Test operation of Tomamu-Furano Bus begins
Test operation of a ‘Tomamu-Furano Bus’ service – a free, round-trip service that departs from JR Furano Station, stops at stations near tourist spots in the town of Minamifurano in central Hokkaido, before heading to Tomamu Station in the village of Shimukappu to the south of Minamifurano – began on July 31. The service was initiated by the Furano-Biei Area Tourism Promotion Council (Secretariat in Furano) with the aim of promoting long-stay-type tourism and ‘workation’ stays for those who wish to stay while working remotely, and will operate one round-trip service per day on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays until September 20. Our reporter rode the bus on the first day of service.
The large Furano Bus sightseeing coach departed from Furano Station at 7:15 a.m. with three reporters and officials on board. After stopping at two hotels in the city, the bus headed for Ochiai Station in Minamifurano, where white-water ‘rafting’ on a rubber boat can be enjoyed nearby. The bus then continued on to Hoshino Resort Tomamu in Shimukappu before arriving at Tomamu Station at 9:30 a.m.
During the time until the return journey departed from Tomamu Station at 11:30 a.m., participants were able to stroll around the farm and footpaths within the resort, while coming into contact with goats and sheep amid a liberating atmosphere beneath the blue sky.
On the return journey, passengers were joined by four Hoshino Resort hotel guests who were heading to the lavender fields in Nakafurano. One passenger, a woman in her 60s from Nagano Prefecture, said “Its tiring driving a rented car on roads you’re not used to, and everyone can enjoy the scenery from the bus.”
After a 30-min. stop at the Minamifurano Michi-no-Eki (road-side rest area), the bus arrived at Furano Station at 1:45 p.m. and then at its final destination at Shin Furano Prince Hotel at 2:15.
Advance reservations for the bus are necessary, and can be made via the following site. https://www.optbookmark.jp/plans/2887/preview.
Reservations are accepted up to 5 p.m. on the day before use. The bus has a capacity of 40 passengers, and if seats are available, reservations will also be accepted up to 6 a.m. on the day of use.
JR Furano St. and JR Tomamu St.
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