Furano Travel Guide

Furano Travel Guide

Furano Travel Guide

Photo by mhardy62 on Pixabay // CC0

Introduction

Situated at the centre of Hokkaido amidst its most scenic mountains, Furano may not be as well-known as Niseko, but it is still a popular playground in the winter.

However, if you drop by outside of this season, you’ll still find plenty to do in this nature lover’s paradise.

Come check out our Furano travel guide to independently exploring Japan as we cover the best things to do in Furano.

Top Attractions

Furano is at its best in the winter time, as it is at this time when its mountains are covered in the fluffy powder for which Hokkaido is famous. If you would love nothing more than to carve up these slopes on your travels here, then we advise spending a day at Furano Ski Resort.

This mountain is a friendly one for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, as it has gentler grades on the lower half of the resort, while higher portions have pistes which have hosted World Cup races in the past.

Snowsport enthusiasts who love doing tricks aren’t left out either, as this hill also has a sizable terrain park that includes a half pipe. Those not into riding or skiing aren’t left behind either, as there is a place called Family Snowland where you can go dog sledding, snowmobiling, or tubing.

To top it all off, there is a pair of hotels on site that will make for a short commute from your front door to the lift line in the morning; consider staying here if your budget permits.

After a day on the slopes, some may choose to spend their apres ski time over pints of Sapporo or sake, but others may find indulging in retail therapy to be just as relaxing. If you count yourself in the latter group, spend a couple hours browsing the cute shops of Ningle Terrace.

Located steps away from the on-site hotels at Furano Ski Resort, these log cabin boutiques are home to a variety of local artisans, who craft products ranging from candles to iron works to kaleidoscopes. If you get hungry during your expedition, there is a cafe on site that prepares excellent cheese boards and gourmet ice cream in season in addition to hot drinks like coffee and hot chocolate.

Over the years, many Japanese dramas have been filmed in the Furano area. Of all the sets feverishly pursued by fans, Goro’s Stone House is by far the most popular. A centrepiece of the longtime J-drama, From The Northern Country, its furnishings have been kept much as they were when filming stopped back in 2002.

Another feature that is noteworthy about this structure: much of it is made from recycled materials. In a recent competition, it was one of 100 structures worldwide to win a reward for re-purposing materials in the construction of a building.

Ever wonder how glass housewares like vases are made? Drop by the Glass Forest in Furano and you can find out for yourself. While you can simply buy glass creations from the many crafters that call this place home or watch them do their thing, it is on the second floor where this attraction really appeals to all the makers out there.

Here, an experienced glass blower will guide you through the process of creating your own glass souvenir. Be sure to do this at the start of your time in Furano, as your piece will need to cool for 48 hours after you craft it. After your session is complete, they will get your address (in this case, your hotel) and after it is ready, their shop runners will deliver it to the front desk for you.

Other Attractions

Visiting Furano in the summer? While you may not be able to go skiing or boarding, you’ll still be able to head up the Furano Ropeway. At the top, you’ll have access to incredible views of the valley below, as well as some excellent hiking trails.

Be sure to head up here if you are visiting in the fall, as the view of autumn colours make for a truly magnificent sight.

Despite its northern location in Asia, Hokkaido has lands suitable for the production of grapes as you will learn upon visiting the Furano Winery. Here, you’ll get to check out the winemaking process, tour a lavender field, and get to enjoy the main product of this attraction with fine Western dishes in its on-site restaurant.

Conceived from a perceived need for a community festival a generation ago, the Furano Bellybutton Festival is a whimsical event that will prove to be an entertaining affair for all. Consisting of two days of parades where people’s torsos are painted to look like faces, some designs can get pretty complex, making it a fun festival for those of all ages.

Finally, those visiting during the summer will want to drop by the Wind Garden. Maintained in the English style, you’ll find over 450 different varieties of flower here, making it a pleasant place to visit for gardening enthusiasts.