting new people, and is very open and relaxed with her guests.
A particular highlight for us was when Junko showed us a pristine volcanic caldera lying inland from Abashiri on the way to Teshikaga. It was just breathtaking, and she was so good at explaining the unique things we were seeing.
For those with no Japanese at all, you will be delighted that Junko is outstandingly fluent in English. She is modest about it, but she used to be a high-level professional Japanese-English interpreter. Junko even knows the English names of many of the plant and animal species that the area boasts.
We can heartily recommend Junko for an unforgettable and privileged visit to Japan’s least-known extremity.
The Soba-making lesson was such a wonderful experience.
I never knew how much detail went into the process of making soba noodles.
From the precise measurements between water and buckwheat flour, to using a special blade with a specific slice to cut the noodles. The owner of this soba shop was so kind in his teachings and even prepared other dishes for us to eat along with the soba. Everything was delicious. He also told us a bit about his family history and a traditional form of dance with carved masks that were brought from Sendai to Abashiri. Overall, it was such an enriching experience to learn more about Japanese culture, as well as appreciate all the effort that goes into creating soba noodles, so that many people can enjoy them each day.