Japan is the second country in the world with more ski resorts that count, mostly with traditional onsen, hot springs in which to relax after a sports day.
Winter is coming to Japan , and it is more than likely that you do not know, that the country becomes one of the favorite destinations for fans of skiing, snowboarding and snow lovers . Japan is the second country in the world with more ski resorts , just behind the United States, and has more than 600 stations to practice winter sports.
In addition, the intense snowfalls leave landscapes of great beauty, and it is also one of the best times of the year to enjoy traditional seasonal hot dishes.
From the island of Hokkaido, in the north, where the first flakes always fall, to the southern Kyushu, there are thousands of corners that you can discover in winter. Ski resorts, most with traditional onsen, which are sources of thermal waters , in which to relax after a day practicing your favorite sport, await you in the country of the rising sun.
In Japan the snowfall is abundant and the quality of snow exceptional . Most ski resorts open from December, something perfect to enjoy skiing at Christmas or New Year.
In some moments the precipitations are so intense that they get to reach the 6 or 7 meters of snow, so, if you can not travel there on these dates, calm, in Japan you will be able to enjoy the snow until the beginning of Month of May.
Highlights places like Niseko in Hokkaido ; or Ajigasawa, Appi Kogen, Shizukuishi, Bandai or Zao, in the Tohoku region .
In Niigata prefecture, the best ski resorts are those of Yuzawa and Myoko. Specifically, Yuzawa can be reached from Tokyo on the high-speed train in just over an hour. And in all, you will find ski resorts, hotels and apartments for all tastes and budgets.
Together with Hokkaido, in whose capital, Sapporo , the Olympic Games were held. In winter of 1972, some of the best areas of the world for skiing are in Nagano , home of the Olympic Games. of winter in 1998, with stations such as Hakuba, Shiga Kogen or Nozawa Onsen.
In addition, during the coldest months of the year, there are also celebratory reasons that you can not miss. Festivals or matsuri, which revolve around snow and ice .
At the beginning of February the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri is celebrated in Hokkaido , considered one of the biggest festival, in which by tradition spectacular snow sculptures are created that reproduce, from works of art to famous buildings to scale, with beautiful light effects that become imprscindibles nocturnal spectacles. The Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri , in February, is a similar festival, and hosts the largest snow sculpture in the world.
Another of the celebrations is the Kamakura Matsuri , in which small igloos are built along the Yunishigawa River, illuminated inside by a candle. A celebration recognized as Historical and Cultural Heritage of Night Views of Japan, and in which there are also activities such as barbecues, local cuisine, snowmen, or rafting, among others.
And another must-see is the Yokote Kamakura Yuki Matsuri or the Snow Festival of Kamakura, in Yokote . Here more than 100 igloos of all sizes are built. A festival that is more than 400 years old, and that was born as an offering to the gods. Inside the igloos there is an altar and children invite adults to enjoy the interior and taste sweet beer and rice cakes.
If Japan is a country of beautiful landscapes , in winter, these landscapes are even more so. You can see blocks of ice drifting on the shores of Shari-cho, in Shiretoko , a World Heritage Site. And in February the coast of the sea of Okhotsk turns into ice , allowing even to walk on the frozen waters. Also in February, the waters of Lake Towada, in Aomori prefecture, freeze, creating hagori, which are ice formations similar to Lotus leaves.
Do not miss the Aka Fuji phenomenon , when the rays of dawn and dusk color the snow on the top of Mount Fuji red; nor the Mount Daisen and the Hakkoda mountains when they are covered with snow and the white figures of their trees create impressive images.
It is cold yes. But it is very comforting to enjoy the best hot dishes of Japanese cuisine . The shabushabu, a beef stew, the sukiyaki stew, or the chanko, with chicken, typical of sumo wrestlers, are just some of them .. And if you’re more of fish, you’ll love the oden, made with a great amount of ingredients such as vegetables, seafood and meatballs, among others, cooked in konbu algae broth.