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G’DAY JAPAN!

www.gdayjapan.com.au

ISSUE #06

POWDER PERFECT

Discover Japan’s Winter Wonderland

SO COOL, SO JAPAN! The finest from the Far East

ISSUE #06

JAPAN FOR ME

Adam Liaw

Australia’s MasterChef 2010

Ned Goodwin

Japan’s first Master of Wine


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SAFE TRAVEL IN JAPAN

Message from Julia Gillard Prime Minister of Australia

To say that the earthquake and tsunami shocked the world is an understatement. The scale of damage and loss is still being calculated. But Prime Minister Kan’s assessment that this is the worst crisis facing Japan in 65 years is surely correct. The test of any nation is not how much it suffers, but how it responds in adversity. Despite the enormity of this heartbreaking event, the Japanese people have shown amazing grace and resilience. The Japanese are a people of stoicism and strength. And in Australia, we watched with admiration as Japanese society drew together in an embrace of compassion and concern, the very same concern that Japan showed Australia after the Victorian bushfires and the Queensland floods. Within 48 hours of the quake, the Australian Government deployed a team of more than 70 search and rescue specialists including search dogs, an officer from my own department, Emergency Management Australia workers and diplomats from our Embassy in Tokyo, to the town that became the face of this disaster, Minami Sanriku, a town that virtually ceased to exist after the tsunami. Our relationship transcends trade and security ties. We have forged lasting human bonds through tourism, migration, sister-city relationships, education exchange and a shared vision for peace and prosperity in our region. Around 72,000 Japanese students visit Australia every year as part of their studies. And Japanese remains the most widely taught language in Australian schools. The mutual affinity between Australians and Japanese is at the core of our ties. And that means we have a very natural and clear desire to help each other in times of trouble. This is what I call genuine goodwill and friendship. Friendship for the tough times as well as the good times. Friendship that brings us together across cultures and across traditions.

Julia Gillard Prime Minister of Australia Excerpt from remarks to the Australia-Japan Goodwill Dinner Tokyo, April 2011

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Message from Shigekazu Sato Ambassador of Japan to Australia

On this occasion, I am honoured to have been given an opportunity to convey to the Australian public a message in support of visiting Japan. Three months have almost past since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and while acknowledging the impact of the disaster, one should point out that most of Japan remains unharmed by the disaster. If you imagine that the whole of Japan is covered by debris, that is completely wrong. The major highway that runs through the most affected Tohoku region was reopened only two weeks after the earthquake. The Shinkansen that connects Tokyo and the Tohoku region became fully operational again on 29 April. To provide further stimulus to the domestic economy in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Government of Japan has pledged to support a number of campaigns aimed at attracting greater numbers of foreign visitors to Japan. The reputation for first-class service and hospitality, along with modern, well-equipped facilities that so distinguish Japan as a holiday destination remain unchanged and ready for business, as do the many resorts, hot spring baths, and world-renowned historical sites and artistic pieces that are so typically Japanese. The Government and People of Japan warmly welcome any and all who are interested in visiting in Japan, and extend a courteous invitation to Australians to come and see just what Japan has to offer. The range of attractions available in Japan, along with the diversity of its environment and traditions, will ensure that any stay will be both memorable and enjoyable. Japan is truly a land of wondrous contrasts, from the ancient to the very modern, that encapsulates the very best that the East and West have to offer. I therefore heartily recommend Japan as the destination for your next overseas holiday, for Japan remains an endless source of fascination and discovery.

Shigekazu Sato Ambassador of Japan to Australia Canberra, June 2011 3


SAFE TRAVEL IN JAPAN

The Road to Recovery A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean off Japan on March 11, 2011, sending an enormous tsunami crashing into its north east coast. Despite the tragic loss of life and damage to infrastructure which followed, the situation has all but returned to normal. Japan looks forward to welcoming visitors once again in 2011-2012.

ŠJNTO

National Infrastructure Back on Track Transport networks, such as roads, railways, airports and ports, are now almost completely back to normal outside the disaster zone. Visitors to Japan can use public transport to travel around Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and other major cities. The bullet train network has resumed travel between Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. I n d isaster a ffected a reas, most ma in roads includ ing expressways, and the rail network have recovered. The Tohoku bullet train line, which covers the north east of Honshu, the main island, has also been fully reopened. All airports are also open and in operation. Sendai airport is operating with temporary flights to ŠY.Shimizu/ŠJNTO and from Haneda Airport (Tokyo), and Itami Airport (Osaka). Many parts of Japan, including popular holiday destinations such as Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Okinawa, are outside the area affected by the earthquake and tsunami and received no disruption to infrastructure. Everything in these areas continues to operate as normal. Despite considerable shaking from what was Japan's largest recorded earthquake in history, medium and high rise structures in centres like Tokyo remained unscathed thanks to advanced construction techniques. Train services in and around Tokyo were restored soon after the earthquake. Some hotels and other businesses may have shortened business hours, so it is recommended to check their websites in advance. The north eastern Tohoku coastline is the area that was worst affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Due to reconstruction work on necessary services and ongoing disaster relief activities, visitors are asked to closely monitor the situation, and reconfirm any travel plans they have made to visit the area. Travel within the exclusion zone surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is currently prohibited. The Fukushima power plant is 200 kilometers north of Tokyo, 580 kilometers from Osaka and 1,770 kilometers from Okinawa. A joint statement from the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the

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World Meteorological Organization, the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization has reaffirmed that there is no need for restrictions to be placed on travel to Japan, and operations can continue normally into and out of Japan's major airports and sea ports. Commercial flights are operating at all airports except for Sendai Airport, which is operating temporary flights to and from Haneda Airport (Tokyo) and Itami Airport (Osaka). The Government of Japan has set up the Reconstruction Design Council in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, to develop a blueprint for sustainable reconstruction of areas affected by the disaster.

©Okayama-ken Kanko Renmei/©JNTO

The Radiation Situation Areas outside the exclusion zone surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant have been evaluated to have permissible levels of radiation.Environmental radioactivity levels by prefecture, including Tokyo, are monitored constantly, and the readings are readily available to the general public. Food and Water Tap water can be used for washing hands, bathing and drinking. For anyone who would prefers to drink bottled water, it is readily available in supermarkets and convenience stores. Radioactive materials in tap water and food products are monitored daily. The Government of Japan restricts distribution and consumption of food products which contain radiation levels exceeding government standards. Please refer to the Japanese Government’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s home page for more information, at http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/index.html.

Tohoku Tourist Information

©Yamagata Prefecture/©JNTO

Tohoku is the area of Japan to the north of Tokyo, to the tip of Aomori Prefecture on Honshu, the main island. Outside of its tsunami affected eastern coastline, the rest of the region was largely unharmed by the disaster. National Parks, hot springs, restaurants, shops, and tourist facilities outside of this area are open as usual. Tourist information centers in Tohoku’s six prefectures provide further information on how to enjoy a visit to the region.

Aomori Aomori Tourist Information Center Aptinet (ASPAM) 1F, 1-1-40 Yasukata, Aomori City, Aomori 030-0803 Phone: 017-734-2500 Web: en.aptinet.jp/index.html

Iwate Iwate International Association Aiina5F, 1-7-1 Moriokaeki-nishidori, Morioka, Iwate 020-0045 Phone: 019-654-8900 Web: www.japan-iwate.info

Akita Akita Prefectural Tourist Federation 3-1-1 Sanno, Akita City, Akita 010-8572 Phone: 018-860-2267 Web: www.akitafan.com/en

Miyagi Miyagi Prefectural Government Tourism Division 3-8-1, Hon-cho, Aoba-ku, Sendai-city, Miyagi 980-8570 Phone: 022-211-2822 Web: www.pref.miyagi.jp/kankou/en

Fukushima Fukushima Prefecture Tourism & Local Products Association 1-20 Mikawaminami-machi Fukushima City, Fukushima 960-8053 Phone: 024-525-4024 Web: fuku-tabi.jp/en

Yamagata The Yamagata Tourism Information Center Kajo Central, 1-1-1 Jonan-machi, Yamagata City, Yamagata 990-8580 T: 023-647-2333 E: info@yamagatakanko.com W: yamagatakanko.com/English

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SAFE TRAVEL IN JAPAN

Message from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

©Yasufumi Nishi© JNTO

©Yasufumi Nishi© JNTO

We are very grateful for the generous contributions and support that we have received from Australia. The support has been very important to us, and the Japanese people are determined to put all our efforts into recovery actions in response to the outpouring of encouragement and solidarity that we have received from the global community. The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) will support the rebuilding efforts, by continuing to pursue our mission to positively promote Japan as a vibrant, beautiful destination, brimming with unique cultural attractions, exciting cities, and friendly people. We will continue to distribute the latest detailed and accurate information about travel to Japan, as well as to actively develop our promotional activities in order to encourage many people to visit Japan. To this end, your support and cooperation are indispensable. Most of Japan’s regions were unaffected by the earthquake, and we invite you to see the present condition of Japan for yourselves. We hope you visit Japan, and observe first-hand how Japan is still a unique and attractive travel destination. We will continue to welcome visitors from Australia with an unchanging spirit of hospitality, as we have always done. We will strive to encourage even more tourists to visit Japan, and when they do, the people of Japan will thank them for their messages of encouragement, prayers, and support that are helping the nation to recover from this disaster.

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Checklist of traveling to Japan for ski / snowboard Japan is a popular destination for Australian travelers especially in the snow season. Here is a checklist which demonstrates Japan is the perfect snow adventure holiday destination. ✔ Powder snow ✔ Latest models of rental equipment ✔ Close to Australia

* It is just 10 hours away and has a 2-hour time difference from Australian Eastern Standard Time so you can spend more time on the slopes, not recovering from jetlag! ✔ Delicious and safe food ✔ Clean and safe water ✔ Affordability *Japan is more affordable than you would imagine. ✔ English signage ✔ Convenient public transportation * Experience the speed, comfort and punctual operation of Shinkansen (bullet trains). ✔ Unique culture *You will be able to do so much more than just enjoy the snow with an endless supply of unique experiences and activities. ✔ Japanese warm hospitality and onsen (hot springs) *There’s nothing better than relaxing those weary muscles with a soak in a natural hot spring.

©Yamagata Prefecture©JNTO

© Japan Ryokan Association© JNTO

For further information You can get all information you need on travelling to Japan on the JNTO website at www.jnto.org.au Alternatively, visit JNTO Sydney Office Self-service Room at Suite 1, Level 4, 56 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000 (About a one minute walk from Wynyard station) Opening Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (Monday – Friday)

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Trade partnerships bring a new flavour to the food cultures of Japan and Australia Japanese eating and drink ing st yles are changing approaches to food in Australia, a nd t he sa me holds true in reverse. Christopher Ferrito, an investment adviser for the Japan External Trade Organisation in Sydney tells us why...

Japan is, and will continue to be a very important destination for Australia’s high quality and safe food exports. Likewise, Japan has many products to export to Australia. One such area where trade and investment has grown in recent years has been in the food and wine industries. Food at the cutting edge The Australian food industry is ever-evolving, and abroad it is still a little obscure as to what Australian dining is. To get an idea of Australian dining one only needs to say the name ‘Bill’ and it becomes clear. Australia’s Bill Granger, owner and operator of the highly successful restaurant bills in Sydney has been serving up delectable food to locals for years. His newest bills venture, a restaurant in Yokohama, a sibling to his Kamakura restaurant, is just as adored there as it is at home. The reasons for Bill’s success, particularly in the Japanese market, are evident; food at bills is simple, smart, and modern. It is also said that bills is changing the way we eat breakfast. Bill’s concept of ‘slow food’ and organic food promote ideas of healthy, hand-made eating together with friends and family. Similarly, the Australian wine industry has a great foothold in Japan with the recent introduction and success of Penfolds and Yellow Tail wines in Japan. According to the Global Trade Atlas 8

and Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, consumption of Australian wines in Japan is slowly increasing despite the stagnation of total wine consumption in Japan. Australia exported 9.5 million litres in 2009 making it the sixth largest exporter by value to Japan. This is great news for Australian wine producers. It is not just in win ing a nd din ing where Australian producers can thrive. The issue of food traceability and whether foods are organic is a concern for discerning Japanese consumers. Thus, Australian produce will have market advantage in the organic niche of Japan. Take Melbourne based company ‘Loving Earth’. They produce products that are pure, minimally processed and grown organically in a sustainable way. In many countries, there is a growing niche for companies such as this one. Trade partnerships building success The Japanese food industry is also set to receive a boon abroad. The successful conclusion of an FTA between Japan and Australia could help drive the burgeoning trend of ‘izakaya’ style drinking establishments, which serve a selection of both Japanese sake and wine, alongside casual Japanese food. This trend is aided by the increase of Japanese products and sake entering Australia which allows


Japanese izakaya owners to offer a more authentic experience to patrons. This once traditional mode of wining and dining is becoming fashionable and showcases the healthy, high-quality produce for which Japan has been known for years. We ca n s e e i nc r e a si ng va r iet ie s of sa ke occupying shelf space in local bottle shops and liquor stores and thus gaining a more respected status in Australia. And like wine, sake varies in price, quality, style, region and raw materials. Australia imports many varieties and brands of Japanese sake so there is plenty to choose from, however not all sake in Australia is imported. There is a locally produced sake in Australia, produced under the label ‘Go-Shu’, made by Sun Masamune in New South Wales from Japonica rice and Blue Mountains water. Interestingly, some of this Australian produced sake is exported back to Japan. The recovery of Japan Trade of food and sake will continue to grow after

the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake on March 11. We need not be concerned about the safety of Japanese products as the Government of Japan is taking every possible measure to ensure that no contaminated product will be sold at home or abroad. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing to issue certificates of origin as one of the measures to dispel lingering concerns. The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) is committed t o c ont i nue p r omot i ng Japa n a s a d e si r a ble destination for business, as well as supporting further trade and investment with Japanese partners. The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) is committed to continue promoting Japan as a desirable destination for business, as well as supporting further trade and investment with Japanese partners. Christopher Ferrito is a Trade and Investment Development Officer at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Sydney.

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©JNTO

G’DAY JAPAN!

G'Day Japan! Date of Issue / June, 2011 (Issue 06) Published annually by JAMS.TV Pty Ltd ABN 85 115 815 551 Suite 3704, Level 37, Gateway, 1 Macquarie Place, Sydney NSW 2000 Phone (02) 9252 6307 Fax (02) 9252 6308 Email info@jams.tv Printed in Australia

www.gdayjapan.com.au

ISSUE #06

POWDER PERFECT

Discover Japan’s Winter Wonderland

SO COOL, SO JAPAN! The finest from the Far East

w w w.g d a y ja p a n.co m.a u

JAMS.TV Chairman Takashi Asai Managing Director Mana Togo Administrative Director Hiroshi Washiashi Creative Director Yushiro Mizukoshi Sales & Marketing Director Ryuichi Kitamura Editor in Chief Masanori Chiba Editors Michael Montague, Hiroko Sekine Graphic Designer Koetsu 'SAW' Moriya Advertising Sales Yuko Masuda, Rika Murao, Umi Ogawa, Aya Okubo Website Manager Mikiya Terauchi Assistant Manager Tetsuya Iwasaki System Engineer Koji Ogura

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ISSUE #06

Copyright©JAMS.TV Pty Ltd 2011 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

JAPAN FOR ME

Adam Liaw

Australia’s MasterChef 2010

Ned Goodwin

Japan’s first Master of Wine


POWDER PERFECT

CONTENTS

Discover Japan’s Winter Wonderland 16 NISEKO 28 FURANO 36 KAMIFURANO 40 TOMAMU 44 HAKUBA 62 NOZAWA ONSEN 65 MYOKO The finest from the Far East 66 SHIGA KOGEN 68 MATSUMOTO 84 THE TASTE OF JAPAN 72 TOHOKU 90 SUSHI 92 JAPANESE SAKE 100 THE SHINKANSEN 102 GION 103 GOZAN OKURIBI FIRE FESTIVAL 104 KIYOMIZU-DERA TEMPLE 105 KINKAKUJI TEMPLE 106 TODAIJI TEMPLE 107 HIMEJI CASTLE 108 SHIRAKAWA-GO AND GOKAYAMA 110 SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL 111 SAIDAIJI EYO 112 FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL 113 ANIME 114 BUNRAKU 115 UKIYO-E 116 TOKYO 118 TOKYO DISNEY RESORT 120 EDO WONDERLAND 121 ASAHIYAMA ZOO 122 MOUNT FUJI 124 KUMANO KODO 126 DAISETSUZAN NATIONAL PARK

SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

JAPAN FOR ME 96 ADAM LIAW 2010 MasterChef winner 98 NED GOODWIN Japan’s first Master of Wine ©JNTO

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An insider’s view of Japan

There’s so much to see and do in Japan, it can be confusing working out where to start. Kieran Greenhow of JTB Australia has some helpful suggestions... ◎JNTO

Japan is unique in so many ways.

to experience dif ference s in the

One of the first things that strikes

people, food and traditions of Japan.

Japan is now internationally renowned as being one of, if not the

many visitors is the friendliness of the

If you plan on doing a fair bit

best powder snow destination in the

locals. Although a little shy at first,

of travel, then the JR Pass is very

world. Our ski travellers are our most

they soon warm to a smiling foreigner

economical. Available in 7, 14 & 21

frequent repeaters, some of them

and are very proud to teach visitors

Day validities it allows visitors to

returning every year because they

about their culture, language, cuisine,

utilise the extensive JR Network all

just can’t get enough of the incredible

customs and traditions.

over Japan. It allows travel on JR

powder snow!

For first time visitors I

buses, the JR Miyajima ferry and of

JTB is always adding new and

recommend Japan’s Golden Route.

course the famous Bullet train! It is

exciting packages throughout the

From Tokyo, travel south west to Mt

amazing value when you consider that

year, and also for special occasions.

Fuji/Hakone, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka

a return trip from Tokyo to Hiroshima

To get the latest news, sign up for our

and Hiroshima. This covers most of

is $458.00, and the Japan Rail Pass

newsletter at www.jtbtravel.com and

the more world renowned sightseeing

is only $333.00 which allows you to

find us on Facebook www.facebook.

spots, as well as allowing the visitor

travel all over Japan!!

com/jtb.travel.

JTB Au stralia of fer s a range of travel ser vice s to suit your travel need s . Our Products and Services Include:  Japan Package Tours  Fully Escorted Tours  Japan Stopover Packages  Japan Rail Pass  Hotel & Ryokan Accommodations  Cultural Experience Tours  Tokyo Disney Tickets  Group Tours  Educational Tours  Japan Ski Packages For further enquiries, please call 1300 739 330 or visit

www.jtbtravel.com.au

JTB Australia Pty Ltd www.facebook.com/jtb.travel 12


Japan Airlines operates daily flights from Sydney direct to Tokyo with onward connections within Japan as well as Asia, Europe and North America.

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©JNTO

Snow’n’ Ski JAPAN Japan offers some incredible sk iing, w ith mountains of powder snow and over 600 ski resorts. You will find the best resorts in the Hokkaido, Nagano, Niigata and Tohoku regions and runs to suit all levels. Japan is located 10 hours north of Australia and is only 2 hours behind our Australian Eastern Standard Time. So you will not arrive jetlagged and ready for bed. Instead, you will have plenty of time and energy to hit the slopes. One of the best things to do after a day on the slopes is to take a dip in an onsen (hot spring). The contrast between the steaming hot water and the cool winter air feels amazing. Furthermore, dining is great delight. Japan is renowned for its excellent cuisine and the warmest hospitality.

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日本

©Yasufumi Nishi ©JNTO

©Nagano Prefecture ©JNTO

©JNTO

JAPAN


Powder Perfect . best snow every winter h some of the world’s island of in ma the Japan is showered wit d an , ido north island of Hokka , Resort hotspots on the ki, and FIS tournaments Winter Olympics, InterS the d ste ho ique un a y, ner Honshu have sce ful uti ilities to go with it. Bea providing the best in fac cake at this powder sine are the icing on the cui s ou rge go culture, and ! perfect ski destination

Resort Data Icons

Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Half pipe

Night skiing

Snow depth, terrain, longest run, number of gondolas and lifts, half pipe and night skiing availability at ski resorts are displayed as icons for quick comparison. Snow depth figures are a guide only, and may fluctuate from season to season. Half pipe, gondola and night skiing icons are covered in grey in cases of resorts which do not provide them. ŠJNTO

POWDER PERFECT

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www.nisekotourism.com

Ni

SKI AND SNOW

The picturesque mountains of Niseko are layered with the finest powder snow every year, and there’s plenty of room for everyone to carve some tracks of their own…

A white room may be an interior decorator’s worst nightmare, but it is what dreams are made of for powder hounds in Niseko. It is the result of serious Siberian cloud fronts colliding with warm currents from the Sea of Japan in winter, cracking open like a giant piñata over Japan’s eastern seaboard. Niseko receives a substantial share of the fallen treasure, being buried in up to 16 metres per season. Niseko’s four main resorts, Niseko Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village and Annupuri, intersect at 1300 metres above sea level on the

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POWDER PERFECT


NISEKO SKI AND SNOW

majestic Mount Niseko Annupuri. The range of offpiste and gladed runs, dropping to 300 metres, provide an even selection of enter tainment for skiers of all abilities, and powder skiing at night is sensational. Mount Yotei provides a spectacular backdrop, and Niseko Annupuri offers long stretches of powder cruising through white birch forests. The best powder is to be found on the downhill courses from the top, and those still developing faith in their turning abilities will want to head to the tree-free slope of Niseko Village. The Niseko All Mountain Pass is conveniently valid at any of the four resorts. All day passes can also be used for night-skiing on the final day that the ticket is valid, and they are a bargain. Specialist ski stores often give great discounts with a bus or mountain pass package. Many visitors, Australians in particular, have begun the pilgrimage to Niseko, and the language barrier is of little concern as a result. Visitors more than doubled between 2006 and 2009, and a host of high quality restaurants specialising in traditional Japanese, creative modern and international cuisines are

JAGAKO

Kutchan's mascot cartoon character

centred the one locale. The Hirafu area in particular offers convenient, walking distance access to all establishments, allowing holidaymakers to enjoy afterski festivities no matter where they stay.The bars are the centre of the after ski buzz in Niseko, and stopping for a drink is a great experience to meet people from all over the world. But not before soaking in one of the many hot springs, or onsen of course! Airing out those vocal cords like a local at karaoke is another prominent après-ski pastime in Niseko. Resort life is centred around the Hirafu Resort Village, which provides access and accommodation for those skiing Niseko Grand Hirafu. At the village there are many hotels, Japanese style pensions, lodges, condominiums and self-contained apartments, the majority of which are less than five minutes walk from the lifts. As well as linking the various facilities around the resorts in Niseko, shuttle bus services also provide visitors with a convenient link to the restaurants and other amenities of nearby Kutchan.

Kutchan-Town wder Snow World's Best Po

100 years of powder tracks Austrian Major Theodore von Lerch brought skiing to Kutchan in 1912, and the town is looking forward to celebrating the 100th anniversary of this important occasion in the 2011-12 season.Various skiing events are scheduled to be held.

JAGATA

Kutchan's mascot cartoon character

Take a peek through a living cultural window Experience the local art and traditions of Kutchan on a cultural tour! Please contact Plat Information Centre (0136-23-0222).

Yukitopia Festival 2012

Yukitopia is a community oriented festival with great events! Date: Feb 18-19, 2012 Venue: Kutchan Central Park & Niseko Grand Hirafu

POWDER PERFECT

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Take the stress out of your Niseko ski holiday Niseko has some of the best powder snow in the world. Navigating the hurdles between the airport and the top of the slopes can be trickier than people think, however. Can you send your extra luggage to the resort, or do you know where to pick up your lift pass? Organising all this takes time. Taking advantage of Travelplan resort services can speed up the process immensely. Their experienced bilingual team are in the best position to get you out of the queues, and onto the slopes before you know it. Expect phone assistance, luggage delivery, forwarding, and storage, lift pass delivery, plus local area information and bookings to be made for you as par for the course.

Travelplan resort services are available to all clients who purchase Travelplan accommodation and lift packages. There have been many rave reviews from clients, thanking the team for their superior service. In addition, Travelplan has Niseko’s biggest selection of deluxe apartments, conveniently located around the corner from the slopes and local amenities. An early bird discount of up to 20% off applies, as do savings on extended stays. The perfect ski holiday can be a dream come true. Get in touch with Travelplan today, and maximise your time enjoying the powder of Niseko! For more information, please call 1300 754 754 or visit www.travelplan.com.au

SKI

niseko

TPn 25517

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS: UP TO 20% OFF Travelplan has the largest range of deluxe apartments convenient to the slopes and will enhance your stay in Niseko with an acclaimed resort services program. FREE World’s Best Ski Holidays brochure

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POWDER PERFECT

Call

1300 754 754

or visit www.travelplan.com.au OFFICES IN SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE


New Hirafu Gondola New eight-seat gondolas that run 6m per second offer a more speedy and comfortable ride than ever

Grand Hirafu is celebrating its 50th Anniversary thanks to your hearty support.

It was 100 years ago that Major Theodore von Lerch from Austria instructed skiing for the first time in Niseko. 50 years later, the first ski lift in Niseko was built at Hirafu. This was the starting point of Grand Hirafu Resort. Now we look towards the next 50 years, with the strongest conviction in the charm and potential of the world's best powder snow!

Kids Area Niseko Hirafu Ski School Exclusive Kids Lesson Space is available. Moving Carpet enables easy improvement with fun!

Center House Fabulous Open CafĂŠ debuts at a apres in this new day center. Enjoy relaxed time with the view of Mt. Yotei in front of you

Niseko Grand Hirafu-now even easier with our online booking system! Hotels, Lift passes, Equipment rental, Ski lessons http://www.grand-hirafu.jp/reservation-en/ Reservations taken from early July


Niseko Grand Hirafu  Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

207cm 347cm 340cm 363cm 280cm

  Beg

Int

Adv

40%

23%

37%

5.6km

1

grand-hirafu.jp

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16:30-21:00

Grand Hirafu is world famous and one of the biggest ski grounds in Jap an, s tre tchin g ove r th e summit of Mount Annupuri 940m down to the base. It will celebrate i t s 50 th anni ve r s ar y, an d th e 100th anniversar y of skiing in Niseko during 2011-2012 with an upgraded gondola lift, Ski Centre, and more. Accommodating up to eight passengers and traveling at six metres per second, the refurbished gondola will speed things up for skiers at Grand Hirafu. In addition to this, the new Ski Center will provide a ski school, ski shop and rentals, as well as après ski restaurants, and an open-air café.

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POWDER PERFECT

Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Half pipe

Night skiing


Grand Hirafu's existing snowboard park, mogul slope, half pipe, and other jumps continue to please, and the resort also provides snow mobiling and snow rafting. The Grand Hirafu kids park will also be upgraded as part of the commemorative celebrations. The skiing potential of the world class powder snow at Grand Hirafu was first uncovered on April 15 1912, when Austro-Hungarian army Major Theodore von Lerch visited the slopes of nearby Mt. Yotei. He had introduced skiing to Japan in 1911, and 50 years later, in 1961, the first lifts were built at Hirafu in Niseko for the AllJapan Alpine Ski Championships. With another facility upgrade and consistent high quality snow, the future is looking bright for Grand Hirafu and winter sports lovers from around the world, as it moves into the next 100 years of Niseko tradition.

Jam Cafe Bar @ Niseko 189-13 Yamada, Kutchan-cho Phone 0136-23-0700 http://www.jamcafebar.com/ open 17:00 / close 26:00

Barunba is Indonesian for good wave.

Drinks from 짜500, smoke as much as you want inside!

Wash down the best Yakitori in town with our superior range of Japanese sake. We pride ourselves OPEN TILL LATE on exceptional customer service!

YAKITORI YOSAKU 170-50 Aza Yamada, Kutchan T: +81-(0)90-3406-6504 Open 20:00-03:00

170-138 Yamada, Kutchan-cho

Phone +81 136 23 4390 POWDER PERFECT

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Niseko Hanazono  Resort

 

www.hanazononiseko.com

Dec

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First tracks at Hanazono kick off with the Hanazono Powder Guides at 7:40am. It’s all downhill from there, on wide open runs dropping 1000m from the peak of Mount Annupuri. Three terrain parks, the only FIS approved half pipe in Hokkaido, and two covered Magic Carpets beef up the options for all riders great and small. Covered lifts with almost no queues and a fast, comfortable ride are capped off with excellent rental and retail facilities. Niseko International Snowsports School, Japan’s largest, is the place to head at Hanazono for private or group lessons. Or if you’re already ripping it up out there, the Hanazono Powder Guides will open the door to the area’s sensational backcountry runs.

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Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

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Half pipe

Night skiing


Niseko Niseko Village Dec

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niseko-village.com/en

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Rails, spines, waves and hits in the terrain park, along with runs stretching up to 5km and dropping down over 890m ensure skiers of all levels will have something to enjoy at Niseko Village. The slopes are sparsely populated, allowing for maximum skiing freedom. Night grooming and off-piste options offer exciting side adventures for strong skiers, and First Tracks Cat Skiing runs guided tours to jump the lif ts and enjoy the overnight powder build up. Budding snowboarders can try a guided tour with the RSS Niseko snow mobile facility, while those looking to brush up on their ski or board skills can join a lesson with an internationally certified instructor from Niseko Village Snow School.

Niseko Niseko Annupuri ©JNTO

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annupuri.info

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As well as rails, waves and a table-top jump setup, Annupuri has an enormous stretch of backcountry which provides endless hours of exhilarating skiing. Its longest run measures in at 4km, dropping 756m down the mountain. Annupuri also has a number of exciting ungroomed slopes, complemented by a stack of onsen, as well as barbecue and buffet restaurants waiting at the bottom - the ultimate way to wind dow n af ter an ac tion p acke d day. Boarding competitions and festivals throughout the Christmas and New Year season keep the buzz going. Snowshoeing is another popular activity at Annupuri, which involves a gondola ride to the summit, and a leisurely stroll back through the forest.

©Jun Kaneko

Snow depth

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Swap those skis for hiking boots, life jackets, or a bathing towel, and explore the Niseko region in the off season!

Looking forward to an action packed adventure in Niseko, you follow the directions to your hotel and discover that the town has mysteriously been replaced by an entity calling itself Kutchan! Who is this imposter? Well, it turns out that Niseko Village Resort, the heart of this outdoor adventure destination, is snugly under the administrative umbrella of the nearby town of Kutchan. The resort gets its name from Mt NisekoAnnupuri, and so does the real village of Niseko. But let’s get to the bottom of Kutchan first...

ko

Four seasons

Kutchan Summer makes the most of its brief allotment in Kutchan, providing a colourful bounty of flowers, lush greenery, and fresh farm produce. It is an outdoor paradise, attracting kayakers, climbers, and hikers. Head over to the information centre in Niseko Village to book yourself an adventure trip, or get the low down on where to go for a round of golf. The Hanazono Kutchan Music Festival happens over a weekend in July, and is well worth a look if you’re in town. It’s been going since 1990, and has J Tozanken

Just 3 minutes from the Grand Hirafu lifts! We organise discount tickets, and our family friendly services are in high demand! J

Pension Berg

191 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan Tel: 0136-22-5115

Email: yukara@gaea.ocn.ne.jp big-hokkaido.com/berg

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Next door to Yukara Niseko. Tel: 0136-23-4549

big-hokkaido.com/berg/sistershop.htm

G Yukara Niseko Souvenirs of Niseko & Hokkaido 191-31 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan Tel: 0136-23-4546

Guests have privileges at Tozanken, a tasty Asahikawa Ramen restaurant, and Yukara Niseko, our souvenir shop both just moments away. Walking distance to the hot spring, Japanese pubs and bars.


NISEKO FOUR SEASONS

developed a large following which draws jazz, popular, and classical musicians from afar. All the details are available in English through The Niseko Company, and Niseko Tourism. Otherwise, go straight to the Japanese festival website at www.hanazonomusicfes.com. Potatoes are another big deal for the people of Kutchan, who put in months of backbreaking work to produce mountains of them in the fertile farmland surrounding the town. Once its all over, they celebrate with massive taiko drumming and dance performances, floats, and fireworks. Officially known as the Kutchan Jaga-Matsuri, or Potato Festival, it happens in early August every year come rain or shine. Gosetsu Udon noodles are some of Kutchan’s most famous potato goodies, and a highly recommended hunger buster. The standard interpretation of udon noodles is composed of wheat flour. This is usurped from its position by potato flour in Kutchan, and creates a hearty finish to this Japanese classic.

Take in majestic views of the mountains at Konbu and Yukichichibu Hot Springs nearby, as well as Hotel Niseko Ikoino-Mura, and Hotel Niseko Alpen in the ski resort area. The Hilton Niseko Village is also well worth a soak, and its baths are open 22 hours a day. The indoor and outdoor baths are complemented by a pond full of colourful carp. Excellent seafood fresh from fisheries on the Shakotan peninsula, as well as rockmelon, corn, and other farm produce make mealtime something to look for ward to in Niseko. Much comes from environmentally friendly farms, many of which are open to visitors. Heading outdoors, many take the opportunity to have a game of golf at one of Niseko’s world class resorts, which are competitively priced. A great way to see the area at your own pace is to hire a bike and go exploring. When you’re done, book yourself on a rafting trip to cool off in the river and have a great time. Some of the most rewarding fishing in Japan is also available in Niseko, which can be discovered on a guided fly fishing trip. Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, take a hot air balloon ride!

Niseko Head south, and you’ll find a smaller version of Kutchan. Niseko retains a welcoming vibe, along with some more beautiful scenery and tasty food.

Cantik~チャンティ~ Health, beauty, relaxation

Next to Plat information centre TEL: 0136-55-5004

Italian Cafe Bleu Cielo

3F White Building, 1-8-3 Kita 2 Jo Nishi, Kutchan-Cho, Abuta-Gun, Hokkaido Phone: 0136-22-3255 | Email: bleucielo@sa7.gyao.ne.jp www.cafe-bleucielo.com/ | 11:00-15:00/18:00-22:00

Make www.gdayjapan.com.au your first stop... POWDER PERFECT

25


Niseko Area Map

Kutchan-cho Shiribetsu River JR Kutchan Station Kutchan Jaga-Matsuri

Hanazono Kutchan Music Festival

Hanazono Resort Grand Hirafu Mt Niseko Annupuri

Goshiki Hot Spring

Niseko Annupuri Mt Moiwa

Konbu Hot Spring

Yukichichibu Hot Spring

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ŠJNTO

Mt Yotei

JR Hirafu Station JR Hakodate Main Line

Niseko Village JR Niseko Station

DIRECTIONS Narita Airport

Kansai Airport

Airport Limousine Bus 75min 120min

Haneda Airport 90min New Chitose Airport

Chuo Bus, Donan Bus and Skybus 150min Niseko

POWDER PERFECT

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fu

www.furano-kankou.com

SKI AND SNOW

Furano’s resorts are no stranger to heavy falls of powder snow…

New Furano Prince Hotel Located on the slopes of Furano Ski Area, Furano’s premier hotel offers true ski-in / ski-out access. With multiple dining options and top class facilities your choice of accommodation in Furano couldn’t be simpler. The affordability of this special combination of location and luxury will also surprise you. For further information contact Scott Tovey:

Tel +81-167-22-1111 Fax +81-167-22-1189 Email furano-scott@princehotels.co.jp

2011/2012 winter special. Kids Ski Free, and Pay 5 nights Stay for 7 nights*. Conditions apply. Contact your travel agent for details. *Offer valid until August 31, 2011

Enjoy peaceful times surrounded by the nature of Furanui - Room and breakfast package. - A range of guest rooms from Western, Japanese or combined style to cottages are available to meet all kinds of requirements.

Hotel “Pension Furanui” Tel 0167 22 2480 13-15 Kitanomine-Cho, Furano E-mail furanui@furano.ne.jp

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Please make bookings and enquiries by e-mail!

All rooms have a bath and toilet A g o o d l o c a t i o n o n l y 5 minutes by walk from the Kitanomine Ski Ground.


Furano’s big drawcards say it all: authentic Japanese culture, world-class ski facilities, and a staggering eight meters of snow every year. Elite international snowboarders were in town for the 2007 World Cup, and a steadily growing stream of visitors has followed in their wake. With work now completed on a new expressway from Chitose, the island’s domestic airport, and direct flights from Tokyo to nearby Asahikawa on budget carrier Skymark Airlines in the pipeline, access to the area has never been easier. The slopes at Furano are characterised by length and spectacular views, with many family friendly options. The snow is among the driest in the Hokkaido area, and the weather, with sunny, blue skies, is perfect for being outdoors. Night skiing runs until 8:30pm on both sides of the Furano ski area. Fun back country day trips for powder-hungry skiers visiting the area include Kamui, Asahidake and Tokachidake, which are linked by shuttle buses. Transferable multi-day lift passes are also available for use at Kamui and Tomamu. Ten minutes away are the shops and restaurants of Furano, which transform the fresh local produce into a variety of delicious dishes. Furano Tourism Association is very active in organising events to keep visitors entertained during winter, many of which are

free to attend. Weekly cultural performances with live traditional music are held from mid January to February, the busiest part of the ski season. Presented by the local traditional performing arts association, the shows can feature anything from Japanese dancing to calligraphy, flower arranging, tea ceremony, and sword dancing. The Furano Theatre Factory is another culture hotspot in town during this part of the season, per forming productions by graduates from the famous Soh Kuramoto drama school. With more than 90 hotels and lodges combined in Furano and surrounds, accommodation needs for visitors are well catered for. These are linked up with services like the Lavender-go bus, which operates yearround and travels extensively between downtown Furano and the main ski areas. It includes services to the Biei area, and Asahikawa Airport – which is two hours in winter, or only an hour and a half in summer. Other key stops include the New Furano Prince Hotel, JR Furano station, and JR Asahikawa station. The Evening Downtown Shuttle Bus runs between the New Furano Prince Hotel, the Kitanomine Furano ski area, and downtown Furano from 5pm to 10pm between late December and late March.

1-35 A s a h i - C h o, F u r a n o H o k k a i d o Phone: +81 167 22 1777 Fax: +81 167 23 1070 Email: info@natulux.com

www.natulux.com

24 hour hospital only 5 minutes walk. Lift is 5 minutes on foot. Free parking is available.

Furano ski holiday at the North Country Inn Make your holiday choice simple: powder snow skiing is what it's all about. With hundreds of restaurants in vibrant Furano, this is the Japanese ski experience you have been looking for. Enjoy a spectacular view of the snow whilst having breakfast or experience our new Western-style dinner menu, complemented by our delicious homemade wine!

Mention this ad to receive dinner free on your first night!

All enquiries to:

www.northcountryinnfurano.com POWDER PERFECT

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Furano Furano Ski Resort Dec

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17:00-20:30

The quality of the powder and facilities a t Fu r a n o S k i R e s o r t i s e n d o r s e d b y i t s h o s t s t at u s f o r t h e S k i a n d Snowboarding World Cup on multiple occasions. The resort is divided into two zones, and has a combined selection of 24 courses. They cover over 25km of powder snow between them, and the lights are on for night skiing until 8:30pm. Runs are groomed immaculately, and a selection of black runs are left untouched for powder hounds to enjoy. The ropeway is not only the fastest in Japan, but also has a very large capacity, holding as many as 101 passengers. The cable car transports skiers 900m from the base area to the peak in only a couple of minutes.

Tsuru Apartments Only 5 minutes to the ski slope Ski Rental Pro Shops

Sportpia rental shops have expanded to four convenient Furano Snow School's dedicated locations in the ski area. You can instructors provide ski lessons walk in empty handed and be in English. skiing in no time!

Furano Snow School

P

30

+81 167 23 1618

W

Bookings: Phone & Fax: +81 167 22 1935 Email: sp-topia-furano@voice.ocn.ne.jp www.sportpia.co.jp

www.tsuru-apartments.com/

POWDER PERFECT

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Night skiing


Enjoy après ski in Furano Besides great skiing, restaurants and bars, come to Furano for Japanese culture, great fun for all ages!

Snow Night Fantasy “Furano Kan Kan Mura” www.skifurano.com

Furano Winter Village is open in the evenings in front of the New Furano Prince Hotel from Dec. to Mar. to showcase how people in snowy cold places like Furano enjoy its long winters. Attractions include the Ice Bar, snow sculptures, super tubing course, and others.

International Exchange www.furanotourism.com

Live Cultural Performances

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Live cultural performance nights feature local traditional music and dance performances. You can also experience Japanese calligraphy, origami and face painting.

Local high school students present Japanese tea ceremonies during the season in Kitanomine, walking distance from the ski slopes. Don’t miss the chance to have a friendly exchange of greetings with local teenagers!

If you are looking for a really sweet little Japanese town, you will find the exact answer in Furano! You will be sure to receive the warmest welcome here in this cold northern town!!


fu

www.furano-kankou.com

Four seasons

Unearth the natural, cultural, and gastronomic riches of Furano…

Furano’s Only Ski-front Luxury Apartment 40m to Gondola Terminal

www.freshpowder.com + 81 167 23 4738

Quality, self contained, accommodation www.furanolodge10.com email info@furanolodge10.com

Furano Alpine Travel We pride ourselves in our long-term presence in Furano and expert knowledge of the area. We specialise in: • Outdoor activities including Hot Air Ballooning, Trekking, Rafting, Fishing and more • Transportation services around Furano and Hokkaido • Accommodation, from Backpackers to hot-spring Hotels

Tel: +81 167 22 1311 Email: furano@alpn.jp

www.alpn.jp

Kumagera This intimate restaurant serves a variety of unique Japanese cuisine, including Sanzoku Nabe, duck and venison hot pot, tempura, and cheese tofu, just to name a few. Delicious Japanese sake and beers are also available. Open 7 days 11:30-Midnight 3-22 Hinode, Furano, Hokkaido Phone +81 167 39 2345 www.furano.ne.jp/kumagera/

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Travellers make the pilgrimage to Furano during the ski off season to enjoy a dazzling display of lavender fields, and delicious local produce. Daisetsuzan National Park, along with nearby rapids and canyons also brings in adventurers answering the call of the wild. No matter what their chosen sport is, visitors and locals alike are unanimous in their appreciation of the local hot springs. The Furano Prince Hotel provides a good soak near town, with a spacious lounge and masseuse at the ready. For a bath with a view of Furano’s famous lavender fields, visit Highland Furano. It also overlooks majestic mountains and forests, providing a remarkable bathing experience in any season. Furano is close to many small hot spring villages, which are well worth a day trip. Start with BieiShirogane, located a 90 minute drive away. Before you dive into the bath try one of the hiking trails, which pass the beautiful Shirahigenotaki waterfall. Tokachidake hot spring village is just a 30 minute drive from Furano. The town is also near Ryounkaku hot spring, which as the highest hot spring in the region at 1,280m above sea level, has a breathtaking panoramic view from the outdoor bath. Tokachidake and Ryounkaku are particularly spectacular in autumn, when the trees turn into breathtaking shades of red nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

Furano Wine House www.furano.ne.jp/winehouse Savour the best in Furano wine and local cuisine, while enjoying panoramic views from the Furano Wine House. Tel: (0167)23-4155 | Email: wine-house@furano.ne.jp | Open daily 11am-9pm (Last order 8.30pm)

and yellow. There are plenty of other attractions in and around Furano, which can be visited conveniently on the Kururu-go shuttle bus service during summer. The route includes Farm Tomita, which is famous for a brilliant carpet of lavender and other assorted flowers, as well as the Furano Cheese Factory, and Furano Winery. Summer in Furano is celebrated by a crowd of 5,000 with funny faces on their stomachs, dancing around in the main street for its unique Belly Button Festival in late July.

DINING BAR R'S Just a few steps from the ski resort Our specialty “Rice Gratin” is very popular among Aussie tourists Cozy atmosphere - Worth popping in just for drinks apres-ski!

Tel: 0167-22-1335

OPENING HOURS 11:30 - 22:00 (Last Order)

Enjoy our tasty dishes!

YBR 4-1 Yayoi-cho, Furano,

(Yellow Brick Road)

Hokkaido 076-0018

Phone: 0167-23-2280

www.ybr.co.jp

Make www.gdayjapan.com.au your first stop...

Fukuzushi is known for its gigantic sushi. Here you can enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine such as sashimi and tempura or Fukuzushi’s famous fried chicken and original ‘Potato Bowl’. This beautiful Japanese style restaurant is suitable for big parties.

Fukuzushi 1-24 Asahi, Furano, Hokkaido Japan Phone +81 167 23 2617 Open 11:00-21:30 Closed Mon POWDER PERFECT

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Furano Area Map

Furano Ski Resort Kitanomine Zone

Furano Ski Resort Furano Zone

The Furano Prince Hotel

New Furano Prince Hotel

DIRECTIONS Narita Airport

Kansai Airport

Airport Limousine Bus 75min 120min

Haneda Airport 100min Asahikawa Airport

Furano Bus (Lavender Go) 80min Furano

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Furano Cheese Factory


ŠJNTO

Biei-Shirogane hot spring village Shirahigenotaki waterfall Farm Tomita Tokachidake hot spring village Kamifurano region

Highland Furano

JR Furano Line

JR Nemuro Main Line Furano Winery

JR Gakuden Station

Frontier Furanui Furano River Belly Button Festival

Sorachi River Asahigaoka Park

Furano Town Centre JR Furano Station JR Nemuro Main Line

Furano Jam Garden Glass Forest Furano

POWDER PERFECT

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www.kamifurano.jp

rano SKI & SNOW

Kamifurano is right on the doorstep of sparsely populated, powder filled backcountry, and quality accommodation‌

Situated on the edge of Hokkaido’s magnificent Daisetsuzan National Park, the slopes around Kamifurano are blessed with a more powder than you can poke a ski pole at. Being able to shovel snow is a condition of residency in fact, with nightly falls of as much as 30cm commonplace during the long season from November to May. The bulk of what Kamifurano has to offer is raw, uncut backcountry skiing. Mount Furano and Mount Sandan are some of the new discoveries by international skiers visiting the area, and are

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KAMIFURANO SKI AND SNOW

an ideal nex t step for powder hounds outgrowing the boundaries of resor ts. The icing on the cake is that without any resor t developments, trees and other natural scenery will be the only objects to avoid as you fly down the mountain. The good news doesn’t stop there. Pensions and inns run by friendly locals lie within easy access to these areas, and many have their own hot springs plus transport to the slopes. Pensions are Japanese style bed and breakfasts, and while they can be smaller than inns, the friendly service is unparalleled. Add some tasty home cooking with fresh local ingredients, and you have a winner! Some names to look out for in hot spring and accommodation department are the Kamihoro Inn, Barden Kamifurano, Hakuginso, Ryounkaku, and Frontier Furanui. Hakuginso for example, is situated directly in front of the trailhead to Mt Tokachi, Mt Furano, and Mt Biei. The lodging has a very popular hot spring, which comes forth from the ground naturally preheated to a steaming 42 and 48 degrees! Strategically positioned boulders tastefully decorate the outdoor bath, which forms an oasis of warmth during the winter. The hot spring at Ryounkaku is also crawling distance from back country adventure, and has a

grandstand view over the surroundings from 1, 280 metres above sea level. Nothing b eats the tranquil view of snow capped mountains from a hot spring a f te r a g r e at d ay s skiing. H a v i n g s u c h a good selection of accommodation immediate to back country areas , K amif ur ano becomes an ideal base for an extended stay. The township is located slightly to the south of Hokkaido’s central domestic airport of Asahikawa, and can be reached by bus in just 40 minutes. Many of the local accommodation operators run shuttle buses of their own from there, or better still, directly from Asahikawa. Winter or summer, Mountain Guide Imai is the go to for a local’s tour of the nearby Daisetsuzan peaks. While Mt Furano stands at 1,912 metres, and Mt Sandan at 1,748 metres, their climate is similar to that of the 3,776 Mount Fuji due to a far northern latitude. Imai has been wandering around these mountains since his childhood, and runs flexible ski trips to their best back country spots. After spending seasons working as a Canadian ski guide, English is no problem and can be contacted through www7.plala.or.jp/MGI/ english.html.

POWDER PERFECT

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www.kamifurano.jp

Kamifurano offers a feast for the senses all year round…

Beer is a common feature on the itinerary of many a ski trip. And after the powder snow melts around Kamifurano in the off season, its fields begin to sprout with the hops and barley used to brew the region’s famous Sapporo Beer. Local farmers produce Furano Special, a distinct variety of hops known for its refreshing aroma and bitterness. Fields of lavender also surge forth from the ground in Kamifurano every summer, creating a beautiful carpet of colour which attracts visitors from all over. Kamifurano became the birthplace of lavender in Japan, when farmers planted their first crop from France in 1937. Today it has become a symbol of Hokkaido, and is enjoyed for its calming effect and therap eutic b enef it s for sleep, and visual splendour. Kamifurano pork is a buzzword to the tastebuds of many a local meat lover. The particularly sought after sagari, a rare portion of the diaphragm amounting to just 200-300g per animal, is in plentiful supply. The pigs are raised in a low stress

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o n a r Four seasons

environment on a special feed mix which includes wood vinegar. This mysterious ingredient improves livestock health and subsequently meat quality, a point verified by the large numbers of visitors to Kamifurano meat restaurants! Kamifurano is a short bus ride from the bathhouses and inns of Tokachidake hot spring village. Each spring has a different mix of minerals and ions, and a great view of the seasonal lanscapes. This adds to the fun of exploring them, and enjoying the different benefits they can have on your health. T h e other p o p ular p lace to e x p l o re is the Tokachidake mountain range itself. It lives up to its reputation as one of Japan’s 100 famous peaks with lush greenery, apocalyptic volcano -scapes, glaciers, birds and flowers. Kamifurano is just 40 minutes on the LavenderG o b u s f r o m A s a h i k aw a Domestic Airp or t, and 3 hours from New Chitose Airport on Japan Railways via Asahikawa.


Tokachidake Onsen Yumoto Ryounkaku

Nature’s beauty is above the clouds. Ryounkaku is a hot spring inn, situated at an altitude of 1280 meters in the highest part of Hokkaido. Enjoy the superb beauty and power unique to the mountains from the windows of all our rooms, which are surrounded by a magnificent 360°panorama.

www.ryounkaku.com T: (0167)39-4111 F: (0167)39-4112 Tokachidake Onsen, Kamifurano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido

Kamihoro Inn

Gaze across a sea of clouds from our hot spring, 1200m above sea level. You can enjoy back country skiing just around the corner!

Enjoy the tingle of carbon bubbles in our pure 31°C hot spring and 42 °C heated bath!

Frontier Furanui Onsen Doubles with two meals from ¥7500. Self-contained units are also available for extended stays, and our staff can respond to email enquiries in English.

www.furanui.com

4-4-25 Shinmachi, Kami Furano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido Tel: (0167)45-9779 Fax: (0167)45-6141

• Free coach pickup from Sapporo and Asahikawa on alternate days • Transport provided to Furano town centre and nearby ski slopes • Wi-fi, ski storage, drying and laundry facilities • Special discount on extended winter stays • Guests receive a complimentary glass of sake with dinner

Kamihoro Inn

Email: kamihoro@arata-group.com http://tokachidake.com/kamihoro/

Fukiage Onsen

Hoyou Center Hakuginso Hakuginso’s 100% natural hot spring is the best reward you can give yourself. We cater for guests on day bathing trips, and our accommodation includes cooking facilities. Hakuginso is equipped with a multi-purpose outdoor bath, surrounded by nature. Enjoy bathing both in the hot spring and the forest, energising your mind and body with the colours of each season.

T: +81-(0)167-45-4126 F: +81-(0)167-45-3251 Tokachidake, Kamifurano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido

Revitalize yourself in the milky waters of our hidden valley retreat.

Hutte Barden Kamifurano Tokachidake Onsen Kami Furano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido Tel: (0167)45-2225 Fax: (0167)45-2085 Email: b-k-onsen@topaz.plala.or.jp

Skiing on Mt Furano? Then look no further for the finest accommodation a stones throw from the slopes. Refresh under the stars in our outdoor hot spring après-ski, and treat yourself to some Furano Wagyu, Kamifurano Pork and other famous local produce right here in this Furano institution.

www.barden-kamifurano.co.jp POWDER PERFECT

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Tomamu  Hoshino Resort Tomamu 

 

www.snowtomamu.jp

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

120cm 170cm 185cm 170cm 120cm

Beg

Int

Adv

30%

40%

30%

4.5km

1

9

16:00–19:00

The powder at Hoshino Resort Tomamu is famously fresh and dry, thanks to a teeth-chattering average winter temperature of -13°C. Occasional diamond dust, or frozen ice crystals in the air add a surreal dimension to the slopes of the resort, which are complemented by a sizeable off-piste area. It is the perfect location for Tomamu's ice village, a highlight of the resort open in time for a white Christmas every year. Japan’s Olympic athletes enjoy training sessions on the half pipe in Tomamu’s snowboarding park, which stands at an imposing height. The park also has a great selection of rails, fun boxes and kickers, and is kept pristine by a team of permanently stationed diggers. The Advanced Skier Liberation Area at Tomamu is the place to head if you prefer to carve lines over naturally sculptured terrain. The area opens up hiking access across Mt Tomamu, and skiers can make the most of the daily powder falls with guided trips by CAT or helicopter. Two feet and a heartbeat are all that is needed to enjoy a special area of pure powder snow just over the peak of Mt Tomamu however. It is the reward for those willing to hike 300 metres further from the top of the lift, climbing up an extra 150m in altitude. The trek is well worth it though, as this snow can only be enjoyed by those who continue past the summit. Tree runs are one of the charms of skiing the deep powder snow in Tomamu's off-piste area. The resort works to help skiers return safely by outlining dangerous sections, and

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requiring the use of helmets. Make your way to the ice bar afterwards, to cool down with drinks in specially created ice cups. The bar is part of an ice village, which is newly rebuilt each season. Guests can also grab a bite in the ice café, stay in the ice hotel, and even get married in the ice church! Tomamu has an Atomic Station rental shop, which operates in tandem with the famous Austrian ski brand. Guests choose their equipment from a selection of the latest carving skis, and fat skis perfectly suited to the powder conditions at Tomamu. Atomic Station Tomamu also has a special boot fitting service. After ensuring your boots are just the right fit, staff demonstrate the correct way to wear them out on the slopes. Atomic Station Tomamu is located in the Resort Centre, which also has comfortable restaurants, and a crèche for parents with young children. It’s the place to head when you’re ready for a break. The Tomamu Sk i and Snowboard Academy provides instruction in all things snow, from giving tiny tots their first ski lesson, to demonstrating the art of skiing in off-piste areas. Lessons are available privately or in groups and are matched to suit the abilities of participants, maximising training to the highest level. The Galleria Tower Hotel is Tomamu's most popular luxury hotel, and features a jacuzzi in every room. Tastefully blending with the natural surroundings on the outside, the interior is spaciously designed with just four rooms on each floor. The hotels at Tomamu have tast y top -f loor restaurants, with beautiful panoramic views of the resort area. Hal, a new buffet restaurant showcases a selection of fifty different dishes. Like the many other restaurants at Tomamu, Hal features the freshest in Hokkaido farm produce, and is a delight for the tastebuds. Visitors to Tomamu enjoy a wide range of cuisine, from authentic Japanese, to Italian and French. Tomamu also boasts Japan’s biggest indoor wave pool, in its Viz Spa House. The pool is housed in a

glass enclosure, which fills with natural sunlight and brings the greenery into the backdrop. If the spa in your ensuite is not enough, Viz Spa House has a jet spa with no less than 550 jet bubbles for an invigorating massage. An elegant outdoor bath also provides guests with the perfect way to relax. Hoshino Resort Tomamu is just an hour away from New Chitose domestic airport by train. It is also connected via a direct bus service, which requires a reservation in advance.

Unkai Terrace T his summer c af é with a t wis t won the Jap an Association of Travel Agents Grand Prize in 2011. It is perched 1000m above sea level near the summit of Mt Tomamu, but no hiking boots are necessary to visit, thanks to its convenient position next to the winter gondola lift. Diners enjoy their food and drinks while marvelling at the ocean of clouds spreading across the horizon. The Hidaka and Tokachi Mountain ranges glimmer in the distance like islands, painting a picture of an otherworldly place. POWDER PERFECT

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A snow resort filled with smiling families.

Make beautiful memories for your precious family in the extraordinary winters of northern Japan.

Located right at the ski slope! The only children's ski adventure park in Hokkaido. Best half pipe in Japan! Evenings spent at our fantastic ice village. An unforgettable winter experience with your family.

www.snowtomamu.jp

TOMAMU

Aza, Naka-Tomamu, Shimukappu-Mura, Yufutsu-Gun, Hokkaido 079-2204 Phone : +81-167-58-1111(general inquiries) +81-167-58-1122(direct reservation line) Fax : +81-167-57-2031 search Email : yoyaku@slowtomamu.co.jp


A K A H

www.hakubatourism.com

SKI AND SNOW

Jump on a bullet train to Hakuba, and find out why it’s one of Japan’s biggest winter sports destinations…

The rush still hits you on the 1998 Winter Olympics observation deck at Hakuba, looking down over the jumpers’ flight area. The games are now frozen in time at the Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium and the Winter Olympic Memorial Museum, but the powder is still as fine and plentiful as ever. Hakuba is highly regarded as a world- class destination, and is home to a cluster of ski resorts including Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba 47, Happo One, Iwatake, and Tsugaike Kogen. Between them, the resorts account for an impressive 200 plus runs through the towering Japan Alps. Snowfall over the

winter months checks in at more than 10 metres, and the vertical drop hits 1,180 metres. This means good times for all skiers! The premium snow and spectacular scenery of Hakuba make it the per fec t place to go one step further, and head out on a back country ski tour beyond the resorts. Tours run by dedicated, experienced and English speaking operators provide an opp or tunit y for ever yb ody, from complete novices to seasoned powder hounds, to experience the liberation of carving fresh tracks deep in the mountains. Back in the resorts, daredevil boarders and

Let's visit & Cheer up Japan!

SACHI TOURS

Sachi Tours | Phone: (02) 9275 9645 Email: sachi@nta.com.au | www.nta.com.au/i_sachi/

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HAKUBA SKI AND SNOW

skiers alike will be pleased to see a solid selection of pipes, rails and fun boxes. The bullet train puts Nagano, the prefectural capital within easy reach of Tokyo and Osaka, from where it is only a one hour drive to Hakuba. Buses also travel to Hakuba from Nagano station. Despite its reputation as a spectacular tourist destination, Hakuba remains a small, friendly town. Japanese people have long travelled to the area, and more and more foreign travellers are beginning to seek out its beauty as well. Hakuba is complemented by accommodation to suit every taste, be it a luxury five star hotel, budget b ack p ack ing

.com

hostel or a more authentic Japanese experience in one of the ryokan hotels, pensions, or minshuku inns. Furthermore, a great range of quality Japanese food, coupled with South American, European, and Chinese ensures excitement on the dinner plate. Soba noodles made with fresh water and buckwheat from Hakuba are a particular culinary highlight. The fresh mountain water of Hakuba also translates to some great tasting local sake, which visitors should not pass up the opportunity to try at a Japanese izakaya bar! The Genki-go shuttle bus is the way to get to these places, and runs each day from late afternoon to late night in season. The bus also runs between the Happo One and Hakuba Goryu resorts to give visitors the best in night skiing, while also accessing the restaurants and bars in town. Tickets can be bought in advance from hotels or shops in the village. Visitors to Hakuba should also make use of the great value Hakuba All Mountain Pass, otherwise known as a Happy 7, which is valid for access to one of the 7 resorts per day. A 2 day Happy 7 (Adult ¥8500, Child ¥4900) is valid for 2 out of 3 days, a 3 day (Adult ¥12500, Child ¥7200) is good for 3 out of 5. Guests staying in the resort get a discount of ¥500.

Operated by:

Tel +81 (0)261-75-5360 Fax +81 (0)261-75-5361

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Hakuba Hakuba Goryu Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

150cm 230cm 320cm 305cm 130cm

  Beg

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www.hakubagoryu.com/e

1

12

18:00-21:30

The 23 courses at Hakuba Goryu offer something for all skiers. Those just starting out will be able to stay well within their comfor t zones around the base, while the more confident should head up to 1676m on the lift for a bigger adrenalin shot. The steepest runs veer down to 40 degrees. Back country campaigners point their skis in the opposite direction at this point, to explore the great beyond. Seasoned guides are highly recommended, and a good place to make first contact is the Evergreen Outdoor Center. Time your visit to Hakuba Goryu and enjoy some of the great gourmet and cultural events, which are rounded off in fanfare and fireworks every March with the Hakuba Goryu Snow Festival.

Make www.gdayjapan.com.au your first stop... 46

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e In In the the Japanese Japanese Alps Alps at at the the heart heart of of Japan Japan e 23 AMAZING RUNS for for all all levels levels of of

skiing skiing e Extensive December to early May season Extensive December to early May season e WORLD-CLASS powder powder snow snow e Breathtaking, Breathtaking, 360-DEGREE

PANORAMAS

e Abundance Abundance of of hot hot springs springs

e 270 ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS (hotels, (hotels, pensions, pensions, B B& & Bs) Bs)

e

For information on the ski fields: Hakuba Goryuu Ski Fields www.hakubagoryu.com/ Hakuba47 Ski Field www.hakuba47.co.jp

e

e

e

e

e


Hakuba Hakuba 47 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

80cm 155cm 275cm 220cm 100cm

  Beg

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30%

www.hakuba47.co.jp

6.4km

1

5

Hakuba 47’s big draw card is its massive R-4 snow park. There’s plenty of room for boarders and free ride skiers to carve some nice lines over the fun boxes, rails and kickers. The centre piece is a 4.5m high half pipe, which at a length of 100m, has space for everyone to get some vertical action. The steepest slope out on the mountain, dropping down to 32 degrees, will seem much mellower afterwards! Beginners also receive a 3.6km chunk of the powder at Hakuba 47. Taking advantage of some lessons at one of the resort’s ski schools is a great way to hone your ability to handle the steep valleys and wide open tracks. Otherwise, try some snow rafting, snow shoe trekking or snow mobiling!

We're looking forWard to your visit as alWays this year at sounds like Cafe! Come and enjoy hakuba! - shop info address 504-3020, Echo land, Hakuba, Japan Web http://www.sounds-like-cafe.com

Make www.gdayjapan.com.au your first stop...

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Hakuba Happo-One  Dec

Jan

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Apr

160cm 210cm 235cm 195cm 170cm

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www.hakuba-happo.or.jp/en

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T h e s l o p e s o f H a p p o - O n e h o s te d downhill and slalom races during the 1998 Winter Olympics, and are custom built for speed and excitement. Home to Japan’s most expansive stretch of powder above the tree line, it is the ideal place to clock up some serious vertical miles. More than half of the terrain is for experienced riders, and courses extend for up to a modest 8km down the 1831m peak. Beginners are by no means left out though, with their own section in the terrain park, and some mellow runs near the base. The magic carpet escalator is popular with kids, and Happo-One also has crèche facilities. Navigating your way around is especially easy, thanks to the resort’s English Information Centre.

As Hakuba,s No.1 Rental service SPICY RENTALS will provide for your winter gear needs!!

Bob Marry Hair and Nail Salon

- Biggest ski rental provider in Hakuba, with plenty of stores - Strong store network covering the entire area - Great range of gear, from kids to king size

SPICY RENTALS Hakuba, Nagano P +81-261-72-2858 E info@spicy.co.jp

http://www.spicy.co.jp/english/

Experience Japanese culture with our Kimono portrait package, and take home the perfect memory of your trip. Includes makeup and hair styling. E:

bobmarry-bridal@heart.ocn.ne.jp

HAKUBA WINDY LODGE WAGYU KOBEYA www.windy-kobeya.com

Wadano Area 50

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Western Convenience Japanese Heart

•large rooms with ensuite bath •hotel hot spring, jacuzzi, sauna •heart of Happo, minutes away from gondola and Happo Bus Terminal •friendly, personalized service

Hakuba Terrain Japanese Powder

•epic terrain, spread over 9 resorts •legendary Japanese powder!

Black Bear Properties Self Catering - Self Contained Luxury Accommodation in Hakuba

www.altitudehakuba.com

www.wadanohousehakuba.com

www.hakuba-sumivilla.com

www.hakubacottage.com

www.hakubaforesthouse.com

www.blackbearproperties.com or Tel 81-261-85-0850 /81-90-9183-2499 POWDER PERFECT

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Hakuba Iwatake  Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

100cm 150cm 160cm 160cm

Apr -

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www.hakuba.jp/iwatake/en

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14

An impressive 360 degree panorama unfolds from the gondola station on the summit of Iwatake, amidst the towering peaks of Hakuba. Families and first timers will enjoy the resort’s variety of gently curving slopes, which still offer quality powder and scenery. The family friendliness also extends to include a crèche. On the other hand, Iwatake is balanced with some very advanced slopes used for alpine skiing exams, which will test the mettle of seasoned riders. Watching snowboarders battle it out in the February technical contest is one of the resort’s top events. Tasty restaurants and a rest area, rounded off with a hot spring make Iwatake a worthy contender on anyone’s ski itinerary.

Hakuba Tsugaike  Kogen Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

190cm 230cm 260cm 295cm 280cm

  Beg

50%

Int

Adv

30% 20%

4.6km

1

www.tsugaike.gr.jp

22

17:00-21:00

Tsugaike Kogen covers an impressive 155 hectares, and has facilities which make it accessible to everyone. The ski school is a favoured port of call for beginners, who enjoy improving their skills in the gentle courses around the base of the resor t. Those with more experience under their belt will be headed for the plentiful steeper sections, and if that’s not quite enough, a helicopter skiing adventure out into the back country will bring things to the next level. Otherwise, there’s the twists and turns of the snowboarding park. The base of the resort has a child minding service, plenty of restaurants, and importantly hot springs to put the finishing touches on a great day of powder skiing.

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untry o c k c a b a b u k a H Dave Enright

Director, Evergreen Outdoor Center

Hakuba seemed to be in the spotlight last year for professional free riders from all over the globe. We saw a new film crew each week from North and South America, and Europe come to explore the steep and deep powder in the forests and the big bowls of the Northern Japan Alps. A few things that all of these pros had in common were a love and respect for the mountains, lots of backcountry experience, and they all hired local guides. They did this not because they didn't know what they were doing, but because they were unfamiliar with the terrain and the stability of the snow pack, and wanted professional guidance to the best spots.    From December 20th through the end of January 2011, there was hardly a day when you could not find powder in or just off the resorts. Temperatures didn't

climb above zero in the valley until mid February. When the snows finally did stop, the skies cleared and there before us, in all their glory, were the Hakuba peaks. Perfect views, good stability, and great snow up high meant trips into the expansive Hakuba backcountry were where it was at. After a mid season dry spell we were pleasantly

©Bill Glude

Lion Adventure Hakuba Are you ready for a dramatic and exciting adventure? Then join us for snow mobiling, hot air ballooning and more!

hakuba.lion-adventure.com E: hakuba@lion-adventure.com T: +81-261-72-5061 3020-567 Hokujo, Hakuba Village Kita Azumi-Gun, Nagano 399-9301

Avalanche Restaurant & Bar Our cheese fondue is a hit on the menu. Watch us prepare it while you wait, and dig in!

Open: 16:00-23:00 T: 0261-75-1677 836-125 Misorano, Hokujo Hakuba Village, Kita Azumi-Gun, Nagano 399-9301

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p e c tive y : a 2 011 retro s surprised when the end of Februar y brought cold northerlies and great powder once again all through March. Unfortunately, however, the rapid temperature change and healthy dumps of fresh snow brought with it some of the most dangerous avalanche conditions of the year. There were incidents almost every day in the out of bounds side country areas at Goryu, Happo and Tsugaike. Unfortunately, I believe people became just a little too laissez faire with the great snow stability of the early and mid season packs, and possibly a bit too amped up with pros such as Jeremy Jones and Xavier De La Rue doing sick lines across the valley earlier in the season.  Then the amazing season that we were having came to a rapid halt for many on March 11th, the day of the Tohoku size 9 earthquake and the devastating tsunami that followed. I remember the day well as I was instructing an AST2 avalanche awareness course. The stability was poor, and I moved my group safely back down low angle lines to a point close to Tsugaike resort where we dug pits, studied the snow pack and practiced avalanche rescue drills when we felt the ground shake beneath us. It was not until we reached the valley bottom that we heard of the destruction from the great tsunami and three deaths in Hakuba due to an avalanche involvement. In the wake of March 11 much of Japan's east coast

was crippled and a greater concern became apparent, that of the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant. Most foreign visitors proceeded to leave the great snow conditions and leave Japan. For those who stayed in Hakuba there was still close to a month of great powder skiing in the Alpine backcountry until spring finally struck and touring in fine weather persisted in to mid May. The season o f 2 0 11 w i l l n o t b e f o r g o t t e n a ny tim e s o o n . I t w as definitely a season that makes use give praise for what we h ave a n d r e sp e c t for the great energy that is nature.  ©Bill Glude

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Hakuba Valley Japan Northern Alps

Hotel Information Hakuba Tokyu Hotel eeeee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-3001 Fax:+81(0)261-72-5349 http://www.hakuba-r.tokyuhotels.co.jp Mail:hakuba-r.ro@tokyuhotels.co.jp

Spa Hotel Taigakukan eeee Phone:+81(0)261-72-2075 Fax:+81(0)261-72-4347 http://www.taigakukan.jp Mail:info@taigakukan.jp

Highmount Hotel eee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-6114 Fax:+81(0)261-72-4635 http://www.highmount.com Mail:yo98-mail@highmount.com

Hakuba Hotel Ougiya eee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-7500 Fax:+81(0)261-72-3355 http://www.hakubahotel.com Mail:info@hakubahotel.com

Hotel La Neige Higashikan eeeee Phone:+81(0)261-72-7111 Fax:+81(0)261-72-7112 http://www.laneige-higashikan.com Mail:info@laneige-higashikan.com

Terry Hotel eee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-5070 Fax:+81(0)261-72-5027 http://www.hakubaterry.com Mail:info@hakubaterry.com

info@hakubatourism.com

HAPPO ONE SKI RESORT The XVIII Winter Olympic Games Venue

Hotel La Neige Honkan eeee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-5211 Fax:+81(0)261-72-3855 http://www.laneige-honkan.com Mail:hakuba@laNeige-honkan.com

Hotel Hakuba Hifumi

eeee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-8411 Fax:+81(0)261-72-2057 http://www.hakubahifumi.jp Mail:info@hakubahifumi.jp

Villa Hakuba

eee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-7211 Fax:+81(0)261-72-6006 http://www.villahakuba.com Mail:v.hakuba@sweet.ocn.ne.jp

Gakuto Lodge eee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-2264 Fax:+81(0)261-72-6292 http://www.geocitiesjp/hakuba_gakuto Mail:mailgakuto@ybb.ne.jp

Hakuba Yamano Hotel

eee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-8311 Fax:+81(0)261-72-8312 http://www.hakuba-yamanohotel.com Mail:info@hakuba-yamanohotel.com

Petit Hotel AMAC ee

Phone:+81(0)261-72-5240 Fax:+81(0)261-72-2979 http://www3.ocn.ne.jp/~amac Mail:p-amac@almond.ocn.ne.jp

www.hakubatourism.com


www.hakubatourism.com

HA

Four seasons

Discover what lies beneath the snow of Hakuba‌

Mountain biking, rafting and kayaking are all par for the course around the mountains of Hakuba, which become a lush green paradise after the winter snows. The 3.5km stretch inside its Daisekkei, or Big Snow Valley, is famous for colourful blooms of native Japanese flowers, 600m above sea level. Further exploration to 2060m on the HappoOne Nature Study Trail leads to Happo-Ike pond, which offers the treats of flowering Hellebore, Five Petalled Aven, and Japanese Scabiosa during July and August. The Alps Daira Nature Trail, and the Hakuba 47 Kamoshika Trail also yield many interesting natural

wonders. Get ready for even more colour on the hike to Tsugaike Nature Garden. This expansive highland swamp sits at an altitude of 2000m, and is accessible by boardwalk from the end of the Tsugaike Kogen ropeway. Camping out to enjoy the views of the rising and setting sun in the Alps is a highlight of the warmer months in Hakuba, and tents and sleeping bags are available for hire from camp sites in the area. Equally, if not more enjoyable are canoe trips to see the natural habitat of lake fireflies from Lake Aokiko. What goes up must come down, and this can be done paragliding POWDER PERFECT

57


in style on a guided trip from the school at Hakuba. After returning somewhat closer to sea level, the first port of call for most is a hot spring. Outside of the hotels and traditional Japanese accommodation, Katakuri Juronoyu hot spring has baths with a mild mineral content, including sodium chloride - great for toning your skin. The traditional Japanese Ryujin Obuya hot spring in the Goryu area has indoor and outdoor baths, or try the muscle-soothing cleansing alkaline waters of Mimizuku-noyu. Spectacular views of the mountains from indoors are included! Kurashita-noyu and Tenjin-noyu hot springs are also well worth a look, as are the relaxing and free foot spas around town. Once you’ve refreshed, proceed to Hakuba’s wide array of restaurants and bars. Don’t forget to try Hakuba Soba, the region's famous buckwheat noodle dish. The buckwheat is harvested from Hakuba's immaculate fields, which become ski slopes in winter. The noodles are fragrant and glossy, and can be eaten chilled or hot with a

58

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soy-based broth. In autumn, a Soba Festival is held at the soba restaurants to celebrate the harvest. Hot Tempura Soba, and chilled Sansai (mountain vegetable) are two special favourites. Exploring ancient temples and museums, and experiencing Japanese arts and crafts are side adventures well worth including in a trip to Hakuba. Start with the art in Hakuba Saegusa Museum, which houses over 100 drawings of the Hakuba landscape by famous Japanese painters. The displays and memorabilia at the local Memorial Hall keep the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics frozen in time. A subsequent ride on the chair lift in the resort will get you to the top of the ski jump area used by athletes at the games, where you can dizzily assess your gold medal prospects above the 120m jumper's path.

Phoenix Hotel

ACCOMMODATION WITH STYLE IN THE HEART OF THE JAPANESE ALPS

Choose from a contemporar y blend of east meets west with elegant Japanese suites, western rooms or self-contained luxury chalets with, private steam saunas, Japanese baths, complimentary ski resort shuttles and heart felt service. The Phoenix Hotel signature restaurant Mimi’s welcomes, The Age Good Food Guide two hat Victorian chef, Michael Ryan from Beechworth’s Provenance Restaurant as Executive Chef for the coming Japanese winter. “Ryan is a champion of local produce” The Australian newspaper It is all the special little things we do at the Phoenix that makes the difference. Phoenix Hotel Hakuba 4690-2 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano-ken 399-9301, Japan t + 81 (0) 261-72-4060, f +81 (0)261-72-5030 e info@phoenixhotel.jp, w phoenixhotel.jp POWDER PERFECT

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HAKUBA Area Map Mt Happo

Happo-One Alps Daira Nature Trail

Hakuba 47 Winter Olympics Memorial Hall Hakuba Saegusa Museum

Hakuba Goryu Hakuba Katakuri Juro-noyu Hot Spring

JR Oito Line Tenjin-noyu Hot Spring Hakuba Highland Snow Park JR Iimori Station

JR Kamishiro Station Hakuba Ryujin Obuya Hot Spring Lake Aokiko

©Nagano Prefecture/©JNTO

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©Nagano Prefecture/©JNTO


Tsugaike Nature Garden

Tsugaike Kogen ropeway

Tsugaike Kogen

Iwatake Kurashita-noyu Hot Spring

Mt Asama JR Hakuba Oike Station

Mimizuku-noyu Hot Spring JR Hakuba Station

DIRECTIONS Narita Airport

Kansai Airport JR Line 51min

JR Narita Express 60min

Shin Osaka Station

Tokyo Station

JR Bullet Train 52min

Nagano Shinkansen (Asama) 110min

JR Chuo Saisen Line 173min

Nagoya Station

Nagano Station Alpico Express Bus 60min Hakuba

POWDER PERFECT

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Nozawa Onsen Resort Snow 

 

www.nozawaski.com/winter/en

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

95cm 210cm 300cm 275cm 200cm

Beg

Int

Adv

40%

30%

30%

10km

2

18

17:00-20:00

Nozawa Onsen is a respected elder among Japanese ski resorts. It is a 1924 vintage, and has matured exceptionally to provide riders with 36 diverse courses of fresh powder. International athletes carved up its slopes during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, and return frequently for FIS and Interski tournaments. The resort is also proud to have produced many of Japan’s own Olympic skiers. Nozawa Onsen covers 297 hectares in Nagano Prefecture’s sensational Kogen National Park, and courses total more than 50km, over a 1,085m vertical drop. The longest run is a 10km endurance tester. It also has a mogul slope, and a terrain park for freeriders. A spanking new half pipe has just been added to the park in 2011, to go with the fun boxes, rails and kickers. 3.5m tall, 110m long, and 4m wide, it has the potential for some nice air time. Despite its popularity, Nozawa Onsen remains a relaxed, friendly village of less than 5,000. The ski resort was no overnight success, and has earned its status through the tireless efforts of the Nozawa Onsen Ski Club. 23 kimono-clad members held the club’s inaugural meeting in 1923, embarking on a grand vision to promote the newlyintroduced sport of skiing, and develop their village in the process. This story, together with the history of skiing in Japan is preserved in the Japan Museum of Skiing at Nozawa Onsen, along with a collection of ski memorabilia.

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nsen NozFour seasons

nozawakanko.jp/english

Unwind in the soothing waters and enjoy the culture of this rustic hot spring village...

A cloud of steam perpetually hangs over the small village of Nozawa Onsen. The locals are faced with the stressful task of choosing one of 13 different hot springs to bathe in each evening, each with a different combination of healing minerals. They also enjoy the services of Ogama, the hottest spring at a searing 90 degrees Celcius. It has naturally assumed the role of a kitchen, used for boiling vegetables and eggs each day. The Oyu hot spring is Nozawa Onsen’s most symbolic, housed in a masterpiece of medieval Edo Period architecture. All of the hot springs in the village have been lovingly preserved by the local people, under their Yu-Nakama volunteer stewardship system for centuries. The village also has a fantastic selection of traditional Japanese accommodation, of course

complete with private hot spring baths. The Dosojin Fire Festival, held in Nozawa Onsen on January 15 every year, is fanatical enough to award it the distinction of being one of Japan’s top three fire festivals. All of its 42 year old men are herded atop a giant pyre of beech wood, which the villagers subsequently do their best to set ablaze. The structure is a special shrine, which is built collectively by 100 villagers each year. The only hope these men have is the 25 year old men, who form a ring of inebriated resistance around it. 25 and 42 are traditionally considered to be unlucky for men in Japan, which gains them their unenviable positions. The villagers attack the shrine with torches from a bonfire lit nearby, and an intense struggle ensues. The 42 year olds usually come down from their perch after about an hour, and everybody proceeds to immolate the shrine as an offering to the gods for peace, prosperity and a good harvest in the coming year. Getting to Nozawa Onsen is quick and painless. The bullet train connects Tokyo to Nagano in 90 minutes, from where a local train (60 min) or bus will take you the rest of the journey. POWDER PERFECT

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Stake your claim to our premium powder!

Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort has historically been at the forefront of skiing in Japan, turning out many of the country’s Olympic athletes. Skiers have as many as 36 courses to choose from, all heavily layered with powder snow throughout the long season from November to May. It is the perfect place for all types of ski trips, from an intense snowboarding session to a family day out.

Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort 7653 Toyosato, Nozawa Onsen Village Shimotakai-gun Nagano Prefecture 389-2502 Phone: 0269-85-3166 Email: info@nozawaski.com

The ultimate après-ski recharge awaits at Nozawa Onsen....

Nozawa Onsen is the place to visit in Nagano for the best in traditional Japanese hot spring inns, and public baths. The town has 13 public baths scattered throughout, which are all 100% pure natural hot spring water. Management of the baths is well organised, and they are kept meticulously clean for the locals and visitors to enjoy each day. Locals welcome visitors to Nozawa Onsen, and are always ready for a friendly chat!

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Nozawa Onsen Tourism Association Please contact us 8:30-18:00 7 days Phone: 0269-85-3155 Email: tour@nozawakanko.jp POWDER PERFECT


www.myoko.tv

Everything’s going downhill at one of Japan’s oldest resorts…

©Grant Gunderson

Myoko Kogen is a ski resort area at the base of the 2, 454m Mt Myoko, in Niigata Prefecture on Japan’s mid east coast. The varied terrain, and deep powder of Akakura, Suginohara, Ikenotaira, Seki, Myoko Ski Park, and Kyukamura Myoko resorts make Myoko a worthy destination for riders of all styles and abilities. Seven hot springs await at the bottom of the slopes, with different mineral content, and colours ranging from black clay, to reddish-brown and milky white. Ak akura was the f ir s t sk i resort to open at Myoko, in 1937. It was also one of the first to open in Japan, and enjoys 14 metres of snow on average every season. Mt Myoko, the main peak, is one of the 100 Famous Mountains of Japan, and has views right out to the Japan Sea coast from the summit. Today Akakura has become the twin resorts of Akakura Kanko, and Akakura Onsen. They are interconnected, and offer 32 courses suited to all levels. Suginohara has an 8.5

kilometre run and lovely views of nearby Lake Nojiri, as well as Mt Fuji in the distance on a clear day. On the other hand, the slopes at Myoko Ski Park, and Kyukamura Myoko range from just 7 to 16 degrees. They are the perfect place to take it easy, and lodges are situated a short distance away. Boarders will want to check out the park at Ikenotaira, which is up there with the best in Japan. A local group of pros refine the jumps and slopestyle sections each year, making it a premium location to take flight. Access to Myoko starts with a bullet or local train ride to Nagano City, in Nagano Prefecture. From this point, either take the shuttle bus direct from Nagano Station, or transfer to the Shinetsu Line to Myoko Kogen Station. The trip takes about 40 minutes, and the ski areas are another 10 away. The shuttle bus is perfect if you have a lot of gear but requires a reservation, which can be made through www.myoko.tv.

©Grant Gunderson

POWDER PERFECT

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www.shigakogen.gr.jp

Shiga Kogen

Slice your way through the powder of this expansive institution…

Shiga Kogen comprises of 21 interconnected ski areas across altitudes of 1,400m to 2,300m, amidst the peaks of Joshinetsu Kogen National Park in Nagano Prefecture. About 80 kilometres of groomed runs, stretching for up to 6 kilometres, make it Japan’s biggest ski resort. Seventy percent of these runs are intermediate to advanced terrain, and featured in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Situated high above sea level close to the Japan Sea coast, Shiga Kogen is well exposed to heavy falls of powder snow from Siberian weather fronts, which cover it from November to early May. Access to the resort’s network of 71 lifts, gondolas, and ropeways is simplified with one pass, which is also valid on shuttle bus services. Japanese Snow Monkeys bathing in natural hot springs are a short walk from parts of Shiga Kogen, which creates a perfect ski diversion. Follow their lead, and try it yourself in the nearby hot spring villages of Shibu Onsen, and Yudanaka Onsen. Nagano Station is the first stop on the journey to Shiga Kogen, which is accessible by bullet train, local train, or bus, depending on time and budget. A direct bus service to the resort departs from platforms 3 and 4 each day, and takes about an hour.

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Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park 20 0 resident monkeys play together in the Jigokudani valley outdoor hot spring all year round, and use it to shelter from an average winter temperature of -10 °C. Locals provided immense relief to the monkeys when they built the bath in 1964, liberating them from having to huddle around fissures of steaming water to keep warm over winter. The Snow Monkey Park is in Yamanouchi-machi, the base town of Shiga Kogen, from which it is 30 minutes away by car. To visit from Nagano Station, take the Nagano Dentetsu Line to Yudanaka Station, and then a bus to Kanbayashi Onsen. The Park is another half an hour on foot.


Norikura Kogen

Mt. Norikura in May

Matsumoto Welcomes You! Matsumoto is a culturally rich castle town, nestled in the soaring mountains of Nagano Prefecture. Nearby in the east lies Utsukushigahara, a high mountain plateau interspersed with hot spring communities.

Matsumoto Castle

TripAdvisor Top 3 Japan Tourist Destination

Canola Flowers in May

Nawate Dori

Genchi Well

Portraits with a Samurai

A superb medieval castle, magnificent natural setting, cultural sophistication, and local pride.... These are some of the things that impress visitors about Matsumoto. The city is compact and still centers around the castle, with a network of streets spreading out from the outer walls and moat. Bringing together a diverse blend of old and new, Matsumoto is a vibrant destination just waiting Hakuba to be discovered! Matsumoto City Tourist Information Center Visit one of our two branches, open 7 days 9:00-17:45.

Takayama

Matsumoto Tourism & Convention Association Tel: 0263-34-3295 Email: yokoso@matsumoto-tca.or.jp

Nagano 1.0h

JR Matsumoto Station: 2nd floor, in front of the ticket gate Tel: 0263-32-2814 Email: ekimae-info@po.mcci.or.jp Matsumoto Castle: Just before the castle Tel: 0263-39-7176 Email: oote-info@matsumoto-tca.or.jp

1.5h 2.5h Matsumoto

Osaka

2.5h

3.5h 2.0h Nagoya

Tokyo


Rich history, and deep traditional heritage. Matsumoto City is located in Nagano Prefecture on Honshu, the main island of Japan. This picturesque castle town is nestled between the Japan Alps and Utsukushigahara, a name which means beautiful plateau in Japanese. Matsumoto boasts a surprisingly metropolitan atmosphere, while maintaining historical sites and traditions.

Aside from Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, there are many cities in Japan with a long and rich history. Typically, these cities are castle towns. They were once the stronghold of a powerful family, and a centre of commerce and culture for a whole region. One of the most celebrated of these is Matsumoto. Matsumoto is perfectly surrounded by natural beauty and filled with pure mountain air, situated at the southern end of a long valley between high mountain ranges. The peaks of the Japan Alps soaring 3,000 meters into the sky to the west of the city are a splendid sight. Matsumoto is also the gateway to Kamikochi, Norikura and other scenic areas in Chubu Sangaku National Park. There is a great deal to do and see in Matsumoto. Pick and choose from numerous museums, explore the castle, stroll around the old and new parts of the town, take a local bus to the charming villages on the city outskirts, or go up to the heights of Utsukushigahara for a panoramic view of the whole region. Matsumoto Castle Matsumoto Castle is one of four castles designated This building is actually a second hand book store, carr y a wide range of used books, and some collections of antique postcards. Why? How? Please visit and ask the owner!

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as National Treasures of Japan, and has the oldest remaining donjon in the country. Construction began in 1592 on this e l e gant black and white struc ture, with three turrets. Matsumoto Castle is sometimes called Crow Castle, due to the beautiful sheen of its black walls. Inside the castle are steep stairs and low ceilings, leading past displays of armor and weapons from Japan’s Warring States, or Sengoku Period, when the castle was built. The narrow wooden windows, once used by archers and gunmen, provide amazing views of the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto City, and the koi carp and swans circling in the moat below. Access: 15-minute walk or 5-minute bus ride from JR Matsumoto Station Admission: ¼600 for adults Hours: 8:30am - 5pm Closed: Dec 29 - Jan 3 Matsumoto Walking Guide eBrochure Matsumoto City publishes a 32 page walking guide to the sightseeing spots, museums, restaurants, accommodation and other interesting parts of Matsumoto. The guide is available online here: youkoso.cit y.matsumoto.nagano.jp/e -book / walking-guide/


Mt. Norikura & Norikura Kogen Norikura Kogen is a large plateau spreading to the the east of Mt. Norikura, which stands tall at 3,026m. It is the 10th highest mountain in Japan, and one of its younger volcanoes. You can enjoy the magnificent views from the Japan's highest skyline - 2,700m in Norikura. Kamikochi At 1, 5 0 0 m e t e r s , K a m i ko c h i is co o l , scenic - - and busy. During the summer months and into early autumn, the walking trails along the Azusa river offer spectacular scenery and fresh air. If you want to be right in the center of the northern Japanese Alps, then Kamikochi is your place for leisurely walks and also rigorous hikes. The center of activity is at the Kappa Bridge, where you'll find a few restaurants and souvenir shops. It's a short walk from the Bus Terminal. Natural Springwater Matsumoto is a town with an abundance of quality natural springs. T he water of Genchi Well has received special acclaim as the best natural spring water in Shinshu, the Japanese name for the region around Nagano Prefecture, and has been in use since the Edo Period for drinking and sake production. Draw some of this unique Japanese water from the spring yourself, to quench your thirst and refresh after hiking.

Utsukushigahara Kogen On the eastern edge of Matsumoto Cit y lies Utsukushigahara Kogen, a name which literally means beautiful plateau in Japanese. From here you can begin a short refreshing walk or a long adventure. Not far from the parking lot here is a peaceful meadow with grazing cows and lovely wild flowers, along with an old bell tower once used by those lost in the fog. On a clear day the 360 degree view is breathtaking and worth a few pictures. A short way down the road you will also find a collection of eclectic sculptures looking out on Matsumoto, and a gift shop selling interesting treats. Utsukushigahara Kogen is an 80 minute bus ride from Matsumoto Bus Terminal, in front of JR Matsumoto Station.

Downtown Matsumoto One of the best ways to experience Matsumoto is on foot. From wide boulevards to narrow alleys, the many contrasts of traditional and contemporary Matsumoto can be enjoyed by strolling through its streets. The area around Nakamachi is a must for the itinerary, famous for rows of traditional buildings with a stylish latticed plaster, known as Namako-Kabe. Souvenir shops, traditional crafts, and a small museum are some of the highlights of this charming area. Nakamachi is 10 minutes on foot from JR Matsumoto station, and 5 minutes from Matsumoto Castle. Complimentary Sightseeing Bikes Sui Sui Town complimentar y sightseeing bikes are available daily from 8:30am to 5pm at various locations throughout town, including the Town Hall on Nakamachi (5 mins from the station on foot), Matsumoto City Museum next to Matsumoto Castle, and The Former Kaichi School. Rikisha, a newer set of bikes are also available at some hotels and shops. They're convenient for visiting sights not accessible by the Sneaker Bus. You won’t win the Tour de France on one, but you can fit your souvenirs in the front basket! Details are available from the Matsumoto City Tourist Information Centers. POWDER PERFECT

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Shinetsu Area Map Akakura Hot Spring

Myoko Kogen

JR Shinetsu Main Line Lake Nojiri

JR Oito Line

Hakuba

Yamanouchimachi Yudanaka Hot Spring Kanbayashi Hot Spring Shibu Hot Spring Jigokudani Valley Snow Monkey Park ŠJNTO Nagano

See page 60-61 for Hakuba Area Map

JR Shinonoi Line

Matsumoto Matsumoto Castle

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Nagaoka Joetsu

JR Iiyama Line

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort Dosojin Fire Festival Nozawa Onsen

JR Joetsu Shinkansen

O

Shiga Kogen

DIRECTIONS Narita Airport

Kansai Airport JR Line 51min

JR Narita Express 60min

Shin Osaka Station JR Bullet Train 52min

Tokyo Station

Nagoya Station

Nagano Shinkansen (Asama) 110min

JR Chuo Saisen Line 173min

Nagano Shinkansen (Asama) 110min JR Shinetsu Line 40min Nagano Express Bus 70min

Nagano Express Bus 75min

Shiga Kogen

Nozawa Onsen

Myoko kogen Station Bus or Taxi 10min Myoko

POWDER PERFECT

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www.tohokukanko.jp/english/ski

hoku

SKI AND SNOW

Discover the vast powder potential hidden within the Tohoku region…

Huge snow falls pummelled Tohoku in the 2011 winter season, forcing local governments to take their budgets back to the drawing board and provide more funding to deal with the pile up. Snow depth approached the 1.5 metre mark in the urban areas of Aomori and Akita Prefectures alone, thanks to freezing temperatures preventing it from melting away. The chilly climate of Tohoku even produces hoar frost, a decorative phenomenon in which ice crystals form on objects that have become colder than the air around them. Forming the upper portion of Honshu, Japan’s main island, Tohoku is dominated by a central corridor of 1,500 to 2,000 metre peaks. They are hit by huge storm fronts from Siberia between November and May, which supply constant falls of premium powder snow. A comprehensive transport network weaves its way through the mountains and across the paddy fields of the region, streamlining access to a plentiful number of ski resort areas. The backbone of this is the Tohoku Shinkansen, or Tohoku bullet train line, which runs all the way to Aomori City on the northern tip of Honshu. The slopes of Appi, Zao, and Bandai are all in close proximity, and access is further improved by domestic airports in Fukushima, Sendai, Iwate, Akita,

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and Aomori. One of Tohoku’s biggest charms is its beautiful scenery, being home to three National Parks, and eight Quasi National Parks. A significant proportion of the mountainous areas are volcanic, and quaint hot spring towns are scattered throughout the rural countryside. The springs display an enchanting array of milky white, gold, blue and green tinges, and contain a great variety of healing minerals. Staying in one of the many local inns or pensions, a Japanese style bed and breakfast, in the Tohoku region is one of the best ways to experience its hospitality. Service is impeccable, and many owners take great pride in introducing their guests to the best local produce. This can mean grating your own fresh wasabi for a freshly caught platter of salmon trout sashimi from the river, or enjoying freshly picked mushrooms from the forest. The people of Tohoku have embraced their wintery climate as part of their own festive culture. Charcoal braziers are fired up inside igloos for the Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival, and f irework s illuminate the many sculptures of the Iwate Snow Festival. These are just some of the many events which complete a journey to experience the powder of Japan’s far north.


Tohoku Zao HotSprings

 

www.zao-spa.or.jp/english/index.html

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

120cm 150cm 170cm 140cm 130cm

Beg

Int

Adv

40%

40%

20%

10km

3

37

17:00-21:00

The sprawling clusters of forest on the slopes at Zao Hot Springs are covered in layer upon layer of hoar frost and snow, earning them the affectionate nickname of Ice Monsters. They form an ultimate obstacle course down the mountain, and weaving in and out of the twisted shapes, while rocking back on big powder turns is a big highlight of a ski trip to Zao. The resort occupies a hefty 305ha, and is Japan’s most expansive. Thanks to this abundance of real estate, its longest run extends for a glorious 10km across a diverse variety of terrain. Zao has 12 courses in total, across a network of 15 slopes beginning at 1,661m above sea level, and dropping down to 780m. There’s always a seat free back to the top, on one of 37 chairlifts and 3 gondolas. The Ice Monsters are illuminated in bright colours when the lights come on for night skiing at Zao, providing a beautiful backdrop to the action. The resort also provides helpful English signage, and private ski lessons in English for beginners. The hot springs nearby are 1900 years young, and their soothing mineral waters are the best way to bounce back after a long powder session. Traditional Japanese Inns, known as ryokan, top off the Zao experience with baths directly utilising the hot springs. Zao is just three and a half hours from Tokyo thanks to the bullet train, which links to direct bus services from Yamagata City. Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Half pipe

Night skiing

POWDER PERFECT

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Tohoku Alts Bandai  Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

112cm 210cm 198cm 183cm 192cm

  Beg

Int

Adv

25%

40%

35%

Snow Park & Resort www.alts.co.jp/english

3km

1

10

17:00-21:00

Alts Bandai Snow Park and Resort may be one of Japan’s major international competition venues, but all skiers have something to enjoy thanks to its inclusive approach. Cruisers will want to check out the long runs of the Active Zone, some of which are open for night skiing until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The Family Zone has wide open, gentle slopes, and is well suited to beginner and intermediate skiers. The angle drops, and the speed increases on the runs of the Nature Zone, while the Freestyle Zone is the place to go for parks, moguls, and pole courses. The terrain park is one of the resort’s trump cards, and its half pipe, rails, boxes, and table top jumps get an especially big thumbs up from boarders. The four zones contain 29 courses altogether, and have a total distance of 30km over a 580m vertical drop. Alts Bandai employs sponsored riders from around the world at its Snow Academy, who are seriously committed to improving the skills of their students. Comprehensive private lessons are available for all levels, styles and riders, including kids. English speaking staff are on duty 24 hours at the resort, and accommodation includes everything from lavish hot spring hotels to backpacker rooms, suiting all budgets. Mt Bandai Hot Springs are also close by, and have an outdoor bath with a great view of the mountains.

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Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Half pipe

Night skiing


Tohoku Appi  Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

50cm 110cm 200cm 260cm 220cm

  Beg

Int

Adv

30%

40%

30%

5.5km

2

www.appi.co.jp

15

16:00-20:00

Appi prides itself on high quality aspirin powder from December to May, and is just 200 minutes from Tokyo on the bullet train and connecting bus from Morioka. The resort occupies 282 ha in the magnificent setting of Towada-Hachimantai National Park, near the northernmost point of Honshu. Its 5.5km Yamabato run is one of many long, radial lines down two different mountains, which cater well for beginners and experienced riders. Appi is a friendly family resort, with a special area set aside for kids and parents to play in. It also has a wide range of additional features, including nature experience programs, backcountry skiing, and a collection of kamakura igloos, which are enjoyed as a popular lunch spot for family groups. Alternatively, the Appi Ski & Snowboard School is another choice for those who have mastered the kids park, but are still looking to improve their technique. Lessons are available in English. The school is headed by the god-like presence of Eiichi Kodama, technical member of the World Ski Instructor Federation, and International Chairman of the Ski Instructor Association of Japan. Appi’s Salomon & Atomic Collaboration Station has quality ski equipment available for hire. As well as the top racing models, freestyle, and powder skis, it carries the latest Salomon & Atomic ski boots, plus a huge range of snowboards. Importantly, Appi also has a great hot spring bath, right at the foot of the slopes. Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Half pipe

Night skiing

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Tohoku Area Map DIRECTIONS Narita Airport

Kansai Airport JR Line 51min

JR Narita Express 60min

Shin Osaka Station JR Tokaido Shinkansen 150min Tokyo Station

Alts Bandai Express Bus 300min

JR Tohoku Shinkansen 90min

JR Tohoku Shinkansen 150min

Koriyama Station

Yamagata Station

Morioka Station

Free Shuttle Bus 90min

Bus 40min

Iwate Kenpoku Bus 50min

Zao Hot Springs

Appi

Alts Bandai

JR Tohoku Shinkansen 145min

Sado Island

Niigata

Niigata Airport

JR Joetsu Shinkansen

Yamagata

Iwappara Winter Resort Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort Naeba Ski Resort Nekoma Ski Resort Grandeco Snow Resort Alts Bandai

Listel Ski Fantasia Fukushima

Koriyama Fukushima Airport 76

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Naqua Shirakami Ski Resort Aomori Aomori Airport

Hakkoda Ski Resort

Akita Airport

Akita

Hachimantai Ski Resort Tazawako Ski Resort

JR Tohoku Shinkansen

Appi Shizukuishi Ski Resort

JR Akita Shinkansen Morioka

Gassan Ski Resort Shinjo

Hanamaki Airport

JR Yamagata Shinkansen Yamagata Airport

Onikoube Snow Resort

Zao Hot Springs Miyagi Zao Sumikawa Snow Park Miyagi Zao Eboshi Snow Resort

Sendai Sendai Airport

POWDER PERFECT

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THE BEST SNOW HOLIDAYS IN JAPAN COME AND EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF TOHOKU'S SKI RESORTS

TOHOKU APPI-SHIZUKUISHI◆TAZAWAKO◆YAMAGATA ZAO-GASSAN MIYAGI ZAO-NARUKO◆INAWASHIRO◆HAKKODA◆YUZAWA

Hakkoda Tazawako Appi Morioka

The Tohoku region of Northern Japan is home to a host of ski resorts including Appi, Alts Bandai and Zao which receive the same generous snow storms that Hokkaido, Japan is famous for.

Zao

Sendai

Inawashiro

A more traditional Japanese experience is on offer at Tohoku including an abundance of Onsen (natural volcanic springs).

Yuzawa

Tokyo

The majority of Tohoku's ski resorts remain in great shape despite the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, and visitors will be able to enjoy the powder snow again this coming winter. We look forward to welcoming you!

www.tohokukanko.jp/english/ski/index.html www.tohokukanko-fukkou.jp/en/ JTB Australia www.jtboi.com.au www.japanski.com.au Phone : 1300 739 330

FOR FURTHER INQUIRIES... travelplan SKI www.travelplan.com.au Phone : 1300 754 754

Deep Powder Tours www.deeppowdertours.com Phone : 1300 305 451 SkiJapan.com www.skijapan.com Phone : 81 136 22 4611

Travel Japan by H.I.S www.traveljapan.com.au Phone : 02 9267 3333 Ski Japan Holidays www.japanspecialists.com Phone: 81 0261 72 6663 Saizen Tours www.saizen.com.au/ Phone: 07 5564 0133

Japan Package / PITT TRAVEL www.japanpackage.com.au Phone : 02 9264 7384

Sachi Tours www.nta.com.au/i_sachi/ Phone: 02 9275 9645

China Travel Service www.chinatravel.com.au Phone: 1800 999 689 Sno'n' Ski www.snonski.com.au/ Phone: 1300 766 754

Japan Holidays www.japanholidays.com.au Phone: 07 3300 2396 Ixim Travel Com www.ixsmtravel.com/ Phone: 81 0269 85 5150


SKI DIRECTORY

AC = Accommodation AT = Airport Transfer BS = Beauty Salon DD = Dining & Drinking HS = Hair Salon I = Information Centre SE = Ski Equipment SH = Ski Hire SR = Ski Resort SS = Ski School SV = Souvenirs TO = Tour Operators

HOKKAIDO NISEKO Kutchan-Town

Kita 1 jo Higashi 3, Kutchan-cho

0136-23-0222

Grand Hirafu

SR

I

204 Yamada, Kutchan-cho

0136-22-0109

www.town.kutchan.hokkaido.jp www.grand-hirafu.jp/winter/en/

Niseko Annupuri

SR

485 Niseko, Niseko-cho

0136-58-2080

http://annupuri.info/gelande_guide_english.html

Niseko Hanazono Resort

SR

3F, 179-8, Aza-Yamada, Kutchan-cho

0136-21-6655

www.hanazononiseko.com/en/

Niseko Village

SR

Higashiyama-onsen, Niseko-cho

0136-44-2211

www.niseko-village.com/en

Hokkaido Tracks Holidays

AC

186-6 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan-cho

0136-21-2558

www.htholidays.com

Hurry Slowly

AC

155-416 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan-cho

0136-22-6979

http://english.hurry-slowly.com/

Pension Berg

AC

191 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan-cho

0136-22-5115

http://big-hokkaido.com/berg/

Travelplan

AC -

1300-754-754 www.travelplan.com.au

Bar Barunba

DD

170-50 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan-cho

090-3406-6504 -

Italian Cafe Bleu Cielo

DD

3F, 8-3 Kita 2 jo Nishi 1, Kutchan-cho

0136-22-3255

Jam Cafe Bar

DD

189-13-3 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan-cho

0136-23-0700

www.jamcafebar.com

Tozanken

DD

191-31 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan-cho

0136-23-4549

http://big-hokkaido.com/berg/sistershop.htm

Yakitori Yosaku

DD

170-138 Yamada, Kutchan-cho

0136-23-4390

-

Yukara Niseko

SV

191-31 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan-cho

0136-23-4546

http://big-hokkaido.com/berg/sistershop.htm

Cantik

BS

2-13-5 Kita 1 jo Nishi, Kutchan-cho

0136-55-5004

-

Travelplan

TO -

www.cafe-bleucielo.com

1300-754-754 www.travelplan.com.au

FURANO Furano Tourism Association

1-30 Hinode-machi, Furano

0167-23-3388

www.furanotourism.com/english/home.htm

Furano Ski Resort

SR

I

18-1 Kitanomine-cho, Furano

-

www.skifurano.com/furano/f-home.html

Chalet Fuyuri

AC

2264-4 Gakudensanku, Furano

0167-22-0534

www.fuyuri.jp/en/

Furano Lodge 10

AC

Kitanomine-cho, Furano

-

www.furanolodge10.com

Japan Fresh Powder

AC

14-26 Kitanomine-cho, Furano

0167-23-4738

www.freshpowder.com

Natulux Hotel

AC

1-35 Asahi-machi, Furano

0167-22-1777

New Furano Prince Hotel

AC

Nakagoryo, Furano

0167-22-1111

www.natulux.com/en/index.html www.princehotels.com/en/newfurano/ See overleaf POWDER PERFECT

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SKI DIRECTORY FURANO North Country

AC

2002 Shimogoryo, Furano

0167-23-6565

Pension Furanui

AC

13-15 Kitanomine-cho, Furano

0167-22-2480

www.northcountryinnfurano.com www.furanui.yad.jp/

Tsuru Apartments

AC

10-16 Kitanomine-cho, Furano

0167-23-1618

www.tsuru-apartments.com/english/index.html

Dining Bar R'S

DD

13-28 Kitanomine-cho, Furano

0167-22-1335

-

Fukuzushi

DD

1-24 Asahi-machi, Furano

0167-23-2617

-

Furano Wine House

DD

Shimizuyama, Furano

0167-23-4155

www.furano.ne.jp/winehouse/

Kumagera

DD

3-22 Hinode-machi, Furano

0167-39-2345

www.furano.ne.jp/kumagera/en/top.html

Yellow Brick Road

DD

4-1 Yayoi-cho, Furano

0167-23-2280

www.ybr.co.jp

Furano Snow School

SS SH Kitanomine-cho, Furano

0167-22-1935

www.sportpia.co.jp/en/index.html

Furano Alpine Travel

TO

14-6 Kitanomine-cho, Furano

0167-22-1311

www.alpn.jp

Leisure Guide Asobiya

TO

4746 Aza-Gakudensanku, Furano

0167-22-0534

www.asobiya.jp/en/

I

1-1-8 Nakamachi, Kamifurano-cho

0167-45-3150

www.kamifurano.jp/english/index.html

Frontier Furanui Onsen

AC

4-4-25 Shinmachi, Kamifurano-cho

0167-45-9779

www.furanui.com

Fukiage Onsen Hakuginso

AC

Tokachidake, Kamifurano-cho

0167-45-4126

www.navi-kita.net/shisetsu/hakugin/

Hutte Barden Kamifurano

AC

Tokachidake-onsen, Kamifurano-cho

0167-45-2225

www.barden-kamifurano.co.jp

Kamihoro Inn

AC

Tokachidake-onsen, Kamifurano-cho

0167-45-2970

http://tokachidake.com/kamihoro/e.html

Yumoto Ryounkaku

AC

Tokachidake-onsen, Kamifurano-cho

0167-39-4111

www.ryounkaku.com

SR

Naka-Tomamu, Shimukappu-mura

0167-58-1111

www.snowtomamu.jp/winter2011/en/

-

www.snowlove.net/japan

KAMI-FURANO Kamifurano Tokachidake Tourist Association

TOMAMU Alpha Resort Tomamu SHINETSU HAKUBA Classic Resorts Japan

I -

SR Hakuba Alpen Resort

Happo-One, Hakuba Iwatake, Tsugaike Kogen

0261-72-3150 www.hakuba-alpen-resort.com

Hakuba Goryu

SR

22184-10 Kamishiro, Hakuba-mura

0261-75-2101

Hakuba Happo-one Ski Area

SR

Happo-one, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-3066

www.hakuba-happo.or.jp/winter-resort/en/

Hakuba47 Mountain Sports Park

SR

24196-47 Kamishiro, Hakuba-mura

0261-75-3533

www.hakuba47.co.jp/winter/en/

Iwatake Ski Area

SR

Hokujo Iwatake, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-2780

www.hakuba.jp/iwatake/en/

Tsugaike Kogen Ski Area

SR Otari-mura

0261-83-2515 www.tsugaike.gr.jp/snow/

www.hakubagoryu.com/e/

Black Bear Properties

AC

2937-609 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-85-0850

www.blackbearproperties.com

Hakuba Holiday

AC

3966-1 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

-

www.hakubaholiday.com

Hakuba Meteor

AC

2937-730 Misorano, Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-5153

www.hakuba-meteor.com/English

Hakuba Springs Hotel

AC

5090 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-75-5511

www.hakuba-springs.com

Hakuba Tourism

AC

Wadanomori, Happou, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-3001

www.hakubatourism.com

Hakuba Windy Lodge

AC

4836-5 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-5382

www.windy-kobeya.com

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SKI DIRECTORY Lodge Karunaju

AC

3020-626 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-4524

www.karunaju.com

More Resort

AC

4721 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-75-5155

http://more-resort.com

Pension & Bar Side Hill

AC

Echo-land, Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-75-5557

www.hakuba-sidehill.com

Phoenix Hotel, Hakuba

AC

4690-2 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-4060

www.phoenixhotel.jp

Avalanche Restaurant & Bar

DD

836-125 Misorano, Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-75-1677

-

Sounds Like Cafe

DD

3020-504 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-2040

www.sounds-like-cafe.com

Tracks Bar

DD

22200-7 Kamishiro, Hakuba-mura

0261-75-4366

www.tracksbar.com

Wagyu Kobeya

DD

4836-5 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-5382

www.windy-kobeya.com

Spicy Rentals

SE SH Happo, Kamishiro, Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-2858

www.spicy.co.jp/english/

Bob Marry

HS

0261-71-1225

http://hairmake-comfort.com/bobmarry

Kokusai Lodge, 4377 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura 0261-72-5150 TO SS Evergreen Outdoor Center Wadanonomori, 4683-2 Happo, Hakuba-mura 0261-85-4420

www.evergreen-hakuba.com/home.html

JHN Travel

AT TO 2587-1 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-75-5360

www.hakubus.com

Japan Holidays

TO AC -

07-3300-2396

www.japanholidays.com.au

Lion Adventure Hakuba

TO

3020-567 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-5061

http://hakuba.lion-adventure.com

Ski Japan Holidays

TO

6660 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

0261-72-6663

www.japanspecialists.com

9780-4 Toyosato, Nozawaonsen-mura

0269-85-3155

http://nozawakanko.jp/english/

Hasuike, Shiga Kogen, Yamanouchi-machi

0269-34-2404

www.shigakogen.gr.jp/english/

JR Matsumoto Station: 2nd floor, in front of the ticket gate

0263-32-2814 http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/

Matsumoto Castle: Just before the castle

0263-39-7176

http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/

I

3-8-13 Ote, Matsumoto

0263-34-3295

www.matsumoto-tca.or.jp/en/

I

291-1 Taguchi, Myoko, Niigata

0255-86-3911

www.myoko.tv/foreign/english/

-

www.tohokukanko.jp/english/ski/index.html

0195-73-6401

www.appi.co.jp/foreign_country/english/

6388-1 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura

www.evergreen-hakuba.com/home.html

NOZAWA ONSEN Nozawa Onsen Tourism Association I SHIGA KOGEN Shiga Kogen Tourism Association

I

MATSUMOTO Matsumoto City Tourist Information Center Matsumoto Tourism & Convention Association

I

MYOKO Myoko Tourist Office TOHOKU Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization Appi Snow Resort

I - SR

Appi Kogen, Iwate

Alts Snow Park & Resort SR

6838-68 Shimizudaira, Sarashina, Bandai-machi, Fukushima

0242-74-5000 www.alts.co.jp/english/

Zao Hot Springs Ski Resort

940-1 Zao Onsen, Yamagata

023-694-9617

SR

www.zao-spa.or.jp/english/index.html POWDER PERFECT

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Serious About Sound From Acoustic To Digital.

www.yamahamusic.com.au 82

1800 805 413


So Cool, So Japan! Whether it’s the sight of robed monks sending a quick text message, or skyscrapers towering in front of distant peaks, Japan is a country which constantly surprises its guests with contrast. Despite leading the world in technological wizardry, it preserves a special place for tradition alongside modernity. So Cool, So Japan presents a selection of highlights from this sophisticated, yet down to earth culture.

SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! GOurmet

The Taste of Japan An astonishing array of dishes arrive on the table during mealtime in Japan. At their core is a unifying thread of elegant simplicity...

The Japanese experience of food is one quite unlike any other, with a strong tradition behind it. The cuisine is prized the world over for its lifegiving properties. A Japanese meal is a sumptuous culinary experience, with varied and unique tastes, usually consisting of rice or noodles, soup, and delectable side dishes. Japanese cuisine was born out of ichiju-issai, or rice with a bowl of soup and a side dish. Embodying the Japanese spirit of frugality, this simple dietary style was adopted throughout the nation centuries ago, and has come to epitomize the essence of Japanese cuisine. Seasonal foods are prepared simply, to make the most of their natural flavors and let nothing go to waste. Whilst Japanese food has naturally evolved over time, the essential style of ichiju-issai remains fairly constant. Staple meal elements, known as shushoku, which include noodles and rice, are augmented by okazu - dishes made from high quality fresh vegetables, tofu, fish or other meat. Soy sauce, dashi, and miso are the chief elements that add flavor to a Japanese meal. The okazu might include natto, which are fermented soybeans, or kombu

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seaweed, taro potatoes, and other vegetables enhanced by broth or vinegar. Pickles are also an essential part of any meal. T he variet y of foods contained in a me al means that the diet is nutritionally balanced, high in vegetable rather than animal fat, and has a high fibre content. The nutritious ingredients used in this type of food slow the aging process greatly. Buddhist and Shinto influences have resulted in high consumption of fish, especially katsuobushi, which is dried, flaked bonito and the 'dashi' stock that is made from this, as well as raw or lightly cooked sashimi, but low consumption of other meats. Meals in this style with more than one side dish become Ichiju-sansai, or rice with three side dishes taken from among, soup, a fish or vegetable accompaniment, and a selection of tsukemono pickles. This practice originated in the 14th and 16th centuries, or the Muromachi period, and spread throughout the country. Ichiju-sansai continued to complexify in style, and has given birth to Kaiseki cuisine, Japan's take on fine dining.


Food education in Japan Food education is known as Shokuiku in Japanese, and the nation’s government enacted the Shokuiku Basic Law in 2005 to address heightened levels of obesity, and associated health conditions. It also aims to preserve an awareness of traditional Japanese cuisine, in an era where globalization sees the importation many other foods into the country. Shokuiku is essentially about understanding food, and making informed choices. The law is designed

to foster life-long cultivation of a healthy mind in a healthy body, and promote the consumption of local, seasonal produce instead of imported foods. The law targets children in particular, but also includes measures to spread a greater awareness about food in wider Japanese society. In conjunction, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan developed this illustrated, easy-to-understand food guide that shows a recommended list of what to eat each day in order to keep the best of health.

Physical Activity water or teas

for one day

Grain dishes

(Rice,Bread,Noodles,and Pasta)

Vegetable dishes Fish and Meat dishes

Enjoy Snacks,Confection and Beverages moderately!

(Meat, Fish, Egg and Soy-bean dishes)

Milk

(Milk and Milk products)

Fruits *SV is an abbreviation of “Serving”, which is a simply countable number describing the approximated amount of each dish or food served to one person Decided by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries The illustration is a rotating inverted cone divided from the top down into food category layers: grain dishes; vegetable dishes; fish and meat dishes. At the bottom are milk and fruits, which are given equal importance. The nutritional chart is designed to resemble a spinning top, which is a well-known traditional Japanese toy. The top symbolism is intended to remind people of the importance of maintaining optimal balance in their diets. Moreover, the top, through its dynamic spinning motion, represents the significance of exercise in maintaining long term physical health. The top axis represents water and tea, which are essential components of all diets. Snacks, confection and beverages, which are considered non-essential treats, are jointly represented as the string that helps give the top its spinning momentum. This string carries the message: "enjoy snacks, confections and beverages moderately." Recommended daily servings are clearly shown for each category of the inverted cone with the number of servings, and illustrated with the equal number of servings of dishes.

KUSHIYAKI BAR & GRILL REGENT PLACE, 501 GEORGE STREET, SYDNEY T (02) 9267-7775 AZUMA PATISSERIE REGENT PLACE, 501 GEORGE STREET, SYDNEY T (02)9267-7701

TON TON CHIFLEY LEVEL 1, CHIFLEY PLAZA, 2 CHIFLEY SQUARE, SYDNEY T (02) 9222-1010

AZUMA CHIFLEY www.azuma.com.au “ONE HAT RESTAURANT Awarded by SMH, Good Food Guide 2008, 2009 & 2010” LEVEL 1, CHIFLEY PLAZA, 2 CHIFLEY SQUARE, SYDNEY T (02) 9222-9960

TON TON REGENT REGENT PLACE, 501 GEORGE STREET, SYDNEY T (02) 9267-1313

SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! GOurmet

Rice S o m e 2,50 0 ye a r s a g o, r i c e c u l ti vati o n wa s introduced from China to Japan. It remains both a staple food, and a source of pride for the nation. The japonica variety eaten in Japan comes in short, round grains that become glutinous when cooked. The sheen, aroma, chewiness, and lasting natural sweetness of plump, freshly steamed rice all contribute to the appeal of this delightful food. Japanese cuisine is designed to accentuate the savoury flavour of rice, and bring out its full richness.

Miso Miso is made by fermenting a mixture of soybeans, salt, and koji mould. A diverse assortment of miso is created by choosing from rice, wheat, and bean koji types, and altering the length of the aging process. The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup. Traditionally, miso was the main source of protein for Japanese, and it still remains a vital seasoning, adding an exquisite touch to many dishes. ŠCharles Haynes

Macrobiotic Diet The cornerstone of the macrobiotic diet is seasonal, wholegrain food. While fish and meat are included according to individual needs, it consists largely of brown rice, beans, and vegetables. Dr Sagen Ishizuka developed the macrobiotic diet using the ichiju-issai approach in the early 20th century, both for his patients, and as a means of overcoming his own kidney and skin diseases. It has since spread around the world through the efforts of George Ohsawa, a disciple of Dr Ishizuka. ŠFir0002

Our noodles are made fresh in the store

so you can enjoy fresh and the best tasting quality ramen, soba and yakisoba-fried noodles every day. Try other items on the ever-growing menu of authentic Japanese dishes which includes rice dishes, set meals and side dishes.

ra nt To kyo re st au now op en !

www.ichibanboshi.com.au THE GALERIES VICTORIA

BONDI JUNCTION

Level 2, The Galeries Victoria, Shop 1, 171-173 Oxford Street, 500 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Bondi Junction NSW 2022

Phone (02) 9262 7677 11am-9pm OPEN 7 DAYS

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TOKYO, JAPAN

GOLD COAST

Shop 1, 42 Nerang Street, Southport QLD 4215

Phone (02) 9369 3980 Phone (07) 5528 2112 11am-9:30pm OPEN 7 DAYS 11am-9pm TUE CLOSED

Noodle Bar

4-4-4 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo JAPAN 106-0032

Phone (03) 6804 6818 www.ichibanboshi.co.jp 11am-12am SUN CLOSED


Shojin Ryori The concept of ichiju-issai formed the basis for shojin ryori, the vegetarian diet taken up by Buddhist monks around the 13th century. Eschewing seafood and meat, this regimen comprises mainly grains, beans, vegetables, seaweed, and nuts. Clever replacements, like yam instead of eggs when preparing batter, widen the repertoire of shojin cuisine well beyond raw foods. Monks continue to eat this diet today, and it is specially designed to assist them in purifying body and mind. ŠChris 73

Kaiseki Ryori Kaiseki ryori evolved from shojin ryori as a meal of rice, soup, and three other dishes that were originally consumed at tea ceremonies. Now it is popular with the general public as a lavish dining style, in which participants can enjoy elegant presentation of food and tableware. As a fusion of seasonal ingredients, elaborate dishes, and graceful hospitality, kaiseki ryori has been raised to a world-class art form that exemplifies Japan's gastronomic culture. ŠJNTO

ANEGAWA ENTERPRISE Craving Japanese? We have healthy takeaway meals and Japanese bento boxes, as well as Japanese vegetables, seafood, seasonings and pickles for all your kitchen needs. Home delivery available. (Sydney CBD and surround)

We offer wholesale too! OPEN 7 DAYS 11:00-21:00

Make www.gdayjapan.com.au your first stop...

(02)9904-7313 1 Wilkes Avenue, Artarmon NSW 2064

INSTANT MISO SOUP Miso Soup 8-Servings Value Pack

Miyasaka Jozo is a company driven by their high standards of quality, healthy food and respect for the environment. It offers a variety of miso pastes made from traditional recipes, sourcing only the best ingredients manufactured in ISO9001 plant. An essential item in every Japanese kitchen, miso is extremely nourishing and easy to use for miso soups; the company's wide range of delicious instant soups, garnished generously with tofu or seaweed, are particularly quick and easy to make. M I YA S A K A J O Z O

2+ 81 3 3 3 8 5 212 3

www.miyasaka-jozo.com SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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Sushi Fresh, healthy, and fast, sushi has become one of Japan’s greatest cultural exports around the world today.

Photo: Tokyo Sushi Academy

Sushi began to evolve as a fish preser vation technique over a thousand years ago. It was mixed with fermenting rice which released vinegar, converting the fish proteins to amino acids. The rice wasn’t part of the resulting meal, and was thrown away. By the 14th century vinegar was being added as a preservative and flavour enhancer. By increasing the life of the fish, it eventually did away with the need for fermentation. Sushi assumed its modern form when Hanaya Yohei developed Edo-mae sushi in 19th century Tokyo. Fresh fish straight out of Tokyo Bay was prepared there and then on rice, to be sold by the roadside or in theatres. Elements taken for granted today like soy sauce, vinegar, and wasabi all had practical roles to preserve freshness at that time, when refrigeration was a radical concept. The demand for sushi has grown so much, that students travel from overseas to study the art form in Tokyo. The Tokyo Sushi Academy (TSA) created an English curriculum in 2009 which has turned into a hit with students from Australia, the US and Europe. These students visit not just to hone in their California Roll, but to unlock the secrets of Edo-mae

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sushi. TSA originally established itself in 2002 as a school for Japanese students looking to head into the market abroad. The academy teaches a fasttracked curriculum, which qualifies them in a matter of months. Traditionally, it takes up to a decade to be considered a truly proficient sushi chef in Japan. Students are now increasingly less likely to invest such a large amount of time however, which is a clear indicator in today’s changing industry. Sushi chefs in Europe earn about twice as much as those in Japan, making an overseas career a lucrative option for Japanese students. Recent years in Japan have seen cheaper, fast food sushi restaurants beginning to outstrip their traditional competitors, making the future overseas as a sushi chef ever more alluring. Learn more about sushi hands on at the Shimizu Sushi Museum in Shizuoka, which has ten great sushi restaurants to put its exhibits into perspective. The inside is built in the nostalgic style of old Tokyo, recalling the birth of modern day sushi. Sushi is now celebrated around the world on June 18, which is officially International Sushi Day.


Nigirizushi Nigirizushi is the archetypal image of sushi: a slice of brightly coloured salmon or tuna, neatly draped over an oblong ball of sushi rice. A spicy wasabi hit is hidden from view under the fish, so be sure to check first if you’re not well acquainted with the chef! Sushi chefs pump out thousands of these every day, moulding them in their palms with machine-like efficiency. Some of the more precarious toppings like conger eel, octopus, or squid are strapped down with a piece of nori.

Gunkanmaki Gunkanmaki is an evolution of nigirizushi. It begins with the same piece of oblong shaped rice, which is wrapped around the sides with a piece of nori to form an open container shape on top. Roe, natto, sea urchin, and tuna with mayonnaise are scooped into the vessel, and form interesting textures with the rice when devoured in one hit. Gunkan means battleship, and the invention of this style in 1931 opened the way for new ingredients to join the standard sushi repertoire.

Makizushi The ubiquitous sushi roll, makizushi is highly versatile. While it is almost always wrapped in nori seaweed, this is occasionally substituted for omelette, parsley, cucumber, or soy paper. Makizushi is very easy to prepare, making it popular for get-togethers with friends and family. Everybody experiments with favourites to create original flavours like avocado and cream cheese! Makizushi can be rolled using a bamboo mat, but an easier way is to create an ice cream cone shape and dig in.

Chirashizushi Chirashizushi is the express version of sushi, arranged en masse over a bowl of vinegrated sushi rice with wasabi and soy sauce to produce a quick, tasty meal. East Japan is the home of Edomae Chirashizushi, which is artfully laid out on the rice. West Japan however prefers Gomokuzushi, in which the ingredients are mixed through it. There are many more variations of Chirashizushi, and they are served in everything from cheap, convenience store lunch boxes, to deluxe sushi restaurants. ŠMokeneco

SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! GOurmet

Japanese Sake National staples across the globe have been converted into the social lubricant of alcohol since time immemorial, and rice is no exception in Japan...

ŠHyperLemon

Far me d on an a rchipe lago stretching f rom a subarctic north to a subtropical south, the regional variation among sake in Japan is just as diverse as beer in Germany, or wine in France. The maturation of yeast used to produce sake in the chilly northern climes of Hokkaido is leisurely at best, and the resulting beverage has a tendency towards smooth textures and light flavour. Head south however, and you will be in no doubt that what you have just consumed contains alcohol! The creation of sake begins by incubating koji, a distinct type of mould culture, with steamed rice for about two days. Add water and sake yeast to the mix, and let there be fermentation! The koji enzymes work on converting the rice starch to sugar, which simultaneously becomes alcohol in the hands of the yeast. This process registers sake as a creative anomaly in brewing circles. Beer also demands the conversion of starch to sugar, but the consequent transition to alcohol is made as a separate stage. Wine of course begins straight from the sugar, thanks to its grape juices. Polishing the rice before steaming adjusts the purity of the starch to be used in the fermentation

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process, and has a significant bearing on the grade of the final product. Top quality Junmai Daiginjoshu sake uses rice polished to a minimum of half its original size, while Futsu-shu, the table variety, has no polishing specifications at all. Special sake varieties of rice are grown across Japan to produce the most outstanding brews. Farming conditions in regions like Niigata, Hyogo, and Akita are optimal, and access to water of exceptional purity has made them famous brewing strongholds. The many breweries of Nada, an area of Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture, produce a third of Japan’s sake, and have handed down their knowledge of the art since the 17th century. The growing number of sake sommeliers is a testament to the popularity of the drink in gourmet circles. It has a range of flavour profiles, which provide countless options for matching with much more than just sushi. The first por t of call for more information about sake Down Under is Kontatsu Australia Pty Ltd. This wholesaler established themselves as Australia’s first authoritative source of sake knowledge in 2008, and brings 80 years of experience, along with over 100 successful brewery partnerships onto the playing field. Visit them at www.kontatsu.co.jp/ka, or phone (02) 9908 8704 for more.


Temperature and taste Hot or cold? Just like wine, this depends on your point of departure. Japanese keywords of consumption are reishu, jo-on, nurukan, atsukan, and genshu. Reishu is poured at 5-10°C, and is best for Daiginjo-shu, or other delicate, refined sakes. Joon is sake at room temperature – generally 15 -25°C, and complements full-bodied Junmai-shu. Turn up the heat on a Honjozo to drink it as a 40°C nurukan, or a 50°C atsukan. Genshu is sake on the rocks, a title reserved for undiluted brews of 20% alcohol.

Decisions, decisions... Entry level sake begins with Futsu-shu, Japan’s equivalent of boxed Muscat. Somewhere along the line the box turned into an oversized milk carton, and its contents are generally warmed to improve the flavour. Rice polishing begins at Honjozo-shu, exponentially refining taste, passing through the stage of Ginjo-shu, and arriving at the delicate peak of Daiginjo-shu. Unless it has the subheading of Junmai-shu, meaning pure, sake is usually fortified with a distilled spirit.

Masuya Group, Sydney’s Japanese dining specialists, are bringing Australia the very best in boutique sake from across Japan.

www.masuya.com.au

MASUYA Basement, 12-14 O'Connell St, Sydney

オーストラリアで日本全国の純米酒を 紹介する居酒屋が開店しました。

New Cafe & Sake Dining TORIICHI

Ground Floor, 12-14 O'Connell Street, Sydney NSW 2000 T: 9233-8181 F: 9233-8989 E: info@masuya.com.au

SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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Over 200 Years of History

THE No.1 Vinegar Br and IN Japan (Source : INTAGE Inc., SCI, Jan-Dec 2010, mizkan TM Brand Total)

Seasoned Vinegar Mild Type

Serving Suggestion

With a blend of sweet, salty and savoury flavours, MizkanTM Seasoned Vinegar Mild Type uses an original low-acidity mix perfect for people who struggle with the traditionally pungent taste of vinegar. I t s m i l dn e s s m a ke s f o r e a sy f l avo u r adjustment, and versatile use with other seasonings or by itself.

Sesame Sauce Roasted Coarse Type

Sesame Sauce with Roasted Nuts

MizkanTM Sesame Sauce Roasted Coarse Type harnesses the authentic flavour of 100% golden sesame seeds. It has a granulated texture, and will add a rich flavour to your favourite dishes.

MizkanT M Se s ame S auc e w i th Roa s te d Nu t s fuses a mixture of golden sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, cashews and almonds, complementing your meal with a full-bodied texture.

For Sushi

SUSHI SEASONING

Serving Suggestion

www.mizkan.asia (English) www.mizkan.co.jp (Japanese)


PRESENTS

Gourmet delicacies featuring MizkanTM Vinegar Enjoy these tasteful creations from Blancharu’s Haru Inukai, which feature Japan’s No. 1 vinegar brand mizkanTM. Source: INTAGE Inc., SCI, Jan-Dec 2010, mizkanTM Brand Total

“These recipes aren’t on the menu yet, but they’re definitely on the cards for the future,” Haru smiles. For

Oysters with MizkanTM Vinegar

the uninitiated, Chef Inukai is a fine dining veteran, his

Serving Suggestion

mantelpiece garnished with SMH Good Food Guide Chefs Hats, and Gourmet Traveller Wine Glasses to boot. T h es e sp e cial dish es are in dic ati ve of th e interesting fusion between French and Japanese cuisine diners are treated to at Blancharu, and the quality vinegar MizkanTM has come to be known for. “I’ve been using MizkanTM since I was a kid. It’s the taste I’m accustomed to - and people all over the world know it as a classic vinegar brand,” Haru points out. A few oysters and some trout later, it becomes clear what Haru is talking about. “They’ve got a particularly Japanese character to them, even though we don’t make a lot of dressings in Japanese cooking.

Ingredients (Serves 10); 1. 120g MizkanTM Seasoned Vinegar Mild Type 20g Nori 300g Grape seed oil 20g Grated ginger 10g Soy sauce 2. 2 doz oysters Directions 1. Combine all of 1 in a mixer 2. Serve it with the dressing that was made in step 1

BBQ Ocean Trout with MizkanTM seasoning Serving Suggestion

I’ve put in things like nori, and soy sauce. They’re both making their way into Australian food, so I tried putting together flavours people will easily have a familiarity for.”

Blancharu

Shop 1, 21 Elizabeth Bay Rd, Elizabeth Bay www.blancharu.com.au T : +61 2 9360 3555 F : +61 2 9360 3556 E : info@blancharu.com.au Find out what happens when Japan meets France on the dinner plate at Blancharu, Chef Harunobu Inukai’s dream come true after rising through the fine dining ranks in Japan and Sydney.

Ingredients (Serves 10); 1. 120g MizkanTM Sushi Seasoning 200g Concentrated orange jus 100g Grape seed oil Salt & pepper to taste 2. One fillet of ocean trout (skin off, remove bone) 600g Sugar 400g Salt Directions 1. Combine all of 1 in a bowl and mix. 2. Mix sugar and salt from 2 in a different bowl, pour it over the ocean trout and marinate it for 6 hours. 3. Grill the fillet on a barbeque, cook until medium rare. 4. Serve it with the dressing from Step 1


SO COOL, SO JAPAN! GOurmet

Adam Liaw

JAPAN FOR ME

Australia's MasterChef 2010 A lifelong love affair with the kitchen became the catalyst for Adam Liaw’s transformation from Tokyo lawyer, to Australia’s MasterChef in 2010. Now on the cusp of opening his own restaurant in Sydney, Adam recalls the experience which left an indelible imprint on his cooking style…

“I really enjoyed my time in Japan, I’d love to go back. Before I moved, honestly I didn’t have a lot of experience with Japan at all. It only turned out that I went to Japan because I’d applied for a job in Beijing. I spoke Chinese, and not Japanese at that stage, and wanted to go to Beijing, but I got offered a job in Tokyo instead working for Disney. It was good fun. There were about three or four decent Japanese restaurants in Adelaide where I grew up. I’d been to them all quite a few times and I really liked Japanese food, but it’s hard in that environment where there’s only limited opportunities to be exposed to it to really get to understand what it’s about. So moving to Japan, and actually seeing what it was like, properly, was really eye opening. I think food in Japan is more closely connected to farming than it is in a lot of other places. Half the time people in Australia won’t know where their fruit’s come from, or at the very most they’ll know it’s from Australia somewhere. It’s not until you see the sticker on an orange that you know that it’s from South Australia, or wherever, but I think in Japan people are a lot more aware of this apple comes from this region, or this beef comes

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from this farm. I remember my boss bought some peaches from a particular farm. He got them and they were not sweet enough, so he called up the farm and they said send them back and we’ll send you new ones. You wouldn’t do that in Australia. So I think the connection between the cuisine and the ingredients, and the ingredients and place is a lot closer in Japan than it is in Australia. In trying to learn more about Japan I was learning a lot more about food as well. Japan is probably most different from other places in the world where, if you go to England or France or Australia, or even Germany and Sweden, the shopping and the supermarkets and things tend to look fairly similar. There’s variations, but in Japan it’s geared very differently. I think the supermarkets in Japan look more dif ferent to an Australian supermarket than say, a supermarket in China. From the cuts of meat you can buy, the quality of the ingredients, just where the focus of the supermarket is, is I think very different to what I was used to. When your ingredients change completely, you can’t keep cooking the same type of food, so moving to Japan was where my style of cooking changed the most.”


A d a m ’s J a p a n e s e - i n f l u e n c e d c o o k i n g Tw o A s i a n K i t c h e n s i s impressed viewers and judges alike, during his A d a m ’s f i r s t c o o k b o o k , appearance on MasterChef in 2010. Af ter the published by Random House. It brings together release of his cookbook Two Asian Kitchens 2011, the taste of Adam’s Malaythe next step is an izakaya style restaurant in the Chinese family heritage, or inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills. The izakaya is The Old Kitchen, with those more than just a pub. It is Japan’s answer to tapas, of The New Kitchen, dishes from his life in Australia . and gets full marks from Adam. "The style of drinking beer in Japan is something that I really like. I love going to the pub [in Australia], but you stand around and drink a bit there - it was just extraordinary. too much without any particular purpose. Sitting in Kitchens can be very manic at times, and the an izakaya, even if you’re not eating that much - just kitchen at Mutsukari is all kind of just out there, sitting down and having a snack and a couple of beers is a much more civilized way to do it.” and nobody’s rushing around, no one’s yelling at each other. It’s really interesting to be a part of Kaiseki, or traditional Japanese degustation, the kitchen in that way. You get into these kind of also left a major impression on Adam. It revolves management philosophies, obviously in business around artistically and texturally balanced dishes, but also in kitchens as well I think. The French served with fresh seasonal ingredients and sake. school of running the kitchen is very hierarchical, Mutsukari, a kaiseki restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza almost militar y in nature, and I think a more district, became one of his favourites through its Japanese style kitchen is application of a simple, quite different to that. yet clear philosophy on Its about different cooking. things – trying to become "One of the chefs the best at what you’re at Mutsukari is a friend doing, rather than doing of mine. He said that exactly what you’re told. the cuisine is kind of I th i n k th e atm o s p h e re ve g et a r i a n k a i s e k i, b u t in a more Japanese it’s not vegetarian by any style kitchen, whether its Western concept of the s o m e w h e r e th a t ’s ve r y term. When I go there he’ll austere like Mutsukari, or make dishes with meat, “…moving to Japan was where my somewhere like a regular and dishes that use dashi, style of cooking changed the most.” izakaya where people are meat stocks and all that cracking jokes and moving kind of thing. I was asking around, I think that kind of environment appeals to ‘well, why don’t you just serve meat then?’ He said me more than something rigid, and more French in that ‘well we think that you get a fresher taste, and the style of running the kitchen. a more consistent idea of the food when we’re not I’m really luck y that my business par tners using a big piece of meat that overpowers all the (Matthew Crabbe and Nathan Smith) already have rest of the other ingredients.’ a restaurant in Tokyo, and they’re based there. It really surprised me that you would make It's funny because Matt used to be the head chef that choice not because vegetarian was your at Tetsuya’s here, years and years ago. Then he philosophy, or that you couldn’t eat meat or you was executive chef at the Hyatt in Shinjuku, and couldn’t eat certain things, it was just ‘this is how executive chef at the Hyatt in Kyoto, and then when we choose to express these flavours.’ It wasn’t a he moved back to Tokyo, is when Nathan and rule, it wasn’t a hard and fast ‘I will never cook with their other business partner Eddie were setting up meat,’ or ‘I will not use dashi.’ They seemed to have their restaurant. I helped them out when they were very clear philosophy at that restaurant, which was setting up their restaurant in Tokyo, and now we’re something I had not experienced before. That’s getting to do the same thing here in Sydney.” what intrigued me about it, and then I went and ate SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! GOurmet

Ned Goodwin

JAPAN FOR ME

Japan's first Master of Wine

In a country that has the most sommeliers outside of Europe, Australian sommelier Ned Goodwin has risen to become Japan’s first Master of Wine. Ned shares his own experience of Japan, which began with a student exchange, and visions for the future of wine there…

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“ I we n t to Fu k u i - ke n [a s a s tu d e n t], a f a i r l y rural outpost of Honshu. I believe it’s the least populated of all the prefectures in Japan, even less populated than prefectures in places like Shikoku and Hokkaido. It’s fairly rural. I stayed with one family for the entirety of the experience, so that was one year. I mean depending on the program you’re with, some programs encourage you to do numerous families, but in my case I was with AFS, American Field Service in 85-86, and we stayed with one family unless it was a disaster and then the organisation would find alternate families. But in my case I had a very good family and I maintain contact with them to this day. I knew coming back from Japan I had a level that was probably going to enable me to get good grades in the HSC, and I was passionate about it. At that point it was the greatest experience of my life to date, and so I wasn’t going to let everything I’d learnt fall to the wayside. I was pretty disciplined about that actually. People say to me today, especially with the Master of Wine, how did you get through it? Well you can’t be stupid, but you need a great deal of discipline, and somehow that’s something that’s stayed with me, pe r haps f rom the Japa ne se experience. I went to university in Paris, and then I went on and worked as a sommelier in New York. So it was quite a long time coming to and fro from Australia and elsewhere, and I worked as a tour guide for Kintetsu, and JTB, and Thomas Cook and various other small groups in the early 90s when Sydney of course was the most popular tourist destination in the world for Japanese. At that point it was more popular than even Honolulu. I was part of that Japanese speaking brigade who all lived in Rushcutters Bay around Kings Cross, and worked for those inbound tour operators. So that allowed me to keep going. Then honestly I didn’t speak Japanese for about ten years, until I went there this time, which is now ten years ago. So I’ve now been in Japan almost ten years. When I first arrived this time my Japanese was quite rusty, but I had a solid


grammatical basis, and that’s the bones really to take anything seriously, the level of passion visany language. From there on it righted itself. à-vis minutiae is just transcendent. These good Two children, and a wife later, and I’m still there sommeliers know a great deal in microscopic detail - at least for the time being. With no regrets. Ideally about soil types and champagne for example. I’d like to move back to Sydney, but how I do that But the problem with that of course is you have practically – obviously being a Caucasian speaking incredible specialists, but you don’t have many Japanese and Japan’s first Master of Wine, I feel a sommeliers with a broad knowledge. Maybe I’m, as a non-Japanese, being naïve bit of a niche, and its not an easily carved out niche anywhere else in the world. to think that you know, there are plenty of people It fulfils not only work related obligations out there who simply want to have a good time but it allows me quite a bit of freedom and work with wine. But I think there are, because as I said possibilities. So that’s a good thing, albeit when I when you go into restaurants for lunch now, be they do come back to Australia and I look out there and western or Japanese in Tokyo, which is where I live, see the greenery and the housing and the space most of the customers, and most of the enthusiasm and the beauty, and I have two children, I think oh, and curiosity seems to be among young, educated it would be nice to live back here. women with a bit of cash. Which is a demographic Most Japanese are not that didn’t exist twenty years ago. dr ink ing wine with Japane se All of these subcultures are food. If one drinks wine it either goes with Italian, or it goes with coming to the fore, and I think French, and that’s where the they’re moving away from the stor y really ends. They don’t tunnel-visioned excessive level of even really put wine with other specialisation that detracts from cuisines either, so there isn’t any fun, that perhaps the old school parameter really to work within, Japanese specialists have been there are only parameters to be about. broken. So I mean, these people T h e r e ’s d e f i n i t e l y w i n e have got to have someone consumption going on in Japan say to them ‘hey, wine’s not all a nd the re’s a gre at cur iosit y about burgundy.’ And the reality when it comes to wine, but I is Japan’s in a recession, so think in order to break the two the price level that the average “…there isn’t any parameter litre per capita consumption, Japanese consumer is paying really to work within, there which is where wine has been at for a bottle of wine is really going are only parameters to be in Japan for fifteen years now, I down. Right now its less than broken.” think someone, some tastemaker 800 yen per bottle which is less be it a Japanese sommelier, a than what it is in Australia, and Japanese tastemaker, a tastemaker or an arbiter less than what it is in traditionally frugal countries of taste, a celebrity, someone has to come out and like Germany or Holland. So the point is is the say ‘hey, its fun to put wine with Japanese food, traditional, high premium consumer in Japan is experiment with it in the home.’ becoming a smaller and smaller sector, and most consumers are drinking cheap. Once someone says that, then all of those Who’s going to tell them ‘hey, its okay to drink curious, young, single educated working women who are really the driving force behind wine and inexpensive wine, but you just need to pay a little bit food in Japan right now, its not the men, they will more, and then you’ll get … this.’ And there’s no one start putting wine with sukiyaki and whatnot at telling them that, because most of the sommeliers home, and wine consumption will never be huge of course are working in restaurants, and as the but it will grow to a more healthy level. And that’s economy detracts, consumption is moving more simply not happening now. into the house. This is a real revolution in Japan There are some fantastic sommeliers in Japan right now that no one seems to be addressing.” – as I’m sure you k now, whe n the Japane se SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! TECHNOLOGY

The Shinkansen Advanced technology, and an impeccable safety record define the shinkansen as one of the world’s best transport networks...

©Akira Okada/©JNTO

The bullet train, or shinkansen in Japanese, covers over 2,500 kilometres across the Japanese islands of Honshu and Kyushu, between Aomori in the north, and Kagoshima in the south. The Tokaido Shinkansen was the first line to be completed in 1964, in conjunction with the Tokyo Olympics. It links the Japanese economic powe r house s of Tok yo, Osaka, and Nagoya, covering an ancient trade route. The creator of the shinkansen was Hideo Shima, a Japanese Government Railways engineer who started out during the days of steam locomotives in 1925. Shima contributed design innovations to Japan’s passenger and freight trains in the years that followed, and in process, struck upon the idea of installing electric motors in individual rail cars. This proved to be a defining feature of the new shinkansen, along with air suspension, and air conditioning. The motor system enables the trains to travel at speeds of up to 300 km/h with ease, and decelerate safely. The air-sealed compartments of the shinkansen also stabilise internal air pressure, as the cars fly quickly in and out of tunnels. 67 tunnels had to be constructed through Japan’s mountainous countryside to complete the

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Tokaido Shinkansen. On top of this, it required some 3,000 bridges, in order to maintain a smooth track gradient. Japan’s existing train network ran on a narrow gauge, which could not cope with the speeds Shima dreamed of attaining with the shinkansen. After gaining approval to construct the new network, construction began in 1955. Costs blew out to a catastrophic 400 billion yen however, twice the initial estimate. In traditional Japanese fashion, Shima took responsibility for the debacle by resigning from Japan Railways in 1963. Once the shinkansen embarked on its maiden voyage the following year however, previously inconceivable benefits were immediately apparent. It had halved the 6 hours and 40 minutes required to travel the same distance on a conventional express by 1965, and functioned as an efficient transport solution for both business people and tourists. Less than three years later, 100 million people had experienced the Tokaido Shinkansen. Today it has become the world’s busiest high speed train line, transporting 151 million people annually.


Fast, efficient, and safe

©kubotake

Despite running at speeds in the 300 kmph range, no fatalities have been recorded as a result of bullet train derailments or collisions. Its excellent track record is largely due to an uninterrupted passage between destinations, and the vast number of tunnels and bridges which eliminate the need for corners. The shinkansen track has a wider gauge of 1,435mm, compared to the 1,067mm of Japan’s conventional train network, as well as longer rails. They are connected with expanding joints, to compensate for fluctuations caused by weather. A special sprinkler system also guards against the accumulation of snow on the tracks in winter. In the event of an earthquake, seismic detectors th ro u g ho u t th e s h in k a ns e n lin e s ac ti vate a n emergency braking system. Thanks to this, none of the 27 shinkansen which were operating near the epicentre of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 derailed, and passengers walked away unharmed. Able to travel safely at high speeds without destabilising, the shinkansen runs within seconds of its scheduled timetable every year.

©David McKelvey

National expansion

©Sui-setz

Instantaneous economic benefits from the Tokaido Shinkansen sparked a 1973 blueprint for a national network. The Sanyo Shinkansen was completed before this in 1972, continuing through we st Ja pa n from Osaka to Fukuoka. Today the line has been completed all the way to Kagoshima, on the southern tip of Kyushu. 19 8 2 s a w t h e o p e n i n g o f t h e To h o k u Shinkansen, linking Omiya in northern Tokyo with Morioka on upper Honshu. By 2010 the Tohoku Shinkansen had made it all the way to Aomori and construction is currently progressing to bring the line right up to Hokkaido. The Seikan Tunnel was constructed between Honshu and Hokkaido for this purpose, and at 53.85km is the world’s longest, and also its deepest railway tunnel. The Nagano Shinkansen was completed for the 1998 Winter Olympics, and will merge with the Hokuriku Shinkansen line to Kanazawa on Japan’s east coast in 2014. The growing network to the east of Japan also includes the Joetsu, Akita, and Yamagata Shinkansen lines.

©DAMASA

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! KYOTO

Gion www.pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/en Geisha shuffle their way between the beautiful teahouses of Gion, perfecting this picture of traditional Japanese culture...

©jonrawlinson ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO

S itu ate d in we ste r n Ja pa n, Kyoto reta ins its significance as a stronghold of traditional Japanese culture. Refined art, religion, and philosophy all flourished during its halcyon days as Japan’s ancient capital, forming an infusion which lingers strongly in the Gion district. Gion is home to one of Japan’s most enduring symbols, the Geisha. They can still be seen today with Maiko, their apprentices, around the teahouses of Gion. Geisha were originally a key part of a sophisticated business culture, which evolved centuries ago from development centred on the Imperially-patronised Yasaka Shrine. Geisha are still employed to enter tain merchant’s clients with an elegant display of Japanese performing arts, tea ceremony and witty conversation. The ancient merchant class based themselves heavily around the area, and one of the first things to strike visitors today is the ornate latticed facade of their terraced houses, or machiya. The atmosphere of Gion is heightened during the Gion Matsuri, or Gion Festival each year in July. The display of elaborately decorated portable shrines, traditional costumes, and lanterns is breathtaking, and brings the Gion of old to life.

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During the summer nights leading up to the festival, pristine old merchant’s houses open their doors for the Byobu Matsuri, or Folding Screen Festival. This is the perfect opportunity to step inside and see these precious family heirlooms on display. The best streets to visit for the Folding Screen Festival are Muromachi-dori, and Shinmachi-dori. The main festival parade, the Yamaboko Junko, happens in mid July. Unlike the portable shrines carried on the shoulders of men in many Japanese festivals, the floats in the Yamaboko-junko are on wheels, and are adorned with exquisite Nishijin tapestries from Kyoto. O u ts i d e of th e G i o n Fe s ti va l, th e c h e r r y blossoms of spring, and bright colours of autumn add a beautiful touch to the district. Many visitors like to take home the ultimate souvenir of their trip, and have a portrait taken of themselves in complete Geisha regalia. Additionally, some travel agencies and hotels are able to organise Geisha for dinner celebrations, providing an opportunity to experience the magic of Japan’s rare and precious cultural icons firsthand.


Gozan Okuribi Fire Festival www.pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/en Spirits of the ancestors ascend the flames of symbolic bonfires on the mountains of Kyoto every summer, as they return to the after life...

©Moja ©kubotake

Five giant Chinese characters and symbolic motifs are set ablaze on the hills surrounding Kyoto, during the summer Gozan Okuribi Fire Festival. The festival is one of Kyoto’s most dazzling Buddhist O-Bon celebrations, a special time of year when the souls of forbears are believed to return to Earth. Somewhat ironically, specific pre-1853 records of the festival were destroyed by a catastrophic fire, and its exact origins remain shrouded in mystery. Despite this, associated documents record it as an ancestral ritual dating from the 14th century. The most famous of the Chinese characters is 大, which is read as dai and means big. To the monks of Kyoto who oversee the festival, it also represents a person. Lighting the fires is viewed as a symbolic cleansing of the 75 worldly desires of humans by the monks, and they are considered to take away the spirits of the dead to the after-life. Significantly, 75 bonfires are lit to compose the dai character. They are composed of pine Gomagi, or prayer sticks, which have personal messages written on them to the farewell spirits as they depart. Two of the dai characters are lit up on different mountainsides, and are known to locals as Daimonji, and Hidari-Daimonji respectively. Crowds gather

on rooftops across the city to watch them blazing, and farewell the spirits of their ancestors. The other character sets ignited for the festival are: 妙 法 (Myoho, Buddhist Law), 舟形 (Funagata, symbol in the shape of a boat), and 鳥居形 (Torii-Gata, the shape of a Torii Shrine Gate), and their flames form a beautiful red glow in the night sky. The bonfires are lit from 8pm on August 16 every year, and last for about half an hour. The best place in Kyoto for a clear view of Daimonji, the most famous character, is the banks of the Kamo River in the centre of town. Funaokayama Park is another vantage point in the city with a sweeping view of Daimonji, HidariDaimonji and Funagata. It is particularly close to Hidari-Daimonji, which means the added bonus of enjoying the scenes leading up to the fire. Torch bearers march up the mountainside and form the shape of the character, before sending up in flames in unision. While there are plenty of places to watch the flames from outdoors, hotel complexes in the Kyoto city centre also offer special packages for a secluded view of the action.

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! KYOTO

Kiyomizu-dera Temple www.pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/en Kyoto’s Kiyomizudera Temple is a thousand year old piece of Buddhist art, housing beautiful statues in a giant wooden structure held together without a single nail...

ŠY.Shimizu/ŠJNTO

People flock to Kiyomizu-dera temple to drink from the three streams of Otowa Waterfall, which are believed to bring health, longevity, and wisdom. The Tainai-meguri, a dark hall figuratively considered to be the womb of a female Bodhisattva, lies on the outskirts. Visitors grope their way around 90 degree turns in a tunnel to the inner sanctum. Somewhere in the dark is a stone key, which must be rotated clockwise to make a wish to the Bodhisattva. These are just some of the many legends which have grown up around Kiyomizu-dera over its long history. It has also given birth to a famous local saying, to jump from the stage of Kiyomizu, which is an equivalent of taking the plunge in English. It was coined when a samurai caught in a stoush thrust himself off the 13 metre precipice using a door to break his fall, and miraculously survived. He prayed to the Buddhist deity to save him all the way down, and when he found himself in one piece, took it as evidence of divine intervention. More than 200 people tested this story out over the following centuries. They believed their wishes would be granted if they survived, and 85% made it!

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Today the stage has been retired from bungee platform status, and is enjoyed simply for the beautiful view of the temple grounds. The autumn colour and cherry blossom season at Kiyomizu-dera is picture perfect. There are many other temples, shrines, and pagodas to explore in the grounds of Kiyomizu-dera. The priests who masterminded their construction were inspired by the purity of Otowa Waterfall in the 8th century, and Kiyomizu means pure water in Japanese. After the flourishing Buddhist culture during this period, Japan fell into civil war which consumed some of the temple structures. They were rebuilt by the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1633, and Kiyomizu-dera has been World Heritage listed today for its cultural importance. The ten day Hanatoro Festival in mid March is a great time to visit the temple. Surrounding streets and temple gardens are filled with thousands of lanterns, illuminating ikebana flower arrangements, traditional musicians, and dancers. To get to Kiyomizu-dera, board bus 100 or 206 at Kyoto Station to Kiyomizu-michi, or Gojo-zaka.


Kinkakuji Temple www.pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/en Kinkaku-ji is an ancient storehouse of sacred Buddhist treasure in Kyoto, covered in gold leaf. Shimmering above an immaculately manicured garden, it is known as the Golden Pavilion...

©Kentaro Ohno

Kinkaku-ji is one of Japan’s most picturesque cultural treasures. A Buddha is enshrined in the third storey of the pavilion, below a golden phoenix on the roof. The second floor was used by samurai to compose poetry as they gazed out at the garden, and Noh plays were held on the first floor. The Golden Pavilion was constructed at the end of the 14th century, and incorporates religious architectural styles from China. It is shinier than ever today thanks to 1987 repair work. The pumice rocks next to the pond were carried all the way from Nagasaki, on the western tip of Honshu, as a special gift to the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu from Lord Akamatsu, the feudal ruler of Nagasaki. Other famous feudal lords presented rocks of their own for the garden, illustrating the deep philosophy and religious significance of nature in traditional Japanese culture. Shogun Ashikaga built the Golden Pavilion in 1397, on what was his private retirement villa at the time. It is a symbol of Kitayama culture, which is famous for beautiful wooden architecture. The area is in Kyoto’s north and continues a 600 year old sustainable forestry industry today, cultivating

intricately patterned cedar for Japanese houses. The Golden Pavilion is part of a temple site formally known as Rokuon-ji, and a walk through the lush, winding paths will yield many interesting discoveries. One of these is the austere wooden structure of an old medieval teahouse, which was used by the Japanese Emperor during the medieval Edo Period. Another is the Toryumon, or the Gateway to Success. A rock is poetically positioned below a small waterfall, to symbolise a carp. Carp were the only fish who could swim up water falls in Chinese legend, and doing so would convert them into powerful dragons. This reflects the idea that overcoming great challenges in life leads to success. The Chinese origin of this story also illustrates the degree to which Japan readily imported its culture in ancient times. Despite the destruction of the Golden Pavilion by fire at the hands of a monk suffering a bout of pyromania in 1950, it was restored and has been World Heritage listed today. Bus 12, 59, 204, or 205 from Kyoto Station will take you to Kinkakuji-machi bus stop, from where it lies a short distance away.

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! ANCIENT BUILDINGS

Todaiji Temple www.pref.nara.jp/nara_e The giant Buddha gazes down peacefully from the rafters of Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden structure...

©Aschaf ©柏翰 / ポーハン / POHAN

Almost 2.6 million loyal subjects of the emperor, half the population of Japan during the 8th century, spent years painstakingly gathering the copper, bronze, and wood required to build Todaiji Temple. The eye painting ceremony on the Buddha was completed to the chanting of sutras by hundreds of priests in 752, enshrining the 15 metre, 250 ton edifice as the centre of ancient Japan’s Buddhist culture. Nio statues, terrifying guardians of the temple, stand frozen in fury within the towering Nandaimon entrance gates to ward off evildoers. One has its mouth open, and the other closed, symbolising the directions of birth and death. Originally Hindu gods stirred into the Buddhist melting pot, the Nio are reminders of the cultural chemistry in effect during Japan at the time. The Buddha itself was part of this transfer, inspired by a similar statue in China. The Japanese rulers dispatched diplomatic envoys to China for open cultural exchange during this period, and designed Nara, their ancient capital as a classic Chinese Imperial city. Todaiji reigned supreme over Nara’s network of shrines and temples. In spite the Nio guardians, shifting currents

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of religious and political power razed Todaiji to the ground on two occasions, in 1180 and 1567. The last building to be reconstructed was the Main Hall, completed in 1709 and still standing today. Measuring approximately 50 metres across all dimensions, it still manages to be the largest wooden building in the world at only two thirds of its original size. Nigatsudo Hall is adjacent to the main hall of Todaiji, and hosts the temple’s famous Shuni-E Water and Fire ceremony. It runs over two weeks from March 1 to 14, and one of the most impressive parts is Otaimatsu. Priests adorn the balcony of Nigatsudo in a procession after sunset, casting sparks of ash from huge fire torches onto the crowd below. The torches measure 6 to 8m, and weigh as much as 40 to 70kg. Spectators file past hoping to catch a sprinkling of embers, which are believed to ward off bad luck in the coming year. Todaiji is set in the lush surroundings of Nara park, which is home to over 1000 friendly deer. Apart from being filled with beautiful scenery throughout the seasons, the park also houses the Nara National Museum, a Japanese Important Cultural Property and repository of priceless Buddhist art.


Himeji Castle www.himeji-kanko.jp/en/spot/ss001.html Himeji Castle was no pushover for the feudal lords of Japan. The route to its main tower is masked by a counter intuitive maze, which zig-zags in the opposite direction...

©Kzaral

Any attackers who made it to this point were subject to liberal doses of gunfire, falling rocks, boiling water and oil, from strategically placed apertures in the castle wall. 83 buildings weave an intricate web inside, housing a cast of thousands sworn to protect their lord under pain of death. Omnipotent in the main tower above them, he overlooked a series of concentric moats and retaining walls beyond the maze. T h e e ntire 17th c e ntu r y sto n e a nd wo o d structure of Himeji Castle is still covered in a fireproof white plaster today. The beautifully constructed main tower resembles a bird spreading its wings, giving it the alter egos of White Heron Castle, and White Egret Castle. Himeji Castle was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993. Despite the medieval bombardment it was designed to withstand, not a single weapon was raised in anger towards the White Egret. Battering rams were superseded by bulldozers as its greatest threat in Japan’s rush to modernise, following opening to the West in 1868. A decree issuing the abolition of castles was implemented

by the new Imperial Government. As walls came crashing down across the country, Himeji was put up for auction, and the hammer struck at just 23.5 yen – an absolute bargain in today’s terms, of about $2,500. The castle’s robust structure worked in its favour however, skyrocketing demolition costs beyond rational consideration. Things began to look up again in 1931, when it was declared an Important Cultural Property. Divine intervention appears to have protected it from heavy firebombing during World War II, when a bomb landing on the main tower but failed to explode! A facelift using traditional building techniques continued after the war, and it is now an internationally known and loved masterpiece of Japanese architecture. One of the best times to visit today is during the pink and white fanfare of the Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom viewing fair in spring. Alternatively, the summer Himeji Castle Festival, and the autumn Moon Viewing Fair add an extra dimension to its elegant construction. Himeji Castle is just 3 hours from Tokyo on the bullet train.

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! ANCIENT BUILDINGS

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama shirakawa-go.org/english A unique traditional farming culture continues in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama to this day, hidden away in the mountains of central Japan..

©Akira Okada/©JNTO

It’s a case of better in than out for residents of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama in winter, when heavy snowfall creates a natural Berlin Wall between them and the rest of the country. This isolated natural setting preserves architecture and agriculture unique to Japan, and has been World Heritage listed for its precious cultural value. Time stands still gazing down at the enormous thatched houses which dot the villages. Their rooves are sloped to 60 degrees, to withstand copious snowfall during the winter. Aligned parallel to the Sho River according to the prevailing wind, they contrast beautifully against the neatly maintained paddy fields, and the mountain colours throughout the seasons. Closer inspection reveals blooming flower beds, and waterwheels channelling the river through garden beds and crops. Many of the 117 structures have been standing for centuries, and are known in Japanese as Gassho-Zukuri, which means hands together in prayer. However, survival in the mountainous terrain meant the villagers had to extend their creativity fur ther. Silk thread was a key income for the community right up to the 1970s, thanks to region’s

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naturally occurring paper mulberries. The leaves were utilised as silkworm beds, which were stored in the toasty top floors of the houses during the deep freeze of winter. They were also used to produce Japanese paper, and crops were diversified to include the hardy buckwheat and millet. Rice was still a village mainstay, and forms the pivotal ingredient for a thick, sweet sake homebrew enjoyed by the villagers during the Doburoku Festival in mid October. Doburoku is the name of the sake, which is offered as a token of thanks to the local deity for the autumn harvest, and in prayer for another safe return next year. The villagers help themselves to the remainder, and prepare major folk performances in the weeks leading up to the festival. T h i s i s o n e of t h e b e s t t i m e s of ye a r to experience the local produce and village life, staying in a farmhouse bed and breakfast. Food is cooked around a special indoor charcoal grill, known as an irori, and guests are given simple, yet satisfying futons to sleep on, rolled onto the tatami floor. T h e c row n i n g g l o r y of th e ex p e r i e n c e i s Shirakawa-go Onsen, a lovely natural hot spring set within the World Heritage area.


日本

Kogumotorigoe, Kumano Kodo © JNTO

Second Golden Route - Kumano Kodo The journey from Tokyo through Nagoya and on to Kyoto, Nara and Osaka is well travelled and known as Japan's Golden Route. Venturing south of the original Golden Route will take you through Mie and Wakayama prefectures on the Kii Peninsula, a very sacred and spiritual part of Japan. Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route is the UNESCO World Heritage listed site and three stars in Michelin Green Guide Japon. The Kumano area has long been considered a sacred area and has been a place of pilgrimage for a thousand years. Walking these trails in the paths of these pilgrims is a way to make your wish granted.

JAPAN


SO COOL, SO JAPAN! EVENTS

Sapporo Snow Festival www.snowfes.com Marvel at the ice artistry of the Sapporo Snow Festival…

©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

The detail in the sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival is obsessive, and the results are impressive. Colossal reproductions of Honganji Temple’s Hiunkaku Pavilion, a National Treasure of Japan, and the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site in Beijing were among the focal points of 2011. The latter towered over the Chinese middle school students performing on its steps, for the February 7 opening ceremony. 16 teams competed in the 2011 International Snow Sculpture Contest as par t of the Snow Festival, with honours being awarded to Lithuania. The team used their own special tools to create an enormous piece of snow honeycomb drenched in honey, presided over by a hovering bee. The work was entitled “The World is our Hive. Be Responsible,” to inspire concern for environmental issues. The hundreds of snow sculptures which fill Sapporo for the Snow Festival are illuminated beautifully in colour at night, and attract about two million visitors from Japan and overseas. With an average February temperature of -3.5C, snow is never in short supply. 30,000 tons of it is trucked in from the mountains of Hokkaido each year, and

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locals combine with visitors to lend a hand and create the impressive centrepieces. Simply turn up to Odori Park, the main festival site, a week before it begins to get a sense of just what an enormous under taking this is. Heav y construction machinery is used to compact snow and build a solid foundation to bear the weight of the sculptures. This is then surrounded by scaffolding, and wooden panels to keep the snow from falling out before it is turned into a giant ice cube. Ice chisels are sharpened, and the real art begins. The beginnings of the Snow Festival were much more modest however. Six high school students built a statue each in Odori Park back in 1950. Five years later, they had the Japan Self-Defense Forces assisting them to build the first large scale sculptures, the festival’s modern trademark. Since the growth of the Snow Festival, new attractions have been added to supplement the ice sculptures. A play area with giant ice slides and a snow maze is enjoyed by kids, and concerts are held every evening on stages of ice. There are also snowboard jumping shows, and Japanese festival food stalls. These are the perfect way to ward off the chilly weather.


Saidaiji Eyo okayama-japan.jp/en/eventinfo.html Thousands of heroic competitors engage in a seesawing battle for sacred sticks, unfazed by the sub zero temperatures of winter...

Suddenly the lights go out, and the teeming crowd roars in the darkness. The priest at Saidaiji Temple has just dropped the pair of sacred sticks from the rafters, and the crowd at this year’s Eyo, or Naked Man Festival, is in fierce competition to see who can gain possession. A field goal is scored by the fearless contender who manages to plant them upright into a wooden box filled with rice, bringing him a year of good luck and happiness. Thousands come from far and wide to the town of Saidaiji in Okayama Prefecture for the event each year, battling the adversity of the freezing February weather in loincloths. It is a stunning spectacle, and the build up to the final moments is intense. Participants parade fervently, and somewhat gingerly through town towards the temple grounds, being doused with giant wooden pitchers of water to purify them before entering. Washoi! Washoi! Washoi! Festival chants ring out through the area. Before the adults get a r un at the sticks however, it’s time for the little league. A gap opens in the crowd, and in marches an excited crowd of kids ready to make their mark on the festival. As well as their own pair of sticks, they are furnished with some special rice treats once the battle is over.

The thunderous staccato of Japanese taiko drumming hypes up the atmosphere in the temple grounds. The taiko ensembles are visually, as well as sonically impressive, with finely coordinated drum strokes akin to a dance performance. Saidaiji Temple sits next to a river, and a beautiful fireworks display is set off above the water during the evening. Nearby, festival food floats gather tightly, brimming with people enjoying the atmosphere. One of the highlights of the Naked Man festival is the variety of food. Okonomiyaki pancakes, abalone, fried yakitori noodles, roasted sweet potato, and many more taste sensations are on offer. After getting your share, take a seat in one of the marquees with a cup of hot sake to keep the winter chill out. And of course, there’s always cold beer. Getting to Okayama Prefecture for the festival is easy, thanks to the bullet train. The trip down from Tokyo can be made in 3.5 hours, or breezed from Osaka in an hour. From Okayama Station, continue on the Ako Line to Saidaiji Station, or take a bus directly to Saidaiji. Additional bus services back to Okayama are provided after the festival.

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Fuji Rock Festival www.smash-uk.com/frf11 Do you remember all that mud from Glastonbury? Well, you can wash it away at Fuji Rock, with a cleansing hot spring bath…

Arctic Monkeys ©Masanori Naruse

Fuji Rock is Japan’s mother of outdoor music festivals. In the original Woodstock tradition, tens of thousands march out to the countryside for three days of music every summer, performed by a massive and diverse line up. Surrounded by mountains and forest, many fans come just to soak up the atmosphere of the venue itself. The vibe is comfortable and relaxed, thanks in part to the Fuji Rockers - the festival’s many loyal faithful. Fans from sixties and seventies generation make up a higher chunk of the audience here than at your customary festival, which is one of Fuji Rock’s distinctive features. The line up also echoes the trend of bands with a following among music lovers in general, not limited by any genre, elevating the festival beyond the spectrum of pure rock. Thanks to the support of fans and musicians alike, Fuji Rock is successfully realizing its aim of becoming the world’s cleanest festival. Visitors receive rubbish bags on arrival, and show respect for the venue by putting them to good use. Coupled with the stable operation of the festival from year to year, and the good behaviour of fans, Fuji Rock has earned itself a great reputation internationally.

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The festival is currently based at Naeba Ski Resort, in Niigata Prefecture on Japan’s eastern seaboard. Its name comes from the location of the inaugural Fuji Rock, which was held near the slopes of Japan’s tallest peak in 1997. Thanks to Japan’s efficient transport system, getting to Fuji Rock, be it by bullet train or bus, is simple. The venue even has hot springs, which comes to the rescue of tired, sweaty and muddy festival goers! Arrive on the night before the first day for the opening party, for some traditional Japanese taiko drumming, and Bon-Odori dancing. Fuji Rock is usually held in late July, a few weeks before the spirits of ancestors are believed to return the family homes in August. This time is known as O-Bon, and special dances are performed to mark the occasion. Then it’s time to engage more with an eating competition, tasty food stalls and prize draws. A fireworks display lights up the evening to cap things off, and the festival is declared open. The music starts straight away, and major artists from the line up have been known to give surprise performances at past opening parties.


SO COOL, SO JAPAN! CULTURE

Anime The characters of anime have developed a huge following around the world, inspiring colourful costume play and instigating a boundless fascination in all things Japanese among their fans...

Film ©1999 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. ©Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, Toei

Japanese anime has become a global culture today, popularized through the crime fighting antics of Astro Boy, and the superhuman strength of Son Goku. The anime enjoyed by international viewers is the tip of the iceberg however, and it is a billion dollar industry in its homeland. Japan is where the heavyweights of anime start out, often in black and white on the pages of manga comics. The godfather of its modern form is Osamu Tezuka. Working out of his Tokyo studio during the 1960s, he took Astro Boy and many other of his famous characters off the page and onto the screen. They not only pioneered TV animation in Japan, but also coined the big eyes, and other defining aspects of anime characters today. Digital technology has revolutionised both the production and enjoyment of anime, which has exploded thanks to the internet. Fans outside Japan watch their favourites online, or download them from iTunes in the US. Australian community TV stations have also begun screening respected anime series and films. Increased interest in Japanese culture and language as a result has been enormous. Japanese anime has also exported the culture of Cosplay to fans around the world. The word is a

Japanese abbreviation of the English costume play, and refers to the pastime among fans of sewing elaborate costumes to dress as their favourite anime characters. Cute and creative, Cosplay is celebrated at the Madman National Cosplay Championship in Australia. Fans in all capital cities strut their stuff to see who will win the grand prize of a trip to Tokyo, and experience the home of anime culture.

Madman Entertainment is the go to source for all things anime Down Under. These bestselling titles and more are available online at www.madman.com.au. The Butler From Hell C i e l P h a n to m h i ve, t h e m o s t powerful boy in all of England, p row l s th e d a r ke s t a l l ey s of London on a mission to snuf f out those who would do evil with Sebastian, a demon Butler summoned from the ver y pits of hell.

©Yana Toboso/SQUARE ENIX, Kuroshitsuji Project, MBS

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 A private armed organization steps for ward amidst the unceasing conflict of the 24th ce ntur y, de claring the ir intention to eliminate war through martial force.

©SOTSU•SUNRISE•MBS

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Bunraku www.ntj.jac.go.jp/english Bunraku puppeteers appear to move as one, as they bring famous characters from Japanese history to life with deft coordination...

ŠJNTO

Bunraku is traditional Japanese puppet theatre accompanied by strings, percussion, narration, and chanting. Officially known as Ningyo Johruri, it has evolved from a popular medieval crowd pleaser to a refined art, still enjoyed today. Puppets can measure over a metre in height, and command a team of three to move about the stage. Though subtle, their movements are disarmingly sophisticated. Noses, eyes, eyebrows, and mouths all move to express emotions, and the faces of characters in ghost stories can suddenly transform into demons at a moment's notice. The lead puppeteer has direct control over these features, working a handle inside the puppet's torso. The three puppeteers assume the roles of the right hand, left hand, and legs respectively. This is also the order in which their career progresses, and new puppeteers can spend up to a decade working on the feet before they are entrusted with the left hand. By the time they get to the right hand, 30 years will have passed. Bunraku usually has only a single narrator, who changes the pitch and tone of his voice to play all the characters, male or female. He is accompanied by the incessant twanging of the shamisen, a three-

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stringed Japanese guitar, as well as flute, hand drums, and other percussion instruments. The art form began to emerge in Japanese society from 1600, recounting tales of famous histor ic al cha racte r s a nd e motional conf lict. Chikamatsu Monzaemon was one of its greatest playwrights, and his Love Suicides at Sonezaki (1703) exemplifies the latter genre. Chushingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers, by Takeda Izumo, Miyoshi Shoraku, and Namiki Senryu, is a period classic in Bunraku, and has been widely adapted for other types of theatre, film, and television. Forty-seven samurai warriors avenge the death of their lord, Asano Naganori, who found himself with no choice but to commit ritual suicide as atonement for the assault of a court official. The warriors committed suicide themselves immediately after dispatching the offical, to answer for their crime of murder. Known famously in English as The Fortyseven Ronin, the saga is based on a true story which occurred in the early 18th century. The graves of the warriors can still be seen in Tokyo today. Bunraku was originally born in Osaka, and continues today at the city's National Bunraku Theatre.


Ukiyo-e Ukiyo-e captured the popular imagination of medieval townspeople with characters from Japan's floating world…

Uk i yo - e pr ints we re m a s s produ c e d u s ing a polychrome wood block technique, and rose to fame portraying the good, the bad, and the ugly from the local entertainment quarters. Ukiyo means ‘floating world’ in Japanese, which metaphorically coins the transient, surreal view contemporary Japanese people held of the profession. The first generation of Ukiyo-e artists in the 17th century focused on actors, actresses, and geisha as their subjects. An avant-garde group of these brush wielding warriors took to depicting them sans clothes on occasion, attracting the watchful eye of government censors. The authorities were much more approving of landscapes, like Katsushika Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Hokusai produced these genredefining works between 1826 and 1833, and ended up having to add a further ten prints after the first publication due to overwhelming demand. All artists began the printing process with an underdrawing, which was submitted to their local censor for approval. After getting an official go ahead, they transferred the drawing onto a block of cherry wood. Proofs were created next at the printers, colour the image and start carving separate

colour blocks. The final copy was eventually produced on special mulberry paper known as housho, which was moistened, pressed onto each block, and rubbed by the printer to imbue it with colour. Early Ukiyo-e during the 17th century started out with just one colour, a style exemplified by the work of Hishikawa Moronobu. Artists began hand painting more colours onto the pieces, and the polychrome woodblock printing, known as Nishiki-e, outmoded this in the 18th century. Suzuki Harunobu perfected the technique, and his name remains strongly associated with Nishiki-e.

©TCVB - Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau/©JNTO

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SO COOL, SO JAPAN! TOKYO

Tokyo www.tourism.metro.tokyo.jp Nowhere is the contrast between past and present so striking as in Tokyo, Japan's international centre of economic power and cultural wealth...

©JNTO

The city of Tokyo is spread over the southwestern part of the Kanto region, the Izu islands and the Ogasawara islands. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and with a population of over 12 million, the city is one of the largest in the world. When Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu established a government there in the early 17th century, the town surrounding his residence, Edo Castle, started to develop. Although most of the city was thereafter devastated by the Great Earthquake of 1923 and again by bombing in WWII, it recovered rapidly both times. Today Tokyo remains a powerful centre of politics, business, and culture both locally and globally. Shinjuku is Tokyo's fast developing shopping and amusement quarter, and is one of its largest commuter terminals. Bustling South & East Shinjuku are ideal for shopping, people watching, movies, or eating and drinking. West Shinjuku, on the other hand, is exceptional for strolling along wide boulevards and Tokyo-viewing from the tops of soaring skyscrapers. Tokyo Tower stands tall among them at 333m, and functions a telecasting and enter tainment centre. It houses an aquarium, wax museum, shops

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and restaurants. Tokyo Sky Tree will stand even taller at 634m in 2012, and is set to become the world's tallest free-standing tower. Roppongi is undoubtedly the place to be seen in Tokyo. It is a trendy nightlife district, and popular among international visitors. The area features many art galleries, plus excellent shopping, dining, and par tying oppor tunities. Key enter tainment destinations include Roppongi Hills, which houses the Mori Art Museum and the Tokyo City View observatory, and Tokyo Midtown, which includes the Suntory Museum of Art and a large garden. In Shibuya there are countless movie theaters, and performance venues such as Shibuya-kokaido Hall, Orchard Hall, and Bunkamura, as well as Denryokukan, an electricity museum. The Center Street swarms with youth fashion shops, fast food shops, game centres, and is famous for its youth fashion trends. The scramble crossing at Dogenzaka, which leads into Center Street, is one of the world's busiest pedestrian crossings. There are countless other unique areas in Tokyo, including the electronics paradise of Akihabara, and Tsukiji Market.


Asakusa The traditional atmosphere of Edo, the old capital of Japan, still permeates Asakusa, and is still celebrated at the areas famous Sanja Festival every year. Despite their one ton weight, three portable shrines are jolted in a parade vigorously by the bearers to increase the power of the deities inside. After the final shrine has made its way back to a tumultuous roar, visitor numbers will have clocked well in excess of one million. Visit the shrine online at www.asakusajinja.jp/english. ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO

Ryogoku Kokugikan T h e th r ill s a n d s p ills of th e Su m o b o u ts th e Kokugikan Stadium in Ryogoku are another exciting way to see traditional culture come alive in Tokyo. January, May, and September are the months to catch the wrestlers in action, over tournaments which last for 15 days. The build up to the collision of these giants involves extensive parading, bowing, and throwing of salt. Ryogoku Station is on the Sobu Line, and more information on sumo is available at www.sumo.or.jp/eng. ©alisdair

Comiket Comic Market, or Comiket for short in Japanese, is a hugely popular event held twice yearly in Tokyo by self published comic book artists. Their work is either fan-fiction, featuring existing characters, or completely original. Free of standard filters, the themes of dojinshi are limited only by the imagination of their creators, and can vary wildly as a result. Comiket is held twice yearly in Tokyo for three days at a time, gathering crowds in excess of half a million. Visit www.comiket.co.jp for more. ©Comic Market Committee/©Matoi Keruna

Park Hotel Tokyo

Designing comfort in the leading global city Shiodome Media Tower, 1-7-1, Higashi Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-7227 Phone: 03-6252-1111 URL: http://www.parkhoteltokyo.com/

From a restful stay to business support Private rooms for dining with your important guests Restaurant tateru yoshino Shiodomé, Restaurant tateru yoshino Shiba, Star holder, MICHELIN GUIDE TOKYO 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011.

Shiba Park Hotel

Providing new services while retaining its history and traditions 1-5-10 Shiba-koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011 Phone: 03-3433-4141 URL: http://www.shibaparkhotel.com/ SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

Colors Pantone 2747 CVC Pantone 3308 CVC Pantone 485 CVC C/00

C/100 M/79 C/100 M/00 M/100 Y/91

Y/00 Y/60 K/00

K/09 K/72

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Tokyo Disney Resort

©Disney

www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp Tokyo DisneyLand and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks, Cirque du Soleil Theatre Tokyo, Ikspiari, and Bon Voyage bring young and old back to Tokyo Disney Resort time and time again to enjoy shopping, dining, and good fun, all finished in style with official Disney Hotels...

Tokyo DisneyLand is the original core of Tokyo Disney Resort, where the characters of Disney welcome guests to seven themed lands of wonder and excitement. Swashbuckling quick-drawers make a beeline for Adventureland and Westernland, while futuristic thrillseekers head for the outer space rollercoaster of Tomorrowland. Fantasyland is home to the characters from Disney fairy tales, while Mickey Mouse and friends can be found in Toontown. In the background Cinderella Castle presides over the seven worlds, and World Bazaar, their central point. Tok yo DisneySea joins Tok yo DisneyLand with another seven themed realms. Captain Nemo invites visitors 20,000 leagues under the sea on Mysterious Island, if they aren’t quite prepared to go all the way with Journey to the Center of the Earth. In the meantime, Ariel is relaxing in Mermaid Lagoon. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull awaits in the forests of Lost River Delta, and Sinbad is taking passengers to join him on the Arabian Coast. Journey above the clouds and dive back into the eye of a storm on the StormRider at Port Discovery, or take a step back in time at Mediterranean Harbor and American Waterfront.

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Don’t forget to come back to the present for the live entertainment at both theme parks. Tokyo Disney Resort employs a massive cast of actors, dancers, vocalists and musicians, to put on a constantly refreshed performance schedule. Add fireworks displays, parades, sound, lighting, and visuals, and the characters of Disney suddenly become larger than life. I n s i d e To k yo D i s n e y R e s o r t, t h e D i s n e y Ambassador Hotel, Tokyo DisneySea Hotel Mira Costa, and Tokyo Disneyland Hotel offer visitors Disney quality, each encapsulating a dif ferent atmosphere with sumptuous restaurants and convenient access. Hot on their heels nearby are a host of other luxury hotels with great facilities, including the international brands Sheraton and Hilton. At the gateway to the resort next to JR Maihama Station is Bon Voyage, a building resembling a giant vintage suitcase and hat box. The interior is filled with a treasure trove of Disney products. It even recreates the inner pocket design of a suitcase, inspiring guests with the spirit of travel and adventure.


Cirque du Soleil Theatre Tokyo

Photo: Kishin Shinoyama Costume: Renée April ©Cirque du Soleil Inc.

Don’t miss the mind bending acrobatics of Cirque du Soleil on your visit to Tokyo Disney Resort! For the uninitiated, Cirque du Soleil are a colossal Canadian creative force. Actors, musicians, clowns, and acrobats combined into one, their performers present powerful stories which have redefined the possibilities of theatre. Cirque du Soleil began a permanent residency at Tokyo Disney Resort in 2008 with ZED, a show exclusive to Japan. ZED is a character on a voyage of discovery, designed to symbolise the many guises of humanity. As he grows through his experiences, ZED becomes a unifying point for people from the earth and sky wanting to end their segregation. The Cirque du Soleil Theatre Tokyo has a stage especially designed for the performance of ZED. Outside, its sweeping roof resembles a big top, and is constructed from giant polyhedrons which channel sunlight inside. The theatre is complete with a bar, refreshments, a souvenir boutique, and guest services. To experience ZED for yourself, head to www.zed.co.jp.

Ikspiari Ikspiari is a self proclaimed town in Tokyo Disney Resort. It’s Moorish architecture is immaculately designed, and divided into nine themed areas. Whether it be sampling the finest in Belgian chocolate from Godiva or perusing Tiffany’s, nearly 150 shops and restaurants in Ikspiari provide quality retail therapy and vast gastronomic wealth. At the forefront are restaurants like Queen Alice Maihama, French fine dining courtesy of Yutaka Ishinabe, the original French Iron Chef. The night time fireworks displays at the theme parks nearby can be enjoyed from the windows of Queen Alice Maihama, and other restaurants in Ikspiari. When you’re done, head to Club Ikspiari for some live music. Otherwise, Cinema Ikspiari has a broad selection of films to choose from over sixteen screens. Open performances from acrobats, magicians and artists, along with special classes and demonstrations in the shops and restaurants add to the atmosphere. Ikspiari is situated immediately adjacent to the theme parks, and visitors can come and go freely.

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Edo Wonderland edowonderland.net Ever wondered what it was really like back in the days of the samurai? Then dust off your armour, and head to Edo Wonderland...

©EDO WONDERLAND

Japan’s medieval Edo Period lasted for over 250 years, from 1603 to 1867. It was famously an era of peace and cultural development, thanks to an iron rule by the Tokugawa Clan. After defeating their enemies at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Tokugawa Ieyasu ended centuries of political u ph e ava l in Ja pa n a nd fou nd e d a n a lmig ht y Shogunate from a new seat of power in Edo, or present day Tokyo. Walk through the checkpoint at the entry to Edo Wonderland, and be transported straight back to a classic Edo townscape. Samurai, princesses and merchants bustle through the streets. Many visitors take the opportunity to blend in with them, choosing a new identity from 400 different costumes. W a t c h o u t f o r t h e N i n j a Tr i c k M a z e , a challenging labyrinth where attack is never far away! There’s no telling where the ninjas are going to reappear from next during their exciting show, which is complemented by Mizugei, a water magic show, a Courtesans parade, and more. Edo Wonderland caters for the tastebuds as well as the eyes, with traditional favourites including fresh manju and dango sweets, usually preceded by soba and udon noodles. The park is complete with

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period architecture, showcasing the residences of commoners, merchants and samurai. The prisoners have not been forgotten either, and enjoy their own jail. A blacksmith and armour repairer are also ready to assist, should you come off second best against the ninjas. The buildings are much more than just an authentic façade, and Edo Wonderland has been used as a film set for historic dramas. Innocently wander into the Haunted Temple, and you might provoke the wrath of resident ghosts and demons! Otherwise there are bending walls, and gravity defying balls to contend with inside the House of Illusion. As well as living out the glory of Edo, visitors can learn about it in informative museum displays, and take a piece home for themselves from the souvenir shop. Edo Wonderland is in the vicinity of the famous Nikko Tosho-gu, a spectacular World Heritage listed Shinto Shrine. Homage is paid to Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, the unifier of Japan, at this lavish complex of beautiful buildings. They are the perfect opportunity to learn about the founding father of Japan’s Edo Period.


Asahiyama Zoo www5.city.asahikawa.hokkaido.jp/asahiyamazoo Take a step through the gates of Asahiyama Zoo, where polar bears frolic in the snow, and orangutans hang out in the midair playground...

©Y. Shimizu

Asahiyama Zoo is among Japan’s most creative. The zoo introduced a radical new approach to enclosure building in the 1990s, recreating habitats to showcase the animals in action. Visitor numbers have skyrocketed as news of its special attractions spreads, and other Japanese zoos, including Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, have rushed to introduce a similar policy. L o c a te d i n t h e c e n t r a l H o k k a i d o c i t y o f Asahikawa, Asahiyama Zoo is close to the ski and wilderness areas of the island. It has become a popular feature on the itineraries of outdoor sports enthusiasts visiting throughout the year. The Ezo Deer and Wolf, both native to Hokkaido, are strategically enclosed beside one another by the zoo to maintain their traditional hunter and hunted relationship. The fence beside the deer’s feeding trough doesn’t stop them getting the occasional bite when they press their body up against it, something the zookeepers see as important to keeping their natural instincts razor sharp. The entire Deer enclosure can be seen from a six metre high cliff, modelled on the steep gorges of nearby Sounkyo, in Daisetsuzan National Park. The Wolf side also has excellent vantage points, for an

intimate view of this fearsome predator. The Siberian Tiger, and the Hokkaido Brown Bear are two more carnivorous highlights from a significant cast. Asahiyama Zoo has even recreated hunting conditions for White Tailed Eagles, housed in a giant aviary above a pond of rainbow trout. The fish are an important part of the eagles’ natural diet, when they can be found from the twisting caves and crevasses inside the pond. By giving the fish a fair chance to escape, the zookeepers again prevent the desensitisation of both animals. The aviary is being purpose built to house the endangered Blakiston’s Fish Owl, an eagle owl species native to forest systems on Hokkaido and Siberia. Troupes of Penguins also march in parade formation across the snowy zoo grounds in winter, part of special feeding time programs designed to show the animals at their most active. It works well for all parties, allowing the penguins to continue their custom of marching long distances in the wild to hunt for fish. Asahiyama Zoo is open all year round, with the exception of a pre-winter preparation break from October 23-November 2, and December 30-January 1. SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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Mount Fuji www.fujisan.ne.jp Mount Fuji is revered as a national symbol of Japan, and one of its greatest attractions...

©diloz ©Jack Fiallos

To climb, or not to climb? There was no hesitation in the matter for retired junior high school teacher Shigeyoshi Sasaki, who cemented his place in history by steaming up Japan’s most revered peak 121 times in 2006. Smashing his own previous record, Sasak i’s June - October odyssey also consigned the Japanese proverb that you are a fool to climb the mountain more than once to the history books. Mere mortals generally climb the mountain between July and August, when the snow is on holidays, huts are open and access is convenient. Most of Japan goes on holidays during this time too however, so the trick to crowd avoidance is to hit the trail as early as you can in the season. An anonymous monk was the first person recorded making the full 3,776 meter ascent over a thousand years ago, but in 2011 climbers get a head start by road halfway up the mountain. The done thing is an early evening assault from this point, and a night in one of the mountain huts before final glory watching the sunrise the following morning from the summit. Variety is the spice of climbing Mount Fuji, which can be done from one of three different routes. Each has road access to its fifth stage, but there are still

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some important differences to bear in mind. The Fujinomiya Trail is the express option, with its fifth station closest to the top at 2,400m, and is also the most convenient for travellers arriving by bullet train. It has the added advantage of a guidance point and a clinic at the eighth stage, which is open for a few weeks from late July to mid August. Fuji is just high enough to experience the symptoms of altitude sickness, so climb slowly to avoid an unplanned stopover here. The next option is the Subashiri Trail. It is similar to Fujinomiya in grade, but involves a slightly longer walk from its fif th stage at 2,000m. Seasoned climbers relishing a challenge will want to head instead to the fifth stage of the Gotemba Trail, which starts at 1,400m. As a reward for the extra effort, climbers on the Gotemba Trail enjoy some particularly sensational views, and an unobstructed sunrise en route. On top of the extra distance though, be prepared for some dif ficult stages suitable for more adventurous types. The temperature on Mount Fuji drops exponentially towards the summit, so be sure to don some proper winter and rain gear prior to the conquest.


Festivities of the Fuji Five Lakes

©T.Satoh/©JNTO

Mount Fuji presides over Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, which include the famous Fuji Five Lakes area to its north. Lake Kawaguchi in particular is famous for a mirror-image reflection of the peak on its crystalline surface. One of the best vantage points from which to admire Lake Kawaguchi and Mount Fuji is Mount Tenjo. Take the ropeway up to the lookout, and don’t forget your hiking boots if you plan to continue on the trail from there to Mount Mitsutoge. Festivals add colour and cultural context to the Five Lakes area throughout the year, and there are plenty to choose from. Nature lovers will enjoy the April-May Mount Fuji Flower Festival, which features a brilliant mandala of 800,000 pink blossoms to celebrate the spring. There is also the purple lavender of the June-July Herb Festival, and red and yellow of the October Autumn leaves walk. Fuji Five Lakes are also the place to be for summer fireworks, which light up the sky above Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Motosu, Lake Shojiko, and Lake Sai in August.

©Akira Okada/©JNTO

The famous waters of Fuji Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most precious water sources, both above and below ground. The mountain is drenched in 2.5 billion tons of rain and snow every year, and 1 million tons comes cascading out of the adjacent Kakita River every day. It is the biggest source of spring water in Asia, and is famous for its purity. Hot springs are another blessing provided with abundance by Mount Fuji, and weekend warriors from Tokyo often head to the nearby Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone areas to rejuvenate in the waters. ©Odakyu Electric Railway/©JNTO

Art and culture of Lake Kawaguchi Visit Lake Kawaguchi to soak up the ancient mystery of shrines and temples scat tered throughout the area, and some creative views of Mount Fuji throughout the ages at the Kawaguchiko Museum of Ar t. The museum also holds exhibitions by both local and international artists. The next step in quintessential Japonica is the Kubota Itchiku Museum, the home of Kubota Itchiku’s stunning dyed kimono. Symphony of Light, his unfinished magnum opus, is a colossal ode to the peak of 80 kimono. SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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Kumano Kodo www.tb-kumano.jp/en Kumano embodies the spiritual origins of Japan, and is the perfect destination for visitors searching for an active, off-the-beatenpath, immersive experience...

©Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau

Ku m a n o i s a r e g i o n o n t h e K i i Pe n i n s u l a , a mountainous, isolated area south of Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara. Since prehistoric times this lush natural environment was believed to be the abode of the gods, the legendary land of the dead, and—quite paradoxically—a paradise on earth. The formidable mountains, rugged coastline, gigantic old-growth trees, abundant waterfalls, and scenic rivers were revered and worshiped by many, leading to the development of three grand shrines, collectively referred to as the Kumano Sanzan. With the introduction of Buddhism to Japan in the 6th century, these "power spots" became sites of ascetic practices, mixing and merging with the indigenous beliefs, and they have been a pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years. The subsequent religious syncretism that took place was strongly influenced by the fertile natural landscape surrounding the shrines. To the north of Kumano two other unique sacred sites were also established; Koyasan, an esoteric Buddhist retreat, and Yoshino/Omine, the home of the Shugendo religion. These three sacred sites, and the spectacular Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes that lead to and connect them, were included on

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UNESCO's World Heritage list on July 7, 2004, and are known as the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range". The three Grand Shrines of Kumano include the Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha. The Kumano Hongu Taisha is located in the village of Hongu, 40 kilometers inland on the banks of the Kumanogawa River. All of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes lead to this austere grand shrine. The nearby former shrine ground is marked by Japan's largest Torii gateway. Kumano Hayatama Taisha is in Shingu City, at the mouth of the Kumano-gawa River, facing the Pacific Ocean. Kumano Nachi Taisha is perched on the side of Mt. Nachi and overlooks the aweinspiring Nachi-no-Taki, Japan's tallest waterfall. This divine cascade is considered a deity in itself and marked with a straw rope. The best access point to Kumano Kodo is Tanabe, a city to the south of Kyoto linked by bus and train services. Contact the visitor centre when you’re in town for guides, maps, and useful information to get you started.


Kumano Kodo — Nakahechi Pilgrimage Route For over 1000 years people from all levels of society have made the arduous pilgrimage to Kumano. The popular Nakahechi pilgrimage route starts in Tanabe on the west coast of the Kii Peninsula, and traverses east towards the Kumano Sanzan. Starting in the 10th century, it was used extensively by the imperial family on pilgrimage from Kyoto. This trail has traditional lodgings in villages and hot springs along the way, and is excellent for both short and multiday walks. ©Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau

Kumano-gawa River — A Sacred Waterway The Kumano-gawa is a beautiful river connecting Kumano Hongu Taisha and Kumano Hayatama Taisha. Before the advent of roads and railways, this river system served as a vital transportation link connecting the remote areas of the mountains to the coast. The impressive natural features along the way were considered to be possessions of the Kumano deities. For visitors today, kayaking and wooden flat-bottomed boat tours are both excellent ways to experience this historical river. ©Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau

Yunomine Onsen — Japan's Spiritual Hot Spring Yunomine Onsen, near the Kumano Hongu Taisha, is believed to be one of the oldest thermal springs in Japan, dating back 1800 years. It is an integral part of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route, which passes through the centre of Yunomine Onsen’s collection of friendly inns. It intersects with the World Heritage hot spring of Tsuboyu, a small bath in the creek enclosed by a rustic wood cabin, which can be privately used for 30 minutes on a first-come firstserved basis. ©Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau

KUMANO Hot Springs

Culture

Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau www.tb-kumano.jp/en

Traditional Cuisine

Outdoor Recreation

KUMANO TRAVEL Kumano's Official Reservation System www.kumano-travel.com

Sacred Sites

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes

SO COOL, SO JAPAN!

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Daisetsuzan National Park www.asahikawa-tourism.com/asahikawa/asahikawa_winter/taisetsuzan/taisetsuzan.html Daisetsuzan National Park is home to much of Hokkaido’s animal life, and the visual contrast of wildflowers, autumn colours, and snow throughout the year is stunning...

Daisetsuzan National Park covers an area about the size of Sydney, in the centre of Hokkaido. It is an alpine wilderness area, heavily forested and interspersed with small hot spring communities. T h e p a r k i s d o m i n a te d by v a s t vo l c a n i c mountain chains, which were formed over the millenia through a series of cataclysmic explosions. Since the eruption of 2,291m Asahidake 600 years ago, the peaks have fallen silent. Hiking through the mountains of Daisetsuzan is enchanting. As the altitude climbs, deciduous forest in the foothills becomes a mixture of broad and needle leaved vegetation, followed by alpine plants and wildflowers. Volcanic soil and rock formations swirl through the colour spectrum in the space of a few hundred metres. T h e e c osyste m is ho m e to b e a r s, foxe s, raccoons, deer, squirrels, and many more animals. Squirrels are among the most sociable of the bunch, and flit in and out of the high altitude shrubbery. The bears and deer also move around these areas in search of food during the warmer months from July to September. There are var ying degrees of paranoia surrounding the bears. Some hikers religiously

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attach jingling bear bells to their packs, hoping to provide advance warning of their presence. Like sharks in Australia however, they are rarely e ncounte red. Che ck ing for update s with the locals, walking in groups, and sticking to the trail is generally the best policy. A p a r t f ro m f i c k l e m o u nt a i n we ath e r, th e echinococcus parasite is a more important hazard to be aware of on a hike in Daisetsuzan. It lives in the mountain streams, so be sure to boil all water thoroughly when replenishing your supply from one. Hot spring villages like Sounkyo and Tenninkyo are dotted around the borders of the park in sheer gorges, formed from the lava flow of the erupting volcanoes. Hagoromo Waterfall near Tenninkyo, as well as Ginga and Ryusei Waterfalls near Sounkyo are a beautiful sight frozen in winter, or cascading heavily in summer. Daisetsuzan National Park is serviced by a good transport network, and a variety of accommodation, which makes it a real pleasure to visit. Camping is also wonderful during the summer, especially in the mountains. The closest major transport hub on Hokkaido is the city of Asahikawa, from where bus and train services will take you into the park.


Hiking Routes Imagination and creativit y are the only limits to enjoying the vast network of hiking trails in Daisetsuzan National Park. The main entrance points are from Sounkyo, Fukiage Onsen, Asahidake, and Tenninkyo. Multi day hikers can make use of mountain huts, some of which have additional blankets, as well as basic food and water. All the hikes can be adjusted to suit your time, budget, and fitness. Asahi-dake and Sounkyo both have ropeways for example, which provide an easy opportunity to stick your head above the clouds for a while without the need for intricate preparation. The ropeway at Sounkyo shaves 1300m off the 1984m ascent to Mt Kurodake, leaving just a 1-2 hour walk to the peak. Continue on for a spectacular l o o p h i ke a r o u n d t h e D a i s e t s u z a n Vo l c a n i c Group. With an early start, the whole thing can be completed in a day, landing you safely back in the hot springs of Sounkyo. Otherwise, get yourself a topographic map and a way to purify water, and keep exploring!

Hot Spring Villages Daisetsuzan is a beautiful place to visit even without hiking boots. Many a lazy day can be spent lolling in the hot spring villages, and enjoying the fresh local produce. Head to one of the quaint villages of Sounkyo, Yukomanbetsu, Tenninkyo, Nukabira, Shirogane, Shikaribetsu, Tokachidake, and Tomuraushi for a relaxing soak. Sounkyo prides itself on rows of flower boxes which glow radiant from June to October. This is also the best time of year to sample m u s h ro o m s, s a l m o n tro u t, A n g u s B e ef, a n d mountain vegetables on the menus at all the villages, before winter throws the brakes on nature's production line. Timing your visit to coincide with a festival is a great way to see the locals unwind, and experience the villages at their convivial best. Sounkyo holds the Frozen Falls, or Hyobaku Festival, from January to March. The banks of the river are turned into a park of grottos, tunnels, waterfalls, and sculptures, which are lit up beautifully at night.

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Pioneering the Industry

Citizen's Eco-Drive Technology

A fusion of technology and beauty

Time and again Citizen has pioneered groundbreaking technologies and helped to make watches an indispensable part of modern life. The company began as the Shokosha Watch Research Institute in 1918, and received acclaim on the release of its first pocket watch, the Citizen, in 1924. It was named so by Tokyo Mayor Mr Shimpei Goto, who held high hopes for the watch’s future transition from a luxury item to an everyday necessity available worldwide. This landmark watch was to become the new identity of Shokosha, who changed their name to Citizen in 1930. Today, Citizen Watches is the world's largest manufacturer of watches and other timepieces. The c ompany 's master y of prec ision mec hanic s and microelectronics has enabled them to offer a wide range of products and services worldwide, developing a global presence operating in more than 13 countries with over 3,000 employees. Citizen is, however more diverse then simply watches. In fact watches only represent less than 40% of the company's business, which now draws on a heritage of proven quality and technologies to develop the market for watches, clocks, jewellery, eyeglass frames and health care products.

The Birth of Eco-Drive Technology Eco-Drive Technology follows a stream of milestones c h a l k e d u p b y C i t i z e n , i n c l u d i n g J a p a n ’s f i r s t shockproof, waterproof and electronic watches, the world's first analogue quartz watches accurate to within three seconds per year, and the world's thinnest movement at 0.98mm. Bringing new thinking to the art of watch making, Citizen’s Eco-Drive system is a light powered solution that eliminates the need to change batteries - a revolution that made it the first watch technology to receive the Japan Environment Association's Eco Mark for environmentally friendly products.

An Ever Expanding Lineup If there is one thing Iron Man Zane Holmes, Pro Golfer Sarah Kemp and Stone Brothers Race Drivers Alex Davison and Shane van Gisbergen all have in common, it is their proud support as brand ambassadors of Citizen’s unstoppable Eco-Drive technology. As they can attest to, models utilising Eco-Drive technology cover the entire function-fashion spectrum. There is the multi-function Citizen Promaster series for sports enthusiasts, the analog multi-hand Citizen Eco-Drive series for business executives, and the ultra-lightweight Super Titanium series. Citizen continues to spearhead new technologies, creating even more refined timepieces. Their new EcoDrive METAL collection is the first in the world to feature metal dials in light powered watches, while nothing beats the precision of the limited edition Satellite Wave, an Eco-Drive model designed to coordinate timekeeping through the closest of 24 navigation satellites orbiting the Earth. For more, please visit www.citizenwatches.com.au.


LIGHT FOREVER

EW9822-59D $450 RRP Swarovksi速 Crystals, Mother of pearl dial, Stainless steel, WR, 12-month power reserve Eco-Drive technology 5-year warranty

Embrace the power of light. Citizen Eco-Drive watches are powered by any source of light, so you never need to change a battery! To find out more, visit www.citizenwatches.com.au Citizen and Eco-Drive are registered trademarks of Citizen Holdings Co., Ltd., Japan.


w w w. k i r i n b e e r. c o m . a u

G'Day Japan! ISSUE#06  

www.gdayjapan.com.au

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