Myoko Kogen provides some of the best powdery snow and slopes on the main Honshu island of Japan. The Myoko Kogen area only focuses on snow sports, with powderheads drifting to the region every winter due to the volume of snow. Everyone from children to retired folk, true beginners to budding professionals, are encouraged to take to the slopes. The area is best known for skiing and snowboarding; however, other snow sports are also offered. Snowshoeing is a popular activity for those who want to explore the backcountry and take things a little more slowly.
A First time Snowshoeing Experience
Snowshoeing is a great way to get exercise and safely explore a new area of a mountain. Unlike board sports which are restricted to slopes, snowshoeing is more akin to hiking.
There are three different courses for snowshoeing, ranging in difficulty. Each course takes about one and a half to two hours to complete, as long as participants follow the signposts. The signposts are bright, numbered and easy to follow. Maps can also be picked up in the information center.
Learn History and Grab Gear at the Information Center
The Myoko Kogen Visitor’s Center has everything one needs to begin snowshoeing.
Myoko Kogen is a part of the Myoko Togakushi National Park, a thriving landscape known for its powdery snow, mountains, and volcanoes.
The information center offers details on courses, rental gear, and guides.
The topography and geology of the park is represented throughout the center through informative models and maps.
Learn about the nature of the area and the best ways to stay safe during your snowshoeing journey. The information center offers rental snowshoes for 1,000 yen per day.
Be aware that snowshoes and poles are the only available equipment to rent, so you will need to bring your own snow clothes, warmers, and food.
Choose from a Beginner or Advanced Course
There are three courses to choose from: the beginner Squirrel course, the intermediate Fox course, and the long and advanced Rabbit course.
The Squirrel Course is flat and winds around a forest, making it the best choice for first-timers and children.
The Fox Course crosses through a thicker forest with steeper inclines, making it difficult and a little intimidating for first timers.
The course is named after Fox Pond, a small pond that the trail loops around towards the end.
The Rabbit Course goes higher up Mt. Myoko and is an extended version of the Fox Course.
The route goes uphill and gives excellent views on clear days. The trails are all self-guided and easy to follow. Guides are also available to help for 300 yen from the information center.
Some Quick Tips
The courses are free to enter, but be sure to double check the weather conditions and rules with the staff at the information center before departing. The courses are well marked but bear in mind that the area can receive a lot of snow throughout the day. First-time snowshoers should always bring a map and plenty of warm clothes to stay safe and comfortable. Seeing the biodiversity of Myoko Kogen is an advantage that snowshoeing has over skiing or snowboarding. All of the courses traverse through untamed forests, with more animals tending to come out deeper in the mountain, away from the board sport courses.
Rental equipment and information is available from the Myoko Kogen Visitor’s Center next to Imori Pond, and is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.