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Minamifurano

Minamifurano is situated in the central part of Hokkaido, which is the northernmost island of Japan. It is part of the Sorachi Subprefecture and is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. Minamifurano's story unfolds as a captivating blend of tourism development and unwavering agricultural roots. From its humble beginnings as a farming community to its present-day status as a renowned tourist destination, the town's modern history is a testament to its resilience and adaptability. It is a small town, with approximately 2,500 people living in the Minamifurano townsite and surrounds.

In the latter half of the 20th century, as Japan experienced rapid industrialization and urbanization, Minamifurano, like many rural areas, faced depopulation challenges. Younger generations migrated to urban centres in search of education and employment opportunities, leaving behind aging populations and a need for community revitalization.

Despite these demographic shifts, Minamifurano maintained its agricultural roots and sought to leverage its natural beauty for tourism. The town's scenic landscapes, including picturesque fields and the changing colours of the seasons, became attractions for those seeking a respite from urban life. The town's fertile soil, a result of volcanic activity in the region, provides an ideal foundation for agriculture. Farmers in Minamifurano have harnessed this natural advantage, cultivating not only potatoes but also other crops such as wheat, barley, and various vegetables. The fields of Minamifurano transform with the seasons, offering a visual spectacle that attracts both locals and tourists.

During the winter months, Minamifurano transforms into a winter wonderland blanketed in pristine white snow. The town, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and gently rolling hills, becomes a serene landscape that attracts winter enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The pure, powdery snow creates a serene ambiance, and the cold, crisp air adds a refreshing touch to the surroundings.

Come spring, Minamifurano bursts into a riot of colours as cherry blossoms bloom, signalling the arrival of warmer days. The town's parks and streets are adorned with the delicate pink blossoms, creating a breath-taking spectacle. The fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms, or sakura, is celebrated with traditional hanami (flower viewing) picnics, where locals and visitors gather to appreciate the ephemeral beauty of these blossoms.

The cherry blossom season in Minamifurano generally occurs in late April to early May, depending on the weather conditions and the specific variety of cherry trees in the region. This delay is due to Hokkaido's colder climate, where lingering snow and chilly nights extend winter's grip. The first to bloom are the early-blooming varieties like the single-petaled 'Yamagata Akebono' or the 'Shidarezakura,' with their weeping branches cascading like delicate waterfalls.

 

Unlike the famous Somei Yoshino cherry trees found in warmer parts of Japan, Hokkaido is home to a variety called Yaezakura, which has double-layered petals and tends to bloom later in the spring. As temperatures rise, the landscape gradually transforms into a sea of pink and white. Rows of trees line the Furano Wine Highway, creating a picturesque tunnel of blossoms. The iconic Blue Pond, usually reflecting the azure sky, takes on a soft pink glow as falling petals dance on its surface. Local parks like Furano Garden and Farm Tomita burst into color, offering stunning backdrops for picnics and leisurely walks.

The cherry blossom season in Minamifurano is short-lived, lasting only for about two weeks. This ephemeral nature adds to the allure, making the experience even more precious. It's a reminder to savor the beauty of the present moment, just like the delicate blossoms that dance in the spring breeze.

As spring transitions into summer, Minamifurano's landscape undergoes a vibrant transformation. Lush green fields and meadows stretch as far as the eye can see, with the town surrounded by nature in full bloom. The warm weather encourages outdoor activities, and the town's natural beauty becomes a backdrop for hiking, biking, and leisurely strolls through its idyllic countryside.

Lavender has become a symbol of Minamifurano, and its vibrant purple fields attract visitors from various parts of Japan and around the world. The lavender season typically occurs during the summer months, from late June to early August, with the peak bloom usually around mid-July. During this time, the hillsides and fields of Minamifurano are transformed into a sea of purple, creating a visually stunning and fragrant landscape.

During the lavender season, festivals and events are often organized to celebrate the bloom, attracting both locals and tourists. These events may include music performances, art exhibitions, and culinary experiences featuring lavender-infused dishes and products. The festive atmosphere enhances the overall visitor experience and contributes to the local economy.

The cultivation of lavender in Minamifurano is not only a visual spectacle but also a significant economic driver for the region. Local farmers have embraced lavender cultivation as a viable and lucrative agricultural activity. The climate and soil conditions in Minamifurano are well-suited for lavender, allowing it to thrive and produce high-quality blooms.

Autumn in Minamifurano paints the landscape with warm hues of red, orange, and gold. The town's deciduous trees, including maples, transform into a stunning display of fall foliage. The hills and valleys become a patchwork of colours, creating a captivating scene that attracts photographers and nature enthusiasts. The cool, crisp air adds a touch of nostalgia to the surroundings, making autumn a favoured season for those seeking a peaceful retreat in nature.

The closest major airport to Minamifurano is New Chitose Airport (CTS) near Sapporo, Hokkaido's capital. After landing at New Chitose Airport, you can proceed with ground transportation options to Minamifurano or hire a car. Take the Furano Line to reach Furano Station. The line from Furano to Minamifurano is cut, so once at Furano Station, you can use local bus services or taxis to reach Minamifurano.

Accommodation

Fairfield by Marriott Hokkaido Minamifurano

The Fairfield by Marriott Hokkaido Minamifurano provides a comfortable and convenient base for exploring the natural beauty and cultural delights of Minamifurano. With its modern amenities, friendly service, and strategic location, the hotel caters to travelers seeking a relaxed and rejuvenating escape in the heart of Hokkaido.

Situated just a short distance from Michi-no-Eki Minamifurano, a roadside station brimming with local specialties and charming shops, the Fairfield by Marriott Hokkaido Minamifurano offers easy access to outdoor adventures. Canoe down the Sorachi River, cast a line for prized salmon in Lake Kanayama, or embark on invigorating treks through pristine woodlands. In winter, the landscape transforms into a wonderland for skiers and snowboarders, with Furano Ski Resort, Tomamu Resort and Sahoro Ski Resort within easy reach.

The hotel itself exudes a warm and inviting atmosphere, with the natural beauty of Hokkaido reflected in its design. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby bathe the space in sunlight, while wood accents and soft furnishings create a sense of cosy elegance. A shared lounge area provides a communal space for guests to unwind, socialize, or soak in the breath-taking views.​

 

The Fairfield by Marriott Hokkaido Minamifurano offers a range of well-appointed guestrooms, designed with comfort and functionality in mind. Standard Twin and Queen rooms cater to solo travellers, couples, or small families, while the spacious Superior Twin rooms offer added comfort. Each room features plush bedding, a flat-screen TV, an electric kettle, and ample storage space by the clever use of wall hooks. High-speed Wi-Fi keeps you connected throughout your stay.

Whilst the rooms are serviced each day, they don't do a full clean. Daily full housekeeping generates a substantial environmental footprint. Water is used for cleaning and laundry, chemicals contribute to pollution, and energy is consumed for equipment and lighting. By reducing cleaning frequency, the hotel can lessen their impact on the environment.  They will make the bed, replenish the amenities, remove rubbish, and change towels.  They don't, however, clean the bathroom, the floors, the glassware, or the cups.

Lugging bulky equipment around after a day on the slopes can be a bit tiresome. This is where the ski lockers come in, offering a convenient and valuable service that enhances the guest experience. The sports storage locker provide a secure and easily accessible space for guests to store their skis, snowboards, boots, and helmets. This eliminates the hassle of carrying heavy equipment through the hotel, up and down elevators, and to and from the rooms.

While the hotel does not have an on-site restaurant, guests can take advantage of the shared kitchen, which includes a microwave, griller, coffee machine and ice machine, to prepare simple meals or snacks. Vending machines and nearby convenience stores Seicomart and 7-Eleven, provide additional options for grabbing a quick bite or microwave meals.