My first visit to Hokkaido was in the middle of summer, which happens to be the best time of the year to view the island’s flower farms. Since we were headed to the mountains in Daisetsuzan National Park in central Hokkaido, we stopped by some of the flowers farms in the towns of Furano 富良野 and Biei 美瑛 along the way. These two towns are known for their postcard-perfect picturesque rural landscapes with gentle rolling hills.
I’ll be honest with you: After visiting a handful of flower farms in central Hokkaido, most of them look the same to me.
Himawari-no-Sato / 北竜町役場
143-2, Itaya, Hokuryu / 板谷 143-2 北竜 – map code 179 870 706
Spanning just over 20 square kilometres, this is the largest sunflower garden in Japan and is located about 1.5 hours drive from Biei. Early August is the best time to visit. While the sunflowers were not nearly as tall as me, each full bloom was at least the size of my face. It was unexpectedly uplifting to look out over this field of sunny golden blooms as the sun was setting.
Shikisai Hill / Shikisai-no-Oka / 四季彩の丘
3 Aza Shinsei, Biei-cho, Kamikawa-gun / 上川郡美瑛町新星第三 – map code 349 701 244 071-0473
The farm is open all year round, as indicated by its name – where “shikisai” means “colour” and “shiki”, “four seasons”. Located near Biei on a rolling hill, the flowers are lined up in neat rows leading the eyes towards the Tokachidake mountains. What I liked best about my visit was pretending that I was a race car driver as we cruised about in a lilac buggy.
Farm Tomita / ファーム富田
空知郡中富良野町字中富良野基線北15号 / Kisen Kita 15-go, Nakafurano-cho, Sorachi-gun – map code 276 349 801
This is probably the most famous and popular flower farm in Hokkaido with visitors flocking to admire its lavender fields. The best time to do so is early to mid July. If you missed the classic lavender flowers in full bloom like we did, fret not – there will be some in the greenhouse that you can admire up close. Plus you can bring home all sorts of lavender paraphernalia at the gift shop. Though I would rather eat some lavender soft serve ice-cream.
Zerubu Hill ぜるぶの丘 / 亞斗夢の丘
Daisan, Biei-chou, Kamikawa-gun – map code 389 071 501
The diminutive flowers are set against a majestic backdrop featuring the Tokachidake mountain range. The name of the farm is derived from the last sounds of the Japanese words for “wind” (kaze), “sweet scent” (kaoru) and “play” (asobu), an invitation to visitors to “play on the hills in the wind surrounded by the sweet scent”. As it’s not as famous as Farm Tomita, there were notably less people and it was more peaceful strolling about.
Popura Farm / ポプラファーム
Higashi 1-Sen, North 18, Nakafurano-cho, Sorachi-gun / 空知郡中富良野町東1線北18号
No flowers here. Just delicious sweet round melons, soft serve topping optional. I’d recommend to enjoy the fruit as it is. The Yubari melon is one of the most expensive fruits in the world, with a record-high price of US$27,000 for a pair sold during an auction in 2016.
P.S. Some poor guy dressed as a slice of melon was standing by the road across from Popura Farm to attract passersby to visit another melon shop.