Meeting in Punkaharju with Finnish Mushroom Queen


“Are you are from Punkaharju too? The same place where Finnish mushroom queen lives?”

“Saimi Hoyer? Yes. Her company, Hotel Punkaharju, is only 15 minutes drive from our home.” 

“That’s just great! I’m a journalist of Japanese fashion and lifestyle magazine. We’re planning to make an article about this supermodel and mushroom specialist next summer. Maybe I could contact you when I start to plan my Punkaharju visit?”

“Sure! Maybe you could come and pick mushrooms too. Hotel Punkaharju’s mushroom excursion is included in our SaimaaLife travel package as well.”

A highlight of my autumn was to participate the world’s largest promotion field JATA Tourism EXPO Japan in collaboration with Finnair.

At the Expo, besides introducing our first preliminary SaimaaLife Travel Package, we offered expo visitors an opportunity to make a virtual travel to my home region by watching SaimaaLife 360°/VR videos.

After Expo we wanted a family to come and test our package. I was so happy when we managed to find one soon after my Tokyo travel.

I contacted Saimi, booked a room from Hotel Punkaharju to our guests, and soon we all found ourselves from forest together in Punkaharju. 

What an experience Hotel Punkaharju’s mushroom excursion was for all of us!

There were no questions about Finnish mushrooms that our guide, Saimi Hoyer, was not able to answer.

So yes, the mushroom queen is definitely a good title for her.

Learning to use the mushroom knife and recognize mushrooms.

Experiencing the joy of finding them by ourselves.

Enjoying the peace and beauty of Finnish autumn forest.

Having a relaxing time together outdoors.

All that we were able to experience during these nice couples of hours. 

In the end of our excursion, we took a photo of all of us -and our self-picked mushrooms of course- as a memory. But in fact, that was not yet the end of this Saimaa nature experience.

After we came back to the hotel, we cleaned the mushrooms and in the evening our guests were able to enjoy an extra mushroom dish at the hotel’s restaurant.

I smiled when the next morning, the mother of the family sent me a message:

“Mari, we really enjoyed the dinner! The mushrooms we picked taste really nice. And I have to tell you that the waiter boy added a special flavor to our dinner. Hektor, Saimi’s son, was so nice and cute!

I think I already love Saimaa! ” 

There’s still a lot of work to do with our SaimaaLife Travel Package, but after my Japan travel and this test visit, I’m more and more convinced that the work is worth it.

I also decided another thing. After you have seen this, and the following 360° video about our mushroom excursion with Saimi, I will send this story link to that Japanese journalist too.

That way she can already now make a virtual travel to Punkaharju. And maybe, next summer, they want to make an article about our mushroom queen in the forest – while picking some wild Saimaa delicacies.


(For the best experience, please watch this 360° video in Youtube app with virtual reality headset and remember to turn on HD! Tap on Youtube icon in the player below or open this link in your Youtube app.)

I recommend you to get to know these links while planning your own Punkaharju visit:

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