Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ningle Terrace - The Magical Little People Village @ Furano in Hokkaido [Japan]

Unlike the bustling cities, Furano is a relatively quiet town at night and if you are the kind who couldn't imagine doing nothing when the sun sets, i would strongly recommend a place where you can spend a little bit of time before departing for dinner. 

Rest assured, i am not going to throw you into the woods and hike along dirt paths. Why? Because i am not keen in doing that myself too! Darn, i am growing into my parents, where comfort and urban conveniences take priority! 

There was, in fact, a proper entrance and the boardwalk was nicely constructed to bring you into a world that exist in some of Enid Blyton stories; the Ningle Terrace. 

Although i made a mental note to check out the above cottage later, i guess i forgot at the end as the weather was pretty chilly and all of us were in dire need of food to warm the bodies. 

Time to step into the timeless village!

Now, the best time to drop by Ningle Terrace is when the sun sets; i would have preferred to go much later when the sky is filled with stars if not for the fact that we were not that hungry then and photo-taking at night without a tripod is darn frustrating.

Stepping in was like stumbling into a magical gnome village in a European forest. Surrounded by tall pine trees, the little wooden cottages honestly just lacked a smoking chimney to make the place even more realistic.

Unfortunately, the ningles (the rumoured 15-centimeter tall people who live in Hokkaido's woods) do not take residence in the forest but Ningle Terrace serves to remind all visitors of their existence.

Bare, empty cottages would have quickly led to the demise of the terrace; hence, the operator had brought in arts and craft shops selling interesting, unique wares! 

With their uniqueness come a price tag that's very hard to stomach. Furthermore, i was aghast to find that photo-taking wasn't allowed in the little houses! :(

Singaporean being Singaporean; we play by the rules yet we couldn't resist thinking out of the box to satisfy our slightly rebellious self! Like taking picture outside the shop and capturing the wares (i.e. wind chimes, lights) through the glass window! 

It's hard sometimes.

I had to toggle with the lens and the camera settings to get the picture i somewhat wanted. It's not perfect although it's still better than having a orange-washed photo.

The forest that's just inches away. Hokkaido is a huge place and in case you are unaware, wild bears do exist and they do roam around. I am happy to be residing in a small country like Singapore where the nasty wild animal to make the national news is a long tailed macaque. 

We chanced upon a cluster of messiness in the midst of total cleanliness; emotions didn't choke me but i guess it's worth a try to take a arty-farty shot.

I am not the only one.

In line with its nature theme, the signboards were simple yet exuded a beauty in its simplicity; thankfully not the glaring, LED ones that many establishments have taken a liking for. 

Think this shop specialised in hand-drawn 3D postcards.

Every house had the noticeable sign at its entrance; no photo taking and no video taking. I could have bravely asked in my cannot-make-it Japanese but if i am rejected, i would feel guilty if i choose to go back to the "loophole".

A hot beverage is a must-have for Alex in cold weather and he insisted on dropping by the coffee house for a drink to warm his hands, throat and stomach! 

Woody interior.

Think the chimney is a working one but maybe it would only light up in winter when the temperature would fall to the negative numerals. Frankly, i am not keen to experience the super cold as that means bringing a lot of winter wear and even then, the chill can still totally eat into my bones.

Menu of coffee house chu-chu for your reference.

Want to chill out in the cool outdoors and people-watch? That's possible even though we didn't take up the opportunity; just want to chop chop check out the shops as we were quite tired. 

The hanging fairy lights gave a warm glow and in addition to illuminating the path for visitors, they added a seemingly magical aura to the village.

Don't you think so?

To be honest, the little houses look quite similar; the above stood out for the glowing balls placed right outside the shop; like fairy lights without wires! 

I can't recall if they were candles with a hollow middle or translucent glass balls with a tealight in the middle! That's what happened when one is too tired and to tell you the truth, we had yet to check into our accommodation for the day.

A not too bad photo, i thought. 

Drinking his hot cocoa and enjoying the moment.

Reached the one end of Ningle Terrace and we would be making the loop back to the entrance. There was a path to another coffee house which we decided to skip as none of us wanted a drink and it would take us three minutes of walk. One word; lazy.

Wooden carvings of the ningles, i think. 

An art gallery which bored me; i could never appreciate art and if you let me choose between an art film, a comedy and a horror movie, the art film would come last.

Want to get something for your girlfriend / mother? Do step into the silverware cottage that's directly translated into the essence of snow.

Particularly eye-catching were the snow flake pendants! Almost wanted to purchase one for my mom but decided otherwise as she can be picky and the pendant was pricey. 

After a while, the place can appear to be relatively boring, especially when you are not into shopping. I felt that vibe from the rest of my tour mates whose main (and for some, only) objective was to check out the flower fields! 

Leather goods.

As a kid, there's one toy that never fails to fascinate me; i roughly know its spelling even though i didn't know how to pronounce it. And on that very day at Ningle Terrace, i saw them in rattan tray; kaleidoscopes! 

Housed in wooden casing that's hand-carved, their price tags almost made my eyes popped out from the socket; a tiny one would set me back by about S$20-30 and the top range (above) can be a few hundred dollars! No way am i going to spend that much to relive my childhood.

Almost coming to the end of the loop.

Wooden pinwheel that acts like a diffuser when you stick it in a bottle of aroma oil; at least it's unique compared to the common diffuser reeds. 

Cute paper weights and mosquito coil holders! 

Last photo before we said goodbye to Ningle Terrace. My conclusion is that you can find a lot of gift ideas at Ningle Terrace although you do need to prepare a lot of cash. As it was only day one of my trip, i have to be careful in my spending.

=====

Location
Nakagoryo, Furano, 
Hokkaido Prefecture 076-0016, 
Japan (Near New Furano Prince Hotel)

Location Map
Check out my google map here

Map of Ningle Terrace
As above.

Opening Hours
10.00 am to 8.45 pm

Additional Information
Don't think the area is wheelchair friendly as i thought the planks of wood were not wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. 


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