Karuizawa Snow Resort

March 2nd, 2009 by
Category: Experience, Information, Outdoor Activities
At the foot of Karuizawa snowy mountain

At the foot of Karuizawa snowy mountain

A gang at the foot of Karuizawa snowy mt.

Last month, I took my son out to the Karuizawa Snow Resort. Well we usually call the place “Karuizawa no Ski-jo”. Robert-san posted recently on this place. Have we met there? Anyway, the weather was nice and there was not much wind there. But I could not have any chance to go down the slope because my son did not want to go up to the hill by lift! Instead, he just walked around the bottom of snowy mountains with my goggles. There are a lot of ski slopes in Nagano such as Hakuba, Shiga Kogen and Nozawa etc. But for people living in Tokyo, I would recommend Karuizawa for a bit of joy, as it provides an easy access from Tokyo (it only takes a little more than one hour from Tokyo Station.)


Hitting the Slopes with the Kids

March 1st, 2009 by
Category: Outdoor Activities
On the slopes in Karuizawa

A family ski trip and what we learned along the way

There are a lot of places to ski in Nagano, with locations appealing to everyone from the beginning Kansai visitor to the most advanced Nagano native. But have you ever gone skiing with small kids? It’s a challenge, to say the least, yet it is well worth the time and effort if you know how to prepare and what to do. I learned a lot in this regard in the handful of times I have taken my kids to the slopes around Nagano. Our most recent trip was to Karuizawa.

Of course, we had been to Karuizawa on numerous occasions for shopping, I have seen the little ski area just south of Karuizawa Station (English website here). Run by the Prince Hotel, the Prince Snow Resort is a small mountain, certainly by Nagano’s standards, and I had long thought it not worth the lift ticket price, which is about the same as all the other big spots in Nagano. But despite its small size and large number of visitors from Kanto, it turned out to be a delightful place.

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Snow Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaenkoen)

February 25th, 2009 by
Category: Onsens (Hot Springs), Outdoor Activities

Snow Monkey © Zeno


Open air bath for Monkeys © Zeno

Also clever Japanese monkeys know, what is the best for body and relax !

Only one place in the World where monkeys (Jap. Macaque) are taking hot bath !!!
It is located in Yamanouchi town, just between famouse hot spring area Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen and the oldest, largest Ski area in Japan Shiga Kogen. It is harsh environment where snow covers the ground during the winter season. People named the area Jigokudani (Hell’s Valley) because the steep cliffs and hot water, bursting from the earth’s surface, resembled hell. However, this place is paradise for Snow monkey, around 200 of monkeys inhabit the area at present.

Skiing and Snowboarding in Hakuba, Nagano

February 24th, 2009 by
Category: Outdoor Activities

At the top of Alps Daira courses

We went to Goryu Ski resort in Hakuba on the weekend. I have been snowboarding for more than 15 years and went to many ski resorts such as Niseko (Hokkaido), Utah (U.S.A.), and Whistler (Canada), and I believe that the Hakuba area has some of best ski resorts in the world. The weather is almost always clear when we go there, and the snow conditions are also very good.


Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort, Nagano

What we usually do is get there at around 9am, go skiing or snowboarding until lunch time, have lunch (There are many good places to have lunch on the hill or in town), then do more skiing and snowboarding until 3pm-ish. After that there is one thing left – Onsen (Hot spring) time! We often can buy lift tickets, meal, and coupon packages and can get Onsen discount tickets near the resort. We lastly go to an Onsen and relax after hard day skiing and snowboarding.

This is a blog for foreigners in Japan from all over the world, so here is some extra advice for our visitors.

1. There are many ski resorts in Hakuba, so try to go to a variety of them and enjoy their unique features!

2. Check for package lift ticket prices. You might be able to save a lot!

3. There are some bars and restaurants in Hakuba near the station. Check them out, especially if you are staying the night.

4. Matsumoto, where we live, is only one hour from Hakuba by limited express train. So take one or two days off extra for skiing, snowboarding, and visiting Matsumoto! You can see Matsumoto castle, the museum, and of course eat Soba (buckwheat noodles).

Here are some useful sites for you winter enthusiasts out there:

Hakuba’s official site: http://www.vill.hakuba.nagano.jp/english/index.html

Matsumoto city’s official site: http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/