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The beauty of Biei has surpassed its small town borders to attract world-class photographers, ad execs, and TV directors. But despite its popularity, this pastoral heaven remains refreshingly devoid of tourist trappings.

There’s little to do except give your full attention to fields of flowers, rolling hills, and a lake so strikingly blue that Apple made it a wallpaper.

Take a trip down Patchwork Road and Panorama Road, the two well-marked routes where Biei’s rural scenery is at its best. Patchwork Road, named after its medley of crops that result in the fields looking like a patchwork quilt, contains a number of trees famous for being the botanic stars of commercials and dramas. They look majestic and solitary against the vast vistas of sky and earth. Climb up the Hokusei Hill Observatory for a panoramic view that stretches far into the distance.

Biei Pastoral Scene

There are few places more purely pastoral than Biei.

Admire cheery rows of flowers from the Hill of Shikisai and Shinei Hill Observatory on Panorama Road. This area also offers some charming cafes and restaurants, as well as hands-on farming experiences like making butter and milking cows.

Though the most convenient way to traverse Biei’s sights is by rental car or tourist bus, in good weather you should cycle through the hills without a care in the world for an idyllic countryside day-in-the-life. Regular bicycles and electrically-assisted ones are available for rent at multiple shops around the station.

Don’t forget your camera! Photo by Soumei Baba.

In Biei, the highly sought after beauty of Japan’s distinct seasons is on full display. Each season reveals a new side of nature: from the lush windswept hills of summer, to the boundless white fields of winter.

A 20 minute bus ride outside the city lies the justly named Blue Pond. Thanks to aluminum deposits in the water, the pond reflects the colour of the sky, giving the surface a supernaturally bright blue tint. Slim dead birch trees emerge from the water.

The overall effect, especially thanks to the lack of tourism-related development, is one of having accidentally stumbled into another world.

Take the same bus to the last stop and you’ll reach Shirogane Onsen, a small hot spring resort surrounded by nature. The bridge offers a high vantage point over Shirahige Waterfall, which is worth visiting year-round, but especially spectacular when it freezes beneath the snowfall of winter.

How To Get There


2 Chome-2-20 Kitamachi, Biei-chō, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaidō 071-0206, Japan

By train

There’s around one train per hour from Asahikawa Station to Biei Station, or from Furano to Biei station coming from the opposite direction (approx. 35 minutes). Biei is roughly halfway between Asahikawa and Furano stations.

The area itself has few public transportation options of use to tourists, aside from a local bus that connects the station to Blue Pond (stop at Aoiike Iriguchi) and Shirogane Onsen. In the summer the sightseeing JR Twinkle Bus covers Panorama Road and Patchwork Road, making brief stops at the attractions. Outside these months you’ll have to get around by taxi, rental car, or bicycle.

By bus

Biei can be reached from Asahikawa and Asahikawa Airport via the Lavender-Go Furano Bus.

Where To Stay

  • 1-10-5 Kitamachi, Kamikawa-gun Biei-cho, Hokkaido, 071-0206 Japan
  • ¥6,950 - ¥7,950
  • 3.33/5 (52 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Auberge Kunst Haus
  • 6-16 Ikoigaoka, Kamikawa-gun Biei-cho, Hokkaido, 071-0251 Japan
  • ¥28,481 - ¥28,481
  • 4/5 (137 reviews)
  • 1.9 km