By Mandy Bartok
My feet were getting quite the workout in Hokkaido, but I needed a break. After a little research, I was finding it difficult to locate a place in the Furano region that rented scooters. There were plenty of the pedal variety for rent right outside Furano Station but the heart, mind and body all said, “Scooter!”
A now defunct Furano tourism website did list a bicycle rental shop in the region of Nakafurano that rented 50 cc scooters and – after receiving an email confirmation from the official office of Furano Tourism that indeed the place I found was the only place that rented scooters – my plan was set.
Tateno Cycle is located in Nakafurano. This means that if you are taking the train, as I did, you need to get off at Nakafurano Station. From the website for the organization that is no longer in existence (many of the links to its other pages were dead-ends) I was able to find a price list. I had decided I would rent a scooter for three hours and for ¥2500.
I exited the train station, crossed the first intersection, got to the second intersection and turned left (don’t cross the street). Ten meters later I found myself at Tateno Cycle. The owner, an elderly man, had a slightly suspicious look on his face when I walked in. With my translation app, a few hand gestures and some limited Japanese language skills, I was on my scooter within ten minutes. The rental fee includes a helmet and a rain slicker (in case the weather turns bad) and although I assumed it also included insurance, I still can’t be 100 percent sure.
As with every rental, you need to fill the tank up with gasoline before you turn it in and there are a couple of gas stations on the main street only minutes from the cycle shop. The owner provided a map of the immediate area and drew arrows on it with a pen to show me the best route to see the surrounding vicinity. Of course, I explored even farther into the mountains and surrounding towns.
In my opinion, Furano is a region that requires something more than bipedal propulsion – you’re going to need some wheels, whatever form that may take. In my case, a little research and a little effort resulted in the desired outcome – a scooter to explore Furano. Hopefully, my experience will be to your traveling benefit.
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