The Best Locations To Enjoy Winter Sports In Japan!

07.January.2017 | SPOT

In addition to skiing and ice skating, in Japan one can enjoy many other winter sports such as snowshoeing, walking upon drifting ice, snowmobiling, snowboarding and others. We introduce here the best locations to enjoy each of them!

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  • Hikari no Sumika Winter Illuminations 2020-2021 to Take Place at Gotemba Kogen Toki no Sumika

    15.September.2020 | SPOT

    Toki no Sumika is set to host its 19th annual winter illumination event “Hikari no Sumika” from September 19, 2020 to March 21, 2021.

     

    Forest of Trees Illuminations


    The Forest of Trees was created together with locals and wraps visitors in a magical fantasy land of lights underneath the shimmer of stardust. This trail of trees leads visitors to the next area, the Royal Palace on the Hill.

     

    Royal Palace on the Hill


    The “Versailles Lights” water laser show entertains onlookers with a rhythmic show. A new spot has also been developed this year called “It’s a colorful world” where cuter balls of light change colour to the sounds that play. There’s also one of the world’s biggest “Bells of Love” clad in colours galore to radiate the dark night, “Slow House Twinkle,” and “Super Searchlight.”

     

    Tunnel of Lights


    Spanning 370m along, the “Tunnel of Lights” changes colours as time passes, enveloping people in a sparkling galaxy of illuminations. There’ll be plenty of photo opportunities.

     

    Twin Trees & First Dream Bridgeツインツリーと初夢の橋

    The colour of the 120-year-old fir tree at the site this year will be white. The 20 meter-tall tree will be decorated simply and gently, with more LED lights than ever before, to enhance its beauty. The “First Dream Bridge” will give rise to the “Stardust Road” of countless illuminations that run along it.

     

    Underwater Paradise Aquarium

    Around 4,500 goldfish of 200 species, including rare kinds, from all around Japan are collected here. It continues to grow as Japan’s only goldfish aquarium both in name and reality. Enjoy seeing them swim while gorgeous lights light up the room.

  • Cosy Up in the Snow Huts This Winter at Hoshino Resorts KAI

    17.November.2019 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts is once again bringing its kamakura snow huts to two of its KAI hotelsーa brand of hot spring hotels. You’ll catch them at Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru and Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps from February 1 to 29 next year.

     

    KAI Tsugaru: Beautiful Koginzashi Stitched Lanterns Light Your Way

    Koginzashi is a type of sashiko stitch work famous in the Tsugaru region. Japanese kogin designer Iemasa Yamahata has designed 50 beautiful Kogin lanterns for Hoshino Resorts’ KAI Tsugaru hot spring hotel, which is hidden away in the town of Owani in southern Tsugaru, Aomori.

     

    When you arrive at KAI Tsugaru, follow the lanterns along the snow and you’ll arrive at the kamakuraーa type of Japanese igloo built in northern Japan for winter festivals. Multiple objects, big and small, have been designed with koginzashi, so guests can enjoy this beautiful art form.

    Cosy up inside your secret snow hut and enjoy some tasty chocolate with cute koginzashi designs made by a local Japanese confectionery shop. Order a hot cocktail too made using apples grown in Aomoriーa prefecture famous across the country for its apples. There’s a non-alcoholic cocktail option too.

     

    You’ll also find an original card game inside the huts created by the KAI Tsugaru staff. It’s called “Kogin Awase” and works like the card game Pairs. What could be better than sat warm inside an igloo, eating sweets and drinking while playing a card game?

     

    KAI Alps: Enjoy Life as a Yukinko Snow Child

    Turn back into a child and experience young life in the snow country of the Shinano Province (now Nagano Prefecture) with the Shinshū Kamakura Yukinko Experience.

     

    In the harsh cold and knee-deep snow environment of Shinano, people would take anti-snow measures by wearing things like the straw raincoat known as a mino, a traditional winter coat called a hanten, and other things. Guests can do the same and dress up to become a child of the snow, known as a Yukinko. You’ll forget about the snow before you even realise it.

    In old Japanese houses, friends and family would gather around an iroriーa sunken fireplace. You’ll find these dotted around the public space at KAI Alps too, where you can sit around and enjoy the crackling and warmth of the fire. There will also be hand warmers and shiruko sweet porridge too so you can rest assured you won’t go cold.

     

    Experience life in the snow at Hoshino Resorts KAI this winter.

  • Krispy Kreme Releases Winter-Limited Doughnuts in Nagoya

    07.November.2019 | FOOD

    Krispy Kreme Japan released two new doughnuts for a limited period only starting from November 1, 2019. The two new doughnuts are part of the Krispy Kreme Premium series and are only available to purchase from the JR Nagoya Takashiyama branch. The two new flavours are the Holiday Gorilla and Brûlée Glazed Fruity Sangria.

     

    The Krispy Kreme Premium series is only available at the Nagoya Takashiyama branch. These doughnuts have a cake-like texture and are filled with a luxurious serving of whipped cream. Each doughnut is carefully made with the utmost care and decorated in the shop. These are sold fresh every day and enjoyed by customers as they are made. 

    The Krispy Kreme Premium Holiday Gorilla consists of a yellow purin-flavoured chocolate wreath. A ferocious bear made of fluffy whipped chocolate can be seen peeking through the doughnut hole. After a sprinkling of sparkling silver balls and a strawberry chocolate ribbon, the doughnut is complete. The gorilla’s face is made of caramel chocolate and bitter chocolate. The ears are made of chocolate coffee beans and the doughnut hole is filled with marshmallow cream. The fusion of chocolate and marshmallows makes for the perfect winter treat. 

    The Krispy Kreme Premium Brûlée Glazed Fruity Sangria is an enhanced version of KKDJ’s most popular doughnut series: the Original Glazed®. The surface of the doughnut is covered in a crunchy brûlée layer which is full of flavour. Red wine paste is combined with a sweet and tangy marmalade to make the luxurious filling for the doughnut, creating the flavour of sangria which is perfect for adults. 

     

    Don’t miss the opportunity to grab a delicious winter doughnut from Krispy Kreme!

  • Starbucks to Release Two Anniversary Drinks in Kyoto and Hyogo for Only 10 Days

    06.November.2019 | FOOD

    Starbucks Coffee Japan is commemorating 20-years since opening their Kyoto and Hyogo Prefecture branches with a 10-day-limited anniversary project which will run from November 12 to November 21. The barristers of both prefectures rose to the challenge to come up with three anniversary drinks and a vote took place to decide on a winning drink for each prefecture. The winners were announced as the Kyoto Erai Matcha Matcha Frappuccino® and the Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino®.  

    *  Update: Starbucks Coffee Japan has just announced that the 20-year commemoration drink sales period has been postponed. The new drink launch date and limited period is yet to be announced. For more information, please follow this link (Japanese only) : https://www.starbucks.co.jp/press_release/pr2020-3224.php 

    One sip of the Kyoto anniversary drink will send your taste buds on a journey to Kyoto. The ideas for the drink originated from the Kyoto Porta West branch. The barristers of Kyoto took it in their hands to interpret the culture of Kyoto in the form of a Starbucks drink by infusing the essence of Kyoto’s historical temples and elegant flavours. The taste of Starbucks’ popular Matcha Cream Frappuccino® can be tasted in the drink. Just seeing the green colour is enough to trigger memories of the Zen Buddhist temple Saiho-ji, which is famous for its moss garden to the extent that it is even called “Koke-dera”, meaning “moss temple”.

     

    The whipped cream creates a contrast with the green matcha which will definitely spark memories of Ryoan-ji Zen temple in some keen Kyoto travellers. The drink is dusted with matcha and dark mocha powder, creating the image of green and brown leaves. The milk base fully enhances the matcha flavour. A creamy cloud of whipped cream and dusting of bitter matcha are layered to create a wonderful flavour adventure which is bound to take your taste buds on a journey off the beaten track.

    Stretching from the north to the south of the Japan, Hyogo Prefecture is the largest prefecture in the Kinki region and is home to many towns which are bursting with originality. Hyogo’s barristers created their drink based on the concept of increasing love for Hyogo Prefecture’s unique towns. The idea for the Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino® came from the barristers of the Himeji Minami branch. 

     

    The Port of Kobe opened in 1868 and has since flourished as the gateway to the world. Foreign culture including western confectionary has since spread across Japan with Kobe as its starting point. Considering Kobe’s history with western culture and the cold winter days that lie ahead, chocolate was chosen as the main flavour. Chocolate chips, chocolate sauce and chocolate whipped cream decorate the drink in diversity. The drink is even topped with chocolate sauce and dark mocha powder, making the perfect luxury Frappuccino® to tempt all chocoholics. After just one sip, you will immediately fall in love with the top-class chocolatey flavour. 

     

    If you’re in Kyoto or Hyogo, make sure to stop by a Starbucks to get your fill of cultural flavours.

  • Natural Ice Area to Open at KERA-IKE Ice Rink in Karuizawa Hoshino Forest Area

    23.October.2019 | SPOT

    The “Natural Ice” area is set to return to KERA-IKE Ice Rink, an outdoor ice skating area managed by Hoshino Resorts, again this winter, something made possible only by the cold winter weather and without cooling devices.

    KERA-IKE Ice Rink is connected to the Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary where countless wild birds and animals roam free. The ice rink opened for the winter season last Friday (October 18) and will run until March 8 next year.

     

    The rink is formed of two areas: the “Man-made Area” which is made together with the cold air and the help of cooling devices, and the “Natural Area,” which appears only during the coldest time of winter and sees the water freeze up naturally, allowing people to skate across 1,080 square meters of land. This Natural Area will open on December 20 and run until February 20, 2020.

    Stroll across the forest’s icy landscape

    The freedom of skating across the natural ice is like taking a stroll through the forest. Enjoy skating around the little islands in the middle of the lake and finding the fallen leaves from the forest trees locked inside the ice.

    Enjoy hot drinks with the sound of the wild birds as your soundtrack

    Enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate at the neighbouring cafe. We recommend getting the Wild Bird Cafe Latte which comes with four different latte art designs of the wild birds you’ll often spot around the ice rink. The drink can be enjoyed in the cafe or can be taken out so you can enjoy sipping it on the benches on top of the ice.

     

    Wild Bird Cafe Latte – ¥600 (Tax Included)

     Coffee/Hot Chocolate – ¥500 (Tax Included)

    Couples can enjoy the “Starry Sky Nighter Skate” Valentine’s event

    For Valentine’s season, the ice rink has a special event in store for couples: the first ever “Starry Sky Nighter Skate.” Not only do they get the luxury of skating after-hours, they can also bask under the radiance of Karuizawa’s incredible star-filled sky. There will also be a guide providing commentary on the stars. After the event, all lights will be turned off to allow everyone to enjoy the pure light of the stars.

    There will also be hot chocolate with heart-shaped marshmallows for the Valentine’s event.

     

    Starry Sky Nighter Skate

    Running: February 10, 2020 – February 16, 2020

    Time: 17:30-19:00 (Reception open 17:00)

    Price: ¥3,500 per person (Includes skating fee, skate rental fee, drink, binoculars, and consumption tax)

    Age: 18+ years

    Reservations: By 17:00 the same day by telephone or online. Reservations are mandatory.

    Capacity: 20 per day (Must book for at least 2 people)

  • Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea Release Winter Clothing Collection

    19.October.2019 | FASHION

    Tokyo Disney Resort dropped its new “White x White” collection of warm and fluffy clothing for the winter season yesterday (October 18). The 16 item line-up incorporates different materials perfect for the cold weather, like sheep boa, corduroy, knitwear, and more.

    Mittens – ¥2,500

    These cute mittens are fitted with bonbons inspired by Mickey Mouse’s ears.

    Since these are mittens, you can take your fingers out if you need them to check your phone!

    Hat – ¥2,900

    The hat is made from sheep boa and corduroy and the ear parts can be worn up or down. When worn up, both sides reveal a Mickey Mouse hand design.

    Earmuffs – ¥2,400

    The collection also includes earmuffs and a tote bag made from fur, a corduroy Minnie Mouse headband, and other snow-white items fitting for wintertime.

    Women’s Coat – ¥11,800 (Medium/Large)

    Women’s Jacket – ¥9,800 (Medium/Large)

    Both the coat and jacket will go on sale on November 1. They are both made from sheep boa and have cute Mickey Mouse quilting on the front.

    Stay warm this winter with Tokyo Disney Resort’s White x White collection.

     

    *Product designs and prices subject to change without notice

    *Available while supplies last

    ©️Disney

  • Kamakura Igloo Event to Take Place at Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru & Alps

    09.January.2019 | SPOT

    KAI―a line of hot spring hotels produced by Hoshino Resorts―is set to hold an event that makes use of kamakura igloos at Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru and Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps.

    Each branch of KAI offers the chance to experience the full charm of the local area to guests. The event taking place at KAI Tsugaru and KAI Alps will celebrate 2019 being a good new year with lots of lucky decorations adorning the area, sake offerings to the gods and more.

    During Japan’s Koshogatsu―or “Little New Year”―which takes place from January 14 to 16, altars are set up inside kamakura igloos where people offer sake and rice cakes to the god of water. The event taking place at KAI too will follow this tradition and make it even more festive by catering it to Tsugaru traditions like “zuguri” spinning tops and aburidashi which is writing done in invisible ink that appears when heated.

    KAI Tsugaru

    Going into more specifics of the events, over at KAI Tsugaru people will offer Joppari sake from Rokka, a local sake brewery, inside the igloos. A 2-meter all fan with a nebuta design will also decorate inside as it is said waving it will ward off evil. People will also be able to play with wooden zuguri spinning tops on top of the snow outside their igloo. This tradition is said to bring good fortune.

     

    When night falls magical golden lamps will line the snow and path to the igloos.

     

    Running: March 1, 2019 – March 7, 2019

    Time: 15:00-17:00

     

    KAI Alps

    Over at KAI Alps, decorative cocoons will be put up at the igloos in the courtyard to pray for abundant harvest. These cocoon decorations are generally spherical but at Alps they are changing things up by bringing in colourful waving cat and daruma designs.

     

    Omikuji―slips of paper that tell your fortune―will be given inside the kamakura. But these aren’t any regular omikuji. When taken out of the box they will appear blank. You must hold the paper close to the flame inside the igloo to see your fortune.

     

    At night, Hokuan Daikoku from a local sake brewery will be served to the gods from inside the igloos lit up with lanterns made from Japanese paper from Shinshu Matsusaki Washi.

     

    Running: February 4, 2019 – February 11, 2019

    Time: Omikuji – 15:00-17:00 / Sake Offering – 19:30-20:30

  • Hida Takayama Travel Guide – Shirakawago, Beautiful Views, Onsen, And More!

    09.February.2017 | SPOT

    Gifu prefecture, located in the Chubu region of Japan, is known for its rich nature and history. The Hida region in northern Gifu is surrounded by the Hida mountain range (also known as the Northern Japanese Alps) and is a popular tourist spot for its beautiful, yet rough scenery.

    Takayama city in Gifu prefecture’s Hida region is frequently known as Hida Takayama. Only two and a half hours away from Nagoya, it is a great spot for those who wish to go off the beaten path. Here, you will be able to see historic towns, wonderful natural scenery, hot springs, and the World Heritage site Shirakawago. This area is rightly one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations.

    In the heart of Takayama city, you will be able to see well-preserved castle towns and businesses from the Edo period; the historic town is also referred to as Hida’s Little Kyoto. Recently, it has been widely recognized as ”a town with nostalgic Japanese scenery” and many tourists visit from all over. Why not enjoy venturing through Takayama using this guide as a reference!

     

  • Enjoy the gorgeous winter nights at “Fuyu no Mori cafe&bar” in Karuizawa

    05.November.2016 | SPOT

    For a limited, winter time only experience, “Fuyu no Mori cafe&bar” will be open from November 19th, 2016 to March 31st, 2016. It will be located adjacent to Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary (Karuizawa Yacho no Mori) next to the river at “Hoshinoya Karuizawa” in Nagano’s Karuizawa.

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    For the very first time, “Hoshinoya Karuizawa” will be opening a Cafe & Bar for the cold winter season this year. “Fuyu no Mori” is situated so you can see the gorgeous winter forest with your very own eyes. The Cafe & Bar have said that their menu is themed around the concept of “slow”, one perfect for winter. The Cafe & Bar are for residents of “Hoshinoya Karuizawa” only. It’s a space where you can quietly and comfortably spend luxury time during your stay.

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    There aren’t just warm indoor seats. Outside at the Cafe & Bar is a long ice skate ring that unfolds before your eyes that is dotted with plenty of round tables to sit at. You can borrow a knee coat or electric blanket to use while you sit to warm you up. There will also be mats and warm sleeping bags prepared to use on the ice, perfect for a romantic night of stargazing. You will be able to prepare your very own coffee or treat yourself to a cocktail, amongst a string of other drinks, and cook marshmallows and s’mores on a firewood stove. There’s plenty on the menu to enjoy.

     

    Hoshinoya Karuizawa is the only place where you can experience nature like this. Don’t miss out.

     

    ■Information
    Hoshinoya Karuizawa
    Open: Saturday November 19th, 2016 to Friday March 31st, 2017
    Time: 8pm-10pm (reservation not required)
    Price: Charge only for the food and drinks on offer
    For Yoshinoya Karuizawa guests only
    Website: http://hoshinoyakaruizawa.com/

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