Every year around late-July to early August, lavender fields bloom fiercely in the northern island of Japan and tourists come from all over the country to witness this amazing sight. This article includes pointers, photo spot suggestions, and a list of must do things at the Furano Lavendar Farm.
Ready or not, here we go!
Today I’m going to be taking you through one of the most beautiful sceneries in Japan in the summer time: the Lavender fields of Furano, Hokkaido.
The first piece of advice I would want to give to anyone visiting the Furano area from Sapporo or anywhere you think you’ll need at least an hour to get to Furano, PLAN OUT YOUR TRAIN SCHEDULE BEFORE YOU LEAVE!!!
The trains in Hokkaido are much less frequent than in big metropolitan areas such as Tokyo or Osaka, and since Furano is almost smack dab in the middle of Hokkaido (in other words, in the middle of nowhere), the trains that go to that area will not be available every 10-15 minutes.
I departed from Sapporo to head to Furano and on my way I had to sit at a train station for more than an hour because I had not checked the train schedules ahead of time…
*At this point i had already been waiting for half an hour at this station…
Also before you go, make sure you have the EXACT route that will take you to your destination station. I somehow got myself on the wrong train even after the hour long wait and had to get off half way to wait for another train…although while I was waiting there was a small information center nearby that I went into to kill some time.
The receptionist there was really friendly and gave me a map of the Furano Lavendar Farm, pointed out some recommended spots within the farm that I should see, and gave me a discount coupon for a lift ride up one of the lavender fields on a hill you could see on the way there! Whoever had said getting there is half the fun certainly knew what they were talking about~
After hours of trying to find my way around the country side of Hokkaido with no free wifi ANYWHERE, I FINALLY reached my destination! I originally only had half a day at the farm since we had to catch an early afternoon train to our next destination that day, but my morning blunders left me with only 2 precious hours to enjoy myself (again, DO NOT REPEAT MY MISTAKE OR YOU SHALL REGRET IT…).
Despite it being summer and me wearing one of the thickest, heaviest skirt I owned, I kicked up my pace, adjusted my sun hat, and headed towards the beautiful fields of purple.
The whole farm is spread out over several fields and hills with many different types of flowers mixed in with the lavender fields. With so little time left to me, I had to move fast.
The first stop was of course the lavender fields! I had heard about the lavender fields in Hokkaido for a long time previous to this trip and I’d been dying to see an actual field of lavender for the first time in my life.
The scent hit me before the sight did. The air in the park was seeped with the scent of lavender, and it isn’t exactly like what you would get from a lavender air freshener. It was strong, undiluted scent that, the longer you stayed, became more and more pleasant.
I was SO tempted to abandon all appropriate social behaviors and dive into these seas of purple and lie there happily until I was taken out by security, but as this was Japan, and I couldn’t afford being taken to the police station on such a tight schedule, I bite my lip and fought the urge to let my inner wildness lose, and unfortunately, my level head on that round.
Just a few steps away was another field of tall yellow blossoms that stood proud under the sun. This was the first time I’d seen a sunflower field too and although it wasn’t very big, it had me squealing inside like a school girl.
You rarely get to see a mix of purple and yellow together in nature even though they are just complimentary colours, but this was one of those rare occasions that I managed to find a good angle to capture this combination.
Down at the bottom of the hill there is also another flower garden where many different species are planted in rows together to create this beautiful spectacle.
After browsing through these flower fields and realizing that I was running out of time, I stepped over to the souvenir shop where they were selling adorable lavender scented gifts in the forms of stuffed animals, make up products, and packs of dried lavender picked from the fields.
By that time I was left with just half an hour at my disposal when I realized that I hadn’t yet taken the lift ride that I had earlier received a coupon for. There was a 10 minute walk from where I was to the lift and I battled with myself for a minute (and a good minute wasted there) about whether if I should take my chances and make a run for it, or if I should play it safe and just keep strolling around until it was time to leave.
This time, I let my desire overrule my logical and bolted towards the lift in my wedges. Once I got there, I was beyond ecstatic that I did.
Although I had passed this hill on my train ride over, standing at the base of this coloured hill was a whole different perspective. I thought I had never seen a more beautiful site of a flower garden, that is, until I took the lift to the top of the hill.
The area that the lavender field was in had some mountains nearby and atop this hill you could see them in the back drop with a carpet of colours in front of it thanks to the layout of the hill and the farmlands beyond it. It was absolutely the most beautiful scene I’d ever had the pleasure to lay eyes on and I just HAD to be a part of it. So, with full awareness that I was stepping into uncharted waters and that all the other Japanese tourists around were eyeing and shaking their heads at me, I asked a lady to help me take a picture, and turn and waded into the purple bushes. This is the result of my endeavor.
Personally, I still think it was worth it.
After thanking the women for helping me take my dream shot, I stood and looked out at this magnificent view for as long as I could before unwillingly bringing myself back down towards the lift. By that time I had about 20 minutes before I had to make it back to the station to catch the train that my two companions were going to meet me on. I dashed back towards the first fields I visited, making one final detour at the souvenir shop to order some lavender flavoured ice cream. As those who know me personally knows, my policy in life is “no matter the situation, there’s always time to get yourself some purple ice cream”~
And thus ends the Hokkaido summer lavender trip~
Written by Annie