Known by the somewhat infantile moniker of 'the belly button town' for its geographic location smack bang (2 onomatopoeia points) in the middle of Hokkaido, Furano is less busy than its more famous North Island sibling of Niseko. As such, its reaps numerous benefits for its relative obscurity. Chief amongst them is the lesser crowds, especially amongst the beer swilling Australian lout demographic that Niseko has is such plentiful supply. As cringeworthy as a non Japanese national preaching about 'genuine culture' and traditional Japanese virtues may seem, there is a palpably more authentic air to this place than its more touristed neighbours.
Largely known for its long-standing relationship with the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, and more recently for having hosted the Snowboarding World Cup. The resort is a short car trip, or a decent walk from the larger town of Furano and its additional infrastructure and benefits. The resort is best suited to families, with an emphasis on beginner and intermediate terrain. It is perhaps the most notorious of all Hokkaido's resorts for its strictly policed ‘no-ski’ areas, curtailing the experience of some would-be off-piste adventurers.
Photo: Furano Tourism Board