Farm Tomita's lavender field is very famous throughout the world. The farm has become an iconic scenery of early summer in Hokkaido. However, the field was once in danger to be disappeared. This article reveals the history of the farm and hidden feelings of the owner.
Furano area used to be prosperous in lavender farming
The owner of Farm Tomita, the Tomita family, was originally a rice farmer. When Tadao Tomita was young, he saw the field of Biichi Ueda, who was the pioneer of lavender farming in Furano area, he promised to himself to grow lavender one day.
Five years after he met to the beautiful lavender field, he started the long wanted lavender farming in 1958. This farm is still left now and called “Traditional Lavender Field”.
▲“Traditional Lavender Field” is available to visit anytime freely. (Photo provided by Farm Tomita)
Lavenders at that time were not for ornamental but oil (ingredients of perfume). In Furano area, many farmers grew lavenders, and 1970 was the peak of the amount produced in Furano.
However, due to the technology development of synthetic perfume and the increase of cheap imported perfumes, the perfume company terminated the contract to purchase lavender oils in 1973. While other farmers switched to different crops, Tadao Tomita continued lavender farming by making a living with rice farms. Trying to preserve the beautiful purple field.
One picture and a word from a lady saved lavender field in Furano
Tomita continued lavender farming, told himself “one more year, one more year…”, however, in 1976, he finally decides to close the lavender farm because he could not make the farm profitable.
In this year when the lavender bloomed, somehow some photographers and travelers who never came to the farm started to come.
The trigger was this one picture.
▲The image used to the national train company’s calendar. (Photo provided by Farm Tomita)
The photograph taken the year before that Tomita did not even notice, was used to the national train company’s calendar, and it introduced the lavender field.
Tadao Tomita: “This is the last year, so take great pictures.”
Photographer: “This scenery is too beautiful to be gone!”
Tadao Tomita: “But there is nothing I can do.”
Photographer: “No, you should think about continuing…”
Repeated arguments like this continued everyday.
One day, a woman who visited the farm told Tadao Tomita; “There are many products uses lavender in southern France. How about making potpourri products like them?” And taught Tadao Tomita how to make potpourris.
▲The potpourri sold today. The product has not changed for 35 years since it first became on sale.
From 1977, he started making potpourris and sachet and sold at the entrance, wishing to make money just enough to manage the farm so that he did not have to end growing lavender field. It was suitable for a work during the farmers’ leisure season as well.
As the lavender field became introduced in magazines, the number of travelers increased gradually, as well as the number of people who purchase the gifts which made enough money to maintain the lavender field. He could make lavender field continue by lavender products.
If one picture and a word from a woman did not exist, we could never be able to enjoy the beautiful purple hills in Furano area today.
Farm Tomita continued to expand
Once the lavender farm became able to maintain, Tadao Tomita added product kinds gradually and built more flower fields and resting facilities.
At first, he started working on producing perfumes. Making perfume was one of his dreams since he was young when he got surprised that perfume can be produced from this beautiful purple flowers.
He started selling original perfume “Furano” from 1984. After that, he added new products such as original soap “Soap Lavender” gradually, and there are numerous lavender products made and sold today.
▲Many products using lavender aroma are displayed.
Lavenders become in full bloom in July. Tadao Tomita wanted people to be able to enjoy lavender in other seasons, too. Therefore, he started to challenge vinyl house farming and after experiments for three years, finally, he succeeded to make lavenders bloom in the middle of the winter in 1999.
Since then, people can enjoy the purple flowers in greenhouse anytime.
▲Lavenders inside the greenhouse. (photo taken in June 2014)
He also started to grow farms with different flowers other than lavender so that people can enjoy flowers from spring to fall.
There is a flower field by the entrance of Farm Tomita to welcome people with flowers all the time. In this field, different colorful flowers bloom time to time from spring to fall such as viola and marigold.
▲“Kajin no Hatake (Flower People’s Field),” beside the entrance of Farm Tomita.
Various types of flower field have created. Such as “Haru No Irodori No Hatake (Spring Colorful Field)” where spring flowers bloom, or “Aki No Irodori No Hatake (Fall Colorful Field)” where fall flowers bloom, and “Mori No Irodori No Hatake (Forest Colorful Field)” to enjoy the color contrast of flowers and forests.
▲Flowers in “Mori No Irodori No Hatake” are used to dried flowers as well.
He opened gift shops and cafes gradually. “Dried Flower House” opened in 2003 is decorated with flower ingredients all over the world, and it is like enjoying art pieces.
▲The entrance of “Dried Flower House” where displays cute dried flowers.
In 2008, he renovated the field which used to grow rice and made one of the largest lavender fields in Japan. Originally the field was intended to production but eventually the number of travelers who stop by the field increased, and today, it has become a place where travelers can stop and enjoy the flowers.
▲The large lavender field “Lavender East”. (Photo provided by Farm Tomita)
Like that, Farm Tomita expanded as a farm with lavender flowers and aroma year by year.
Travelers from all over the world visit Farm Tomita
Farm Tomita has become a significant sightseeing spot in Hokkaido. They have about one million visitors from all over the world every year.
In July, when it is the lavender season, sightseeing buses and cars line up, and temporary “Lavender Field Station” is built for JR Furano Line which means trains stop nearby during the busy season.
▲It is about seven to eight minutes walk to Lavender Field Station from the farm. The train came and stopped when I was looking down the station from the hill of Farm Tomita.
Lavender Soft Serve has become the standard sweets in Hokkaido selling 200,000 soft serves every year.
▲Lavender Soft Serve with slight aroma and light taste.
Farm Tomita attracts people from all over the world by the beautiful scenery. The origin was Tadao Tomita’s strong will for lavenders and one significant picture and a word from a woman.
No fees needed for entering. Also, no limited hours to enter and leave the farm. People can come and enjoy anytime, and this may be representing Tomita’s will to make people happy from his lavender field. Let’s all thank for Tomita’s long work and enjoy the beautiful scenery.