Summer is almost here, which means it is time to start planning our vacation.
First on our wish list is to soak up the sum in Hokkaido, again (I know), because there is something about the access to nature and the irresistible food that being on the gorgeous wild northern island will bring.
To families who look to hike and explore, as well as outdoor adventurists, Furano will make you very happy. The town is incredibly walkable and drivable, with lots of pleasant bright days, good restaurants and interesting shopping.
There are so much more to the charming town than lavender fields. If you are planning a summer retreat to Furano, Hokkaido this summer, here is a list of favorite cool activities our team can arrange for you:
Rafting is an exciting way to enjoy the outdoors. The iconic Sorachi River is stable enough for beginners and kids, treated to stunning scenery along their journey, while the thrill of encountering stretches of rapids won’t disappoint fans of whitewater.
The thought of replacing my cell phone and laptop with raft paddles on a cool morning makes me very happy.
A breakfast picnic on the riverside complete with freshly brewed coffee? All the more motivation to get up earlier and hop on a rubber boat when the morning mist still lingers amongst mountains.
Furano is a heaven to experience nature away from the sights and sounds of the city. The surrounding Daisetsu-zan National Park, the biggest national park in Hokkaido, lends itself to all manner of outdoor pursuits, including almost limitless hiking, trekking and biking trips.
The range is a peak bagger’s delight; the nearby 1911m Mount Furano is relatively accessible, and along the the marked routes there is a good number of onsens open to the public, with open-air baths that enjoy expansive views across the plains.
The Shirahige (literally translates to “white beard”) Waterfalls and the Aoiike Pond, both fed by the groundwater of Mount Tokachidake that generates colloid and makes the water a mesmerising cobalt blue, are beautiful sights definitely worth stopping by for in an onsen district called Shirogane. There you could easily spend a couple hours, taking in the scenery, contemplating the resemblance between the 30m waterfall and the facial hair of an old man.
Not a hiker but love a good weeping landscape? Carrying yourself up a mountainside on your own two feet is just one of many ways explore some of the area’s most beautiful landscapes.
There are half-day bike rides, guided leisurely strolls, through the forest, rice fields, beautiful farms and orchards and even down country roads, all fantastic activities to turn kids (and grown-ups alike) onto the outdoors and connect them with nature.
Shikisai no Oka is a flower farm on a hill in Biei, but the reason we mention the picturesque attraction is the alpaca ranch located within the plantation, where you will greeted by their rich “language” of humming, which is how alpacas communicate!
These long-necked, doe-eyed creatures are as adorable as they sound, and the ranch offers an excellent opportunities to learn about the social animal, from their magical, smoother-than-silk fiber, to their day-to-day upkeep and training.
A visit to the alpaca ranch is quite possible everything an animal and nature-loving tot could want. Not to mention there are acres of colorful flower fields to explore, from poppies and dahlias to sages and marigolds, and the restaurant offers a place to refuel, too. You could easily spend an entire day here.
Furano has swoon-worthy fields (and produces some of the most succulent melons) that draw vacationers every summer, that it is known. While little is discussed about the fun craft projects that the whole family can enjoy at the various farms in the area.
If you are looking for crafts for family fun times, Furano‘s got you covered, with opportunities to make practical things that the family can use a plenty.
Make your own all-natural bug repellent
Having stretches of flower fields tends to give you an edge in the production of essential oils, ones that make wonderful natural bug repellent.
You can make your own bug spray with all-natural and local ingredients (far better for the skin and much kinder to the environment) at a fun DIY workshop. The end products not only can come in very handy for your next outdoor adventures, but they also make useful and thoughtful souvenirs if we may say so ourselves.
Make your own beeswax candles
Beekeepers work year round to keep honeybees healthy and strong. In Furano, you can see get to know the in’s and out’s of beekeeping, and learn all about the mighty honeybees and even a few bee dance moves, firsthand in a bee farm. You know, the cool stuff. It can be a lot of fun to share the magic of honey bees with the family.
Apart from watching beekeepers harvesting honey and beeswax out of the hive, you can get crafty by making eco-friendly, sustainable scented candles from beeswax, a natural ingredient that comes from honeybees building their hive. A little effort, a little mess, and lots of fun.
Make your own jam
A popular pastime in Hokkaido is fruit picking. In fact, harvesting the season’s best produce with your own hands and tasting it on the spot has become kind of a must-do. And whipping up your own sweet treats with just-picked fruits takes the experience to another level.
But really, who has the time to make homemade jam? Well, in Furano you do, under expert supervision in a group class, that is. Having so much fun together in the kitchen, I doubt anyone would feel bad about staying inside when it is gorgeous out.