Hokkaido– Largest and northern most island of Japanese archipelago is famous for agriculture. The flora and fauna is different than the rest of the Japan. Even the culture is very different. I visited Hokkaido mainly for hiking. If you have read my previous blog about Mt. Tokachi (Climbing the Unknown) you may relate to this post easily.
Tokachi is an active volcano. The weather around the mountain is unpredictable. We could not climb it on the decided day due to rain and smoke coming from the mountain. That day we visited a near by town called Furano.
Furano is famous for lavender fields in summer. Along with lavender other flowers are in full bloom too. Honestly, I have never seen so many colors in my entire life.
That rainy day on the Tokachi campsite me and my friend, we were completely depressed. We were sitting in the lobby of a nearby Youth Hostel. We were staying on the campsite for over two nights now so the manager knew us. It was his day off. It was sweet of him to ask us if we would like to go to Furano with him to see the lavender farms. This kind of gesture was completely new to us ‘Tokyo-ites’! Japan does have a lot to offer but other than the cities I would strongly recommend to visit remote areas and experience the simplicity of Japanese villages and locals.
Being a student of a Japanese language since last 9 years his dialect interested me a lot. He told us how over the period of time the lavender fields grew popularity. When he was a kid they could just pluck a bush of lavender and bring home which is nearly impossible now.
We visited three of the main lavender fields. Kamifurano Hinode Park, Farm Tomita and Lavender East.
If you google Summer in Hokkaido pictures of Farm Tomita will catch your attention. The farm is divided in different fields. The best part was to visit the Irodori- Colorful Path. They have beautifully planted the lavender and other flowers in a row. It looks like a rainbow.
In case of Hinode Park, this farm just focus on lavender. You walk uphill from the field and when you reach on top realize the entire hill is covered in purple colored tiny full bloomed flowers. Surrounded by gorgeous mountain ranges it was absolutely as pleasant as spring. Light breezes were carrying the distinct fragrance. And no matter how many pictures I took they were not doing justice to the beauty.
Every farm sells lavender themed souvenirs and the restaurants have lavender inspired beverages and delicacies. My favorite was lavender ice cream. The light purple colored minty treat was perfect while enjoying the view.
I avoid touristy places, mainly because of people. But I definitely enjoyed my time visiting Furano and for people wondering where to go this summer, I would strongly recommend this place. The peak season is from mid July to August. Best way to get around is car, but even if you can’t manage one there are many tours from Sapporo to see this town. Also there is a special train running covering most of the fields just for tourists in summer. Carry a light jacket since Hokkaido is colder than rest of Japan. I will add the important links below.
Farm Tomita- http://www.farm-tomita.co.jp/en/farm/
Travel Guide Furano- http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6826.html
Japan Railway(JR) Hokkaido- http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/ttable/
Hokkaido Travel Guide- http://www.japan-guide.com/list/e1101.html
Hope you enjoyed the pictures, have a wonderful summer. For more blog posts about hiking and traveling visit my blog weekly.