View Japan’s Spectacular Winter Sceneries Via Tobu Railway

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 (igloo) 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.

Event Dates
Jan 28 (Sat) – Mar 5 (Sun), 2017
There will be no light up at the small kamakura site along the river on
Thursdays.
Location
Yunishigawa Onsen, Nikko-shi, Tochigi
How To Get There
TOBU Kinugawa Line “Kinugawa-onsen Station” (approx. 2 hrs from TOBU
SKYTREE Line Asakusa Station)
Yagan Tetsudo “Yunishigawa-onsen Station” (approx. 30min)Bus (approx. 25min)
Admission Fees
Main venue:
§  1-day ticket 500¥
§  Night ticket (after 16:30) 200¥
Kamakura barbeque costs 1,500¥ per person (minimum order 2 persons) and
the usage fees for each kamakura are 1,500¥.
Mini kamakura venue: Free

If visitors take the TOBU SKYTREE Line rapid-service train from Asakusa
Station, they can reach Yunishigawa Onsen Station without changing trains in
approx. 3 hrs.

Tobu Top Tours offers accommodation plans that include a
special shuttle bus service that makes a round trip to the venue on the below
dates during the Kamakura Festival.
If there are seats on the bus two weeks before each
listed date, guests who are staying in a participating ryokan of the Kinugawa
Onsen Ryokan Association can ride for free on the bus by applying at their
ryokan. The bus leaves at 19:15 from Kinugawa-onsen Station, and guests can
enjoy the Kamakura Festival at their leisure.
Scheduled bus operating dates in 2017: Jan 31 (Tues), Feb
3 (Fri), 7 (Tues), 10 (Fri), 14 (Tues), 17 (Fri), 21 (Tues), 24 (Fri), 28
(Tues), Mar 3 (Fri)

Kinugawa Onsen Ryokan Association URLhttp://www.kinugawa-onsen.com/lg_en/

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.

Event Dates
Yukiakari: 
All Japan Ice Sculpture Okunikko Competition:
Yunoko Lake Fireworks Display
Feb 6 (Mon) – Feb 12 (Sun)

Approx. 2 weeks starting from Jan 28 (Sat)
Feb 11 (Sat) (Starts at 19:30)
*The Yumeguri Pass can be used during Dec 2016 – Mar
31, 2017 (Fri).
Location
Yumoto-onsenkyo, Nikko-shi, Tochigi
How To Get There
TOBU Nikko Line “TOBU Nikko Station” (approx. 1 hr 50 min from TOBU
SKYTREE Line Asakusa Station)
Tobu Bus “Yumoto Onsen” (approx. 90
min)

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.

Event Dates
Feb 11 (Sat) and 12 (Sun), 2017
Location
Chuzenji Onsen, Nikko-shi, Tochigi
How To Get There
TOBU Nikko Line “TOBU Nikko Station” (approx. 1 hr 50 min from TOBU SKYTREE
Line Asakusa Station
)Tobu Bus “Chuzenji Onsen” (approx. 60 min)



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.

Event Dates
Dec 22, 2016 (Thurs) – Mar 31, 2017 (Fri)
Location
Nikko Yumoto Onsen Ski Park, Nikko-shi, Tochigi
How To Get There
TOBU Nikko Line “TOBU Nikko Station” (approx. 1 hr 50 min from TOBU SKYTREE Line Asakusa Station)Tobu Bus “Yumoto Onsen”  (approx. 90 min)


[Recommended onsen]

Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel
This is a western style log house hotel located in the forest on the edge of Chuzenji Lake in the Nikko National Park. Guests can enjoy the wonders of nature in the outdoor hot spring where they can take a relaxing bath while soaking in the sunlight filtering through the trees during the day or looking up at a star-lit sky at night. 
Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel URL: http://www.kanayahotel.co.jp/eng/ckh/


[Recommended gourmet cuisine in Nikko]

Sun Field
Nikko is famous for producing “yuba” or bean curd skin which is the thin layer that forms on the surface of boiled soy milk. At this restaurant, diners can enjoy yuba prepared with a variety of seasonings including the old-fashioned way of stewing yuba in a sweet sauce.
Yuba gozen (special yuba set) 1,800¥ (tax exclusive)


Welcome Nikko Kinugawa-onsen CampaignFrom Jan 26 (Thurs) to Feb 15 (Wed), 2017, present your passport or foreign resident registration card when you are at Nikko City and enjoy a special hospitality service of traditional Japanese New Year cuisine or a free hot spring bath in one of the accommodation facilities in the city, as well as free admission to tourist attractions such as Tobu World Square (1/31, 2/2) and EDO WONDERLAND Nikko Edomura (1/30, 2/1).
URL: http://nikko-travel.jp/english/topic/2016autumn.html/h_topic_4

(Special deals)
When travelling around the Nikko & Kinugawa area, visitors are recommended to use convenient discount passes that offer great savings with unlimited travel on trains and buses, such as the “NIKKO ALL AREA PASS” or the “THEME PARK & NIKKO CITY AREA PASS” which can be purchased at Asakusa Station and on our website.
DISCOUNT PASS URL: http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/en/

Winter events in Tohoku
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.

Event Dates
Feb 11 (Sat) – Feb 12 (Sun), 2017
Location
Ouchi-juku, Shimogo, Minamiaizu-gun, Fukushima
How To Get There
Aizu Railway “Aizu Tajima Station” (approx. 3 hr 15 min directly from
TOBU SKYTREE Line Asakusa Station)
Aizu Railway “Yunokami-onsen Station” (approx. 30 min)Bus (approx. 15 min)

[Recommended onsen]

Toryukan

This traditional Japanese inn standing along the Okawa River is a hideaway retreat with only 12 rooms. Guests can soak in the negative ions in the outdoor hot spring bath while looking out across the great nature of Okawa Valley. Each guest room comes complete with an indoor stone bath so guests can enjoy a hot spring bath at any time during their stay. 

Toryukan URL:

[Recommended gourmet cuisine in Ouchi-juku]

Negi-soba

Ouchi-juku is famous for its Negi-soba with a long Japanese leek (negi) used as chopsticks to eat the soba. Please take the opportunity to try this famous soba while chewing on the leek which adds extra flavor.


Zao Onsen Ski Resort – Juhyo Festival

For a limited period, Zao Onsen will have an army of “Snow Monsters” on its slopes. The Snow Monsters, or juhyo, are actually fir trees covered in snow. Special climactic conditions allow falling snow and water to form unique shapes as they coat the trees, eventually building in size to produce the iconic juhyo. During this festival, visitors can book a “Night Cruiser” that will bring them up close to these natural wonders.

Event Dates
Dec 23 (Fri), 2016 – Mar 5 (Sun), 2017
Location
Zao Onsen Ski Resort, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata
How To Get There
JR
Yamagata Station (approx. 2.5 hr from JR Tokyo Station)
Bus
(approx. 40 min)

Besides the festivities, many of the towns have hot springs and other activities to offer for every traveller.

[Recommended onsen]
Zao Astoraea Hotel
This is the highest hotel in Zao Onsen at a height of 950m above sea level. 
Guests can enjoy a hot bath in the morning while taking in the panoramic view of the mountain range from the open air hot spring.  
Zao Astoraea Hotel URL:


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