Located at the very center of Hokkaido (43゜20′ N. lat., 142゜23′ E. long.), the city is known as “the naval city.” A marker indicating the center of the prefecture stands in the schoolyard of Furano Elementary School. Furano has been famous for lavender since the 1981 TV series “Kita-no-Kuni-kara” (from the northern province) and the Furano Ski Resort. The lovely purple flowers are in full bloom through the latter half of July, enveloping the city with their sweet scent. The Furano Highlands, 5 km from downtown, boasts lavender fields (3.4 ha) and bathing facilities.
“Rokugo-no-Mori” (Rokugo Forest) is in the mountains, 21 km from downtown. It is the setting for the TV series. Sets such as Goro’s House still remain with many photo panels. Moreover, the stone house that has been used since “’95 – The Secret” remains, 2 km from the forest. Farms and the lumber shop used in the series can be seen at Rokugo Forest.
Figure: Tokachi Mountains & Sunflower field
The main entrances to the Daisetsuzan (Taisetsuzan) National Park are in Kamikawa and Asahikawa in the North, Furano in the West and Shintoku in the south. There are 4 major parts of Daisetsuzan National Park with hotels: Asahi-Dake, Sounkyo, Tenninkyo and the Tokachi/Furano-Dake area. From base in Asahikawa and Furano you can start at Furano Dake, Kuro Dake or Asahi Dake.
The city is situated in a picturesque valley between the rugged Tokachi Mountain (Mt. Tokachidake) Range and the peaks of Mt Ashibetsu, Mt Yubari and Mt Furanonishi. This direct bus service will transport you from New Chitose Airport or Asahikawa Airport to Furano. Lavender Go” connects Asahikawa Station to Furano via Asahikawa Airport.
Furano Lavender and Skiing
The history of lavender in Furano dates from 1958, when people started growing lavender for perfume. In the face of competition from cheap imports, the number of lavender farmers plummeted. Only one farmhouse, the Tomita Farm, has survived. In 1976, the farm appeared on the calendar of JR. Since then, it has become popular and now extends across 6 ha of lavender field. The farm offers various types, such as early and late blooming varieties, which allow visitors to enjoy lavender from late June to mid-October.
Figure: Furano Lavender
Facilities include Hanabito-no-Ie (a museum and gift shop), Joryu-no-Ie (a distillation facility for producing lavender perfume), and Kosui-no-Ie (perfume house).
Miyama Pass, on Route 237 near the border of Biei and Kamifurano, is the perfect place to enjoy a fine view of the Biei hills.
There are two ways of reaching Furano from New Chitose Airport by JR train. First switch train at Sapporo Station then transferring at Takikawa Station or transferring at Asahikawa Station.
The route via Takikawa Station is often used and takes approx. 2 hours from New Chitose Airport Station. 9 direct express train “Limited Express Super White Allow” services from New Chitose Airport Station to Takikawa Station or Asahikawa Station are available.
Train ride via Asahikawa Station is fascinating, enjoying rolling hills of Biei and famous lavender fields around Kamifurano and Nakafurano.
The Limited Express (L’EX) ‘Furano Lavender Express’ that takes you directly from Sapporo to Furano; the “Furano/Biei Norokko-go” that allows you to enjoy the scenery along the railway at a leisurely speed; and the “Twinkle Bus” that starts from the Furano or Biei station and takes you to all the nearby tourist spots. There are flexible tour option such as Asahikawa Station, Furano Biei Round Tour, Furano Lavender Express, Furano-Biei Norokko Train, Twinkle Bus Biei, Furano and Asahikawa Course, Twinkle Bus Biei Hill Country Course, Takushin-kan Course, Twinkle Bus – Furano, Furano Lavender Course, Asahiyama Dobutsuen(zoo), Ueno Farm Course, Asahikawa Sweets and Biei Course. More Details: http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/pdf/e/ml201105.pdf
The land around Furano, at the foot of the Tokachi mountain range, is very fertile and ideal for growing grapes and vegetables such as potatoes, beans, beets and asparagus. Recently, the area has become famous for its lavender, which is cultivated here and processed into various products. The large ski resort at Furano hosted World Cup ski races.
Furano City (Furano-shi), Nakafurano Town (Nakafurano-cho) and Farm Tomita Tourism Contacts and Addresses:
Daisetsuzan (Taisetsuzan) National Park related Institutions and Visitor Centers