By Valerie Kor
In the middle of Furano’s downtown is a spacious cluster of shops called Furano Marche, the ultimate food paradise. Furano Marche is very much catered for foreigners, serving as a one-stop souvenir shop selling items from Farm Tomita and Cheese Factory but locals also frequent Furano Marche for all its yummy food. The spacious surroundings make it an ideal place for children to play together and people to meet and connect, which is indeed the aim of Furano Marche – to create a community vibe for the city of Furano. It has 4 main areas, namely: ARGENT, FURADISH, HOGAR and SABOR:
In ARGENT, lavender-related items from Farm Tomita and the cheeses and cheesecake from Furano’s cheese factory are sold. ARGENT is always packed not just with foreigners but locals, who will buy Furano's yummy sweets and cheeses. Next to ARGENT is FURADISH, the food court area that sells some finger food snacks and delicious ice cream. Cheese Factory’s famous milk ice cream is sold at FURADISH.
In between ARGENT and FURADISH is an information counter where maps and other information are available. Behind the counter, a staff is also ready to offer assistance. Every day, a chart will be updated on the most-inquired places in Furano so visitors will know where to check out next!
In the next building, where the HOGAR Farmers' market section is housed, fresh fruit and vegetables along with other produce are sold. Hokkaido is known for its quality produce and dairy products, so even Japanese who live in other regions love to buy fresh vegetables and fruits from Furano Marche. Among those, melons and onions are two favourites. Definitely try Hokkaido melons if you visit in summer, they are well known to be sweet and huge! Since I visited in late autumn, instead of melons, there were many pumpkins instead.
The last section, the SABOR, houses a café and a patisserie. It is the ideal place to relax and connect over a cup of coffee! Needless to say, the patisserie also uses quality sugar and dairy products produced in Hokkaido and is simply fresh and delicious!
When visiting Furano Marche, do try the lavender milk ice cream from the shop Bus Stop. Compared to the lavender ice cream sold at Farm Tomita the taste of lavender is not as overpoweringly strong and has a milkier taste to it. This rendition is refreshing even in winter. Bus stop also makes mixes toppings into ice cream on a cold board much like Cold Stone Creamery, and is one of the most queued-for shops in Furano Marche!
Furano Marche is located just 15-20 minutes by foot from my hotel Natulux Furano, which is just next to the Furano JR station.
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From a tiny red dot on the map, Singapore. The size of my country is only one of the many reasons I grab any opportunity I can to travel and live in places other than home. I love photography, writing, yoga, and going to beautiful or quirky cafes. My life goal is to learn as many languages as possible!