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Furano (富良野) Flower Fields / Hokkaido

(Lavender fields at Farm Tomita)

Furano is the centre of Hokkaido and it is this location that ensures amazingly light snow, great weather conditions, beautiful scenery and perfect farming conditions as well as some wonderfully unique festivals.
Downtown you can see a large rock indicating the geographical centre of Hokkaido.

The weather patterns ensure long warm days in summer and cool days throughout spring and autumn, not to mention 8 to 9 metres of light snow fall each ski season. Long blue-sky days allow great views from the ski hill of the smoke that spirals up from the volcano across town the valley. Anyone from families to beginner and high intermediate skiers easily fall in love with the ski area, its long groomed runs and the fantastic views.
(Lavender fields at Furano)

Lavender has been cultivated in Hokkaido for more than half a century. When the arrival of lower priced, imported lavender led to a decrease in demand for Hokkaido's lavender in the 1960s and 70s, the local lavender's main function shifted from agricultural product to tourist attraction.

Nowadays, Furano's lavender fields attract large numbers of visitors to the region every summer, when the plants are in full bloom. The majority of lavender usually starts blooming in late June and reaches its peak from around mid July to early August. Less numerous, later flowering varieties of lavender remain in bloom into mid August.

Many other flowers make Furano an attractive destination outside of the lavender season, as well. The main season for flower viewing takes place between June and September, although some flowers also bloom earlier and later than that. Flowers include rape blossoms, poppies and lupins from June, lilies from July and sunflowers, salvias and cosmos from August and September.
(Poppy field in June)

There are numerous flower fields of various sizes all across Furano. The best spot to view the lavender is Farm Tomita, whose lavender and flower fields with the Tokachi mountain range as backdrop are spectacular. The popular farm is free to enter and besides the flower fields has cafes and shops that sell a wide range of lavender related products. The farm naturally gets rather busy during the peak season.

In 2009, Farm Tomita opened a second farm, Lavender East to the public. Located about four kilometers east of Farm Tomita, Lavender East has by far the most spacious of all lavender fields in Furano, covering 14 hectares. Besides a shop, cafe and observation deck, the farm offers 15 minute rides (500 yen) on the "Lavender Bus" through the lavender fields.
(Lavender East's "Lavender Bus")

Another popular farm for lavender and other flowers is the Flower Land Kamifurano. The farm's hillside location affords beautiful views of the Tokachi mountain range in combination with the flower fields. Among the attractions are rides through the fields on tractor pulled carts and hands on experiences such as lavender cutting and flower pressing.

An attractive way to travel between Furano, Biei and some of the lavender farms while enjoying the scenery, is the Furano-Biei Norokko train. The train operates daily from early June through August and on weekends and national holidays during September. It stops at the temporarily constructed Lavender-Batake Station, a five minute walk from Farm Tomita.
(The Furano-Biei Norokko train passes)

How to get there

Lavender and flower fields are spread across Furano and many of them are not easily accessible without private transportation. A rental car is the easiest way to get around.

Farm Tomita

From June to mid October, some trains along the JR Furano Line, including the Furano-Biei Norokko trains, stop at the seasonally constructed "Lavender Batake Station" (20 minutes, 220 yen from Furano or 35 minutes, 440 yen from Biei), from where the farm can be reached in a 5-10 minute walk.

The Twinkle Bus Furano "Lavender Course" sightseeing bus, which runs from Furano to Biei (160 minutes, 1000 yen, one bus daily from July 3 to August 15, 2010), makes a stop at Farm Tomita. Reservations for the Twinkle Bus are mandatory and can be made at JR railway stations across Hokkaido.

During the rest of the year, the farm can be accessed in a 30 minute walk or five minute taxi ride from Nakafurano Station. By car, the farm is about 15 minutes from central Furano.

Farm Tomita - Lavender East

Lavender East is located about four kilometers or a 5-10 minute car ride east of Farm Tomita. The Twinkle Bus Biei "Lavender Course" sightseeing bus, which runs from Biei to Furano (140 minutes, 1000 yen, one bus daily from July 3 to August 15, 2010), makes a stop at Lavender East. Reservations for the Twinkle Bus are mandatory and can be made at JR railway stations across Hokkaido.

Flower Land Kamifurano

Flower Land Kamifurano is located three kilometers uphill, a five minute taxi ride or about a 50-60 minute walk from Kamifurano Station (20 minutes, 350 yen from Furano or Biei).

Furano (富良野) Map by Google

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By TS on June 29, 2011
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tag : Hokkaido



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Author:T. SATOH