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Field of flowers in Naka Furano in Hokkaido. Photo fused with clouds

Field of flowers in Naka Furano in Hokkaido. Photo fused with clouds

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Colour Your World in Furano

By Denis Plamondon

Photo: By Sandra D’Sylva and Denis Plamondon

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Furano is great multi-season destination. Located in a wide valley, some 140 kilometers east of Sapporo, this “lavender country” has something to offer everyone in each season. In winter, Furano promotes its cosy resorts and powdery snow ski slopes (international standards) to all skiers, snowboarders and cross-country skiers alike. In summer, activities range from canoeing, rafting, horseback riding and hiking to lifetime experiences like hot-air ballooning. There are also many farms, factories and a spectacular array of flowers to discover.

This region of Hokkaido most likely derives its name from the Ainu word Fu-Ra-Nui – referring to the sulfuric smell of the river. When making a hotel reservation, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that Furano has two districts: JR Station, accommodation and civic facilities are located in the downtown district, while many hotels, bars and restaurants are found in the Kitanomine district across the river, close to ski slopes.

No matter where you chose your base, most places are easily accessible with local transportation. The Kururu Shuttle Bus offers a day pass during the summer, which allows you to get on and off at the main attractions in a single day if you begin your journey early in the morning. Depending on where you’re staying, a good place to start is at the Highlands Furano with its radiant fields of lavender and refreshing hikes through the forest. Next en route is the Furano Winery where you can visit the cave and sample a variety of wines; you will probably end up buying a few bottles, the labels are particularly beautiful. Then, you can treat yourself to a fondue made from local cheese at the Wine House and benefit from a fantastic panorama of Furano. For fans of Japanese TV dramas, you can also enjoy a visit to the set of “From the Northern Country” which is filmed on location in Hokkaido.

If you’re going to Furano to admire the celebrated lavender fields and the beauty of their deep purple signature, you should plan a visit between mid-July and the beginning of August before harvest. In any case, a trip to Farm Tomita in Naka Furano will certainly be a highlight. This is where you’ll find the famous rainbow of colorful flowers advertised on the cover of most Hokkaido magazines. Lavender gives a pleasant experience with its unique aroma and color, but did you know that it has a fragrant taste as well? Find out more on your own and don’t miss the ice cream at Farm Tomita!

Pension Lavender is a lovely place to stay. For a delicious and inexpensive dinner, the Tirol Lamb BBQ next to Snow Flake Lodge is recommended, both owned by cheerful ski instructor Kojima Hisayuki. If you’re looking for a fun and friendly bar to hang out in the evening, Bar and Dining Ajito is your choice. Apparently, Aussie’s and Japanese warm up the place during the winter season. Lastly, don’t miss out on the abundance of sweet succulent melons and other fresh fruits, vegetables and local products.

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Furano Valley: View from Farm Tomita in Naka Furano, Hokkaido

Furano Valley: View from Farm Tomita in Naka Furano, Hokkaido

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Lavender field in Highland Furano, Hokkaido

Lavender field in Highland Furano, Hokkaido

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Butterfly in Highland Furano

Butterfly in Highland Furano

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Lotus flowers in a lovely pond in Highland Furano, Hokkaido

Lotus flowers in a lovely pond in Highland Furano, Hokkaido

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Mushroom in Highland Furano, Hokkaido

Mushroom in Highland Furano, Hokkaido

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Wineyards in Furano, Hokkaido

Wineyards in Furano, Hokkaido

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Wine Barils in Furano Winery, Hokkaido

Wine Barrels in Furano Winery, Hokkaido

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Cellar in Furano Winery in Hokkaido

Cellar in Furano Winery in Hokkaido

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Wine labels with typical Furano colours in Hokkaido

Wine labels with typical Furano colors in Hokkaido

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Rainbow of colourful flowers in Naka Furano, Hokkaido

Rainbow of colorful flowers in Naka Furano, Hokkaido

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Sunflower field in Naka Furano, Hokkaido

Sunflower field in Naka Furano, Hokkaido

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