Furano is a large expanse of rolling hills that lead up to Mt. Tokachi. Situated along the Sorachi River, Furano belongs to Furano-Ashibetsu Nature Park. Because of its position in the heart of Hokkaido, Furano is nicknamed the "navel town." There's even a festival to celebrate it.
In winter, Furano is prime downhill and cross-country skiing territory with world-class slopes. Warmer weather is perfect for river rafting, trekking, cycling, golf and other pursuits.
You can reach the Furano area by train, bus, and car.
A Hakodate Main Line train to Takikawa takes 50 minutes, followed by a Nemuro Main Line train to Furano (1 hour, 10 minutes). You can also catch a Hokkaido Chuo bus from Sapporo to Furano, which takes three hours. Getting around Furano's various attractions is easiest by rental car.
The name Furano means fragrant or stinky flame, from the Ainu word furanui, and is a reference to local volcanic activity
Furano is famous for its vast lavender fields
Furano's ski resort has been the site of World Cup races
Furano's natural beauty can be appreciated in every season—stardust in the winter sky, charming Japanese skunk cabbage flowers along the roadside in spring, the inviting color and fragrance of lavender in summer, and the glorious red and yellow leaves in fall.
If you love outdoor sports, head for Furano for hiking, cycling, fishing, parasailing, thrilling rafting trips down the Sorachi River and skiing through the soft powder snow at the nearby Kita-no-Mine ski resort in winter. If you're looking for a special present for someone, a hot-air balloon flight is a great choice.
A walk through Furano Lavender-no-Mori (lavender field) is de rigueur in summer when the sweetly scented purple blooms are at their best. There are several farms in the area growing different types of lavender, which is used in perfume, cosmetics, potpourri and other products.
During the summer, Furano holds a humorous festival in which about 3,000 people draw funny faces on their bellies and dance around the main street. This is definitely a singular event you won't see elsewhere, so get your cameras ready.
Furano has been producing wine since 1972, and there is a winery overlooking the town open to the public with free wine tastings. In September, Hinode-machi in Furano has a wine festival. You can buy and sample many types of wines.
There's more than wine to this event. Eat fresh corn on the cob, pumpkin dumplings, and cheese pancakes. You can also get into events such as barrel races, barefoot grape stomping, and pumpkin weight guessing contests.