Regarded as one of Japan's best ski resorts, Furano lacks the international fame that it's slopes and consistent conditions deserve. Over 9 metres of snow fall each season and being slap bang in the centre of Hokkaido it gets huge amounts of the driest, fluffiest snow in the region. The mountain has one of the biggest lift served verticals and some of the longest, steepest runs in the country. Basically, everything that excites us in a ski region as well as the spectacular views of the volcanic peaks of Mount Asahi and Tokachi to go with it. It even gets more blue bird days than other resorts on the island.
The town is a ten minute drive from the ski area, it's a year round city with plenty of life. Good rail and road connections to other areas of the island means tagging Furano onto a trip around Japan is easy as pie. Although the main town is 10 minutes from the slopes our accommodation is at the mountain base meaning you have the convenience of skiing back to your door and with regular shuttles into the city you have a bustling hub on your doorstep.
Skiing in resort
The ski area is divided over two interlinking peaks, you have the Furano Zone and the Kitanomine Zone which combine to form 28km of slopes. There's a pretty even mix of beginner and intermediate terrain that makes up the majority of the area with gondola type lifts taking skiers the full vertical available for runs up to 4km long.
The steeper more challenging terrain is in the Kitanomine Zone with the Furikozawa and Kumaotoshi routes whilst the longest black run is over in the Furano Zone. The off piste restrictions have been relaxed recently so you can take full advantage of the large amounts of snow, hire a guide to make the most of the 9m of annual snow fall. Hokkaido Powder Guides offer day tours and powder clinics and are a great starting point for some awesome powder adventures.
A third of the slopes are floodlit and the night skiing is popular here, you also get some fantastic views of Furano City once the sun goes down. Well worth braving the chilly temperatures, just put some extra thermals on.
There are over 100 bars and restaurants in the city and it tends to be a more mature family friendly vibe but with so many on offer including some Western-style establishments, there's still plenty of lively après to be found. If you're looking for a big night out then head to Asahikawa on the train, it's only 45 minutes away and with a choice of 1,500 bars and all sorts of entertainment options it'd be hard to go wrong.
But what we'd really recommend is going for some local food and drinks, try the izakayas for the Japanese version of a local pub. Try the Kaiseki Ryori for a multi course meal that's as much an art form as it is tasty.
Furano ski hosts
Ski guides in Furano make themselves available free of charge in order to show you the best of the ski area. Not only will thy guide you around the mountain but also give you invaluable local knowledge during your stay. You can book this at the local Furano Tourism Association office. Something we'd highly recommend.
What we like
- Having a proper town close by means there's much more of a local feel to the place than the more international resorts
- The ski village bases are right at the bottom of the slopes for the utmost convenience
- Not only light and consistent snowfall but steeper slopes to really enjoy it on
- Free Furano ski hosts - your own mountain guide
- The main town is a shuttle ride away, it means you can have a mountain retreat or bustling night out as you please
- Being in the centre of the island, Furano is surrounded by resorts that get snow from different directions making it an ideal base to take advantage of the best of the best conditions