The blue dot in the photo below represented the Lake House and the red dot was the local sizeable town, Date (pronounced Dattay). The drive from Sapporo airport had taken two hours. There was a speed limit of 30 mph on local roads and 50 mph on state motorways. This seemed much too slow to us but no-one appeared to exceed the speed limit, maybe because for five months of the year the roads were under several metres of snow. The local roads, although virtually empty of cars, had intersections controlled by traffic lights and the towns reminded us of Colorado with the amenities all lined up either side of one long main street. We took the minor roads whenever we could, they were narrow and extremely pretty as they wove through woodlands and over hills – but you had to go carefully in case someone was coming the other way!
The soil was extremely fertile and there were neat fields planted with a variety of vegetables; rice grew in fields of standing water. The temperature was between 10° and 20° and we had some days of rain.