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2019 Snow Resort Guide in Japan: Asia’s Winter Wonderland
- The Japan ski season typically begins from December and lasts to April. If you're aiming to see those beautiful white covered landscapes, or just looking for a thrilling slide down the mountain, this is the best time to travel Japan. Japow abbreviated from Japanese Powder, means powder skiing in Japan. Having low water content, the snow becomes dry and very powdery. Since the country is covered with an average of 10-20 meters of snow per year, there is an abundance of ski areas for beginners all the way up to experts; and but of course, for those Japow lovers out there. Most of these sites are only 2 to 3 hours away from Tokyo. With wide varieties of Ski Resorts ranging from elegant 5-Star Resort Hotels to affordable backpacker inns, you’ll definitely find a place to call home for your vacation whatever your budget is. ― Hokkaido: Japan’s Winter Sports Capital Located in the Northernmost part of Japan is the country’s largest prefecture and coldest region, Hokkaido, and it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fresh seafood, spectacular scenery and snow resorts. Tourists from all over the world flock the area during winter time, especially snow sports enthusiasts, because of its numerous snowy mountains perfect for skiing and snowboarding.Hokkaido is famous for the Sapporo Snow Festival, usually held around the 31st of January to 11th of February, during this time over hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures are built around the area for people to see.▼ Related Articles in the Hokkaido AreaWhat to Eat / What to Do / Other articles for the Hokkaido area Sapporo Snow Festival Niseko Mountains Derived from the Ainu language, Niseko means a cliff jutting over a riverbank deep in the mountains. Here you’ll find everything you need for a perfect winter vacation from budget to high end amenities, farm to table restaurants, drink all you can bars and clubs, traditional Onsen, to 47 kilometers of powdery snow-filled terrain – plus, the place is tourist-friendly too with its English-speaking townsfolk, you’ll find more English signboards than Japanese ones. Heavily snowed Niseko is a powder bum’s dream come true: it has powdery snow that has just the right amount of water content - making it perfect for skiing and other winter sports.▼ Related Articles in NisekoWhere to Eat / Nightlife / Adventure Activities Niseko Mountains Tomamu Ski Area Right in the center of Hokkaido is the family friendly upscale ski resort,Tomamu by Hoshino Resorts. Its 145-hectare ski area boasts of a 699-meter vertical drop, 28 trails and 4200 meters of skiing distance perfect for long runs, is covered with light powdery snow that you can get a kick out of. For thrill seekers, they are introducing half-pipe skiing and there is an area called “Freedom of Winter Mountain” where you can enjoy back country skiing.There is 70% chance of fine weather rate in the area so the kids and kids at heart can enjoy various activities like the snow playground and snow boat rides or visit the Ice Village. Tomamu by Hoshino Resorts Tomamu by Hoshino Resorts Furano Ski Area If you are looking for a more authentic Japanese Snow Resort experience, Furano is your best bet. Exquisitely blessed with Central Hokkaido’s fluffy, powdery snow, it has 25 kilometer-long of excellently groomed ski slopes with best inclination angles it’s perfect for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. It even has awesome backcountry areas such as Furano Dake and Tokachidake. Furano is also family and tourist-friendly, they have English-speaking child care centers and ski schools, a Family Snowland which offers ice hole fishing, snow shoeing and even dog sledding!After a day of thrilling activities, experience warm Japanese hospitality and culture at the Tokachidake Onsen which has four hot spring “Ryokans” 1280 meters above sea level. Furano Ski Area Rusutsu Ski Area Rusutsu is Hokkaido’s biggest ski area measuring 1,700 hectares has 37 courses, all covered by the finest dry powder snow with very little moisture, so it’s no surprise that the Rusutsu Resort has won World Ski Award – also known as the “Academy Award” of the Ski Industry – for two consecutive years. The resort is so spacious that it has all sorts of accommodations like hotels, lodges and even log houses that lets you appreciate the rich nature of the area. You won’t run out of fun stuff to do here since Rusutsu offers a lot of family-friendly activities such as tubing, dog sledding and snowmobiling. Rusutsu Ski Area Kiroro Resort Just a little off of Sapporo is the upscale Kiroro Resort. It is the part of Hokkaido that receives an overwhelming amount of snowfall, it has 21 courses mostly suited for beginners and intermediates, the longest being 4 kilometers long, has stunning views of the North Japan scenery, it also has off-piste tracks where you can run on untouched powdery snow, or you can join Kiroro Mountain Club giving you the opportunity to enjoy official backcountry skiing or snowboarding.Go out with the family to a snow cat sightseeing tour, snow tubing or dog sledding. One big plus is that the place feels less crowded than the other resorts in Hokkaido, even during the peak season. Kiroro Resort Sahoro Resort Only a two-hour bus trip to Shinchitose Airport is the Sahoro Resort. Being the biggest Ski Area in Eastern Hokkaido, it has 21 courses for all levels of skiers or snowboarders though the ski slopes are reserved for middle to high level skiers and boarders.The Club Med Sahoro offers an upscale, international level of convenience, attracting more foreign visitors.Fine weather rate is high here and the temperature is always low, so the Japow’s powdery snow quality is well preserved. Lifts are also a little pricier than in smaller ski areas, thus there’s less skiers and snowboarders allowing for a smoother and more pleasant cruising. In Sahoro, you can take your partner to a romantic evening with the majestic Tokachi Plane and experience a place full of a sense of openness by joining the snow-covered car tour. Sahoro Resort Sapporo Teine Just a thirty-minute drive away from the popular Sapporo City, you can ski like a local in the easily accessible Sapporo Teine. A beginner’s favorite, it has wide, gentle slopes with the breathtaking views of Sapporo so it is great for just chill cruising or night skiing. Go to downtown Sapporo after skiing for a fun night of sightseeing and have a bottle or two of the famous Sapporo beer. Sapporo Teine ― Nagano: A Dip into Japanese History Nagano has hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics and it’s easy to see why.The modern Japanese city has several world class ski resorts and lots of traditional Onsens that gives you the picturesque silver winter view of the mountains.This is also home to the famous Jigokudani Monkey Park where you can watch endangered Japanese Macaques or “snow monkeys” go about their daily lives, chasing and playing with each other in the Jigokudani hot springs.▼ Related Articles in the Nagano Area What to Eat / Getting Around / Other articles for the Nagano area Jigokudani Monkey Park Nozawa Onsen Ski Area Powderhounds love the area for the vast terrains of 100% natural snow, where about 40% is reserved for beginners. The longest slope is about 10 kilometers and is a gateway to see some surreal mountain views. However, Nozawa is not only known as one of the best Ski locations, but it is actually more popular as an Onsen village known for its traditional Japanese onsens and ryokans, like the Nozawa Onsen Sparena and “Gensen-kakegashi” or natural hot springs. Have the best winter party of your life by coming to the Dosojin Fire Festival that is held here every year on the 15th of January.▼ Related Articles in Nozawa Onsen Get to Know / A Day of Skiing / Where to Eat / Nightlife / Public Onsen Experience Nozawa Onsen Ski Area ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Sado Island Overview
- Sado Island is located off the coast of Niigata. The island is big yet sparsely populated and offers plenty of interesting things to do from hiking through spectacular scenery to taking part in interesting cultural activities such as taiko drumming and Noh performances. Sado Island has a rich and turbulent history. Archeological evidence suggests that people lived on the island as early as the Jomon period (14000-800 BC). For a long time, the island was a place where people were sent as a punishment for various crimes. Being sent to Sado was regarded as a harsh punishment indeed, second only to the death sentence. Due to its remoteness, those banished to the island were not expected to ever get a chance to return to the mainland. The practice of exiling people to Sado lasted for about 1,000 years with the last known case taking place in 1700.In 1601, gold was found on Sado and a big gold mine was opened near Aikawa in the western part of the island. At its peak, around 400 kg of gold was produced here annually. The gold mine contributed to a surge of the population on the island. At most, around 125,000 people lived on Sado Island. Since then, the area has seen a decline in its population and today it is less than half of what it was at its peak. Currently, the figure sits at 60,000 people, of which about one third is over 65 years old.Due to the somewhat dark history of Sado, it is still considered a “bad place” to some. According to a representative of the tourism association it’s not uncommon for them to receive phone calls inquiring about whether it is safe to visit the island today.But from our own experience, Sado isn’t only a very safe place, it is also one that we definitely think is worth visiting. The island is breathtakingly beautiful at places, particularly its barren coastline deserves a special mention. It is also a place with a rich history and has a plethora of interesting cultural experiences that any visitor easily can enjoy. The island is known for its many “noh” theater stages, with several performances taking place during the summer months.Overseas, Sado is perhaps most well-known thanks to Kodo, a taiko drumming group that was formed in 1981. Though based in Sado, the group regularly tour the rest of the country as well as sometimes making worldwide tours. Kodo has gathered a strong following of international fans over the years and organize an annual festival called “Earth Celebration” which takes place over three days in August. This is one of the biggest annual events on the island, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world.Sado Island is connected by ferries to the Japanese mainland, with lines servicing Niigata City as well as Teradomari and Naoetsu, two smaller cities also located in Niigata Prefecture. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
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