As of 9:40AM we are on our way to Sapporo for the Yuki Matsuri or Snow Festival!! We have been talking about this trip for over a year now and cannot believe that the day is finally here! We will be meeting up with my friend Katie, her husband and her mom. We will be spending 4 days in Winter Wonderland, then we are headed down to Nagano to visit the Japanese Macaques, also known as the snow monkeys!!! (Trying to not finish my sentences with so many exclamation marks… but i’m too darn excited!)
Anyways, as I was getting ready for this trip I was approached for a sponsored post via email and would you believe that it is about Winter in Japan? Perfect timing or what!! 🙂
5 Must Do Winter Activities during Your Ski Vacation in Japan
Come December, most prefer to visit warm islands or cities and avoid the winter cold. However, winter tends to be underrated and offers a lot of fun activities for both the adventurous and laidback at heart. Japan lets visitors enjoy everything from skiing to a warm bowl of nabe to curb the cold.
If you’re wondering what other activities you can do during this time, here are a few suggestions of how you can make the most out of the winter.
A Countryside Stay
Take advantage of Japan’s quaint winters and visit the Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in the Gifu prefecture mountains. This small village is the perfect place for visitors to enjoy the unparalleled view of snow-covered farmhouses that light up late at night. Complete your visit with an overnight stay at one of the farmhouses. You don’t only experience a part of history, but also immerse yourself in Japan’s rural life.
Skiing isn’t the only winter activity at Japan. In Hokkaido, one can do everything from riding a dog sled to walking on the Okhotsk Sea’s drift ice. The city of Kurisho has frozen lakes, which are the best venue for ice fishing for smelt. Here you can experience making a hole in the ice and catch your very own fish before cooking it outdoors for lunch.
If the cold is getting too much for you, balance out the cold at the Takaragawa Onsen, a popular hot spring where individuals have been keeping warm for decades. A dip into one of their outdoor pools can help you keep warm while giving you an enchanting view of the surrounding mountains and snow-kissed trees. The hot springs also offer a wide range of baths, as well as spa treatments and massages for anyone in need of rest and relaxation.
Enjoy more of the winter’s serene views at the Temple of the Golden Pavilion or Deer Garden Temple (Rokuon-ji). This Zen Buddhist sanctuary dates back to 1937 and has witnessed several turbulent parts of history. Today, it stands as a witness to Japan’s colorful culture and is a must-visit for anyone who wants to understand the country’s history. The temple’s golden hue against the surrounding snow will also take your breath away
Just like humans, the snow monkeys of Japan need to keep warm too. Witness these cute creatures at the Jigokudani Snow Monkeys Park as they climb down the mountains near Yudanaka Osen to keep warm at the hot spring puddles. They’re used to the crowds, so don’t waste the opportunity to photograph them during their downtime. Going to the park itself is a treat as you walk down a scenic forest trail and run into some hot spring inns along the mountain.
Of course, you can always kick off these activities with a skiing trip in Hokkaido. There’s no better way to experience the snow-filled mountains as you ski through the powder while appreciating the breathtaking scenery. Whatever your preference, all kinds of activities await you in this winter wonderland.