MOUNTAIN SKI AND HOT SOURCES
Connoisseurs of ski resorts can easily name the advantages of Japanese trails. First of all, it is fluffy and dry snow; then – relatively cheap prices. But many agree that they miss the hot springs most – the onsen, which help to relax after skiing.
The jacuzzi and saunas, which are familiar to us, have nothing in common with the therapeutic healing properties of natural onsen, water to which is supplied from a hot spring, rich in useful elements and minerals. Many open onsen will allow you to bask and bask in the pool, while admiring the snow-capped mountains. Undoubtedly, this magical sight will bring peace and tranquility to your soul.
So, if you are planning to purchase a winter tour to Japan, it is best to focus on your trip at the same time around hot springs and ski resorts.
JAPAN’S BEST SKI ONSEN: BETH ON HAKKODA MOUNTAIN
In the prefecture of Aomori is located a three hundred year old onsen called Sukai. Here you will be offered traditional mixed swimming pools with a small fenced plot in the main pool – women who prefer solitude and peace can sit there. Believe me, no one will look askance at you: for the Japanese, this is just a relaxing pastime in the company of friends, loved ones or family members.
After conquering deep snowdrifts on the mountain of Hakkod, life will seem even more beautiful if you have a good rest in the turquoise waters of the source. Sukayu is located just a couple of kilometers from the nearest ski slope, so you can take any suburban bus or go to Onsen on skis, while contacting the local guide from the Hakkoda ski school.
BEST JAPANESE SKI TOWN: NODZAVA ONSEN
Obviously, any place names that include the word “onsen” promise you a wonderful holiday, and Nozawa is the best confirmation of this rule. In this town, you can not only go skiing, but also visit any of the thirteen free public Onsenes who have been working here since the times of the Edo era. Also there are onsenes in many hotels. Nozawa Onsen gained popularity among Western tourists only over the past few years, but is not going to give up its position: for example, the local cooperative owns the elevator system, which includes such significant personalities as the owner of the Sakaya Ryokan – Akira Mori. By the way, his family lived in Nozawa Onsen for 18 generations!
BEST ROMANTIC ONSEN: MANDZA
Another remarkable resort where you are unlikely to meet compatriots is Onsen Manza in Gunma Prefecture. He nestled at an altitude of 1,800 m, which makes it the highest altitude onsen in all of Japan! In addition, the nearby Prince Hotel offers its guests beautiful ski slopes, as well as a magnificent variety of indoor and outdoor onsen, where hotel guests warm up and rest after skiing. Onsen Manza can easily be reached from Nagano and Niigata, regular buses run from Shinkansen Karurizawa Station. This option is best suited for couples who want to escape from the bustle of the city. You can also use the services of a guide and take a ski tour from Shiga Kogen to Onsen Manza.
WILD ONSEN FOR WILD SKIERS: MOUNTAINS TOKATI
There are no ski lifts in the Tokati mountains in Hokkaido, however, only here you can find stunning snow and whole slopes of virgin virgin land. The peak of the season falls on the period from mid-December to mid-March. Both snowboarders and skiers can independently get to the right place using split boards or camus. Of course, this option is more energy-intensive than using the lift, but the various onsenes located in the Tokati mountains will be an excellent reward. There are both panoramic open-air swimming pools from which you can admire the snow-covered slopes, as well as wild, uncultured sources, where only local guides can take you.