There’s nothing quite like backpacking through flower farms and eating lavender ice cream in the countryside of Japan. During this time of year (late June – August), Hokkaido’s flowers are in full bloom and many people flock to Furano and Biei to enjoy the view. There are a number of farms you can visit by taking the Lilac Express from Sapporo Station, and each of them have unique attractions and food!
I first started at Farm Tomita which is just walking distance from Lavender Farm Station (what a cute name)! This is one of the most famous farms due to its large variety of flora, melon farm, and delicious lavender-flavored food. The fields here are very large and you can easily spend over an hour here. I highly recommend trying the tiny slices of lavender cheesecake and hiking to the top of the hill for a unforgettable view. Here is a map of other lavender farms that you can visit in the area.
Afterwards I decided to take the express train from Lavender Farm Station to Biei Station and take a sightseeing bus to see the Blue Pond. This miraculous pond was formed by aluminum and sulfur mixing in with the water during a landslide. Groundwater washing in from the nearby Shirahige Falls and Shirogane Hot Spring also played a role in helping it obtain its color. What makes it amazing is that trees are still growing from the bottom of it. The color of the pond slightly changes over the course of the year and it has become an extremely popular tourist attraction. It was a cloudy summer day when I arrived, so I was able to capture a wonderful blue hill:
Unbeknownst to me, the sightseeing bus next stopped at a flower farm called Shikisai-no-oka, where you can rent vehicles to ride through the fields and also see alpacas! I was absolutely exhausted from backpacking, so I spent the majority of my time with the alpacas. They were fluffy and adorable–definitely a sight for sore eyes!
Overall, Furano and Biei make for a wonderful day trip in Hokkaido! They are fairly secluded areas in a valley of mountains so this trip was the perfect escape from the city. These areas are quite crowded during the summer seasons by tourists who come to see the flowers, so be sure to come early and “be careful about saliva”.