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Playing with snow in Niigata in the winter

1night,2days Departure from Tokyo

Niigata in the winter is a paradise of snow. There are plenty of ski resorts such as those directly accessible by Shinkansen, those located next to hotels, and those that even beginners can enjoy skiing and snowboarding at. Your trip should be an even more memorable one by adding distinctively Japanese snow activities and snow festivals to your skiing and snowboarding time. Have a try at unique snowy experiences during your trip such as playing in igloos and a fantastic festival where 108 straw torches can be seen glowing up in a snowy mountain.

  • 1night,2days

Muikamachi

[Traveling]

Tokyo -- <70 mins. by JR Joetsu Shinkansen> -- Echigo Yuzawa -- <20 mins. by Hokuetsu Express Hokuhoku Line> -- Muikamachi -- <30 mins. by bus> -- [Muikamachi Hakkaisan Ski Resort][Hakkaisan Ropeway] -- <30 mins. by bus> -- Muikamachi -- [Muikamachi-onsen Hot Spring]

*The times required with public transportation are approximate.

Hakkaisan Ski Resort

Here, there are 15 different courses ranging from the difficult champion's course to easy courses for beginners. The snowscape is magnificent on days with nice weather and the best part of it is the beautiful soft rime. In addition to skis, skiwear is also available for rental. There is also a ski school that offers lessons in English.

Hakkaisan Ropeway

Please give the Hakkaisan Ropeway a try when visiting the Hakkaisan Ski Resort. This ropeway travels at 10 meters per second and reaches an altitude of 771 meters in just 5 minutes. The observation deck at the peak commands a view of the Joshinetsu Mountains and a beautiful 360-degree panoramic view that includes the distant Sadogashima Island in the Sea of Japan on clear days.

Muikamachi-onsen Hot Spring

A beautiful snowscape viewed from an open-air bath is a view that can only be enjoyed in a snowy region. There are also unique hot spring facilities with baths such as Chinese medicinal baths and the Utatane-no-Yu, which is so high in sodium content that your body starts to float once you enter.

Igloo Festival

Enjoy treats such as rice cake and amazake in a small igloo and dance around a bonfire. Here, you can enjoy the simple pleasures of snowy regions in fantastic nighttime snowscapes. Held from mid-January to early March.

108 Lanterns

One winter attraction is this fantastic fire festival that is reflected on the snow. It is held on the first Sunday of March every year in prayers for good health, good harvests, and so on. The "Festival of 108 Lanterns" at Oritate-onsen Hot Spring is one if these festivals and has been held for nearly four hundred years. It is definitely worth participating in if your schedule permits.

Minami Uonuma Koshihikari Rice

Minami Uonuma City in Muikamachi produces the best Koshihikari, which is the representative brand of rice in Japan. This area also has many sake breweries. After soothing yourself of the fatigue of having a good time in the snow all day at a hot spring inn with an outdoor bath, please be sure to enjoy sweet sake with a delicious meal.

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1st Day

Muikamachi, Shiozawa

[Traveling]

Muikamachi -- <A complimentary shuttle bus during the season> -- [Muikamachi Snow Resort] -- <complimentary shuttle bus> -- Muikamachi -- <9 mins. by JR Joetsu Line> -- Shiozawa -- [Shiozawa Tsumugi Pavilion] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Bokushi Street] -- <7 mins. by walk> -- Shiozawa -- <17 mins. by JR Joetsu Line> -- Echigo Yuzawa -- <88 mins. by Joetsu Shinkansen> -- Tokyo

Muikamachi Snow Resort

A snow resort that commands a view of the city of Minami Uonuma City. Anyone from children to veteran skiers can have fun sliding down the slopes here. There is also an observatory restaurant that lets you enjoy a nice view while eating.

Snow Shoe Trekking

Enjoy "snow shoe trekking" and stroll through snowfields and winter forests in snow shoes, which are designed to let you easily walk on snow. If you are wearing snow shoes in the winter, you can smoothly walk over otherwise difficult spots where grass and weeds overgrew in the summer.

Shiozawa Tsumugi Pavilion

The Muikamachi/Shiozawa area has been a production area of fabrics for ages. At the Shiozawa Tsumugi Pavilion, visitors can see the traditional craftsmanship and culture of Shiozawa fabrics for themselves. Here, you can purchase crafts made with Shiozawa fabrics and make your very own accessories.

The plain-woven hemp fabrics and Echigo hemp fabrics made in this region are intangible important cultural properties with over 1,200 years of history. The scenery where the snow is covered with cloth on clear days in March is a favorite local sight in Niigata.

Bokushi Street

A street lined with snowproof roofs and covered alleys distinctive of snowy regions. It is reminiscent of its past days as a vibrant post town on the highway that connects the area along the Sea of Japan and Edo (now Tokyo).

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2nd Day

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