It has always been a childhood dream of mine to visit or live in a country with four kinds of season and now that my dreams finally came true, all I want to do is savor each moment of every season. Each season has its own enticing and inviting beauty. My favorite seasons are actually autumn and spring, so why am I writing about winter? Honestly the only reason why I keep pushing winter season in my favorite season is because I am not physically adept in doing winter sports and in my mind the only way to enjoy winter is thru ski or snowboarding. But last year I was given a chance to see and experience winter like no other!
Tohoku region most specifically Miyagi and Yamagata area have a lot of activities and sights to offer during the winter season. You may be an adrenaline seeking junky, a nature lover, a food lover, an animal lover no matter what type of personality you have, you will surely enjoy the winter season here in Tohoku. The region is very famous for its winter resorts but again it is not limited to just doing ski or snowboarding. Here are the top things you can do around Miyagi and Yamagata to achieve that winter wonderland feel.
What does the Fox says?
Have you listened to this song about foxes before? If not you better research about this song because It was on a repeat mode when I was in Zao Fox Village and has become my last song syndrome every waking day! What is amazing about this place is you get to see hundreds of fox resting, playing, and eating behind a snow backdrop! The foxes (black, white, brown) are either caged or running freely in the area which is really an extra ordinary sight to see! I also love that this area is not only limited to foxes but there are also other animals like bunnies, horses, goats, etc. When you go to this place don’t forget to try to feed the foxes or even feeding them! Safety should always be at the back of your mind whenever you pet or feed these foxes as this animals are quite sensitive. This is really one experience you don’t want to miss and oh this place is open all year round but the presence of snow just bring a different aura when you visit this place I am very sure you will notice it!
Here are few informations about the place:
Name: Zao Fox Village
Address: 11-3 Kawarago, Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi-shi, Miyagi-ken 989-0733 Japan
Contact details: 0224-24-8812
Fees: Children below 12 years old are free of charge while children above 12 years old and adults have to pay 1000 yen.
How to get there: Taking a bus or getting a cab are some options in going to this place. For more information you might want to click on this site: http://zao-fox-village.com/en
Hike your way to winter
If you are not a big fan of ski or snowboarding because of fear of getting injured, one way to enjoy winter and snow is by doing snowshoeing! Snowshoeing is a fun way to burn stubborn calories during this freezing weather. Imagine hiking on a snow mountain using a special foot gear while enjoying the sights off the city or villages covered with snow! The view was fantastic and literally took my breath away! No need to pay extra fees for lessons because the people from the rental of snowshoeing equipment will teach you on how to put and how to use them. This was an experience I will never forget and I intend to do it again every winter season (if the time permits me). Luckily almost all the ski resorts in Yamagata Zao offers this kind of activity! It’s fun way to bond with friends!
Burn baby burn!
Like I said before I am not physically capable of doing winter sports, however, I am not a quitter and quitting is not included in my book. So I still need to give it a try. Ski and snowboarding activities are a must during winter season. Imagine your burning the calories without even sweating but still your body burns calorie at much faster rate. Ski camps are fully equip and they usually offer lessons for beginners or for people who are even at a certain level of proficiency. I do suggests that you get an instructor especially if you are a beginner not only do they get to teach you the tricks but you get to learn easily and of course free of harm. Believe me! My friends and I went skiing and snowboarding and we ended up with a heavily banged up body because of numerous fall. So yeah don’t make the same mistake always make safety as your priority but at the same time don’t forget to have some fun too! When you’re done with the winter sports you can also ride a lift to take you to the top of the mountains and see some snow monsters! Mother nature is magical so don’t miss a chance to see these!
Here are some information for both snowshoe and winter sports activities: http://www.zao-sumikawa.jp/
Name Snowshoeing at Sumikawa Snow Park
Address: 〒989-0916 Miyagi Prefecture, Katta District, 蔵王町遠刈田温泉倉石岳国有林内
Contact details: 0224-87-2610
A sky full of lights!
By now you may know that illumination is a big thing here in Japan! It has been a tradition to adorn a specific area with lots of beautiful colorful lights! Here in Sendai, the city takes prides in its Hikari (starlight) no Pageant were a whole stretch of zelkova trees were decorated with christmas lights! The view of the lights shining brightly is already a sight to see but when the snow starts to fall, everything looks magical! This is the time when I truly feel that white Christmas spirits and it’s also one method to take your mind off from anything that has been bothering you! Couples also grab the opportunity of the illumination because of its romantic feels while family members and friends gather together and bond over the amazing view and sumptuous food being sold along the road. What a way to end your day full eyes and most especially full stomach is there anything more you can ask for?
For more information check out this site! http://www.sendaihikape.jp/,
Hot and cold in Onsen
Most of tourists who go to Japan put onsen experience on their bucket list, but what they don’t know is that best onsen experience happens during winter! Why do I say this? Imagine being soak in steamy water and at the same time your upper body experiencing the cold weather with a fantastic snow backdrop! The view is not only mesmerizing but it also has an stress relieving effect. It is always a nice idea to visit an onsen once in a while not only because of its beauty effect but also because it also does wonder medically! Tohoku region is blessed with lots of onsen places just waiting to be discovered all you have to do is find the best onsen that suits your liking and book them as soon as you can! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take photo during this trip since it is prohibited to bring a camera or a phone! But really I guarantee that this is a must try trip because if you’re lucky you might see some animals hiding around the bushes! Winter feels plus hot relaxing water= perfection!
For more information: http://www.ichinobo.com/sakunami/
I just listed some activities which you can do during winter and there are more of these waiting to be discovered here in Tohoku region! So when you’re free and you want to get away even just for a bit choose Tohoku and I am very sure you will enjoy every moment of it! And of course don’t forget to write your own personal experience too!