Like most ski resorts in Hokkaido, Furano benefits from the Siberian storms which give Japan its famous champagne powder. Thanks to its location in the centre of the island, the quality of the snow - and the dryness of the powder - is better than in nearby Niseko. Although Furano doesn't get as much snow as Niseko - an average of 9m per season versus 15m - the plus side of this is that bluebird skiing days are the norm here, as the weather is more stable than in the coastal resorts.
With a total 9 fast lifts, 27 pistes and 974m of vertical, it is a large ski resort by Japanese standards and the terrain is varied, especially when you take into account the dozens of other resorts, including Tomamu, which lie in easy reach.
There are regular flights from Tokyo to Sapporo airport, a 2 hour drive from Furano - or take a flight Asahikawa airport, just over 1 hour's drive away.
A regular host of events such as the Downhill World Cup, Furano is renowned for its long, perfectly groomed pistes. Beginners and advanced piste-lovers will be hard pressed to find a better resort than Furano to get their fill of the mountain, and the fast lift system means dozens of miles can be covered in a day. Those who are starting to test their ski legs in powder can do so safely on steep on-piste runs that are left ungroomed, and expert riders looking for endless powder will love the off-piste and fantastic back country.
Furano also works as a base for exploring the backcountry skiing in the Daisetsuzan National Park, which is home to Asashidake, Hokkaido's highest mountain. Few other ski areas offer the opportunity to ski on a live volcano - or sink into a burning hot Onsen at the end of the day to recover!
The town of the Furano, which lies below the resort centre, was a popular tourist destination long before the ski resort came along. The lavender fields of Furano are one of Japan’s most popular tourist sights, and the purple fields rival those in Provence. There are several hot springs, museums, art galleries and museums, and you can even take in a tour of Japanese pop culture as Furano is the famous filming location of many Japanese television shows. On top of this, Furano also has all the summer perks of a mountain resort town with activities such as climbing, hiking, mountain biking and rafting.
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