Furano in Summer: Where Melons Rock
Furano is synonymous with its lavender fields and this is definitely the key reason which draws visitors to the area. One other famous product of Furano is the Furano melon. When we visited Farm Tomita in summer, we took the chance to drop by the Tomita Melon House (TMH).
TMH was fairly easy to locate with its iconic huge Furano melon balloon floating in the bright summer sky; we saw the balloon the moment we disembarked at the Lavender Farm Station.
The route from the station to Farm Tomita and TMH took us past the melon farmhouses which straddled both sides of the road.
As you may have guessed, both Farm Tomita and TMH were owned by the same Tomita family and were across the road from each other. We hopped over to TMH after visiting Farm Tomita.
Unlike Farm Tomita, Tomita Melon House was focused on retail and sold pretty much everything made from/with the Furano melon. Constructed on a wooden deck, the House comprised of two areas, the Melon Market and the shops.
The Melon Market sold whole melons grown at the farm. Here, melons were usually packed into boxes of 2, ready to be bought and hand-carried home. Due to the varying quality, the prices for each box ranged from 5,000 yen to 20,000 yen. Frankly, we couldn’t tell the difference. Visitors could also place order here for the melons to be shipped within Japan or outside Japan to countries like Taiwan.
Sampling the Furano Melon
Next to the Melon Market were two shops selling sliced melons and melon drinks. Two types of melons (red and green) were on sale here; we also had a choice of buying them in wedges or halves. We opted for a half of a Furano red melon.
The melon gave off a strong fruity aroma and its flesh was soft and juicy. Right up to the part near the skin! Noticed the skin was pretty thin too. Its sweetness was comparable to eating spoonfuls of honey. While I can’t say whether this melon is sweeter than the rival Yubari King melon, it is definitely cheaper.
We also tried out the melon smoothie – A cup of fresh red melons blended with ice. The natural sweetness of the melons constituted a refreshing drink perfect to chase away the summer heat.
Melons, Melons Everywhere
Behind this area was a relatively new melon sweets shop. Items such as melon souffle, melon omelette, melon cream puff etc were on sale here. Wifey wanted to try the yummy-looking cream puffs but she thought they were too big to finish.
We ended up getting a melon bun each, to round up our melon tea break. Three versions of melon pan were baked daily: melon jam, melon cream and melon paste. The dough was kneaded with the melon juices to create an aromatic taste.
Wifey tried the melon bun with melon cream – the cream had a strong melon taste but she found it overwhelming halfway through the bun. Perhaps that was why the bun was only half-filled.
I tried the melon bun with melon jam – the sweetness of the jam drowned out any semblance of melon in it, hence it tasted really generic.
Both were equally uninspiring; we agreed that TMH should have stuck to ‘normal’ melon pans.
In case you were wondering, melon soft serve could be found at the shops too (again.. like most tourist attractions in Japan). We skipped this because wifey already had her quota of the day from Farm Tomita.
A summer’s day at Furano
Both Farm Tomita and Tomita Melon Farm should not be missed if you are in the area. A trip from Asahikawa or Sapporo to Furano is a great way to spend the day and to check off 2 must-dos in Hokkaido – to see the lavender fields and to eat melons.
Equally memorable is the train ride on the Furano Biei Norokko. Do check out the surrounding scenic farmland while on the train to and fro Furano.
Address: 3-32, Miyamachi, Nakafuranochuo, Sorachigun, Hokkaido
Access: By car or railway. (More details on the website)
Website: Tomita Melon House Official Homepage (Available in English)