So this is what they mean by frolicking.
Hokkaido might conjure images of majestic untamed wilderness, but in Furano, known affectionately as the “bellybutton” of Hokkaido, it’s the tenderly cultivated flower fields that get jaws dropping with just as much drama. Midsummer’s gently rippling lavender rows are the height of loveliness. Go ahead: fulfill your inner flower child’s dreams and frolic a little.
Lavenders are the bloom that draws admirers year after year. These beauties are at their best when they peak in mid-late July, but an assortment of varieties means that they can usually be appreciated anywhere from late June to mid-August.
Farm Tomita should be the first stop on your itinerary.
Featuring multiple lavender fields alongside bright rainbow rows of other blooms, this idyllic farm is set against the stunning backdrop of the Tokachi mountain ranges.
Nearby, you can ride a rustic tractor-drawn carriage through the massive 14-hectare fields of Lavender East. Lavender cultivation in Furano first began in these former rice paddies, which now make up the area’s largest lavender fields.
Flower Land Kamifurano to the north is another prime spot for lavender appreciation, but also a good choice for off-season visitors; the diversity of its blossoms keeps the gardens open from spring to fall.
All the best products from the breadbasket of Japan can be tasted in Furano’s scenic restaurant patios. If corn and potatoes slathered in butter don’t seem like enough, just visit the Melon House outside Tomita Farm, where the things they do with melons will shatter your world (or at least your view on cantaloupes).
Tours are offered at the local winery and cheese factory, along with the samples that you can pretend weren’t the real reason for your trip. At Campana Rokkatei, a creation of the famous Hokkaido sweets shop, you can enjoy dessert while gazing out at a verdant hillside vineyard.
In the winter, the area transforms into a playground for winter sports devotees. Its incredible powder snow conditions have made Furano ski resort a favourite of Japan’s best skiers and boarders, though it still receives much fewer international crowds than Niseko.