Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A memorable visit to Farm Tomita (Photo-essay)

Late in the afternoon of my mother's and my visit to Farm Tomita in flower famous Furano, I went in to the Hanabito House there to look at what was on offer in its gift shop and ended up also spending time in the Tomita Lavender Museum on the second floor.  I'm so glad I did so because the story I learnt there (a potted version of which can be found here) was one I found touching as well as interesting.

To summarize: The Tomita family started farming in the area where Farm Tomita is located back in 1903. In 1958, the family -- along with many others in the area -- began cultivating lavender to make perfume.  But after synthetic fragrances became cheaper than real lavender in the 1960s and 1970s, most other farms in the area stopped cultivating lavender -- with the Tomitas eventually being the only farm to do so, in large part because the patriarch loved lavender and couldn't bear to not see at least one patch of purple on his land.

In 1976, a fortuitous thing happened: a photo of the farm's lavender fields was included in the Japan Railways annual calendar, and people from all over the country started flocking to Farm Tomita to visit.  Thereafter, the Tomita family realized they could make their lavender fields a tourist venture, and thus could keep on cultivating lavender -- and in impressively large quantities once more... :)

This purple carpeted hillside field is
 Farm Tomita's original lavender field 
 These days, the family also cultivates
other flowers at Farm Tomita
The popular rolling Irodori Field on which has been 
planted seven different colors of flowers 
(though yes, the lavender predominates!)

A friend who I showed this photo to asked 
me incredulously, "Is this real?!" :b
 Truly, this scene does exist in real life!!

A view that includes the Traditional Lavender Garden 
in the back and the Sakiwai Field with its 
four varieties of lavender in the foreground

I never knew one could eat and drink lavender 
until I started researching the lavender fields of Furano ;)

All too soon, it was time to take our leave -- and this time 
around, we caught the train at the seasonal Lavender Farm 
Station located just a few minutes' walk from Farm Tomita


Goodbye HK, Hello YVR said...

An interesting story about the lavender fields and good for the family to keep it going! Now they are reaping back many fold!

YTSL said...

Hi The Fragrant Harbour --

Thanks for reading as well as looking at my pics. And yeah, good on the Tomita family -- and from what I can see, they certainly are in clover these days. :)