Furano Ski Resort: the best kept secret in Hokkaido, with superb access to surrounding areas

28 October, 2022
Furano is a spot in Hokkaido where time just seems to go by a little more quietly and peacefully. Having also been featured as a filming location for famous TV dramas, this area is especially well known as a tourist destination. And, being in Hokkaido, it’s also a great place for those looking to enjoy a wide variety of winter activities, including but not limited to skiing. Here we’ll introduce some of the points that make Furano Ski Resort such a great place to visit beside just the slopes - including its easy access to surrounding areas. While it may not be as well known as other ski spots in Hokkaido such as Niseko and Kiroro, Furano is a traditional ski resort that is frequently home to skiing competitions. But what is it that makes Furano Ski Resort unique? Read on to find out.

Enjoy not just the snow, but the natural beauty of the slopes

Ski slopes at Furano Ski Resort
Furano’s vast ski slopes cover a total area of 168 hectares. Even compared to other large-scale ski resorts such as Niseko, Tomamu, and Kiroro, Furano is at no loss when it comes to space. The slopes can be split into two large areas: the Furano Zone and the Kitanomine Zone, each with their own difficulty level and variety of courses on offer. While the two zones are connected via a ski lift, they are two separate, huge ski resorts on different mountains.

The Furano Zone is located at 1,209 meters above sea level while the Kitanomine Zone is at 940 meters, placing both rather high up in elevation. In total there are 23 different courses on offer. With courses of all shapes and sizes, from long novice-targeted courses to the super steep, difficult ones for advanced skiers, intermediate skiers especially will find a wide variety of different slopes to enjoy testing their skills on.

The Kitanomine Zone, for the most part, is made up of courses that share a good balance of space and incline. These make excellent slopes for beginners to practice on. They’re also quite popular with families who opt to ski together. The Furano Zone features mogul slopes and branching paths, steep inclines, and lots more variety for skiers looking for a challenge.

The sun setting over Furano Ski Resort
Thanks to its high altitude and low temperatures, Furano Ski Resort enjoys excellent snow quality. Located inland, the Furano area may not get quite as much snow as some other resorts in Hokkaido, but thanks to constant cold temperatures the snow loses a lot of its moisture, making for excellent powder snow. While the quality of the snow can fluctuate depending on the weather, it’s safe to say that for the most part it remains relatively the same throughout the season.

Many herald Furano’s snow as the best in Hokkaido, with a large number of skiers saying that despite the popularity of Niseko, Furano is actually the real number 1. The weather is relatively nice when considering the quality of the snow, making it perfect for skiers that like to keep a good field of view while they ski down wide open courses.

A plethora of courses optimized for skiers

A skier flying down a slope
Furano Ski Resort is also well known for its general lack of snowboarders. The reason for this is that there aren’t many spots on the mountain suited for snowboarding. Contrarily, the resort is home to tons of courses optimized for skiers, and has become known as something of holy land for them in Hokkaido.

Furano Ski Resort features a high speed ropeway that accommodates up to 101 passengers and goes straight up from the base to the peak. One could say that this may be the best feature of all at the resort. And when they say high speed, they mean it! The ropeway only takes 5 minutes from start to finish, helping your skiing become a much smoother, comfortable experience. Even the gorgeous view of the alabaster snow from the ropeway as you ascend the mountain is something to cherish in and of itself.

You can reach the top either by ropeway or gondola lift, making getting around the slopes a snap. There are plenty of different paths leading down from the peak, and as long as you’re at least an intermediate skier, you’re sure to find plenty of long, enjoyable routes down the mountain. There are also detours around some of the harder areas for novice skiers, making it perfect for those of all skill levels.

Also, compared to other ski resorts in Hokkaido, Furano is not nearly as crowded, even on weekends! With barely any wait time at the ski lifts and the ropeway, how much better could this resort get? Since most overseas visitors opt for the more famous Niseko when it comes to skiing in northern Japan, many say that most of the clientele here is still predominantly Japanese.

Relaxing, refreshing, luxurious hotels

A room at the Furano Prince Hotel
There are two accommodation facilities located close to the slopes: the New Furano Prince Hotel and the Furano Prince Hotel. Both are extremely popular with skiers and make getting to the mountain a breeze.

Ningle Terrace at Furano Ski Resort
Close to the New Furano Prince Hotel is Ningle Terrace, an area lined up with cafes and workshops offering visitors the chance to build their own accessories, as well as Furano Kan Kan Mura, an area that allows you to play in the snow amongst the illuminated Furano nightscape. There’s so many things to do and sights to see!

For those hoping to keep costs down, we recommend the Furano Prince Hotel. While it may be old, it’s nice and compact, and also offers a range of activites if that’s what you’re after.

Dining in the Furano area
There are also plenty of other hotels, lodges, and guesthouses in the area. An town with so many guesthouses is quite rare in Hokkaido - Niseko is perhaps the only other place with a similar amount. With so many accommodation options to choose from, sightseeing is made simple, not to mention dining or enjoying a bath at an onsen after a long day of skiing.

Surprisingly easy to get to from Tokyo

Access to Furano is closest from Asahikawa Airport, and visitors can be in the area after around a 1 hour bus ride from the airport. Hotel guests can enjoy free shuttle bus services to their lodging, making getting there even more convenient. This has got to be one of the most accessible ski resorts in all of Hokkaido.

Being able to make it there a good 2 hours quicker than it takes to get to Niseko is also a big plus. It takes about half a day to get to Furano from Tokyo, making it especially popular with skiers from Japan’s capital.

However, compared to New Chitose Airport, tickets going to Asahikawa are usually more expensive and the airport sees less flights coming in per day. If you’re coming in from New Chitose Airport, there are actually other ski resorts that are located closer than Furano Ski Resort, so for those looking to try a tour plan, make sure you check which airport you’ll arrive at first.

Fun for skiers of all skill levels

View from Furano Ski Resort
So, there you have it!

Furano Ski Resort is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to skiing in Hokkaido, and is on par with any other resort on the island. With its wide open slopes and courses optimal for skiers, we’re sure that if you’re a skier Furano Ski Resort is more than a safe bet.

We especially recommend this resort to those who’ve never seen snow before, as the quality Furano enjoys will certainly leave a lasting impression! For those who want to make a memorable experience of their first time in the best winter wonderland of all, why not pay a visit to Furano Ski Resort?

Pricing information and schedule may not be up to date and are subject to change without notice. Please check before your trip.

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