5 Spots in Furano, Biei, and Tomamu That You Should Visit in the Summer
Summer in Hokkaido is a perfect season for sightseeing. Here are 5 popular places in Furano, Biei, and Tomamu for visiting.
Aoiike, one of Biei's popular sightseeing spots, is a captivating, mysterious spot for people all around the world. This photo is used as the wallpaper on Apple's Mac computers, so Mac users have probably seen it at least once. The reason the water looks so blue is because the water sources halfway up Mt. Tokachi, the Iouzawa River and the Shirohige Falls, have aluminum in them, and when it mixes with the water of the Biei River, it creates particles called colloids, and when the sun hits those colloids it looks blue. No matter when you go you can see the blue water, but depending on the season and the timing it does look different. If you go on a windless, clear, sunny day, the surface of the limpid water looks like a mirror. The sight of it is so beautiful it'll take your breath away. The best season to go is mid-May to late Jun. That's when you'll be able to see the clearest, most beautiful cobalt blue waters. It's also recommended to go early in the morning. The morning air is still clear so at that time the trees in the pond will also look blue. Please stay the night in Biei and go to see this sight early.
Ningle Terrace, a shopping area directly connected to New Furano Prince Hotel, was produced by the writer Sou Kuramoto, and it's a craftsman's village in the middle of the forest. The name comes from the 15cm-tall old wise man of the forest that appears in Kuramoto's book, Ningle. In this area surrounded by trees, there are 15 stores built like log houses. The craft shops, made with the theme of nature, all offer unique products that are enjoyable just by looking at them. There are plenty of products that you can only buy here, so it would be good to buy some as souvenirs. They also have craft workshops called Ningle Atelier that anyone can join (reservations required). You can make items like candles and kaleidoscopes, so why not participate to make a good memory of your trip? When night falls, it's gently lit up and it becomes surrounded by a mysterious atmosphere that seems like fairies of the forest have come to play. Please visit the world of Ningle with some special people.
Within a wide area surrounded by Furano's lush forest is Furano Cheese Factory. There you can try delicious cheese made with Furano's fresh milk. It's great as a souvenir! In the connected Ice Cream Milk Factory, you can try rich, refreshing ice cream, and in the Pizza Factory, you can eat genuine pizza created by a chef that studied in Napoli. It's a flavor you can only enjoy in Furano. There's also the popular Tezukuri Taiken Factory (reservations required) where you can not just eat, but also make your own! They have various courses, including churning butter (700 JPY (incl. tax)), making ice cream (700 JPY (incl. tax)), baking bread (880 JPY (incl. tax)), and making cheese (880 JPY (incl. tax)). The cheese or ice cream that you make yourself is incredibly delicious. Why not enjoy making stuff yourself and having that become a memory of your trip?
Fukiage Onsen Health Preservation Center Hakuginso is a lodging facility where you cook for yourself that offers day-trip packages for their onsen (hot spring). It's in a beautiful, quiet hot spring area surrounded by nature halfway up the Mt. Tokachi mountain range in Daisetsuzan National Park. Entrance fees are 600 JPY for adults, 400 JPY for middle and high school aged children, and 200 JPY for elementary school aged children.
Lodging fees (includes bathing fee and you cook for yourself) is 2,600 JPY for adults, 1,800 for middle and high school aged children, and 1,200 JPY for elementary school aged children, making it extremely reasonably priced. There are a few baths, including unisex indoor and outdoor baths, mixed-gender outdoor baths, and all of them are 100% onsen using water that flows straight from the source. In the bathing area there are hinoki cypress bathtubs, waterfall showers, baths where you lay down, sauna rooms, and more, so you can enjoy different kinds of baths. The recommended areas are the satisfyingly open outdoor baths. There are four unisex baths per gender and 4 mixed-gender baths where you must wear a bathing suit to enter. The baths are varied, from a bath that goes up to 1m deep like a pool to baths that have slides, people of all ages can enjoy them so it's a great place to bring your family. Please enjoy relaxing in a hot spring and healing your body and soul.
Farm Tomita is one of Japan's largest lavender fields. During the peak of its blooming season, it's a popular spot that gets very crowded with plenty of tourists. The time to see the lavender is from mid-to-late July. The closer you get to the field you'll be surrounded by the scent of lavender. Inside the park, they cultivate plenty of flowers other than lavender that you can see throughout the year, so you can enjoy a variety of colorful flowers. The entire field is on a gently-sloping cliff, and the sight of the flowers and the rolling fields of Furano from the cliff is amazing! It's so gorgeous it often gets featured in magazines and pamphlets. If you want to see the sight, please climb to the top. It's recommended that you not just look at the flowers but also enjoy the lavender fragrance as a convenient perfume. A particularly nice product is the Lavender Oil Okamurasaki (1,600 JPY (excl. tax) for 7ml) using Okamurasaki lavender, or for a gentler florid fragrance try the Kousui Lavender (1,800 JPY (excl. tax) for 8ml). They also have sachets (400 JPY (excl. tax)), aroma bags filled with dried lavender flowers, and more, so you can bring the scent of lavender home as a souvenir.
In the vastness of Hokkaido there are plenty of places to enjoy nature and delicious food. In order to properly see all that you can, please come up with a prior itinerary.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.