CultureExperience Life in the “Snow Country” Ⅰ

att.JAPAN Issue 62, Winter/2012-2013

First Experience with the Snow!

If you are from a warm country, then your first experience with the snow would be wonderful in Japan. Snowy mountains in Japan are within easy access of the Tokyo metropolitan area, and because Japan has settled winter weather, you can enjoy skiing or snowboarding with no stress. Even if you have never skied or snowboarded, there are many activities that will let you enjoy a winter wonderland to the full! Experience the world of winter fun under the bright blue sky!

Snowshoe Trekking

Snowshoes enable anyone to walk on snow easily and enjoy hiking on snow. You can follow the footprints of animals left on the plains of silvery snow, or you can either enjoy tea or lunch breaks in the mountains. Many of the ski resorts in Japan and Nature Tour groups are conducting a half-day or one-day tour, so why not make inquiries? On night tours, you can enjoy the mystical snow scene under the starry night sky.
Standard Price 1.5 hours: 2,000-3,500 yen, 3-4 hours: 4,500-5,000 yen, (rental included) ACanyons (Nature tour conducting company) in Minakami town, Gunma Prefecture, offers English- speaking guides. http://canyons.jp/ BIkenotaira Onsen Kanko Kyokai (Ikenotaira onsen tourist agency) in Ikenotaira hot springs, Niigata Prefecture, offers night tours.
http://www.ikenotaira.jp/index.php CGrandeco Resort, Fukushma Prefecture, offers English-speaking guides. http://www.grandeco.com/english/grandeco.html

Snowmobile & Snow Rafting

Small tour snowmobiles are designed for two individuals, and they are available at many ski resorts. From a five-minute trial ride to an hours-long tour, many plans are offered to choose from. There are facilities that let you get a driving license. Beginners can dash down the snowmobile trail while enjoying the wonderful natural view of the forests. As for snow rafting, which is a rafting board pulled by a snowmobile, the feeling you get caused by centrifugal force when you make turns is very thrilling. Kids can also enjoy this exciting ride.
Standard Price Snowmobile: 1,000 yen- (several min trial ride), 7,000 yen- (30 min), Snow rafting: 1,500-2,000 yen (5-10 min) DRSS Power Sports Land Naeba in Yuzawa town Naeba, Niigata Prefecture, offers tour plans with driving lessons. http://tour.kappa-club.com/snowmobile/ ESnowmobile Land Sapporo in Sapporo city, Hokkaido, offers trails specialized for snowmobiles and services in English are available. http://www.snowmobilelandsapporo.com/ FHakuba Lion Adventure in Hakuba Happo-One Ski Resort, Nagano Prefecture, offers snow monkey & Shiga Kogen snowmobile tours. Plans with lunch (from 15,000 yen) need reservations.http://lion.greater.jp/snowmobile2/mobile-all.php

Airboarding

Airboarding is a new winter sport that was developed in Switzerland. You lie on an inflatable sled like a body board and steer it down the slope by holding the handle bars on both sides and shifting your body weight. Because you lie on your stomach, you have no fear of falling to the ground, and unlike skiing or snowboarding, you can learn to airboard just by attending a half day or a day training tour. Tours are held in these three facilities listed below. Reservations are needed.
Standard Price 7,000-8,000 yen (half day), 13,000 yen-15,000 yen (1 day) GTAC Tokachi Adventure Club in Sahoro Ski Resort, Hokkaido.
http://www.tac-go-go.com/
HKappa CLUB in Minakami town, Gunma Prefecture, offers lessons in English. http://www.kappa-club.com/
ITripper in Hirugano Kogen, Gifu Prefecture.
http://www.airboard-jp.com/

Harvesting Vegetables in Snow

You can experience making snowmen and harvesting vegetables buried under snow by staying in a farmhouse in Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture, where it snows heavily every year. There is no need to worry about not being able to speak Japanese. Once you sit around the fire with the members of the farming family, you will feel comfortable. You will need to bring your own pajamas, toilet articles and towels as farmhouses are not hotels. Reservations are needed one week in advance.
JNPO Kitakata-shi Green Tourism Support Center
http://www.kitakata-gt.jp/

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