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Furano

Furano is one of Japan's most famous ski resorts, although relatively little is known about it outside of Japan. Situated in the middle of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, Furano benefits from Siberian storm systems that pass over the Sea of Japan and then dump the lightest and driest snow in all of Hokkaido - and 9 meters of it each season. ​The Furano Ski area is made up two zones, the Kitanomine zone (Mid. Dec - Late Mar) and the Furano zone (Late Nov - Early May). Both areas have a variety of accommodation options and the town of Furano is only a 3 min shuttle from the Kitanomine zone and a 6 min shuttle away from the Furano zone, and is home to a wide array of restaurants and bars and all the services you would expect to find in a town. Both of these zones can be accessed on the one pass and are serviced by 11 lifts. Furano has an abundance of varied terrain for every level of skier and snowboarder and a vertical drop of over 950 meters making it one of the steepest mountains in Hokkaido. ​There are a number of restaurants and cafeterias open on the mountain during the ski season. At the base of both the Kitanomine Gondola and the Furano Ropeway (cable car), there are decent restaurants where you can get a wide variety of good, hearty and healthy meals. At the top of the ropeway in the Furano Zone there is also a small European style café restaurant with a fireplace to sit by. There are a variety of choices for all diets and tastes if you look for it and all the food is reasonably priced. There is also food, drinks and beers available at vending machines right across the hill at different points. All drinks are also very reasonably priced. At the base of the Kitanomine gondola you can find the Snow Dome Festival site. This is a great area to grab a bite to eat after skiing, have a relaxing drink, hot wine, beer or hot chocolate, and unwind in a small country festival atmosphere. Furano's history dates back centuries, as the area was originally inhabited by the indigenous Ainu people. The town flourished during the late 19th century when the Hokkaido Development Commission initiated the colonization of the region. The pioneers introduced agriculture and established the foundations of Furano's farming community. Today, Furano remains an agricultural hub, known for its vast fields of crops, including the renowned lavender fields that have become an iconic symbol of the region. The town's cultural heritage is celebrated through various festivals and events. The Furano Belly Button Festival, held annually in July, pays homage to the town's farming roots and features lively parades, traditional music, and a market showcasing local produce. The Furano Wine Festival in August is another highlight, where visitors can sample a variety of wines produced from Furano's fertile soil. Furano's natural beauty is truly captivating, offering awe-inspiring landscapes throughout the year. One of the town's most famous attractions is the lavender fields, which bloom in vibrant hues of purple and create a picturesque panorama. The lavender season typically runs from late June to early August, attracting throngs of visitors who come to witness the stunning spectacle and immerse themselves in the soothing scent. Beyond lavender, Furano boasts a plethora of other captivating natural attractions. In spring, the cherry blossoms paint the town in shades of pink, creating a dreamlike ambiance. The Tokachidake Mountain Range, part of the Daisetsuzan National Park, offers breathtaking hiking trails and mesmerizing vistas. Visitors can explore the enchanting Blue Pond, famous for its turquoise waters, or relax in the hot springs of the Furano Ski Resort during winter. No visit to Furano is complete without indulging in its culinary delights. The town's fertile soil and favorable climate provide the perfect conditions for producing high-quality ingredients. Furano is known for its delicious melons, potatoes, and corn, which are used in various local dishes. The region's dairy products, particularly its cheese and ice cream, are also highly regarded. Visitors can sample Furano's culinary offerings at local restaurants and cafes, which serve traditional Japanese cuisine, including mouthwatering ramen, sushi, and fresh seafood. For those seeking a unique experience, the Furano Cheese Factory offers tours where visitors can witness the cheese-making process and taste a variety of artisanal cheeses. Furano's warm hospitality and cozy accommodations enhance the overall experience for visitors. The town offers a range of lodging options, including luxurious hotels, charming guesthouses, and traditional ryokans. Many accommodations provide stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and easy access to the town's attractions. The local hosts take pride in offering exceptional service, ensuring that guests feel welcome and comfortable throughout their stay.

Accommodation

For those seeking the quintessential Japanese experience, traditional ryokans are scattered across Furano, providing an authentic stay. These ryokans often feature tatami-matted rooms, sliding paper doors, and communal hot spring baths known as onsen. Guests can indulge in the soothing waters while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Many ryokans also offer kaiseki, a multi-course traditional Japanese meal, showcasing local ingredients and flavors.

 

For those who prefer more contemporary comforts, Furano boasts a selection of modern hotels and resorts. These establishments provide a blend of Western-style amenities and Japanese hospitality. Visitors can expect well-appointed rooms, on-site restaurants serving both local and international cuisine, and often recreational facilities such as fitness centers and spas. Some hotels also offer shuttle services to popular attractions and ski resorts, enhancing the overall convenience for guests.

Furano is a renowned winter sports destination, and during the snowy season, ski resorts become the focal point for many visitors. Accommodation options near the ski slopes range from cozy lodges to upscale ski-in/ski-out hotels. These establishments cater specifically to snow enthusiasts, offering equipment rental, ski schools, and convenient access to the powder-covered slopes. After a day of skiing or snowboarding, guests can unwind in warm, inviting lounges with breathtaking views of the snow-covered landscape.

We stayed at the Shin Furano Prince Hotel during both our visits. This iconic ski-in/ski-out resort offers panoramic mountain views, an onsen (hot spring bath), multiple restaurants, and even a kids' club.

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Furano Kan Kan Mura

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Nestled amidst the snow-capped peaks of Hokkaido, lies a magical winter wonderland known as Furano Kan Kan Mura. Translated as "Furano Village of Delight," this seasonal wonderland transforms the Furano landscape into a dazzling spectacle of snow and ice, offering a plethora of exhilarating activities and enchanting experiences for visitors of all ages.

Open from late December to early March (depending on snow conditions), Kan Kan Mura comes alive every evening, painting the winter darkness with vibrant illuminations and the joyous laughter of winter enthusiasts.

Kan Kan Mura Activities

  • Embark on a thrilling adventure on a large inner tube, soaring down a 200-meter course that winds through the snow-covered landscape. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you speed through illuminated tunnels and snow arches, leaving behind trails of laughter and exhilaration. 

  • Conquer the snow with snow rafting and banana boat rides: Team up with your friends and family for a wild ride on inflatable rafts or banana boats, navigating through snowy slopes and twists, leaving you with squeals of delight and memories to cherish. 

  • Immerse yourself in the timeless allure of dog sledding, pulled through the snowy wonderland by a team of energetic huskies. Feel the wind in your hair and the power of these incredible animals as they guide you through a breathtaking winter scenery. 

  • Explore a mystical forest bathed in light: As dusk settles, wander through an illuminated forest path adorned with shimmering ice sculptures and colorful lanterns. Each turn unveils a new spectacle, transporting you to a world of fairy tales and winter magic. 

  • Indulge in wintery treats at the Snow Café: Step into a cozy igloo-like dome built entirely from snow blocks. Relax on snow furniture and savor warm drinks served in ice mugs, soaking in the unique atmosphere and the warmth of a crackling fireplace. Shop for charming souvenirs: Browse through stalls adorned with twinkling lights, filled with local handicrafts, winter accessories, and delectable treats. Find the perfect keepsake to remember your magical winter adventure in Furano.

  • Every corner of Kan Kan Mura presents a picture-perfect backdrop. Capture the dazzling illuminations, the joyous faces of participants, and the serene beauty of the snow-covered landscape, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

 Shin Furano Prince Hotel Restaurants

Restaurant Karamatsu

12th Floor (seats 128).

Restaurant Karamatsu in Furano is a culinary gem nestled in the picturesque region of Hokkaido, Japan. With its rustic charm and exceptional gastronomic offerings, it has become a beloved destination for both locals and visitors alike.

Karamatsu's interior exudes warmth and intimacy, featuring traditional wooden décor and cozy seating arrangements. The ambiance perfectly complements the restaurant's focus on authentic Japanese cuisine, with a particular emphasis on Hokkaido's renowned fresh produce and seasonal ingredients.

 

The menu at Restaurant Karamatsu is a delightful fusion of traditional and contemporary flavors. From savoring delicate sashimi platters to indulging in robust Hokkaido-style hot pots, every dish is crafted with meticulous attention to detail. The skilled chefs at Karamatsu are masters in creating culinary masterpieces that delight the senses and showcase the region's rich culinary heritage.

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One cannot miss the opportunity to sample Furano's famous local delicacy, the Lavender Pork, a succulent and tender meat known for its unique flavor derived from the pigs' diet of lavender flowers. Karamatsu's Lavender Pork dishes are a true testament to the restaurant's commitment to highlighting local specialties.

Local Restaurants

Okonomiyaki Senya

This charming eatery has gained a reputation for serving some of the most delectable okonomiyaki in the region, captivating locals and tourists alike with its authentic flavors and warm ambiance.

Okonomiyaki, often referred to as a Japanese pancake or savory pancake, is a beloved dish in Japan. At Okonomiyaki Senya, they take pride in crafting these savory delights with utmost precision and attention to detail. Their menu boasts a variety of mouthwatering options, from classic okonomiyaki loaded with cabbage, pork, and seafood, to innovative creations featuring local ingredients and seasonal delicacies.

The restaurant's inviting interior reflects the essence of traditional Japanese design, with wooden furnishings and soft lighting creating a cozy atmosphere. The skilled chefs work their magic on teppanyaki grills, allowing guests to witness the mesmerizing culinary performance as their okonomiyaki is prepared with finesse.

Visiting Okonomiyaki Senya is not just a dining experience; it is an immersion into the rich culinary heritage of Furano. The friendly staff provides warm hospitality, ensuring each guest feels welcomed and attended to. Whether you are a food enthusiast seeking authentic flavors or a curious traveler exploring the delights of Furano, Okonomiyaki Senya promises a memorable dining experience that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

We did OK with the okonomiyaki cooking - it's fairly straight forward. We did, however, need help with the takoyaki. There is definately an art to rolling the balls. Luckily the owner was on hand to help out, and fix my mess.

 

Okonomiyaki Senya is close by Bus Stop F

Furano Skiing

One of the key attractions of Furano is its exceptional snow quality. The region receives abundant snowfall throughout the winter, creating a powdery haven for skiers. The light, fluffy snow, commonly referred to as "Japow," is a skier's dream, providing excellent conditions for carving through slopes and enjoying an exhilarating downhill experience. The consistent snowfall also extends the skiing season, often beginning in late November and lasting until early May, allowing for an extended period of winter sports enjoyment.

Furano Ski Resort stands out as a premier destination for skiing enthusiasts. The resort boasts a diverse range of slopes catering to all skill levels, from gentle beginner slopes to challenging expert runs. The groomed trails wind through picturesque landscapes, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. The resort is well-equipped with modern chairlifts and gondolas, ensuring efficient access to the various ski areas and minimizing wait times.

Furano boasts the coveted title of "Japan's Best Powder Resort," and with good reason. The island's unique climate dumps an average of 8.5 meters of snow annually, renowned for its light, dry quality that creates an unforgettable skiing experience. Imagine carving through untouched powder fields, leaving behind a trail of weightless bliss as the snowflakes dance around you. This dream becomes reality on Furano's slopes, particularly in the Kitanomine Zone, where advanced skiers can test their skills on steep, ungroomed runs.

But Furano caters to all levels. The Furano Zone offers a gentle introduction to the slopes with wide, groomed runs ideal for beginners and families. Intermediate skiers can progress to more challenging terrain like the Furano Prince Course, a long, scenic run with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. And for the adrenaline junkies, the FIS World Cup course, used for international competitions, provides a thrilling descent with steep drops and technical challenges.

For beginners, Furano provides excellent facilities for ski lessons. The resort's professional instructors are skilled in teaching both children and adults, creating a supportive environment for those new to the sport. The beginner-friendly slopes are designed to instill confidence and allow novices to gradually progress in their skiing abilities.

Intermediate and advanced skiers, on the other hand, can explore a myriad of exhilarating trails that cater to their skills. The resort offers challenging off-piste areas and ungroomed powder fields for those seeking a more adventurous skiing experience. The Furano Zone and Kitanomine Zone provide an extensive network of trails, each offering a unique set of challenges and opportunities for exploration.

Furano is also recognized for its exceptional tree skiing, allowing advanced skiers to weave through the picturesque birch and fir trees that dot the mountainsides. The tree-lined slopes not only enhance the visual appeal of the skiing experience but also offer a sense of seclusion and tranquility amid the winter wonderland.

Après-ski activities in Furano add to the overall charm of the skiing experience. Visitors can unwind in the resort's hot springs or explore the charming town of Furano, known for its cozy cafes, local cuisine, and welcoming atmosphere. The town also offers cultural experiences, allowing skiers to immerse themselves in the unique traditions and customs of Hokkaido. So, pack your skis, embrace the spirit of adventure, and discover the magic of skiing in Furano, Japan.

Furano 2013 Gallery
Furano 2016 Gallery
Furano 2024 Gallery
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