Furano Japan Guide
Furano Japan Map
The City of Furano is a part of the Hokkaido Prefecture of the Hokkaido region of Japan. It is one of the northernmost cities in the country, farther north from the city of Sapporo. The total area of the city is about 600 square kilometers with a population of 22,000 people. The place is a popular tourist destination because it used to be the main capital of lavender export during the earlier times. It is also quite popular because of the powder snow in their ski resorts.
A lot of people travel to Furano. Since it is far from the capital city of Tokyo, it is not that westernized and there are a great number of traditional Japanese elements in the area. There are still a few old structures that feature ancient Japanese architecture. There are temples in the area as well. The place is also famous for its onsen towns and resorts. A full day trip to Furano will not be enough to enjoy all that it has to offer.
Furano Japan Weather
Since Furano is located in the northern island of Japan, it is popular for its ‘always cold’ climate. The temperature in the area is mostly cold. They experience extremely cold and snowy winters brought about by the Siberian storms near the area. Average temperature can fall as low as -15 degrees during the months of December and January. Temperatures can also go as high as 26 degrees during the months of August and July. Whatever the season, Furano is an enjoyable place to visit. There are tourist destinations which are great during the summer and even in winter.
Getting Around Furano Japan
Furano Japan Accommodation
Accommodation in Furano will depend on where travelers wish to stay and what they want to do. A person looking for adventure can enjoy hiking up the mountains to the National Park and take camp along the way. This is a great way to enjoy nature and the surroundings. For those who wish a more relaxing trip, they could go to the ryokans and onsens around the city. A long relaxing dip in the hot springs is always a great way to rest. For those who are into extreme sports can stay in Ski resorts all over the city as well.
Furano Japan Hotels
Most hotels are already westernized and modernized however there are still some hotels in the area that give an authentic traditional Japanese experience. Usually, inns like these are traditional ryokans or onsens. These are places that offer hotel rooms with tatami mats, sliding doors, and paper windows. They are, on the other hand, quite expensive.
Furano Transportation system
In Furano, the main railway system would be JR Hokkaido which has two lines: the Nemuro Line and the Furano Line. The airport nearest the area would be the Asahikawa Airport which is located in the south of Asahikawa city. Anyone could access Furano from Asahikawa airport via train, bus, or car.
There are also bus lines in the area that take anyone from Furano to any point of Hokkaido. There are also bus lines that take people ‘high-speed’ to Sapporo. The popular line is the Furano bus that takes travelers from Furano city center to the Lavender fields – thus gaining its title as the Lavender Express.
Furano Japan Points of Interest
Furano Japan Lavender Farm Tomita
Furano is best known for their city-wide production of lavender. Visitors from all over the world visit Furano on a yearly basis just to enjoy all the flower fields in the city. Their fields and farms have blooms and blossoms for almost every season of the year. There are spring buds, summer flowers, fall blossoms, and even winter blooms. But the star of it all would be the lavender.
According to historical records, Hokkaido has always been the center for lavender cultivation in Japan for more than 50 years. However, there came a time in the late 60s that the demand for lavenders internationally has decreased significantly. This has shifted the purpose of flower farms and lavender fields in Japan from production to tourism.
Lavender blooms every late June to early July. Its peak is seen late July to early August. This is why it is known to be a rain flower because of its bloom peaks during the rainy season. What makes this flower special is the fact that it gives off a very attractive aroma. Lavenders are popular garnishes for certain pasta delicacies. It is also used in cosmetic products such as soaps and perfumes.
There are two farms in Furano, the first is the Tomita Farm and the other is the Lavender East. The Tomita Farm is one of the largest lavender fields in all of Japan, it is highly visited during the lavender season of every year. Other times of the year, the fields have rape blossoms, lupins, lilies, sunflowers, and poppies. On the other hand, Lavender east is known to be much larger than the Tomita farm as it covers a total of 14 hectares. Visitors can take the “Lavender Bus” which is a tractor that takes its riders on a tour around the fields. Tomita farm is open throughout the year while Lavender east is only open every July. The best part about both farms is that admission is free. However, the Lavender bus has a ticket costing 200 yen.
This tourist spot is a great place to visit at any time of the year, even during the winter time. It is a small village which has been artfully done to entice people looking for a romantic getaway. The area is located on a small hill with wooden cottages located in between the trees. There are shops that sell handicrafts which have been locally made. They say that this place is great to visit during the summertime because the view from the hills gives a certain relaxing freshness from the lush greens and colorful flowers of the forest. However, during the winter time, the entire place becomes a cute Christmas village. The snow on the thatched roofs with the twinkling lights and trees makes the place very homey.
Tomita Melon House
Summer gardens are always refreshing and relaxing to visit. The Tomita Lavender Farm is not the only garden which is popular in Furano. One interesting tourist destination would be the Furano Melon house. The place features the famous Furano Melons which is grown sweet and succulent from the rich soil and fresh water. The Tomita Melon house has everything melon! There are melon puffs, melon cakes, melon tarts, and other pastries. There are refreshing melon drinks as well. The melon ice cream and the melon smoothie are both must-tries.
For those who wish to take home some more melons, they have shelves upon shelves of freshly picked melons. The ultimate favorite in this café is none other than fresh melon slices. This is a great place to visit for refreshments after a full hot tour around the lavender gardens.
A place is known as the Aoiike, or Blue Pond is located just outside Shirogane. This is starting to become an interesting tourist destination because of the unusually deep blue color of the pond. This is one of nature’s truly beautiful miracles. Other than the odd blue color of the pond, however, there is not much to see and enjoy in the area. It is not as large as a lake so fishing is not that common. Swimming is not encouraged in the pond due to the possible hazards of erosion. There is free car parking lots in the area, there are no admission fees to get to the pond.
Furano Japan Winter
Furano Japan Skiing
There are a number of ski resorts all over Furano however, the Snow Furano Ski Resort is probably the largest and most popular in the area. Ski resorts in the area are well-developed and can provide much challenge and excitement even for advanced level skiers. A lot of people enjoy going to Furano because of their powder snow which is the perfect kind of snow for winter sports. The snow is very light and dry and Hokkaido often experiences 9 meters of snow every year. It is said that Furano benefits a great deal from the Siberian snow systems, being directly located at the Northernmost part of the country.
The great thing about Furano Ski resorts is the fact that they have maintained the natural elements of the surroundings and the place does not exactly feel artificial. The place is a great location for not only skiing but also snowboarding for all levels.
There are also family-friendly resorts in the area that provide enjoyable locations for young children and their families. There are child care centers and babysitting areas. There are facilities and schools for skiing and snowboarding lessons. There are also a number of accommodations that have English speaking staff.
Christmas Tree No ki
This is actually one of the most interesting landmarks in all of Furano. The Christmas Tree No Ki is a single pine tree located in a large landscape somewhere in Biei. A lot of people go to this place because it is like experiencing Christmas during the fall. The tree is a very popular photography subject and a lot of people drive hours to this spot to take great pictures. The Christmas Tree, as they call it, matches with almost any condition. It looks great even during the wintertime, a dark figure against a massive hill of white, and the summertime, a deep green among a sea of different shades of green.
Since Furano is located in the Northern part of the country, the area experiences cold temperatures for the most time of the year. The place also experiences extreme temperatures during the winter time. Because of this, outdoor tours during the winter is not always possible. This is why enjoying indoor activities is great during the wintertime.
The Furano Cheese Factory is most famous for their black cheese – a type of cheese pigmented by squid ink. There are tours available in the factory that will show visitors how the place makes their butter, cheese, bread, ice cream and other products. There are even workshops available to teach visitors how to create their own stuff at home.
This place is usually open between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and is most recommendable during the cold season. The admission to the factory is free but there can be some fees for the hands-on workshops. They are closed during the New Year Holidays, on the other hand.
The Furano Winery has been established in 1972 and has been known to make great tasting wines ever since. The place is very popular for their free wine tasting. A great place to visit would be the Restaurant Winehouse where there are set meals that combine specialty dishes with the best kind of wine.
It is known to be one of the 100 famous mountains of Japan. Interestingly enough, the place is actually an active volcano instead of a mountain. It has a towering height of 2,000 meters and this place is great for hiking and mountain climbing. A lot of thrill-seekers also enjoy going to Mount Tokachi to camp. Visitors of Mount Tokachi can usually enjoy a short dip in natural hot springs in the area and also a quick trip to the Daisetsuzan National Park.
Side Trips from Furano
Daisetsuzan National Park
This is the largest national park in Japan and is located in the mountain center of Hokkaido. The word “Daisetsuzan” means ‘great snow mountains’ because the tips of the mountains are usually covered with snow caps for the majority of the year. The Daisetsuzan National Park is home to three volcanic groups: the Daisetsuzan Volcanic group, the Tokachi volcanic group, and the Shikaribetsu volcanic group. All these mountains are great places to enjoy hiking trails and mountain climbing. People also visit to enjoy the scenery on the summit. There are also a good number of onsen towns in the surrounding area.