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Furano & Biei: Top 10 Things To Do in Japan’s Beautiful North!

Furano & Biei: Top 10 Things To Do in Japan’s Beautiful North!

Date published: 23 May 2020
Last updated: 7 September 2020

The Furano area is one of Hokkaido’s top sightseeing destinations. Blooming flowers brilliantly blanket the earth and envelope the city in a sweet scent. Agricultural, dairy, and livestock industries thrive, and you can relish the sights, smells, and tastes with locally grown fruit and dishes made using local ingredients. In winter pure white snow covers the region, and open-air hot springs warm cold bodies. Here are ten places in the Furano area you can appreciate throughout all four seasons.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. The fresh tastes of Furano Marche
  2. 2. Forest shopping at Ningle Terrace
  3. 3. Aoike: The mysterious Blue Pond
  4. 4. Let the scent of lavender wash over you at Farm Tomita
  5. 5. The European scenery of the Patchwork Road
  6. 6. Handmade cheese at Furano Cheese Factory
  7. 7. Enjoy wine and cheese fondue at the Furano Wine House
  8. 8. Trademark “Santa’s Beard” at Popura Farm
  9. 9. A panoramic view from Kitoushi Observatory
  10. 10. Warm up at Fukiage Hot Spring
  11. To enjoy the beautiful scenery forever

1. The fresh tastes of Furano Marche

1. The fresh tastes of Furano Marche

Furano Marche, located in central Furano, sells local produce and foods under the catchphrase “Make the town more cheerful and more fun!” Furano is one of Hokkaido’s top agricultural production areas and the products sold at Furano Marche are inexpensive and fresh, with many bearing the label of with their grower. The specialties at Furano Marche shouldn’t be passed up!

  • Furano Marche
    フラノマルシェ
    • Address 13-1 Saiwaicho, Furano-shi, Hokkaido, 076-0024
    • Phone Number 0167-22-1001
    • Hours: 10:00 - 19:00 (summer 9:00 - 19:00, winter 10:00 - 18:00), closed for maintenance in late November and December 31 – January 1

2. Forest shopping at Ningle Terrace

2. Forest shopping at Ningle Terrace

Ningle Terrace is a magical wooded shopping area. It’s named for “Ningle,” the forest-dwelling main character of Furano-based screenwriter So Kuramoto’s book titled “Ningle.” The craftsmen of Ningle Terrace use their skills to create and sell original works and conduct craft workshops. Here you can take a break in a log cabin café and feel like Ningle as you walk through the forest.

  • Ningle Terrace
    ニングルテラス
    • Address Nakagoryo, Furano Shi, Hokkaido, 076-8511
    • Phone: 0167-22-1111 (New Furano Prince Hotel)
      Hours: 12:00 - 20:45 (10:00 - 20:45 from July 1st - August 31st), irregular closures and November a holiday period

3. Aoike: The mysterious Blue Pond

3. Aoike: The mysterious Blue Pond

The Blue Pond in Biei is a scenic spot that’s gained popular in recent years. Dead larch trees rise from middle of the pond known as “Biei Blue,” giving it a surreal atmosphere. The color changes depending on the season and weather. In spring, snowmelt gives the pond a green-blue tint and in early summer it can appear light blue. It’s beautiful in any shade!

  • Blue pond
    青い池
    • Address Shirogane, Biei-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido, 071-0235

4. Let the scent of lavender wash over you at Farm Tomita

4. Let the scent of lavender wash over you at Farm Tomita

Farm Tomita is one of the best sightseeing spots in the Furano region. The dark purple “Noshi Hayazaki” variety of lavender begins to bloom in late June. The “Hanamoiwa” and “Okamurasaki” varieties bloom soon after, turning the fields a vibrant purple until early August. The best time to visit is mid-July when all the types of lavender are in bloom.

The farm’s café serves lavender flavored drinks and ice cream. Not far from Farm Tomita, you’ll find the largest lavender field in Japan, “Lavender East” (open only in July). A lavender-colored tractors pull wagons around the grounds, providing visitors with a relaxing way to immerse themselves in the breathtaking scenery and the rich lavender scent.

  • Farm Tomita
    ファーム富田
    • Address 15 Kisenkita, Nakafurano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido, 071-0704
    • Phone Number 0167-39-3939
    • Hours: Open daily
      Admission: Free

5. The European scenery of the Patchwork Road

5. The European scenery of the Patchwork Road

The fields of Nakafurano from Biei to Bibaushi are called the “Patchwork Road” because of the colorful patetrn created by the crops grown there. The gently rolling hills are strikingly beautiful, and you’ll get wonderful photos no matter where you take them. Since the scenery is similar that of France’s Champagne-Ardenne region, a French restaurant using local ingredients has opened in Biei. Why don't you drop by for lunch or dinner?

  • Way of a patchwork
    パッチワークの路
    • Address Omura, Biei-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido, 071-0200

6. Handmade cheese at Furano Cheese Factory

6. Handmade cheese at Furano Cheese Factory

At Furano Cheese Factory, not only can visitors buy fresh cheese, but they can also watch the cheese making process and even make their own in the “handmade experience workshop.” Four hands-on activities include butter and ice cream making (900 yen each, tax included), and cheese and bread making (1,000 yen each, tax included). Bread making requires a reservation, but other activities do not as long as there are vacancies (English recipes available).

There’s also a model cow to “milk,” a section devoted to the history of cheese, and a photo area where both children and adults can “become” cheese craftsmen. The Cheese Factory serves pizza made with local produce, freshly made cheese, and soft serve ice cream, all of which are exceptional.

  • Furano Cheese Factory
    富良野チーズ工房
    • Address Nakagoku, Furano-shi, Hokkaido, 076-0013
    • Phone Number 0167-23-1156
    • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 April 1 - October 31; 9:00 - 16:00 November 1 - March 31; closed December 21 - January 3

7. Enjoy wine and cheese fondue at the Furano Wine House

7. Enjoy wine and cheese fondue at the Furano Wine House

The Furano Wine House overlooks the city from Mt. Shimizu, and diners can enjoy a meal of local ingredients, a wine that suits their taste, and a magnificent view of the Tokachi mountain range. The wine comes directly from the winery, and limited vintages only available here are can be sampled and purchased in the Wine House shop. Wine can also be shipped throughout Japan, so you can relive the memories of you trip with a glass of your favorite.

  • Furano Wine House
    ふらのワインハウス
    • Address Shimizuyama, Furano-shi, Hokkaido, 076-0048
    • Phone Number 0167-23-4155
    • Hours: 11:00 - 21:00, closed December 31 - January 1

8. Trademark “Santa’s Beard” at Popura Farm

8. Trademark “Santa’s Beard” at Popura Farm
Photo provided by Furano Development Co., Ltd.

Popura Farm is a soft serve ice cream shop in Nakafurano. “Santa's Beard” (small 800 yen, large 1,400 yen), is the shop’s trademarked signature menu item – half a melon topped with ice cream made with fresh milk.

Other ice cream topped yubari melon (cantaloupe) desserts include “Santa de Mix” which combines milk and melon-flavored ice cream, “Santa de Melon” with melon ice cream only, and “Santa's Belly Button” topped with Tokachi red beans (small 850 yen, large 1,500 yen for each). Limited time offerings like “Bali Bali Santa” are also available.

  • Popura Farm Nakafurano Main Store
    ポプラファーム 中富良野本店
    • Address Kita 18, Higashi 1-senkita, Nakafurano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido, 071-0771
    • Phone Number 0167-44-2033
    • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (last order 16:30) April – October, 10:30 - 15:30 November – March; open Friday – Monday, November - March

9. A panoramic view from Kitoushi Observatory

9. A panoramic view from Kitoushi Observatory

Kitoushi Observatory is a castle-shaped observation building in the mountains of Higashikawa-cho, adjacent to Asahikawa City. Green rice paddies fill the lush panorama in spring and summer and then turn a bright golden hue for the autumn harvest. Nearby Kitoushi Forest Park is a popular spot for barbecues and “park golf.”

  • Kitoushi Observatory
    キトウシ展望閣
    • Address Nishi 4-gokita, Higashikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido 071-1404

10. Warm up at Fukiage Hot Spring

10. Warm up at Fukiage Hot Spring

Fukiage Hot Spring Recreational Facility Hakuginso is an inn known for its open-air baths. Located on a hillside in the Tokachi mountain range Daisetsuzan National Park, it still has beautiful snow in spring and is a popular base for mountaineering in summer and skiing in winter. The open-air baths make it possible to enjoy the forest and a hot, relaxing bath simultaneously.

There’s plenty for children and adults to enjoy, like the slide in the “mixed open-air bath for men and women” (bathing suits required). With 48 bunk beds, 4 Japanese-style rooms, and meals, it offers attractive accommodation (adults 3,100 yen for one night, including bathing; additional heating charge of 150 yen per night from November 1 to April 30).

  • Fukiage Hot Spring Recreational Facility Hakuginso
    吹上温泉保養センター白銀荘
    • Address Fukiage Onsen, Kamifurano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido 071-0579
    • Phone Number 0167-45-4126
    • Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 (Last entry 21:00), open daily
      Admission: 700 yen for adults

To enjoy the beautiful scenery forever

To enjoy the beautiful scenery forever

Although people visit Furano for its beautiful scenery, trespassing has harmed the area’s tranquility. In 2016 the famous “Philosophy Tree” was cut down, partially due to the continued bad manners of sightseers. Because the fields that make up Furano’s lovely vistas are actively used for farming, be sure to respect local rules and customs to avoid future sad situations like that of the now lost Philosophy Tree, and to maintain the beauty of Furano and Biei.

Text by:Masakazu

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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