Located on Japan’s north island, Hokkaido, Furano is beautifully placed in a farming valley considered to be a rural idyll by the Japanese. The resort is a little further off the beaten track than Niseko and Rusutsu and ideal for those looking to get beneath the skin of Hokkaido skiing.
Although not very well known outside of Japan, it is one of the country’s most famous resorts and regularly hosts world class events like the FIS Downhill World Cup. The resort offers an annual average of 8m of lovely dry powder and can remain untracked for days after a big snowfall.
The ski area is just a few minutes shuttle ride from Furano City which offers a genuine Japanese feel and is full of friendly locals keen to show off the best of their culture.
The ski area is divided up into two zones, both covered on the same lift pass – the Kitanomine Zone and the Furano Zone – and you can ski between the two. Both areas have plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain and Furano is one of the few ski resorts in Japan that has a ski school that caters for English speaking children. For intermediates there are some lovely long cruisers with stunning views of the Furano valley. The groomed runs are kept in excellent condition and, with 40% of the mountain rated as intermediate, it is a real dream. Advanced skiers or snowboarders need to head to the top half of the mountain where there is a range of groomed and un-groomed steeps to keep you entertained.
Off-piste skiing is not really encouraged here although this has relaxed slightly in recent years. There are however guided back-country ski guides so there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy that incredible powder.
Night skiing is available in both areas and you can pretty much ski right down the entrance of the bars when you are done – not a bad way to spend an evening.
Off the Slopes
Once you are done skiing there is a huge amount to do in Furano. Family Snowland is a winter activity park offering snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sledding and a host of other snow based fun. If all that action is getting a bit much for you then many of the hotels have relaxing onsen or hot springs and there are also a number of trips to nearby sites. Furano City is well worth a visit and there are often traditional cultural events taking place. There is a big range of places to eat and drink in both the ski area and Furano City, including a number of snow dome ice bars which are perfect for an après ski cocktail.
There is a range of accommodation in both the Furano and Kitanomine ski areas and in Furano City. However the main property in resort is the New Prince Hotel which is a resort style property with great facilities on site and is ski in ski out.
There are a number of smaller local resorts that can be reached for day trips organised locally – worth considering if you are looking for some serious back-country skiing. Alternatively why not combine Furano with our other Hokkaido ski resorts, Niseko and Rusutsu, on the Hokkaido Safari. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience the best that this island has to offer and we can build itineraries to suit your particular requirements.