Visitors from all over Japan (and the world pre-covid) are drawn to Furano’s flower fields in summer and snowy mountains in winter. However, the best time to visit this central Hokkaido town, yet often overlooked, is autumn. This picturesque time of year shows off brilliant displays of vibrant golden and red hues. Meanwhile, every foodie’s dream comes to life with the harvest of fresh autumn produce. Even a weekend away during this stunning season will leave your soul feeling peaceful and warm. So here is our 3 day, 2 night Best of Furano in Autumn itinerary that makes for a perfect weekend getaway or a Hokkaido road trip stop.
Day 1: From Sapporo/Niseko to Furano
This is a nice short stop along the national highway where you can stretch your legs and enjoy the forest scenery. You will walk for about 150m from the carpark along a path made amongst tree roots and rocks. The path then opens up to a platform with views of the Ashibetsu river and the Sandan waterfalls. The name Sandan means ‘three steps’ as the water cascades down the sandstone layers in three tiers. The surrounding forest with their autumn coloured leaves add the perfect touch to this nature spot.
Accommodation: Fenix Furano
Fenix Furano is the accommodation to stay at if you are visiting Furano. This new upscale condominium hotel in Furano, which opened in December 2020, is conveniently located opposite the Furano ski resort. It offers the perfect mix of hotel and apartment-style rooms. So whether you are an individual, couple, family or group of friends, there is something suitable for everyone.
About a 5 minute drive away from Fenix Furano are a group of wooden cottages known as Ningle Terrace. These beautiful timber houses are nestled amongst the pine trees of the forest and feature specialty art and crafts from Japanese artists. It is scenic and peaceful as you stroll along the wooden walkway connecting the cottages. If you go at night time, the area is lit up with fairy lights and becomes magical. It is a great stop to enjoy and even pick up a souvenir or two.
Be prepared to line up for one of Furano’s most popular restaurants. Kumagera serves Japanese-style food and is known for using Furano local produce in its dishes. The famous Furano Wagyu beef sashimi rice bowl and omurice curry are highly recommended, and also worth a mention are the steamed Furano potatoes with butter. The dishes coming from the kitchen are simply cooked yet the flavours are wholesome and delicious. It makes this renowned Furano restaurant worth the wait.
Day 2: Furano to Biei to Furano
There are many scenic spots all over the Furano region but one that is particularly famous is the Rollercoaster Road. Made popular by a Japanese tv show, it is a 2.5 kilometre stretch of straight road that has lots of ascents and descents, hence the name. It can feel a little gimmicky but you will be rewarded with great views of the Tokachidake mountain ranges and the rural landscape. The Rollercoaster Road is considered to be one of the 8 most beautiful views of Kamifurano.
Just a short drive north of the Shirogane Blue Pond (featured in our Furano in Summer article, and also worth visiting during autumn for a different perspective from the changing seasonal colours) is the natural spectacle Shirahige Falls. It is a rare type of waterfall in Japan because the water comes from an underground river. Shirahige means “white beard waterfall”, which you will see as the water streams from gaps in the cliff rocks. There is a blue tinge to the water that occurs from the mixing of aluminium minerals with the water. This provides a stunning contrast to the colours of the surrounding autumn foliage.
Day 3: Leaving Furano
Hokkaido Ski Club offers guiding in the Furano area as part of its Green Season Guiding Program. If you would like more information on our guiding program in Furano or assistance with booking your holiday in Furano this autumn, submit a booking via our portal or contact the Concierge Team at Hokkaido Ski Club at [email protected].