Not Just Lavender Fields! Twenty Select Tourist Spots in Furano, Hokkaido
Furano in Hokkaido is known primarily for its lavender fields, but there are actually many more attractive tourist destinations there. This article introduces twenty recommended destinations, including lavender fields, famous locations from TV dramas and popular local places. No matter what your tastes are there something here for everyone!
Sep 19 2019 (Dec 11 2020)
Ten Recommended Destinations in Furano
1. Farm Tomita
Farm Tomita is said to be the farm that started lavender tourism in Japan. It is a popular destination visited by approximately 1 million people every year. With colorful flower fields of not just lavender but a variety of different flowers, wonderful views of the Tokachidake mountain range and pastoral landscapes, it is a great place to enjoy the grand nature of Furano.
There is a variety of different buildings scattered around the vast grounds, including Hanabito House, where you can learn about the history of Farm Tomita and it's lavenders, along with a variety of cafes and shops. The lavender soft serve that is only available at Farm Tomita is hugely popular, and there are many other products made with lavender to discover.
2. Choei Lavender Park and Hokuseiyama Ski Area
Choei Lavender Park and Hokuseiyama Ski Area is located on the slopes of Mt. Hokusei. There are colorful fields of four different types of flowers, including lavenders, sunflowers, marigolds and salvias. There is a park at the summit with an observation space from which you can see the lavender fields as well as the Tokachidake mountain range and the Furano Basin.
The highlight of this lavender park is the opportunity to take a mid-air stroll. You can come down from the mountain on a lift and enjoy the fantastic views unique to Furano. There are souvenir shops and a curry shop popular among locals at the foot of the mountain so you can enjoy shopping and dining.
3. Highland Furano
Highland Furano is a hotel with lavender fields. It has the largest lavender fields in Furano City that is open to the public. It also has the only natural hot springs in Furano where day visitors are welcome. There are open-air baths from which you can enjoy a view of the lavender fields while soaking in hot springs.
Highland Furano also has guest rooms with views of the lavender fields. The lavender fields are lit up at night in July to give it a different atmosphere from the daytime. This is a hotel recommended for those who want to enjoy views of Furano's lavender fields both day and night.
4. Rokugo Forest
Next to be introduced is Rokugo Forest, with various buildings that were filmed in the famous TV series, Kita no Kuni Kara, set in Furano. In this forest, you can see buildings from the series, such as the log house that the protagonist, Kuroita Goro, built deep in the forest, as well as Goro's Third House (windmill house).
These are all buildings that were used at the beginning of the series and remains a popular spot for fans to experience famous scenes from the series. There are also shops selling items related to the series as well as restaurants you can visit, so relax and enjoy your time in the natural beauty that is Furano.
5. New Furano Prince Hotel
New Furano Prince Hotel houses Ningle Terrace, which is a popular tourist destination. Ningle Terrace consists of shops in buildings that look like log houses selling items that are unique to Furano and can only be purchased here. It is particularly romantic when the sun sets and the buildings are lit up, making it a perfect spot for goinng on dates.
On the hotel grounds, there is also a garden called Kaze no Garden, which was the set for a TV drama series of the same name. It has approximately 2,000 sq.m. of flower fields with about 20,000 flowers of 450 varieties. There is also Gabriel no Ie, a shop selling items related to the TV series as well as saplings of the flowers in the garden.
6. Glass Forest in FURANO
Glass Forest FURANO has a wide selection of glass products ranging from its original Tatara glass, made in the image of diamond dust, to various small items, accessories, and tableware and glass art appropriate as gifts. It is the perfect place to look for souvenirs.
It is also the only place in Hokkaido to experience blowing glass that is heat resistant. It consists of six buildings, and there are workshops for making tombo balls and for sand blasting. In particular, Building No. 2, which has displays depicting the flower fields of Furano from spring to fall in glass, is a must see.
7. Furano Wine Factory (Furano Wine)
At Furano Wine Factory (Furano Wine), there is a winery where you can tour the production process for making Furano wine. The tour takes 20 to 30 minutes and includes a wine tasting. There is also a shop where you can purchase Furano wine, amongst other original products made with grape juice.
There are lavender fields above the winery, and when the lavenders are in bloom, both the winery and fields are lit up. There is a mystical atmosphere that can only be perceived here and thus it has become a popular spot for dates.
8. Furano Cheese Factory
At Furano Cheese Factory, you can find dairy products made with fresh Furano milk. The popular Wine Cheddar is the only cheese produced in Japan with wine in it. The Cheese Factory also has tours of the production facilities and cheese aging chambers with tastings. There are also fun experiences for children, such as mock milking using model cows and learning about the history of cheese.
There is also a corner named the Ice Milk Factory, where soft serve made with fresh Furano milk is served, and a Pizza Factory, where authentic Neapolitan pizza is baked in an oven procured directly from Naples. There are also workshops to experience making butter and ice cream by hand.
9. Campana Rokkatei
Campagna Rokkatei is the Furano branch of the popular Hokkaido confetionery brand, Rokkatei. It is in a vast 79,000+ sq. m. vineyard on hilly terrain and has large windows through which there are wonderful views of Mt. Tokachi. There is also a gallery, Kamigami no Asobu Niwa, and the Furano branch of Jingisukan Shirakaba on the grounds, so you can enjoy both art and great food.
Campagna Rokkatei also has original products only available at this branch. There are local items such as Furano Mochi, made with mochi that contains red peas from Furano, and Furano Ankoro made with green peas from Furano.
10. Furano Jam Garden & Anpanman Shop
Furano Jam Garden has 38 different jams made with no added water. Almost all the ingredients are from Hokkaido, and the jams are made using traditional methods with no additives or coloring. There is also a Sweets Kobo, where you can enjoy a variety of original sweets, and an Aozora Terrace, where you can have a light meal, as well as a workshop for jam-making experiences.
Furano Jam Garden also has Anpanman Shop on the grounds. The first floor is one of Japan's largest shops for Anpanman goods, and the second floor houses a gallery of Anpanman paintings. There is also a Rokugo Viewing Platform with views of the grand nature of Furano, so this is a place for people of all ages to enjoy.
Five Recommended Spots Around Furano Station
1. Hokkaido Longitudinal and Latitudinal Center Marker
The Hokkaido Longitudinal and Latitudinal Center Marker is registered as a cultural property of the city of Furano. Furano City, which is located at a longitude of 142.2 E and latitude of 43.2 N is considered to be at the center of Hokkaido. This marker is otherwise referred to as the "Hokkaido center marker" and "the belly button of Hokkaido".
In 1914, professors from what was then Kyoto Imperial University installed equipment at this site to measure longitudes, latitudes and gravity for astronomical observations. The center marker was erected here in commemoration. When visiting, keep in mind that it is on the grounds of a working elementary school, Furano Elementary School.
2. Heso Jinja (Hokushin Jinja)
The formal name of this Shinto shrine is Hokushin Jinja, but because it is located at the center of Hokkaido, it is generally referred to as Heso (belly button) Jinja. It is also the site of the Hokkaido Heso Festival that is held on July 28 and 29 every year. There is also a small park called Heso Park next door.
In Heso Jinja, there is a stone called Heso Kizuna Ishi. There is a hole in the stone and it is said that if two people hold hands inside the hole, the bond (kizuna) between them will become stronger.There is a "vending machine to pray for stronger bonds" from which you can purchase amulets and votive pictures as well. This is a little known gem that is perfect for girls' trips and dates.
3. Furano Marche / Furano Marche 2
Furano Marche and Furano Marche 2 are places where you can discover numerous products that are unique to Furano. Furano Marche includes a market where agricultural produce are sold directly by the producer, a shop selling food to take out and a cafe. Furano March 2 has restaurants to enjoy great Furano food in.
There is a wide selection of Furano specialties so it is the perfect place to look for souvenirs. It is also a great place to try the latest local food from Furano. There is a parking lot and information center, so you can stop in when you want to get information about Furano.
4. Concierge Furano
Concierge Furano is located about a 3-minute walk from JR Furano Station. It is a multi-purpose complex made by renovating an unoccupied building. The Concierge branch of Furano Products & Tourism Public Corporation, which has a tourist information center and sells Furano souvenirs, is on the first floor. There is also a restaurant, EVELSA, serving dishes made with ingredients from Furano and the rest of Hokkaido.
The second floor of Concierge Furano houses a shared office area where the Commerce and Tourism department of Furano City is located and on the third floor, there is a dormitory-style hostel called HOSTEL TOMAR. The hostel offers reasonably priced accommodations and is recommended for those traveling on a budget.
5. FURANO NATULUX HOTEL
FURANO NATULUX HOTEL is a great place to enjoy local cuisine made with fresh Furano ingredients. The hotel has a cafe open to the public that serves fantastic food such as an original hamburger made with homemade buns and a rich soft serve ice cream.
The hotel is in a convenient location just one minute on foot from JR Furano Station. It is a great place to enjoy dishes that are unique to Furano in a luxurious setting. There are also food items that can be taken out, so you can enjoy them while strolling around town.
Five Hidden Gems Recommended in Furano
1. Torinuma Park
Torinuma Park in the suburbs of Furano City is a park that is designed around trees that are growing naturally so you can enjoy the grand nature that is unique to Hokkaido. The emerald green marsh in this park with highly transparent water is a must see. There is a mystic view that is breathtakingly beautiful.
At Torinuma Park, you can also enjoy seasonal flowers and creatures. In the spring, there are different varieties of Asian skunk cabbage, in the summer, fireflies, and in the fall, colorful foliage. It is a great place to visit with children and is becoming more and more popular as a hidden gem perfect for girls' trips and dates.
2. Saika no Sato
Next to be introduced is Saika no Sato, where you can enjoy eight different types of lavender. The vast 15-acre land is covered with a wide variety of flowers each season. There is also an observatory at the top of a hill from which you can see a panoramic view of the beautiful mountains and flowers.
The foremost attraction of Saika no Sato is the opportunity to pick lavenders. It is 1,000 JPY per person and you can pick as many lavenders as will fit into a bag that is provided. This is a place you can enjoy with friends, on your own, on a date or with children.
3. Roller Coaster Road
Roller Coater Road refers to Nishi 11 Sen, a road in Kami Furano-cho with sharp ups and downs. It is a road that is straight for 2.5km but has sharo hills and was used as a set for the TV series, Yasashii Jikan.
Even though the road is nicknamed Roller Coaster Road, if you look around, you will see there are wonderful panoramic views of the grand nature of Hokkaido. There are hills after hills of beautiful pastoral landscape and it has been selected by locals as one of the eight great views of Kami Furano.
4. Panorama Road Ehana
Panorama Road Ehana is a road on which you can feel as if you are being sucked into the great nature of Furano. It is a straight, 5km road that leads from a high hill down to the Furano Basin. This is also a little known spot for fantastic views that has been chosen by locals as one of the eight great views of Kami Furano.
It is less steep than Roller Coaster Road so it is not a problem for those who are not that practiced at driving. It is also a popular road not just for drivers, but also for walkers and bicyclists. In the winter, it transforms into a glittering, snow-covered road. It is a road that you will want to visit in the snowy season as well.
5. Miiyamatoge Art Park
Miyamatoge Art Park is distinguished by a large, white Ferris wheel. On the Ferris wheel, you can see a wonderful view of Furano from 50m up in the air. This is a multi-purpose complex with not just a Ferris wheel, but also an ice cream shop, bakery and art experience area, so you can enjoy it in a variety of different ways.
The highlight of Miyama Art Park is the Trick Art Museum. It is filled with artwork that utilizes optical illusions. It is a great place for photographs to post on social media, and one that people of all ages can enjoy.
Enjoy Fantastic Views and Flavors Unique to Furano
Furano in Hokkaido is filled with lavender fields and other places to enjoy the grand nature. There are majestic, panoramic views of nature all around, so you don't even have to go to tourist destinations to see them.
Furano not only has beautiful views of nature, but also numerous stylish shops. There are also many original products and foods that are unique to Furano. Why not go to Furano to enjoy the fantastic views and flavors you will only be able to experience there?
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Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)
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Title Image: Tanya Jones / Shutterstock
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.