Beyond Lavender Fields: What to Do in Furano, Hokkaido's Enchanting Retreat
Nestled in the heart of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, lies a hidden gem waiting to be explored – Furano! While the lavender fields have earned Furano lots of its fame, there's so much more to discover beyond the purple-hued beauty. Especially if you're looking for a city to stop between Sapporo and Asahikawa, Furano might just be your answer!
From breathtaking landscapes to charming activities, this enchanting retreat offers an array of experiences that will leave you captivated. We'll unveil the secrets of what to do in this captivating destination in Hokkaido, Japan!
Embrace Nature's Splendor at Farm Tomita
Even though we did say beyond Lavender, no visit to Furano would be complete without wandering through the picturesque lavender fields at Farm Tomita anyway. Even if you are in Hokkaido in Autumn or Winter, you can still head over to the little Farm Tomita shop to have a look at the Lavender products.
And if you are in Furano during Spring, experience a sensory symphony as the scent of lavender fills the air and the vibrant colors of blooming flowers create a mesmerizing spectacle. Stroll along the charming pathways, take postcard-worthy photos, and immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance of this lavender paradise.
Beyond the renowned Farm Tomita, Lavender East Landscape offers another delightful lavender experience. Explore rows of fragrant lavender bushes stretching as far as the eye can see. Capture the idyllic scenery, take a leisurely bike ride, or simply revel in the peace and serenity of this lavender haven.
Enjoy Kodamaya Soba
If you're in Furano or even if you're just passing by, you have to make a stop at Kodamaya Soba Noodle store. Tucked away in the quaint streets of Furano, this charming soba restaurant exudes warmth and authenticity. With a commitment to using locally sourced buckwheat flour, Kodamaya crafts their soba noodles with meticulous care, resulting in a perfect blend of flavors and textures.
We were welcomed into a cozy ambiance, where the soothing aroma of freshly prepared soba fills the air. This place do get pretty crowded but we lucked out when we arrived at 3pm (which wasn't your typical meal times). We opted for the classic hot soba and the refreshing zaru soba (served chilled) sets, which comes with some tempura. After a long day of driving in Hokkaido, this intimate soba eatery delivered a truly satisfying and culturally enriching dining experience.
Ascend to New Heights at Furano Ski Resort
When winter blankets Furano in a pristine layer of snow, the landscape transforms into a wonderland for ski enthusiasts. For winter and ski lovers, the Furano Ski Resort boasts a range of slopes catering to all levels, from beginners to seasoned skiers. Soar down powdery trails, bask in the wintry vistas, and savour the thrill of gliding on fresh powder snow – an unforgettable experience for winter adventurers.
Relish Artistic Flair at Ningle Terrace
Tucked amidst the forested hills of Furano, Ningle Terrace is a magical arts and crafts village. Stroll through a whimsical wonderland of small log cabins that house local artisans' unique creations. From handcrafted wooden items to delicate pottery and beautiful textiles, you can find one-of-a-kind souvenirs to treasure. Enjoy a warm beverage at a cozy cafe while surrounded by nature's beauty.
Discover Local Flavors at Furano Marche
Delve into Furano's culinary delights at Furano Marche, a lively marketplace that showcases the region's bounty. Sample an array of delectable treats, including fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and sweet pastries. Interact with local vendors, learn about Hokkaido's gastronomic heritage, and indulge in a feast for your taste buds.
Cycle to explore Furano
For travellers who don't want to forgo their exercise routine can opt to go cycling in Furano. Furano on bike offers an exhilarating way to explore the breathtaking landscapes and charming countryside of this enchanting region. As you pedal along the winding roads, you'll be captivated by the panoramic views of rolling hills, vast flower fields, and majestic mountains.
Furano's well-maintained cycling paths cater to riders of all levels, from leisurely bikers to experienced cyclists seeking a challenge. During the warmer months, the lavender fields and vibrant blooms create a vibrant tapestry that accompanies your cycling journey.
For an extra dose of adventure, you can even venture into the nearby Biei area, where the famous Patchwork Road showcases an artistic blend of farmlands and picturesque rural scenes. Cycling in Furano promises not only a physically rewarding experience but also a soul-nourishing escapade immersed in nature's beauty.
Soak in Tranquility at the Blue Pond
Biei Blue Pond technically isn't within Furano but it makes for a good side day trip from the city. Nature's artistry is on full display at the Blue Pond, where turquoise-hued waters mirror the surrounding landscape. This surreal spot is known for its ethereal beauty, particularly during the autumn months when the colorful foliage adds a touch of magic to the scenery. Take a leisurely walk around the pond, breathe in the crisp air, and witness the enchanting interplay of light and water.
Go Cherry Picking at Ohashi Cherry Farm
Embark on a delightful adventure of cherry picking at Ohashi Cherry Farm, a charming orchard nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Furano, Hokkaido. This activity is definitely suitable for both the young and not-so-young!
At Ohashi Cherry Farm, families and friends can indulge in the joy of handpicking plump, juicy cherries directly from the trees. The farm's welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff add to the experience, making it a perfect outing for families with young children. Whether you are a nature lover or simply seeking a serene escape, a visit to Ohashi Cherry Farm promises a memorable day of cherishing sweet moments amidst the blossoms and savoring the natural flavors of freshly picked cherries.
Where to stay in Furano?
From charming traditional inns to modern hotels with stunning views, Furano offers a range of delightful accommodations. Here's a curated list of some of the best hotels in Furano to help you make your choice.
1. Furano Natulux Hotel
Located in the heart of Furano city and right opposite the Furano train station, Furano Natulux Hotel was our accommodation of choice this trip. With tastefully designed rooms, a hotel guests-only onsen, and exceptional service, guests can look forward to enjoying a relaxing stay. The hotel's central location ensures easy exploration of Furano's attractions, making it an ideal choice for travelers who want to experience the town's dynamic atmosphere.
2. Furano Prince Hotel
Situated in the heart of the Furano Resort Area, Shin Furano Prince Hotel was our top choice should the ski slopes opened. Unfortunately, the snow didn't arrive as expected and we had to forgo this lovely resort hotel. Nonetheless, for ski-lovers and those looking to fully experience their time on the ski slopes, Furano Prince Hotel's accommodation offers an exquisite blend of comfort and convenience. With rooms boasting breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, this luxurious hotel promises a serene retreat. Guests can enjoy easy access to renowned attractions like Farm Tomita and the Furano Ski Resort, making it an excellent choice for both nature enthusiasts and ski lovers.
3. Ryokan Sansui
Immerse yourself in the authentic Japanese experience at Ryokan Sansui, a charming traditional inn nestled in the heart of Furano. We've experienced Ryokans elsewhere in Hokkaido like Lake Toya to know how amazing these accommodations can be.
Guests are greeted with tatami-matted rooms, futon beds, and rejuvenating onsen (hot spring) baths. The inn's delectable kaiseki (traditional multi-course) meals showcase the rich flavors of local cuisine, creating a truly immersive cultural encounter.
All-you-need-to-know about Furano, Hokkaido
Furano, Hokkaido's enchanting retreat, holds a treasure trove of experiences beyond its famed lavender fields. Whether you're an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or a foodie seeking new culinary adventures, Furano has something to captivate every traveler. From the mesmerizing lavender landscapes at Farm Tomita and Lavender East Landscape to the winter wonderland of Furano Ski Resort, each season reveals a different facet of Furano's allure. Embrace the artistic charm of Ningle Terrace and savor the flavors of Furano Marche. And don't forget to lose yourself in the tranquility of the Blue Pond's surreal beauty.
When it comes to what to do in Furano, the possibilities are as abundant as the lavender fields that have put this enchanting retreat on the map. So, pack your bags, set out on this extraordinary journey, and let Furano's wonders weave their magic around you.