Situated on Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, Furano is the second largest ski resort in the area after Niseko. Furano is fast becoming one of the most popular ski destinations for Australian skiers and snowboarders, offering a great balance between traditional Japan and western ski resort. Furano will not disappoint powder hounds, providing consistent JaPOW which Japan is famous for.
Located approximately 2 hours from Sapporo International Airport, Furano Ski Resort is an excellent all-round ski destination suitable for all levels of experience. Due to its central Hokkaido location, Furano also suits skiers and snowboarders who want to combine multiple ski resorts in one holiday, with Tomamu Ski Resort is only an hour away.
Furano Ski Resort offers few different options in terms of accommodation, from hotels and pensions to self-contained apartment style accommodation, there is a nice variety to choose from. Houses and apartments are perfect for skiers and snowboarders who like to have the option of dining in, or for families or small groups travelling together. There are budget friendly options that work out quite cheap when split with a group or more luxurious apartments depending on your preference.
Furano does offer ski in, ski out hotels which is a huge selling point for avid skiers and snowboarders, being able to ski to your door means maximum snow time! From Furano’s boutique lodges to hotels and luxury apartments, there is something for everyone in Furano.
Furano Ski resort is the second largest in Hokkaido, with 168 hectares of terrain with 10 ski lifts and 23 runs to explore. The highest vertical at Furano is 839 metres, and Furano is known for its long, wide groomed runs, fast lifts and powdery snow. With fast, easy access to the top of the mountain by a Ropeway Tram your legs are sure to get a workout skiing or snowboarding at Funaro!
Due Furano’s location in central Hokkaido, the quality of the snow in Furano is generally excellent, some would argue much better than coastal Niseko ski resort however there are less snow days and more bluebird days. On average Furano sees about 9 metres of snow each year.
Furano ski resort is relatively simple to navigate with ski shuttles that operate in a circle from Kitanomine village frequently. At night the shuttles run from Kitanomine village to Furano town for easy access to restaurants, bars and entertainment. Some hotels operate their own shuttle services and there are taxi’s available if you would prefer, however they are a much more costly way to travel.
Direct flights run from major Australian cities into Sapporo’s New Chitose International Airport, however due to demand and number of flights they can be expensive. If you plan to ski over peak winter travel dates (such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve), it may work out best to fly via Tokyo and then catch a domestic flight to Sapporo. Furano is also close to Asahikawa airport and some visitors prefer to head straight there from Tokyo, instead of into New Chitose.
You can also fly via Singapore and other popular hub cities in Asia with full-service carriers or using Scoot, Jetstar and Air Asia for a budget friendly no-frills option. If you do choose to travel with a Low Cost Carrier, make sure to look into the cost for additional baggage etc before committing to anything, sometimes once you add a meal and your skiing or snowboard gear it actually doesn’t work out much cheaper than a full service airline.
Ski season is from late June through to early October. Each resort has slightly different opening dates & dates may vary slightly each year. Peak travel to Queenstown is in July and August, so if you are looking to avoid the crowds early or late in the season or outside of schools holidays is recommended.
From the New Chitose Airport, Furano ski resort is about 3 hours by bus or can be reach via train in approximately 2.5 hours however you do need to swap trains and this can be a bit more complicated with all your snow gear! From the Asahikawa Airport, Furano ski resort is only 1.5 hours by bus or you can catch a train that takes just over an hour.
Furano is well known for skiing and snowboarding, but there are still things to do off the ski slopes! The Waku Waku Snowland offers snow rafting & banana boats, snow mobiles, snow shoeing and sledding. There is also a kids play area near the Kitanomine Gondola.
Onsen hot springs are a popular Japanese activity and an awesome way to relax after a day on the slopes. The New Furano Prince Hotel does have an onsen that allows non-guests to pay to use their facilities, you can also combine your onsen with a massage or a sauna for the ultimate relaxation.
Bar & Dining AJITO is the spot in Furano for après, with lively music, pool tables and pub-style atmosphere it’s is worth a look. The AJITO is quite popular with Aussies, so if you are looking for a more Japanese experience try the Furano Brewery Yama no Doxon for a nice cold beer. Yama no Doxon also has a great selection of Western and Japanese meals for dinner.
If you prefer a quiet more intimate apres-ski beverage, Soh’s Bar is about a 10 minute walk from the Furano Prince Hotel, a chalet style building set in the forest giving it a really magical feeling. If you are staying at New Furano Prince and don’t feel like venturing out, we recommend you try Top Furano for a cocktail with a view! As the name suggests, the bar is on the top floor of the hotel.
There are quite a few dining options in Furano, between Kitanomine, Furano hotel’s and downtown Furano there is no shortage of options to suit all taste buds. For an excellent Japanese meal Fukuzushi does incredible sushi, seafood and sashimi, they are often busy due to the popularity of the restaurant, but well worth the wait. There are also lots of great izakayas scatter throughout Furano and it’s a great ideal to explore a few that aren’t too westernised for a more traditional Japanese dining experience.
Bistro Le Chemin offer more of a fine dining experience with French cuisine prepared by a chef trained in a French Michelan star restaurant. For Italian we recommend Cafe Bakusyu, a cozy little restaurant that does great pizza with both traditional options and a few pizzas with a Japanese twist.
For a cute, alpine café experience, try the Forest Clock Café only 5 minutes’ walk from Furano Prince hotel. The Café was once the setting of a popular Japanese sitcom and is a great photo opportunity on a clear day or night!