How to travel between Furano and Tokyo
JAL and Air Do operate multiple flights per day between Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Asahikawa Airport near Furano. The regular one way fare by JAL is around 45,000 yen, however, discount tickets are typically available for between 17,000 and 23,000 yen. The fares by Air Do are typically around 20 percent lower than those by JAL. Buses connect Asahikawa Airport with Biei (15 minutes, 370 yen) and Furano (60 minutes, 770 yen).
The journey from Tokyo to Furano by trains involves transfers at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, Sapporo and Takikawa, takes about 10 hours, costs around 29,000 yen one way and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current yen exchange rate, click here.
Four municipalities, Furano City, Nakafurano Town, Kamifurano Town and Biei Town, make up the area commonly referred to as Furano and Biei.
Because attractions are spread over the entire region and public transportation is rather poor, a rental car is the recommended means for getting around. There are a few rental car outlets around Furano Station, and even more of them at Asahikawa Airport and in central Asahikawa.
Alternatively, cycling is an attractive way of getting around. Rental bicycles are available for typically 200 yen per hour for a regular bicycle and 600 yen per hour for an electrically powered bicycle. Do not underestimate distances. Furano and Biei, for example, are over 30 kilometers apart from each other.
The JR Furano Line connects Furano with Biei and Asahikawa. Trains run roughly once per hour, and the one way trip between Furano and Biei takes about 40 minutes, costs 640 yen and is covered by the Japan Rail Pass and Hokkaido Rail Pass. During summer, most trains stop at the temporarily constructed Lavender-Batake Station, a short walk from Farm Tomita.
Also during the summer the Furano-Biei Norokko, a special train for tourists, operates along the Furano Line. In 2018, there are three round trips per day on weekends and national holidays from June 9 to September 24 and daily from June 23 to August 19. The train carries nostalgic cars with wide windows and unreserved and reserved seats. Seat reservations cost a 520 yen supplement, but are free for JR pass holders.
The regular bus network around Furano is rather poor, and many sights and flower farms are not served by public transportation, at all. One bus line of general interest is the Lavender-go bus, which connects Asahikawa Station with Asahikawa Airport, Biei and Furano once every 1-2 hours.
Sightseeing buses are numerous around Furano, but a lot of them run only in summer and do not target foreign tourists. Relatively easy to use by foreigners are the following three tourist buses that run during the summer months. They make scheduled stops at popular sightseeing spots, but do not provide tour guides:
- Biei View Bus (June 2 to October 8, 2018 and some additional days in May)
Starting and ending at Biei Station, these buses run along two main course around Biei 2-3 times per day: one visits the Patchwork Road, while the other visits the Panorama Road and the Blue Pond. The tours take 80-190 minutes and cost 2000 yen. Reservations can be made at major JR stations in Hokkaido until two days in advance, via the internet (until four business days in advance) or at the tourist information office in front of Biei Station until shortly before departure, as long as vacant seats are available.
- Round Trip Bus Tours (June 30 to August 19, 2018 and some additional days in June and August)
Starting and ending in Furano (and one in Asahikawa), these buses run along three main courses around Furano once per day, with two also visiting Biei (with the option to disjoin the tour in Biei). The tours last 4-7 hours and cost 3000 to 5000 yen. Reservations are possible at major JR stations in Hokkaido (until two days in advance) or at the tourist information office in front of Furano Station (until just before departure), as long as vacant seats are available.
- Furano Kururu Bus (weekdays only from July 10 to August 10, 2018)
These sightseeing buses connect Furano Station with some of the sights around town once per day along two routes; however, there are no buses on weekdays and public holidays. The cost is 2000 or 3000 yen depending on the route. Reservations are not possible.