Winter is quickly becoming a more and more popular time to visit Japan. Winter sports enthusiasts in particular are taking note of Japan's famous powder snow and are visiting in record numbers to experience it for themselves. Even if taking to the slopes is not your style, you can relax in luxurious hot spring resorts and sample the succulent flavors of the season. Here is your guide to doing winter right in Japan.
While Hokkaido's Niseko, Kiroro, and Rusutsu resorts are the first destinations to spring to mind when one thinks of winter sports in Japan, there are plenty of other equally fantastic skiing destinations to choose from. Take Hokkaido's fellow Winter Olympics host, Nagano. This centrally located prefecture sits squarely in the Japan Alps making it prime skiing real estate and yet is close enough to Tokyo that you can hop on a bullet train and be there in an hour and a half. If you're looking for unrivaled powder, luxury mountain resorts, and natural hot springs after a long day on the slopes, consider Nagano's Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, and Nozawa Onsen resorts for your next winter getaway.
There is nothing quite like the experience of watching delicate snowflakes fall all around you while soaking in an outdoor natural hot spring. It's a deeply spiritual experience and a must if you find yourself traveling to Japan in the winter. Take a note from the Japanese snow monkeys of Jigokudani, they have the right idea. While hot springs can be found literally anywhere in Japan, high end accommodations such as Hakone's Gora Kadan and Kayotei in Ishikawa are taking hot spring luxury to new heights. Traditional hot spring towns such as Kinosaki, just 2 hour from Kyoto, offer the perfect atmosphere to experience hot spring culture. Private outdoor hot spring baths, gourmet Japanese cuisine that is as much art as food, and service with an attention to detail bordering on psychic will ensure an unforgettable experience for any luxury traveler. Go for the healing hot spring waters, stay for the unparalleled hospitality that is Japanese‘omotenashi’.
For More Information: http://www.jnto.go.jp/ja-search/eng/ryokan.php
No winter getaway in Japan would be complete without the comforting warmth of winter cuisine. Nabe in particular is a winter specialty with flavors and ingredients differing by region which makes it a great way to literally savor the local flavors. Shabu Shabu is another excellent dish for warming up in the winter time. Thinly sliced and exquisitely marbled Japanese beef is served alongside an array of vegetables and tofu which you then dip into boiling hot water, cooking it almost instantly. During the snowy months, many outdoor vendors at shrines and temples will sell a hot sweet rice sake called Amazake. The combination of the heat and the sake will keep you warm while you take in the sights.
For More Information: http://www.jnto.org.my/beauty-of-the-seasons/winter/winter-appetite/
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