While summer is an amazing season in Hokkaido due to the warm weather, July is the best month if you want to visit Furano’s flower fields and festival. As we were preparing our self drive tour we knew that we need to adjust our itinerary to the time of the Bellybutton festival. Luckily both the festival and the lavender blooming are happening in July.
Bellybutton Festival 2018
After visiting the national parks of Daisetsuzan and Akan, we returned to Furano in order to see the festival. The Bellybutton festival began in 1969 when it was decided that the town -being the center of the region -needs to unify and energize Furano’s people, who are spread over a large area. It was the evening of the Festival and in contrast to the empty streets we saw just a week ago, now the streets in the center were crowded. The festival parade has not started yet and there were lot of stalls selling food and local beer. In the typical Japanese way everything was clean and well organized. Long benches, strong music, team of workers collecting the empty plates and cans and happy families sitting together and having fun.
As the parade started dancing on the main street people left the benches and gave all the attention to the dancers. Thousands of people were standing along the way while the parade was making it’s way. Group followed group, each with different costume, with round bellybutton like on theirs heads. On the bare bellies there were colorful painting of huge faces full of expression. The parade kept going- groups of young children, groups of women, groups of mothers with babies….all accompanied with strong drums and music. We found this festival authentic and fresh and simply loved it.