SKIING AND HOT SOURCES
Connoisseurs of ski resorts can easily call the advantages of Japanese pistes. First of all, it is fluffy and dry snow; then – relatively inexpensive prices. But many agree that most of all they miss the hot springs – onsen, which help to relax after skiing.
The jacuzzi and saunas familiar to us have nothing to do with the therapeutic and healing properties of natural onsen, the water in which is supplied from a hot spring rich in useful elements and minerals. Many open onsen allow you to bask and bask in the bath, while admiring the snow-capped mountains. Undoubtedly, this magical spectacle will bring peace and tranquility to your soul.So, if you plan to purchase a winter tour to Japan, it is best to focus the purpose of the trip at the same time around hot springs and ski resorts.
JAPAN’S BEST SKI ONSEN: BITCH ON HAKKODA MOUNTAIN
In Aomori Prefecture, there is a three hundred-year-old onsen called Sukayu. Here you will be offered traditional mixed baths with a small fenced area in the main pool – there can be women who prefer solitude and peace. Believe me, no one will look at you askance: for the Japanese, this is just a relaxing pastime in the company of friends, loved ones or family members.
After conquering deep snowdrifts on Mount Hakkoda, life will seem even more beautiful if you have a good rest in the turquoise waters of the spring. Sukay is located just a couple of kilometers from the nearest ski slope, so you can catch any local bus or go skiing to the onsen, 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 vacation, and Nozawa is the best confirmation of this rule. In this town you can not only ski, but also visit any of the thirteen free public onsen that have been working here since the time of the Edo era. There are also onsen in many hotels. Nozawa Onsen has gained popularity among Western tourists only over the past few years, but is not going to give up his positions: for example, the local cooperative, which includes such significant personalities as the owner of the Sakai Ryokan, Akira Mori, owns the lift system. By the way, his family lived in Nozawa Onsen for 18 generations!
BEST ROMANTIC ONSEN: MANDZA
Another noteworthy resort, where you are unlikely to meet compatriots, is the Onsen Manza in Gumma Prefecture. He nestled at an altitude of 1,800 m, which makes him the highest mountain onsen in all of Japan! In addition, the nearby Prince Hotel offers its guests beautiful ski slopes, as well as a great variety of indoor and outdoor onsen, where hotel guests bask and relax after skiing. Onsen Manza can easily be reached from Nagano and Niigata; regular buses run from Shinkansen Karurizawa Station. This option is best for couples in love who want to break out of the bustle of the city. You can also take the services of a guide and take a ski tour from Shig Kogen to Onsen Manza.
WILD ONSEN FOR WILD SKISERS: TOKATI MOUNTAINS
In the mountains of Tokati in Hokkaido there are no lifts, however, only here you can find stunning snow quality and whole slopes of untouched virgin land. The peak season falls between mid-December and mid-March. Both snowboarders and skiers can independently reach a suitable place using splitboards or a camus. Of course, this option is more energy-intensive than using a lift, but a variety of onsen located in the mountains of Tokati will be an excellent reward. There are panoramic open-air baths, from which you can admire the snow-covered slopes, and wild, uncultivated sources where only local guides can take you.