Monday, July 8, 2019

Hokkaido Travel: Furano: Farm Tomita, Tomita Melon House

When I told my friends that we would be visiting Hokkaido in mid-June to see flowers, their first reaction was usually "Huh? Ain't the flowers blooming only in July and August?" Yes, I know. But our children have school holidays only in June and December, I don't have such option of visiting Hokkaido in July and August for the time being. Even with the knowledge that the flowers have not fully bloomed in June, we have the positive mindset that half bloom is better than none! So we embarked on our journey to Furano, the central area in Hokkaido that is well-known for its lavender fields.

Initially, I thought of staying at a home stay in Furano or Biei area, but the cost for a family of 2 adults and 2 children would be at least S$200++! So we decided to stay at our usual budget accommodation Toyoko Inn at Asahikawa, at around S$100 per night.

We purchased Furano Biei Free Ticket when we arrived at Sapporo. Furano Biei Free Ticket consists of a one-way ticket from Sapporo to the free area between Takikawa, Asahikawa and Furano, unlimited use of JR in the free area, and a one-way ticket from the free area back to Sapporo. The ticket is valid for 4 days. The ticket is 6500 yen for adult and 3250 yen for child, and it is available in late April to October.

From Asahikawa, we took Japan Rail (JR) to Nakafurano to visit Farm Tomita and Tomita Melon House. If you are visiting the area in July and August, you can alight at Lavender Farm Station instead. The train journey was about 1 hour, and the scenery along the way was lovely.

Upon arriving Nakafurano, my initial plan was to take a taxi to Farm Tomita. However, there was no taxi in sight! I asked a local who walked past, he directed us to cross the bridge on the right of Nakafurano Station, and shared that the walk would take around 15 minutes.

The bridge was a sheltered one, but the ventilation inside was quite bad, we felt like we were inside the sauna! After walking a while, we saw Choei Lavender Farm 中富良野町営ラベンダー園, but the lavender there was still at budding stage.

The manhole cover on the road is lovely!

It was a nice walk as the weather was fine and there were not many people. After 23 minutes walk, we finally reached Farm Tomita! I was really thankful to the local who advised on how to walk from Nakafurano Station to Farm Tomita, this saved us around 800 yen for a single trip!

And then we saw some tour coaches, and many many tourists! I guess the place would be even more crowded in July and August! The admission and parking at Farm Tomita is free! No wonder this place attracts so many visitors!

Even with the budding flower fields, we were happy enough to take many many photos.

It seems that taking photo of soft serve and the flower field is a compulsory thing-to-do at Farm Tomita! The lavender soft serve was actually melting as I took some time to take photos with it! The taste of lavender soft serve was quite alright to me, but my children did not really like it.

Then it was melon bun's turn to be photographed! The melon filling was delicious!

In fact, we stayed at the Hanabito Field next to the entrance for quite some time!

Finally we decided that we should move on. We went to Greenhouse, the lavender was abundant there!

After that, we moved on to Sakiwai Field to see the budding lavender.

Autumn Field and Spring Field did not disappoint us! They were spectacular!

We were hungry after all the walking, so we headed over to Tomita Melon House next to Farm Tomita to get some food.

We ordered half of melon at 1200 yen (~S$15), yes it was not cheap, but it was very sweet and juicy!

Other than the fruit, there were many other desserts made from melon.

The sky turned dark after we had the melon, so we walked back to Nakafurano Station, and took JR to Furano, which is just 10 minutes train ride away. Note that the train comes around every 2 hours! Alternatively, you can take Lavender Bus which comes about every 1 hour. If you are exploring Furano by public transport like us, remember to check the train or bus timetable (see Useful Information for Furano Travel at the end of this post).

We had our late lunch at Kumagera くまげら, which is listed on Michelin Guide Hokkaido 2017. I was aiming for Wagyu beef don, which costs 1980 yen (~S$25).

The beef was quite raw though it had char-grilled taste. Some of the slices were tender, but almost half of them had tendons that diminish the enjoyment of eating. How I wished I could have a few more slices of beef!

We also ordered stir-fried pork set (1100 yen) and sweet corn (400 yen), they saved the day! The sweet corn was the sweetest corn that I had ever tasted!

If I have a chance to visit Furano again, I would like to try out grilled pork on flame at Masaya まさ屋, or omelette rice with curry at Yuigadoxon 唯我独尊, which is the interesting building in this photo.

After the late lunch, we visited Furano Marche to take a look at the local produce. I bought a bottle of Furano milk, it was fresh and yummy!

Interesting, we hardly saw people walking along the streets in Furano town area! And there were not many vehicles on the road. We really enjoyed walking along the quiet streets!

We took JR from Furano back to Asahikawa. Yes, the itinerary for the day was very simple as we just wanted to relax!

Our Hokkaido Summer Itinerary
Day 1: New Chitose Airport, Sapporo Clock Tower, Odori Park, Hokkaido Government Office
Day 2: Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park, Susukino
Day 3: Hokkaido Shrine, Otaru
Day 4: Asahiyama Zoo
Day 5: Furano - Farm Tomita, Tomita Melon House
Day 6: Biei - Blue Pond, Shirahige Waterfall, Shikisai no Oka , Shinei-no-oka Observatory Park, Ken and Mary Tree, Seven Stars Tree, Parent and Child Trees, Hokusei-no-oka Observatory Park 
Day 7: similar to Day 2 haha!

Our Hokkaido Travelogue June 2019

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