Day 4 Furano, Hokkaido

We stayed one night in Natalux and one night in New Furano Prince, because Natalux was full on the second night. (The room was available by the time we arrive as some people double book). But we didn’t want to change hotels.

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We booked stayed two nights in Furano, one night in Natalux and one in New Furano Prince, as at the point of booking, Natalux was only available for one night.


As we did not rent a car, Natalux was a good option. Convenient and next to the JR Station. But note that the JR Station has no lifts, and we had to carry the big bags up and down the stairs. If we had taken a coach from Sapporo, this inconvenience will be reduced. Otherwise, Natalux is next to the city centre where you can rent a car, and take the  Lavender Express 3 train (Track 5), ride a bicycle, visit Tomita Farm.

The rooms at Natalux, for the price you pay, is bare with concrete walls. Certainly comes with basic shower facilities and toiletries. Helpful staff who speak English. The Furano omu curry rice served at lunch is value for money. We had the Japanese breakfast which saves time, unless you want to walk 10 mins to Shinya. Otherwise there are no facilities unlike New Furano Prince which boasts an onsen, and shopping as well as gardens.

Furano is a good place to drive. Renting a car is so easy. Toyota car rental is just around the corner of train station and starts from 6000 yen. So do bring your international driving licence just in case you decide to drive. Otherwise it’s quite time consuming to wait for the public transportation. The place is small but sights are at least 10 min drive apart which makes walking quite difficult to see the farms.

Definitely include Biei. And if you are driving check out the Pension homes and Highland hotel. Natalux may not be necessary.

If you’re European or New Zealander, Furano in summer reminds me of Southern France. I didn’t see any Caucasian tourists in Furano. Maybe because its a Japanese version of European landscape. But for the Asian tourist, Furano is worth visiting.

Unlike some Asian towns where you see a pile of rubbish or a ugly tall building in the middle of the landscape, Furano farm fields stretch beyond the eye and photographs don’t do it justice. Somehow tourists including non – Japanese are very disciplined and do not pluck the flowers so the place is well maintained.

I had my doubts while planning for the trip so these comments are written for someone with similar doubts.

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We had dinner at the Kumagera and had Sukiyaki and Wagyu beef capaccio. For the price we paid and the quality of Japanese food, its good but certainly not anywhere close to One star Michelin as some blogs claim. Better than most restaurants in Furano (lack of choices) but not as good as food in Sapporo and Tokyo. The chef/ owner spoke some English and was very friendly.

A more value for money option would be the tempura and pork cutlet set which I saw most Japanese tourists order. The highlight was meeting a elderly Japanese couple who were expats in Singapore in the 1980s. They’ve retired and now driving around Japan for holiday. They suggested that we try the white asparagus which was in-season. We later realised that Japanese mainly eat Sukiyaki in winter. White asparagus is in season in summer.

Day 5, New Prince Furano

 

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