The Luxe Nomad’s Furano 2022 Ski Guide

Heading to the slopes for the winter? Keep reading for The Luxe Nomad’s Furano 2022 Ski Guide!

When Furano’s not charming tourists with its fields of lavender, winter transforms it into a wonderland of fresh powder snow and the most tempting slopes. In this ski town, winter comes by around December and lasts all the way until February (though the ski-son spills over well into April), gathering an average of 8m of the lightest, driest snow in Hokkaido. Furano is also known for having a great amount of blue sky days, gifting travelers with close-to-perfect skiing and boarding conditions—which you can enjoy with relatively thinner crowds (that’s why it’s a go-to if you’re ever in Niseko!). Here’s what you need to know:

Getting to Furano

Furano’s Slopes & Lifts

Where to Eat in Furano

Where to Shop in Furano

Where to Stay in Furano

Getting to Furano

Photo by Pexels (David Dibert)

Furano’s mountainous terrain is comprised of rolling hills that lead up to Mt. Tokachi, right in the heart of Hokkaido. Because of its central location on the map, the town is playfully called the “belly button” town, or sometimes even “navel town.” Funny nicknames aside, being in the middle of the island means there are lots of ways to get there.

By train. From Sapporo, take the Hakodate Main Line train to Takikawa (50 minutes) then transfer to a local Nemuro Main Line train to Furano (1 hour and 10 minutes).

By bus. From Sapporo, you can catch a Hokkaido Chuo bus to Furano (3 hours). Alternatively, from the Asahikawa Airport in Hokkaido, you can hop on the Furano Lavender Bus (1 hour and 20 minutes).

By car. Getting a rental is also a convenient option, as a drive from Sapporo to Furano only takes around 2 hours, and going around the town is easiest with your own vehicle.

Furano’s Slopes & Lifts

Photo by Nisade

The Furano Ski Area is made up of two zones: the Kitanomine Zone on the right, and the Furano Zone on the left, with a common trail connecting the two at the top of the mountain. Each zone has varied terrain that suits every level of skier and snowboarder, with a vertical drop of 950m—making it one of Hokkaido’s steepest mountains! Lifts operate from the end of November to the beginning of May, with a total of 11 lifts servicing 24 beginner to advanced courses.

Not sure which zone to conquer first? Here’s a brief rundown:

Kitanomine Zone

  • Best to Go by: Mid-December to late March
  • Distance from Furano City: 3 minutes by shuttle
  • Main Lift: Kitanomine Gondola. This 6-person gondola is 3km long, and takes you up all the way to the peak.
  • Other Lifts:
    • High-Speed Quad Chair – Takes skiers to a long cruiser for beginners and short intermediate runs; also used for night skiing ( a must-try!)
    • Double Chair – A two-seater lift that brings you to either the downhill racecourses, or across the hill 925m over to the Furano Mountain
  • Good to Know:
    • For Beginners – Kitanomine Zone has easy slopes and a wide course (great for families!)
    • For Intermediate Skiers – There’s a giant course here best for practicing skills and gaining confidence on the slopes
    • For Advanced Skiers – Furikozawa and Kumaotoshi routes are here, which are the steepest runs on the mountain
    • Premium Zone – This is an uncompacted snow powder course that’s open only when the snow conditions are safe
    • Note that there are no beginner courses at the peak of the Kitanomine Zone

Furano Zone

  • Best to Go by: Late November to early May
  • Distance from Furano City: 6 minutes by shuttle
  • Main Lift: The Ropeway. Japan’s fastest lift of its kind at 10m per second, this 2.3km cable car fits 101 persons at a time and gives them an awesome panoramic view of the horizon.
  • Other Lifts:
    • Single Chair Lift – 571m lift that brings you up to the peak to access the highest point in the Furano Ski Area
    • Double Chair – A two-seater lift that leads to 2 other beginner areas in Furano Zone: one at the base, and another accessible from the top of the Ropeway
    • High-Speed Quad Chair – A detachable chairlift allows skiers to go up the hill without having to ride the Ropeway
  • Good to Know:
    • For Advanced/Expert Skiers – Challenge Run, the resort’s longest black run, is found on the Furano Zone
    • For families – Family Snow Land and Snow Night Fantasy (Furano Kan Kan Mura) are located at the bottom of the base offering lots of other winter activities

Where to Eat in Furano

After a long day of shredding the slopes, a good meal is in order—and of course, Furano doesn’t disappoint. The ski town has an agricultural and tourism-based economy, which means local restaurants take their fresh, local produce seriously, much to visitors’ delight.

Photo by Nisade

Après ski, restaurants await at both the ski zones. At Furano Ropeway, Restaurant Downhill serves Western cuisine (though we hear the white curry is excellent) and Ramen Corner is your go-to for heartwarming ramen by Chinese chefs; try their Miso Vegetable Ramen or Soy Sauce Ramen.

Meanwhile, at Kitanomine Zone, visitors can take their pick from the Kitanomine Terminal, with Kita Yatai on the first floor and Umi Yama Kita on the second; both serve standard dishes like curry, spaghetti, alcohol, and snacks. At the base of the gondola, there’s also the Snow Dome Festival Site where you can grab a quick bite, or even hot wine, hot chocolate, or beer. If the queues are rather long at the terminal, you can also head across the lifts to Fenix Bar and Restaurant, where they serve delicious Western and Japanese set dishes.

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Around town, you won’t want to miss signature spots like Kumagera (one of Furano’s most popular, with a mouthwatering sanzoku nabe hotpot, sake, and even homemade beer), Yuiga Doxon for curry, Masaya for teppanyaki and okonomiyaki (prepared right in front of you, no less), and Furano Wine House for fondue, wine, cheese, and seasonal dishes. JSYK: Furano’s signature dish is omukare, a combination of omelet, rice, and curry. The Furano Omu-Curry Promotion Committee even created 6 rules that restaurants abide by when preparing omukare!

Where to Shop in Furano 


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1. Furano Marche – For local goods that range from produce to household items, this one-stop shop offers a little bit of everything. The plaza, made up of around 20 shops, is divided into four parts: Argent (lavender-related items), Furadish (food court, snacks, ice cream), Hogar (farmer’s market), and Sabor (café and patisserie).


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2. Ningle Terrace –What might look like a dreamy winter village is actually a row of specialty shops where you can find arts and crafts, accessories, miniature trinkets, traditional handicrafts, and more. Located in the middle of the forest, the winter cottagecore vibe is definitely worth a visit.

Photo from Ski Japan

3. New Furano Prince Hotel – Souvenirs, select skiing gear, and even Hokkaido delicacies can be found in this one-stop gift shop. Whether you need daily essentials or something to remember your trip by, you’ll find something here!

Where to Stay in Furano

Finding a place to stay is easy, as more and more establishments are opening up in Furano. Being an up-and-coming vacation spot, visitors can expect new additions that will satisfy all sorts of travelers, from adventure junkies, to foodies, to families. Here are some new properties that might be up your alley:



1. For adventure lovers. A ski-in ski-out resort is perfect for those who are raring to hit the slopes! Fenix Furano is the second largest ski resort in Hokkaido and it’s right across the Kitanomine Gondola, with easy access to restaurants, bars, and stores.

2. For families and larger groups. HT House in Kitanomine Zone is a spacious 4-bedroom traditional Japanese home that can sleep up to 8 people. While the home is nice and cozy, you’ll also have lots of options since cafés and restaurants are only 1-2 minutes away, and the nearest gondola station only a 5-minute walk.

3. For couples and small groups of friends. For more intimate parties, a 1 to 2-bedroom resort condo ticks all the boxes, from space to convenience. Arthouse Apartments is part of a modern and chic complex, complete with basic amenities. It’s also 600m from the nearest ski lift, and is close by to the best cafés and restaurants in the area.

4. For the city explorer. A brand new property that’s  chic and modern, Kaku Place is positioned at the heart of Furano’s city center. It’s only a few steps away from Route 800, the main road running through Kitanomine Village, with plenty of shopping and dining options—perfect for adventure off of the slopes!

Check out other Luxe Nomad properties in Furano here!

See you at the slopes? Let’s go!

Feature image by Unsplash (Ben Koorengevel)

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