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Enjoy Snow in Japan!

Magazine

ReleaseNovember 19, 2019

Japan has all kinds of snow activities to offer with great scenery and fun events all over Japan from the north to south during winter. Here are some of them.

NISEKO HANAZONO Resort (Hokkaido)

A snow resort area that takes pride in its powder snow. Of course you can ski and snowboard, but they also have various programs in which children and adults can enjoy themselves together, such as snow tubing, snowmobile tours and snowshoe tours.

NISEKO HANAZONO ResortNISEKO HANAZONO Resort
NISEKO HANAZONO ResortNISEKO HANAZONO Resort
https://hanazononiseko.com/en/winter

NORTHERN HORSE PARK (Hokkaido)

You can enjoy interacting with horses in activities like horseback riding and horse sledding. Also, they have great snow activities such as mini-snowmobiles, cross country skiing and snow rafting. Handmade soba buckwheat noodles and authentic Western food are available at restaurants.

NORTHERN HORSE PARK©NORTHERN HORSE PARK

NORTHERN HORSE PARK©NORTHERN HORSE PARK

NORTHERN HORSE PARK©NORTHERN HORSE PARK
https://www.northern-horsepark.jp/language/eng/

Shizukuishi Ski Resort (Iwate Pref.)

The ski slope is right in front of Shizukuishi Prince Hotel. There are various ski slopes and activities for beginners to advanced skiers. Children can fully enjoy the charm of snow in the snow play area.

Shizukuishi Ski Resort
Shizukuishi Ski Resort
When you get tired, relax in the snow-viewing open-air bath. A starry sky tour by ropeway is also held at night.
Shizukuishi Ski Resort https://www.princehotels.com/en/ski/shizukuishi/index.html

Oirase Keiryu Icefall (Aomori Pref.)

An icefall is a waterfall that is frozen by severe cold. The icefall that shines in ice blue when the light penetrates is a superb view of Oirase Keiryu Stream that can only be seen in winter.

Oirase Keiryu Icefall
Hoshino Resort Oirase Keiryu Hotel has an open-air bath with a rising icefall, and hotel guests can join the Oirase Keiryu tour for free. Illumination at night is also overwhelming.

Oirase Keiryu Icefall
Oirase Keiryu Icefall
You can also experience snowshoe hiking and try your hand at making Oirase Lamps.

Oirase Keiryu Icefall https://www.oirase-keiryuu.jp/en/

Goshikinuma Lakes and Marshes (Fukushima Pref.)

The forest is dotted with lakes and marshes, and they show mysterious colors, such as emerald green, cobalt blue, turquoise blue, etc., depending on the location, which makes it hard to believe they are created by nature. (“Goshiki” literally means “five colors.”) The lakes and marshes reflected in the snowy scenery are especially superb.

Goshikinuma Lakes
A guided snowshoe tour is the only way to go to Goshikinuma in winter.
snowshoe tour Goshikinuma Lakes

Biwako Valley, Biwako Terrace (Shiga Pref.)

“Biwako Terrace” is a stepped observation terrace located on a mountain that has an altitude of 1,100 meters. You can enjoy a great panoramic view of Lake Biwa. In winter, you can enjoy a fantastic snow scene while relaxing at a terrace cafe.

びわ湖バレイびわ湖テラス
Biwako Valley, Biwako Terrace
“Biwako Valley” is also a popular ski resort in Kansai.

Biwako Valley, Biwako Terrace *These photos are concept image

http://www.biwako-valley.com/en/

Ryuoo Ski Park (Nagano Pref.)

From the powder zone to the flat and wide zone, there are various slopes where both beginners and advanced people can enjoy skiing. Non-skiers can play in the snow at the adventure park.


Ryuoo Ski Park
At the SORA terrace, which is 1,770 meters above sea level, you can see a sea of clouds if conditions are right.

Ryuoo Ski Park

Rime Ice in Unzen (Nagasaki Pref.)

Muhyo, rime ice or powder of frost, are ice crystals that can be seen on branches and trees and are formed from sprayed clouds and fog on a day when the temperature is below zero. From December to early March, you can see this fantastic view for an average of 12 to 14 days a month. Let’s go on the Unzen ropeway and see the fabulous muhyo.

Rime Ice in Unzen
Rime Ice in Unzen©Unzen Ropeway

http://unzen-ropeway.com/engrish.html

Sightseeing Flight (Kagoshima Pref.)

How about chartering a small plane for an elegant aerial walk? In winter, the mountains of Kirishima are covered with snow and make for a mysterious view.

Sightseeing Flight
https://att-japan.net/archives/8381(Recommended spots of Kirishima and other areas in southern Kyushu included)

Snow Events

Sapporo Snow Festival (Hokkaido Sapporo City)

Odori and Susukino Sites: Feb. 4 to 11
Tsu Dome Site: Jan. 31to Feb. 11

One of the biggest and most popular winter events in Japan, and many people visit from all over the world. At Odori Park in the heart of Sapporo, which is the main site, both small and large snow sculptures are located along the 1.5-km-long park. The beautiful light up service starts from sunset time and it is a must-see. At the Tsu Dome site you can enjoy the huge snow slides and various events where you can interact with snow.

Sapporo Snow Festival
Sapporo Snow Festival

Sounkyo, Kamikawa Ice Fall Festival (Kamikawa Town) Jan. 23 to Mar. 15

Sounkyo is located in the central part of Hokkaido. The light-up of about 30 large and small ice statues, including a 13 m high ice observatory, is very romantic.

Sounkyo, Kamikawa Ice Fall Festival
Sounkyo, Kamikawa Ice Fall Festival
“Northern Ice Bar” where you can drink Japanese sake (open only on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) and “Ice Shrine” made of ice are unique and fun.
Sounkyo, Kamikawa Ice Fall Festival
http://www.sounkyo.net/hyoubaku/en/

Otofuke Tokachigawa Swan Festival SAIRINKA® (Hokkaido Tokachigaoka Park): Late Jan. to late Feb.

A fantastic show where mysterious light objects, combining sound and light, enthrall the viewers. You can also enjoy attractions that utilize snow.

Otofuke Tokachigawa Swan Festival SAIRINKA® Hokkaido©OTOFUKE TOKACHIGAWA ONSEN TOURISM ASSOCIATION

Otofuke Tokachigawa Swan Festival SAIRINKA® Hokkaido©OTOFUKE TOKACHIGAWA ONSEN TOURISM ASSOCIATION

Events held by Lake Akan in Hokkaido

Akanko On-ice Festival ICE/Love/Akan Winter Fireworks: Feb. 1 to Mar. 2
There will be fireworks above the ice of Lake Akan every night.

Akanko Ice Land Akan
Akanko Ice Land Akan: Jan. 1 to Mar. 31 (schedule may change)
You can try snowmobiles, banana boats and wakasagi (pond smelt) fishing on ice in the day time.
 wakasagi (pond smelt) fishing

Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival (Hirosaki Park in Aomori Pref.): Early Feb.

There are about 200 large and small lanterns and snow statues in the park and the snow-covered castle tower and old pine trees are lit up. You can enjoy a fantastic atmosphere around Hasuike pond where 300 mini kamakura (snow huts) are set up.

Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival
Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival

Zao Juhyo Festival 2020 (Yamagata City in Yamagata Pref.): Late Dec. to late Feb.

The “Juhyo,” frost-covered trees that are also called a snow monsters, are beautiful with a differing aspects from the shining white silver of the daytime to the colorful illumination of the night.
Zao Juhyo Festival “HANABI in Winter” fireworks launched on the ski slope is a must-see.
Zao Juhyo Festival

Kamakura Festival (Yunishigawa Onsen in Tochigi Pref.): Feb. 1 to Mar. 1

During the daytime, you can enjoy a barbecue inside a kamakura (reservations required) at the Sawaguchi venue, or play on a long snow slide at “Yunishigawa Mizunosato Snow Park.”

Kamakura Festival
In the evening you can enjoy the fantastically lit-up snow scenery at each venue.
Kamakura Festival

Lake Yamanaka Mount Fuji Snow Festival (Yamanakako Village in Yamanashi Pref.): Feb. 1 to 16

The large snow slide and the barbecue in the snow are popular events that both adults and children can enjoy. On February 15, the Ice Candle Festival will be held and you can enjoy romantic candles and fireworks displays.
In addition to the attractions for adults and children, such as the snow-covered hovercraft and snow-covered slide, Ice Candle Festival will also take place in a snowy setting in which you can enjoy romantic scenery with a lot of lights and fireworks.

Lake Yamanaka Mount Fuji Snow Festival
The weather is relatively stable from the beginning to the middle of February, so it is said that there are many days that you can see from the lakeside the beautiful “Diamond Fuji” when the sun sets over the top of Mount Fuji.

Lake Yamanaka Mount Fuji Snow Festival
 

*The information herein is as of November 2019.