Those looking to get away from the crowds on their next holiday should look at this pretty little village which has starred in countless adverts from Apple to Nissan.
Biei in Japan’s Hokkaido region, is rarely visited by tourists despite its quilt-like hills and quaint streets and now it has been named among the best tourism villages in the world.
According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) the location is one of the 54 best villages to visit in the world, which it says are leading in “nurturing rural areas and preserving landscapes, cultural diversity, local values and culinary traditions”.
One of the best ways to visit the village is by going on a drive or cycle around the town taking in its flower fields and famous trees.
The Mild Seven Tree featured in a commercial for the Japanese cigarette brand of the same name back in 1976 and has become one of the village’s most popular tourist destinations ever since, with the majority of the few visitors the town gets stopping off to take a picture.
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Biei is split up between the area north of the town centre which is called Patchwork Road and the area south of the town centre which is named Panorama Road.
Both areas offer stunning views, with Patchwork Road featuring beautiful rural landscapes and attractions such as the Hokusei Hill Observatory and Zerubu Hill, a flower park which can be explored on foot or by various types of cart.
Highlights from Panorama Road include the Shiksai Hill flower park, which can be viewed in a snow mobile in winter when frost blankets the fields, and the Takushinkan, an exhibition hall showing off landscape photography of the area and other parts of Japan taken by photographer Maeda Shinzo and his eldest son Akira.
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Hikers can reach the man-made Shirogan Blue Pond with its bright blue water set in front of a leafy backdrop.
The area has a population of just over 10,000 people and visitors can also take day trips to nearby Furano, which has its own ski resort and Cheese Factory, or the city of Sapporo which merges the traditional with the modern.
To get to Biei travellers will need to take a flight to Sapporo, which costs about £1,000 for a return trip in January 2024, before taking a two-hour train trip to the village.
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Once in the village, the area has many forms of public transport making getting around easy, with sightseeing buses running during summer and rental bicycles are also available.
The town also has a number of stops on the JR Furano Line.
Hotels in the area are priced at about £80 per night for January 2024, with most accommodation options in nearby Furano.
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