Nestled in the centre of Hokkaido, the picturesque town of Furano offers an authentic Japanese experience. Furano benefits from over 9 metres of snow each season and sees more blue sky powder days than most resorts in Japan.
The mountain is divided into 2 linked zones with the terrain consists of long groomed trails perfect for families, and challenging steeps and open ungroomed powder fields. Backcountry restrictions have been relaxed in recent years providing access to some great powder bowls and tree runs.
If you’re looking for great skiing coupled with a cultural experience, then Furano is the place for you. Make the most of the free ski host services; these guides will fill you in on local history as well as recommending somewhere delicious for dinner.
Accommodation is available in both ski zones and Furano town. The Furano Prince Hotel and New Furano Prince Hotel dominate the accommodation scene in Furano. Just as the title indicates, the New Furano has been built more recently and offers ski-in/ski-out convenience. The Furano Prince Hotel is older but is located in the centre of town, providing great access to bars and restaurants.
Apartment style accommodation is also available in Furano, however it books out early. We’d recommend booking 6 months prior to travel.
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How to get there
The best airport to access Furano is Sapporo Chitose. When flying from Australia one stopover is required, the fastest route is via Tokyo (either Narita or Haneda airports) and then on to Sapporo Chitose (CTS). The direct flight from Sydney arrives into Haneda airport, whereas any direct flight from Melbourne or Brisbane arrives into Narita airport. Flight time to Tokyo is approximately 10 hours and 1h 35mins from Tokyo to Sapporo Chitose.
The city of Tokyo makes a great stopover destination; the city is full of culture and history while still offering an unlimited amount of shopping, dining and entertainment options. We recommend 3 days to enjoy all this city has to offer.
Another option is to fly via Hong Kong. Flight time to Hong Kong (HKG) is approximately 9h 30mins and 4h 45mins from Hong Kong to Sapporo Chitose (CTS). This city delivers a unique mix of East meets West and is home to some of the best cuisine around. We recommend 3 days to explore the city.
You can also fly from Sapporo airport to Asahikawa airport, located only an hour’s drive from Furano. However, the airport is small and therefore the cost of flights may be considerably higher than booking a transfer direct from Sapporo to Furano.
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The drive from Sapporo Airport to Furano is approximately 2 h 15mins. Shuttle or private transfers are available - it’s important to note that if your flight arrives into Sapporo after 5pm or departs from Sapporo before 12.30pm a private transfer is required. Transfer shuttles are also available between Asahikawa airport and Furano, drive time is approximately 1 hour.
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7 day guide to Furano
Settle in to your accommodation then book your ski lessons, childcare and any other essentials for your stay. Get straight on the snow and ski the Kitanomine Zone, which ranges from steep and deep sections to a magic carpet beginner area, whichever suits. Make your way to the visitor information desk to book a volunteer ski host for the next morning, then head to the hot bath at your accommodation. For dinner, try the family-run Shojikimura ramen house in Kitanomine, where they use all local ingredients and have English menus to help you adjust to Furano, which is a decidedly Japanese experience. If you have an early dinner, head back to the resort for a night ski in the Kitanomine zone.
Get suited and booted for a few early runs to warm the legs, then meet your volunteer host at 10am. They will be a local who speaks enough English to help you become familiar with the resort and they’ll have recommendations to help you make the most of your stay in Furano. Finish your day skiing in the Furano Zone so you can enjoy après at the Kan Kan Mura ice bar, try the tube slide, and walk through the ice village. Take a taxi back to Kitanomine, your driver will fasten your skis and boards to the roof, and enjoy dinner with a hand-crafted beer at Yama no Doxon curry house. Vegetarians can fill up on hearty doria, a baked rice dish, but carnivores will be happiest with the home-cured meats.
Head to the visitor information desk at the resort to book a hot air balloon ride and also a day trip to either Tomamu or Kamui resort. Check out Premium Zone at Furano which opens at 10am and offers ungroomed terrain like the backcountry, but it’s in bounds. If that gives you a taste for tree skiing and you have the skills, head to the ticket desk to sign out then ski the side country and backcountry enjoying lift access. Swap your après for a blissful hot chocolate at the Royce Downhill Café and Chocolate Shop, then have a relaxing massage with BB Forest. For dinner, either walk 30 minutes to town or take a short taxi ride and have a casual meal at Topical Sushi Train, where you either help yourself from the conveyor or order from their translated menu.
Your hot air balloon operator will collect you early for a ride over the valley, taking in views all the way to Asahidake on a clear day. This is also the best way to enjoy Diamond Dust, which is frozen water vapour sparkling in the sunlight. Have an afternoon ski at the resort and finish in the Furano Zone, where you can enjoy the Japanese custom of ‘all you can drink’ at the Top of Furano Bar in the New Furano Prince Hotel. Walk the woodland trail from here to Soh’s Bar for Miserable Smokers, where you have a late dinner in a dark and swanky lounge setting.
Enjoy your day trip to Tomamu or Kamui, included as part of your Furano lift pass. Return to your accommodation to relax and soak in the onsen. When you’re ready, walk to Ajitos Bar and Dining, which is a family friendly pub that has darts, billiards, and stays open until 2am.
Ride the resort some more or enjoy a day off the snow sampling dog sledding, horse riding over the snowy terrain. For dinner, head into town and try Irohana Hoheto, a typical Japanese izakaya, which means it is noisier and more relaxed than some restaurants while giving excellent Japanese service and food and some western options, like hot chips.
Enjoy your last day of snowriding on the resort then head to Furano Marche in the centre of town for souvenirs and a walk through the farmer’s market. Walk to any of the 100 restaurants that take your fancy for dinner, but for a quiet meal try Yamadori, where you barbecue your own meat and veggies at the table, or for a big night try Kinyo, where the food is great and the karaoke is as good as you make it. If you have any long suffering vegans or vegetarians, treat them to dinner at Navo. The trick to finding a restaurant is first noticing the enticing aroma of good food, and then seeing cotton curtains in a doorway. If you have both of those items you have found a restaurant that is open for business, so head in, say Konbanwa (good evening), and have a gastronomic adventure.
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