A little town in a big setting, Biei serves as a base for exploring its stunning surroundings.
In contrast to the flat rice fields and mountain ranges that cover most of Japan, the countryside here is that of rolling hills filled with rare flora, blooming in striking stripes across the slopes.
In summer, the lavender fields are in full bloom, scenting the air and creating a spectacular sight. The Japanese photographer Shinzo Maeda was the first to showcase the colour and beauty of the surroundings, and his early work has encouraged other artists to settle in the area, so there are galleries galore to visit between walks and bike rides.
Nearby Daisetsuzan National Park boasts forests, lakes and the highest peak in Hokkaido, Mount Asahi. Nestled at its foot is the charming hot spring resort of Asahidake Onsen, widely known for its restorative powers.