By Valerie Kor
Speaking of Furano, beautiful summer gardens come to mind. The one place all tour groups go to when visiting Furano would definitely be the famous lavender fields in Farm Tomita, one of the largest in the area, an iconic scenery of early summer in Hokkaido. Furano is also known for her agricultural products, one of which is the Furano Melon. Each melon is carefully grown. Thanks to Furano's clean air, rich soil, and fresh water, her melons are sweet and juicy. There are many Furano melon farms around Furano, and in many places you can just buy them directly from the farmers.
While Tomita Lavender Farm is almost on every tourist itinerary, many miss out a hidden gem just next door, owned by the same Tomita family. For melon lovers, Tomita Melon House is a place not to be missed to get your melon fix. Hokkaido is known for its Yubari King melons, the most expensive melons in the world. However, although the melons sold here in Tomita Melon House are Furano melons, they taste equally sweet and refreshing.
Tomita Melon House can be spotted from afar, with a huge green balloon in the shape and color of the Furano melon floating overhead. Before entering from the main entrance, a row of eight vending machines with melon motifs accelerates the awaiting excitement. Upon entering, at one corner, rows and rows of melons in boxes are displayed for sale. They are beautifully packed in pairs or in fours. Each melon is graded, and the cost varies according to its grade.
Sliced melons are available at 300 yen each. Like Tomita Melon House on Facebook, and you can even get a 100 yen discount on the sliced melons. They have instructions in English on how to go doing so. The cafe is at the back, and here freshly baked melon bread, melon tarts, melon cakes, melon puffs, melon ice cream, melon shakes are being sold. The list goes on and on. One would definitely be spoiled for choice. The atmosphere at the cafe is very relaxed and spacious. Tables and benches are spread out all around and with indoor and outdoor seating.
A wide variety of Furano's agricultural products can be ordered online as well. Do remember to pay Tomita Melon House a visit when visiting the famous lavender farm next door!
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I still clearly remember the day I first landed in Japan, and since then it has been my goal to set foot in all 47 prefectures. I try to look for less touristy areas, preferring the countryside to the city. I'm always amazed by the many Haagen Dazs and ice cream flavors available only in Japan.