Flowers of Furano & Biei, Part 1 (5/7)

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Greetings. This is Nazrul from the Hokkaido Government Representative Office.

Map route (map source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism)

After exploring Asahidake and Higashikawa, it’s time for me to move on to Biei next. On 28 July, I took a 30-minute train ride from JR Asahikawa to JR Biei, and met up with my guide before heading off to my first stop: the Hokusei-no-Oka Observatory Park.

Hokusei-no-Oka Observatory Park, 35-min walk from JR Biei station

The park overlooks and offers a panoramic view of Biei town, but unfortunately it was raining the entire day. Still, I got to see the town at the bottom and many other visitors were there too. The entry to the park is free, and it’s a popular spot for all tourists.

Kanno Farm, 15-min walk from JR Bibaushi station

My next stop is Kanno Farm, one of the most popular tourist spots in Kamifurano. Many people recognizes the name ‘Furano’ because of lavenders, and the name has since been synonymous with flower viewing during the summer. Kanno Farm is one of the must-see places for flower viewing in Hokkaido, where different varieties of flowers bloom until October.

Closeup of bee and flower at Kanno Farm
View of Kanno Farm

Next, my guide brought me to a lavender farm in Kamifurano for me to try my hands on lavender picking. It’s my first time doing such a thing, and it’s interesting to see what lavenders smell like up close. It has a slightly medicinal and soothing smell, which I find very comforting.

Lavender picking in Kamifurano
Lavender picking experience
Lavenders in Hokkaido

After that, I joined up with my friend Adrienne who stays travel writer based in Hokkaido. We met up for lunch at a local barbecue eatery where we had the local specialty ‘Sagari’ pork yakiniku. It is said that pork in Furano is some of the best Hokkaido has to offer, and I had to agree: it was one of the best barbecued meat I’ve had in a long time.

‘Sagari’ pork charcoal-fire yakiniku, JPY 2000 (approx. SGD 24) per person 
Flowers outside JR Kamifurano station

After lunch, I went over to a local coffeehouse YAMAICHI where the owner Mr. Shingo Saitoh rents out bicycles, and also sells food such as melon juice and lavender ice cream. He also grows interesting vegetables in his farm at the back, such as star-shaped cucumbers.

Lavender ice cream, JPY 500 (approx. SGD 6)
Star-shaped cucumber

Just next door is the Miyama Pass Art Park, a park that overlooks Mount Tokachi and features the Trick Art Museum. It also has some souvenir shops where Ainu handicrafts are sold. The museum is popular among tourists as well, and it’s worth paying a short visit while you’re in Furano area.

Ainu handicraft
Trick Art Museum, JPY 1300 (approx. SGD 15.50) per person

Next up is Flower Land Kamifurano, another very popular tourist spot for flower viewing in Furano region. It’s a sprawling flower park where many different varieties of flowers such as sunflowers and lavenders bloom especially during the summer, and it’s very popular among group tours. It also has a lavender workshop where visitors can make their own lavender pillow.

Flower Land Kamifurano, free entry
Sunflowers
Photo taken from inside sightseeing bus tractor, JPY 500 (approx. SGD 6) per adult
Flower Land Kamifurano

Next, I went over to a local wholesale melon farm where I got to see how melons are grown and harvested. The most popular type of melon in Hokkaido is the Yubari melon, and it’s so popular that supply can run out very quickly during peak season. Growing melons requires a lot of patience, and they taste amazingly sweet compared to the ones in Singapore.

Hokkaido melons
How melons are grown
Hokkaido melon, JPY 4500 (approx. SGD 54) each

Next, I dropped by a local winery store to have a look at local wines and grapes. Furano wine is becoming more popular these days, thanks to good weather that enables growing quality grapes. Before my day ends, I headed over to Hinode Park, another park that overlooks the town below.

Tada Winery
Hinode Park

I checked into Tokachidake Onsen Ryounkaku for that night, and had dinner there with the local farmers. They brought some local produce such as white corn and melon for the dinner, all of which were scrumptious. It was a very long day, but fun nonetheless, and it will be another long one the next day.

Hokkaido white corn
Hokkaido melon

My exploration of Furano and Biei continues in the blog post. Stay tuned!

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