Published on : Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Dining in an igloo, meeting snow “monsters” and walking through a “Samurai Village”; Japan offers beautiful natural sceneries and unique experiences during winter. Tobu Railway Co. Ltd, the biggest private railroad company in Kanto, Japan, offers routes to various winter wonderlands in Kanto and Tohoku.
Along the routes to these winter wonderlands, travellers will be wowed by the great wonders of nature as well as numerous historical buildings. There will also be recommendations for the special food and accommodation along the routes.
In the Tochigi prefecture of Kanto, be sure to visit Yunishigawa Onsen, Yumoto Onsen and Chuzenji Onsen. Stay in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and soak in the hot springs to enjoy the Omotenashi experience, or the Japanese spirit of hospitality. Further up north in Tohoku, visit the traditional village of Ouchi-juku in Fukushima and the Zao Onsen Ski Resort in Yamagata.
Every location celebrates its own unique festival during winter. All journeys start from Asukura or Tokyo station. Here are some of the highlights:-
Yunishigawa Onsen – Kamakura Festival
Located in the mountains of Tochigi, this small hot spring town comes alive at night, with rows of small kamakura lined up along the river with lit candles placed inside. Elaborate snowmen and snow lanterns litter the streets, and altogether this beautiful sight has made this town a “Night View Heritage of Japan”. One of the key activities at this town is to enjoy a barbeque in a kamakura.
Okunikko Yumoto Onsen Snow Festival 2017
At Yumoto Onsen, there are various highlights throughout winter. To start, Yumoto Park will have 500 small kamakura lit up with candles. In January, the hot spring town hosts an ice sculpture competition where chefs and sculptors from all over Japan create intricate ice sculptures exhibited in the kamakura. In February, a fireworks display will take place over Yunoko Lake.
Chuzenji Onsen – Kamakura Festival
This festival offers several family-friendly activities, including building a kamakura, walking in snow shoes and skating on natural ice. The façade presents a magical scene at night when the rows of kamakura are illuminated with candles.
Nikko Yumoto Onsen Ski Park
For the aspiring skiers, this sky park offers skiing courses for beginners. Much of the slopes are gentle, making this a perfect destination for families to ski and sled with their children.
Ouchi-juku Snow Festival
Ouchi-juku is a town established during the Edo Period over 400 years ago, which traders crossed as they passed along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route. Now known as a “Samurai Village”, its history has been preserved and restored with rows of thatched roofed houses lining the unpaved main street. During the Snow Festival, cultural dances, traditional performances and free sampling of local cuisine will transport you back to the Edo Period of merchants and samurais.