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G’DAY JAPAN!

ISSUE #08

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Information current as of June 2013. Please visit www.jreast.co.jp/e for further details.

Discover the highlights of Nagano Prefecture in style, speed and comfort on the Nagano Shinkansen. The Nagano Shinkansen departed on its maiden journey in 1997 ahead of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, becoming another jewel in the crown of Japan’s world-famous bullet train network. Reaching speeds of up to 260km/hr, it carries an average of 9.5 million people per year through the beautiful countryside between Tokyo and Nagano.

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Yamagata In major stations along the route, Sendai Airport you’ll find JR East Information Centers Sado Is. Niigata providing professional, friendly Yonezawa tsu Jōetsu Shinkansen Fukushima Nii travel guidance and assistance with tsu u- ma Aizaka W train schedules. Just look for the Kōriyama Hokuetsu Kyuko large question mark in station Saigata Naoetsu buildings. There are also JR Iwaki Muikamachi EAST Travel Service Centers EchigoKinugawa-onsen Yuzawa Tōbu-nikkō Minami-Otari Tobu Railway in Tokyo Station, Narita Nikkō NAGANO Hakuba Ōmae Hitachi Airport and Haneda Airport Utsunomiya a w a ruiz Ka exclusively designed to o Nagano Shinkansen Mit ki Matsumoto sa assist international visitors ka Ta Narita Airport with exchange and sales iya Terminal 2 Ōm Kobuchizawa of rail passes such as the JR Ueno i k su Ōt EAST PASS, ticket selling and Kōfu ku Tōkyō Narita Airport ju in Hachiōji Terminal 1 Sh Kawaguchiko Yokohama sightseeing information. Haneda Airport

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We look forward to welcoming you aboard the Nagano Shinkansen soon.

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123 Cover images, clockwise from top left: © Hanazono Powder Guides (Niseko Hanazono Resort, by Kazuyoshi Arai) / © Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau / © Yamagata Tourist Information Center / © Wakayama Tourism Federation

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CONTENTS

G’Day Japan! will be released as a free interactive iPad app in future. Like the G’Day Japan! Facebook page at facebook.com/gdayjp to download it when it becomes available, and receive regular updates on all things Japan.

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DISCOVER PEACE AND HAPPINESS. DISCOVER OKINAWA. Nirvana in Japan's subtropics

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MONK-EY MAGIC The Kii Peninsula: Explore Japan’s spiritual heart in Wakayama & Mie

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WHERE IS TOO MUCH POWDER NEVER ENOUGH? Japan's best snow holiday destinations HOKKAIDO 32 NISEKO 44 KONBU ONSEN 46 OTARU 52 FURANO 63 TOMAMU 64 KAMUI 65 ASAHIDAKE 66 KURODAKE 68 TOKACHIDAKE NAGANO-NIIGATA 72 HAKUBA VALLEY 102 OMACHI 103 SHIGA KOGEN 105 NOZAWA ONSEN 108 SHIBU ONSEN 110 OBUSE 111 MATSUMOTO 114 NAEBA/KAGURA 116 MYOKO TOHOKU 120 YAMAGATA 120 IWATE 121 AOMORI 121 FUKUSHIMA

123 TREE’S A CROWD The seasonal charms of Yamagata Prefecture 128 SO COOL, SO JAPAN! A kaleidoscope of Japanese food, culture, technology and more!

JTB Australia offers a range of travel services to suit your travel needs Our Products and Services include • Japan Package Tours • Fully Escorted Tours • Group Tours • Japan Stopover Packages • Japan Rail Pass • Hotel & Ryokan Accommodations • Cultural Experience Tours • Tokyo Disney Tickets • Educational Tours • Japan Ski Packages For further enquiries call

1300jtbtravel.com.au 739 330

or visit www. www.facebook.com/jtb.travel

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Presenting the spirit of Japan

ISSUE #08

Director Ryuichi Kitamura Editor in Chief Masanori Chiba Writer & Localiser Michael Montague Art Director Koetsu 'SAW' Moriya Art & Advertising Coordinators Yushiro Mizukoshi, Mai Iwaya Advertising Sales Manager Koji Yamaguchi Advertising Sales Kayo Okamura, Nagisa Sakamaki Published June 2013 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@gdayjapan.com.au

While Japan’s subarctic north appears a world apart from its subtropical south, the warm, hospitable and innovative spirit of the locals that live there and across the islands in between is the same. It’s this spirit which G’Day Japan! is proud to present once again for the eighth year in a row, thanks to the generous support of our advertisers in Japan and Australia, and the Australians who have continued to support them more than ever. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you. A picture is worth a thousand words, and this holds especially true for Japan; we hope you visit soon if you haven’t already – and don’t forget to look out for a G’Day Japan! iPad app in future, which we will use to bring the spirit of Japan to even more fans! Ryuichi Kitamura Director, G’Day Japan!

Chairman Takashi Asai Managing Director Hiroshi Washiashi G'Day Japan! is published annually, and printed in Australia www.gdayjapan.com.au ©JAMS.TV PTY LTD 2013 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Special thanks to the Japan National Tourism Organization for their cooperation and support.

A JAPAN RAIL PASS is THE way to enjoy Japan's world-class rail network. Get yours now at an UNBEATABLE PRICE through our Online Booking System.

Call 1800 251 350 for more deals on: • Hotel and Ryokan Accommodation • Ski Package • Day Tours • Package Tours • Escorted Tours • JR Pass • Air Ticket Inquiries: japan@sachitours.com.au www.sachitours.com.au Nippon Travel Agency(Australia) T/A Sachi Tours

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Japan’s

finest

beer 1300 537 286

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ProuDLy ImPorteD from okINaWa, JaPaN


iscDiscover over ppeace eace and andhappiness. happine Discover Okinawa.

Discover Ok inawa Pristine subtropical beaches, stunning coral and dense jungle, home to a colourful variety of marine and wildlife, along with World Heritage Listed castles and other historic sites are just waiting to be discovered on the islands of Okinawa, Japan’s premier resort destination. As the locals say, ‘Okinawa e mensore’ – welcome to Okinawa!

All images © Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau unless otherwise specified

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Welcome to Okinawa

I left my heart in Uchinaa... Did you return to work feeling like you need to have a holiday after your holiday, exhausted from an itinerary littered with 6am wake up calls, flat tyres and angry cab drivers? Then make Okinaw a your nex t escape. A beautiful island chain in Japan’s subtropical south, Okinawa is a place where a holiday is discovering coral wading distance from the shoreline of a deserted beach. Singing along in a language you don’t understand with the locals in a bar. And just plain doing nothing.

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Nothing’s a drama, relax. You’re on Uchinaa Time here, an unofficial zone that only applies to Okinawa Prefecture. Uchinanchu is how the locals refer to themselves, and they call their prefecture Uchinaa. So how far should you adjust your watch when you arrive from the mainland? Hang on, everyone’s still finishing their last beer! And there are just so many islands with their own eccentricities and traditions in Uchinaa anyway, making it nearly impossible to apply a single yardstick effectively. To be precise, that’s 49 inhabited islands with six different dialects, out of the 160 islands in Okinawa Prefecture scattered between the border of the East China Sea, and Western Pacific Ocean. Although these isl ands have been par t of Japan since they were annexed by the Meiji

government in 1879, they’ve never quite made the transition to becoming Japanese. Although they’re as little as some 100km from Taiwan, they’ve never been entirely Chinese either. While embracing all the positives that outside cultures have brought to their islands, the Uchinanchu have always cherished their own unique cultural mores. Feeling the mystique of their animistic tradition and cultural histor y at the numerous World Heritage-listed sites in Okinawa is one of the most powerful memories visitors to the islands take home; another the brilliance of its marine environment. Tying them both together is the warmth of the Uchinanchu; ever amiable and relaxed, they will welcome you to this paradise, and take pride in ensuring that everything on your next holiday is as it should be.

Okinawa Is. 150 min.drive to northern area 90 min. drive to central resort area

Ikema Is. Kume Is.

Irabu Is.

Yaeyama Islands Yonaguni Is.

Miyako Is. Tarama Is.

Kohama Is.

Iriomote Is.

Miyako Islands

30 min. drive to central area

Zamami Is. Aka Is.

Naha

Tomari Port Naha Airport

Tokashiki Is.

Kerama Islands

Okinawa Island

Ishigaki Is. Taketomi Is.

Hateruma Is.

Kuro Is.

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Okinawa Island

Kerama Islands Okinawa Is. Zamami Is. Aka Is.

Naha

Tokashiki Is.

Okinawa Island

Oh island in the sun How do you describe a place with as much diversity as Okinawa Island? Choose to explore the wild, unspoilt marine environments and jungles of its north, and you’re just as likely to be surprised by a Hawksbill Sea Turtle off its west coast, chomping on bits of coral, as you are tranquilised by a kayaking journey across the glassy surface of a turquoise bay, with no sound but the gentle lapping of waves and lazy sploshing of paddles. Move south to the centre of the island and instead of a turtle surprising you, it might be the sonic fury of a heavy metal singer with a hairstyle from

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the late Palaeolithic, or the banjo-esque twanging of a traditional Okinawan sanshin in one of Koza’s seemingly endless bars. The hairstyles get a little more natty, and the rhythms more tranquilising at the Irie Camp reggae festival, Okinawa’s biggest reggae festival a little further up the beach in Chatan. Another ‘biggest’ of importance in these parts is the Orion Beer Fest – Japan’s biggest beer festival, held in conjunction with the drumming and parades of the All Okinawa Eisa festival. Don’t drink too much and miss the bus further


Unique art and craft in the Shuri area

© Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau/ © JNTO

south though – there’s a treasure-trove of World Heritage-listed castles, gardens and sacred sites waiting to be discovered around Naha, the biggest city on the island and prefectural capital of Okinawa, with a population of some 300,000. The city is an ideal place to witness the long intermarriage between Okinawan culture and the cultures of its neighbours, captured perfectly in the fusion of Japanese, Chinese and Okinawan design at Shikina-en Gardens, the hair-raising power of awamori, Okinawa’s famous island spirit concocted using ancient Thai brewing techniques, and the

Naha’s Shuri area, located in the south of Okinawa Island, is the perfect place to acquire a sophisticated, unique piece of Okinawan craftsmanship. The area has been a centre of bingata fabric production since Southeast A sian dyeing techniques arrived from around the fourteenth century, and were refined to create ornate, colourful kimonos and other garments. The intricate seashell inlays and brilliant vermillion colours of Ryukyu lacquer ware, also traditionally produced in Shuri, demand a similarly precise technique to bingata dyeing. They are as beautiful as they are practical, a n d we re re s e r ve d specially as gif t s for nobility during ancient times.

brightly-coloured designs of traditional bingata cloth, a distant cousin of Southeast Asian batik. From north to south, Okinawa Island represents the essence of the subtropical melting pot that is Okinawa, bound together by the common thread of the islanders’ own unique culture, and their friendly, relaxed approach to life. Once you get to know them a little better, you’ll start to see that the diversity comes from their centuries-old philosophy of welcoming the good that comes from outside, and letting everything else just float on by.

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Okinawa Island

Okinawa’s World Heritage Sites 1

Experience Okinawa’s majestic castles, mystical groves and magnificent gardens at the World Heritage-listed ‘Gusuku Sites and Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu’...

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The islands of Okinawa are steeped in local l e g en ds a n d my th o l o g ie s, w hic h at tr i b ute their creation to an ancient goddess. Known as Amamikiyo, she is said to have descended from Nirai Kanai – a sort of Okinawan Mount Olympus – and formed the chain of islands upon the glittering ocean. The first of these was Kudaka Island, a tiny sliver of land visible from between the enormous boulders of Sefa Utaki (5) – a prayer site some 5km across the sea on the southeast coast of Okinawa Island. While largely still mystical jungle, with signposts displaying characters obscure enough to have mainland Japanese peering closely and sounding each one out like a child on their first day of school, Sefa Utaki is the most sacred place in

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Okinawa. Along with eight other sites on Okinawa Island, it was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2000 as ‘Gusuku Sites and Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu’. T h e K i ko e O k i m i, o r s u p re m e p r i e s te s s of Okinawa’s native religion, would offer prayers from the stone overhangs and passageways of Sefa Utaki, which were almost exclusively the domain of female priests known as ‘noro’ – effectively the messengers of the gods during the days when Okinawa was known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. Before King Sho Hashi unified the kingdom in 1429, Okinawa was ruled by powerful lords from castles that have also been inscribed on the World Heritage list with Sefa Utaki.


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Okinawa Island

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Shuri Castle (1) in Naha – a replica of the 15th century original – is the undisputed crowd-pleaser among them, decorated in brightly coloured reliefs and guarded by statues of shisa lion-dogs and other mythical creatures. The castle is within walking distance of two more World Heritage-listed sites: Sonohyan Utaki (7), a stone gate used as a prayer site by the Ryukyuan kings with strikingly detailed flames carved into it, and Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum (2), where these kings now lie at peace in beautifully decorated inner chambers under the watchful eye of shisa statues outside. A little further away are the tranquil Shikinaen Gardens (8), a modern reconstruction of the original gardens built for the royal family’s s u m m e r p a l a c e i n 17 9 9. C o r a l w a l l s a n d

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subtropical vegetation add an unmistakeable Okinawan flavour to the Japanese and Chinese design sensibilities of the gardens, providing a lovely example of the flair the islanders have in developing ideas from outside cultures and fusing them with their own. Elsewhere in the north and centre of Okinawa Island, the original foundations and ramparts of Nakijin (9), Zakimi (4), Katsuren (3) and Nakagusuku (6) castles stand as an impressive testament to the advanced fortification techniques of the architects who designed them some 500 years ago. The journey through the rich natural landscape around the castles is as rewarding as the sweeping coastal views they afford, and is a wonderful way to conclude your tour of Okinawa’s World Heritage Sites.

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Okinawa Island

Blockbuster Events Your average piece of straw rope may not attract a crowd on its own, but woven into a 43 ton, 200 metre long behemoth blocking an arterial road in downtown Naha, it will be drawing well over 200,000 – and even win itself a Guinness World Record in the process. This spectacle is officially known as the Naha Giant Tug of War, and is one of four blockbuster events on Okinawa Island every year. You could cut the air with a knife as karate masters face off like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee before the tug of war begins, enveloped by a mass of chanting flag bearers in traditional Okinawan costume, and the sound of incessant drumming and bells. This prelude to the main event is a colourful reminder of its 500 year history, with beginnings in an ancient rivalry between two lords in the Naha area. You’ll also see brilliant parades of traditional Okinawan dancers and drummers over the three days in October that the Naha Giant Tug of War happens, completing a breathtaking spectacle that will leave an indelible imprint of Okinawa’s unique culture on you for decades to come. For another three days each year in September,

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the All-Okinawa Eisa Festival happens to the north of Naha in Okinawa City. Attracting crowds of 300,000 to see traditional Okinawan Eisa drumming groups parading and dancing through the city centre, it has a carnival atmosphere capped off with beautiful fireworks in the sultry subtropical evening. And have no fear: a beer is never far away, thanks to the Orion Beerfest happening at exactly the same time. This raucous celebration takes its inspiration from Oktoberfest in Munich, and has put in the hard steins to earn the title of Japan’s biggest beer festival. Back down in Naha earlier in the year every May, dragon boat racers with sculpted torsos paddle it out in the intense competition of the Naha Haarii Festival, like Spartans working up a head of steam to ram an enemy vessel. The festival is effectively an Okinawan state championship of dragon boat racing, which has been ritualised in Okinawan culture as a fisherman’s festival since it was adopted from China around the fourteenth century. It’s just as compelling a choice for your itinerary as the other three blockbusters on Okinawa Island every year – don’t miss them!


Dining and Drinking Papaya chanpuru anyone? Or what about a bit of Okinawan rock music first? Whether you prefer to dance the night away in a bar or take your taste buds out to a restaurant for the evening instead, there are options aplenty on Okinawa Island. You’ll find a giant swathe of them lining Kokusaidori, or ‘International Street’, and the smaller streets that intersect with it in Naha. One of these is Ukishima Street, a stylish collection of wine bars, boutique stores selling clothing, pottery and homewares, and restaurants serving anything from local Okinawan to Indian and Japanese fare. For a close-up of the fresh produce before it gets to your plate along with some interesting souvenir shopping, the Makishi Public Market nearby is also well worth a look. To experience the best and the rest of the local music scene all at once, head north from Naha to the Koza area of Okinawa City. Situated directly adjacent to Kadena Air Base, there’s always a crowd ready to party to the sound of Okinawan rock, folk, latin, reggae and anything in between, in a wall-to-wall collection of small, friendly bars. T h e m u g s a n d si g n s w it h ‘O r i o n’ o n t h e m

you’ll see are almost interchangeable with the Okinawan flag; it’s the name of Okinawa’s muchloved local brew, which is produced in the west of Okinawa Island. You’ll also see people having quite a good time after drinking awamori, the local Okinawan spirit. A clear, innocuous-looking liquid often mixed with water, it is infamous for kicking a party into gear almost as rapidly as bringing down the final curtain upon it. Long grain rice and black koji mould are the precursors for awamori, and it is distilled using an ancient technique from Thailand – and one hair-raising sip will verify that it’s the strongest traditional spirit in Japan. Despite its potentially devastating consequences though, awamori has been used to make a traditional medicinal tonic called habu-shu since time immemorial. This concoction is believed to contain a portion of the extraordinary libido and vitality of the venomous species of pit viper preserved inside it, and is one of the most spinetingling, unique things you’ll encounter as you dine and drink your way through Okinawa.

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The Outer Islands

Ikema Is. Irabu Is.

Yaeyama Islands Yonaguni Is.

Tarama Is.

Kohama Is.

Miyako Is.

Kume Is.

Miyako Islands

Ishigaki Is. Iriomote Is. Hateruma Is.

Kuro Is.

Taketomi Is.

If Eden were a subtropical garden… The pace of life on the outer islands of Okinawa is best described by the pace of their local water buffalo: slow and relaxed. Patiently plodding around under their long, arched horns as if looking for somewhere to put them down, these friendly, docile creatures help the local villagers both at work and play. If you’re struggling to get into the rhythm when you arrive, just take a ride on a water buffalo b u g g y i n a rem ote v illa g e. Per a m b u lati n g through sandy pathways lined by coral walls, and spattered with the deep green and purple of subtropical gardens is quite possibly as calming as a meditation session with the Dalai Lama, and your guide might even break into song with his Okinawan banjo – known as a sanshin – along the

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way. Taketomi and Ishigaki islands are especially famous for their beautiful enclaves of traditional houses, which miraculously continue to withstand the howling gales of the Pacific typhoon season each year. Like their houses, the people of Okinawa’s outer islands are also famous for their exceptional longevity. Many have scored unbeaten centuries against the hands of time, and comprise a sizeable number of the prefecture’s centenarian population – which has been the subject of much international curiosity, envy and scientific study. Visit the outer islands yourself, and you’ll see that the locals’ secret to longevity isn’t just about eating right either.


© Klaus Stiefel & Piranha Divers Okinawa/ © JNTO

© Y.Shimizu/ © JNTO

For these people, staying healthy is as much about having an antioxidant-rich meal of goya chanpuru to nourish the body, as it is about having friendly cuppa and a chat with the neighbours to warm the spirit. Community ties are close-knit, and the islanders extend a friendly welcome to visitors without hesitation. There are 48 outer islands to discover in Okinawa, spread across four distinct regions to the southeast of the Okinawan mainland: Kerama, Kumejima, Miyako and Yaeyama. While still provincial by comparison to Naha and Okinawa City, the largest resident populations are on Ishigaki – in the Yaeyama region – and Miyako islands, both amounting to just under 50,000 people. The next largest resident population tapers off dramatically

after that; Kumejima Island numbers little more than 8,000 people, and most of the remaining island communities number between a few hundred to as little as two people. What this means is that when you disembark on one of the outer islands, you'll discover pure, uncut marine vistas teeming with life under the surface. Beaches used by nesting sea turtles. Dense subtropical jungles filled with adventure. And amazing food harvested straight from the untamed wilds of a subtropical Eden, and the back garden plots of the locals. Okinawa’s outer islands are one of Japan’s unspoilt frontiers, and if you’re up for getting off the beaten track, they’re up for you!

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The Outer Islands

To Atlantis and beyond Now let’s not deny that doing nothing is one of the best things you can do in Okinawa – preferably while at the beach. The secret trick to making doing nothing even more rewarding though, is to do something else beforehand. And fortunately, there are quite a few other exciting things to discover a stone’s throw from the beaches of Okinawa’s outer islands. Just beyond the shoreline for instance, lie brilliant coral reefs bursting with more colour than a Grateful Dead concert. About a quarter of the world’s coral species are clustered around the islands, and no matter whether you choose to dive or snorkel, you’re going to be blown away by the biodiversity of their marine environment.

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One of the best places to see it is the underwater paradise of Sekisei-shoko, a coral reef in the Yaeyama Archipelago about 400 kilometres south of the Okinawan mainland. Incredibly, more than 360 species of coral have been discovered growing there, putting it in the same league as the Great Barrier Reef. There’s one important difference though: the Great Barrier Reef stretches for a vast 344,000km², whilst Sekisei-shoko measures up at a comparatively tiny 460km². This gives it nearly the same diversity of coral species, packed into a fraction of the area – with plenty to be discovered by snorkelling straight off the beach. D i v e a l i t t l e d e e p e r a ro u n d t h e Ya e y a m a A rchipelago, and you ’ll encounter cr uising


© Mike Jimenez & Piranha Divers Okinawa/© JNTO

manta rays, wandering sea turtles, hurrying hammerhead sharks and a plethora of other marine life, not to mention an ancient underwater monument! This 300m-long lost Atlantis is just off the coast of Yonaguni Island in the southern extreme of the Yaeyama Archipelago, and looks just like a Mayan temple. Its winding staircase leads to a main terrace at the top, with a giant turtle and other reliefs carved into its surface. Local dive shop owner Kihachiro Aratake discovered t h e m o n u m e n t i n 19 8 6 , a n d i t h a s s i n c e attracted enough attention to merit its own BBC documentary. There are plenty of breathtaking sights above the

© Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau/ © JNTO

waters of the Yaeyama Archipelago too, many lying hidden away in the dense primordial jungles of Iriomote Island. The second largest island in Okinawa, 90 percent of Iriomote is covered in old growth tropical forest, creating the ultimate paradise for kayaking, hiking and camping. These forests are home to primeval creatures like the Iriomote Cat, as well as prolific stretches of mangroves, and beautiful waterfalls. If the main island of Okinawa is the gateway to paradise, then with so many mysterious, beautiful and fascinating things like these to discover, its outer islands are what lies on the other side of it. Be careful though, they could easily prevent you from doing nothing for weeks!

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Okinawan Culture

Just moai and yuimaru baby

© Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau/ © JNTO

Okinawan people are some of the longest-lived in the world, and when you look at their relaxed, laid-back native culture, it’s not hard to see why. The glue that holds it all together is the yuimaru spirit, a collective ethos of sharing and caring... Subtropical heat is fantastic when you’re lazing about at the beach downing a cool beer, but as any Okinawan farmer who’s been around a while can tell you, trying to harvest sugar cane by hand in it is pretty hard yakka. Necessity is the mother of invention, and to make the back-breaking work of harvesting this precursor for Okinawa’s famous brown sugar easier for themselves, the farmers have long pulled together to help one another out – all for nothing more than a meal and a few drinks afterwards. This tradition began around the islands long ago, when money was seldom used as much as payment in kind – and the farmers communally shared everything from their goats to rice and sugar, in friendly groups known as ‘moai’. These days, moai is almost a byword for ‘drinking party’ in Okinawa, which inevitably happens – along with some hearty sanshin playing and singing – when work colleagues, old classmates, extended families and the other many types of moai convene. The practical side to them remains though; for instance, some moai pool a fixed amount of money every month and pay it out to one of their members, helping each other to

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save – while keeping some aside to make sure the drinks are covered. This beautifully illustrates the way in which moai have always been about helping each other get by, while enjoying life at the same time. It was from moai that Okinawan concept of ‘yuimaru’ is said to have originated. ‘Yui’, the first part of the word, stems from the Chinese character meaning to tie together – essentially to cooperate - and is used to describe the pooling of labour and skills in local communities. ‘Maru’ is an Okinawan word meaning something like ‘turn’ or ‘order’. When combined together, both perfectly describe the altruism of the yuimaru spirit – an inseparable part of life in Okinawa. The incredible generosity of masters at karate dojos in Okinawa, which is world famous as the birthplace of the sport, is a classic example of the yuimaru spirit being extended like a warm hug without hesitation. A 2010 survey by the Okinawa General Bureau found that only 13% of overseas students paid their dojos more than ¥10,000 – about $100 – for an average of one to two weeks of training, with 38% paying less and the remaining 35% being taught absolutely free


of charge. Humble, modest gentlemen with a deep sense of pride in Okinawa’s heritage as the birthplace of karate, many of the island’s masters feel compelled to freely pass on the knowledge of their forefathers to overseas students who are willing to learn; a level of selflessness that speaks clearly of a time when for many Okinawans, money was never an issue thanks to the moai and the yuimaru spirit. By helping people get through the trials of life with a smile, these hallmarks of Okinawan native culture contribute in no small part to the islanders' relaxed, laid-back attitude - and unusually high life expectancy. Okinawa Prefec ture has one of the highest numbers of centenarians in the world, and thanks to the yuimaru spirit, a neighbour is always there to lend a hand when required. This also prevents the loneliness that often plagues the elderly in cities on the Japanese mainland, and is the perfect antidote to depression and other mental illnesses that can accompany it. As well as the yuimaru spirit, the unique cuisine of Okinawa supports the health and resilience of its

population, who traditionally describe their food as ‘nuchi gusui’ – medicine for life. Traditional dishes are filled with antioxidant-rich land and sea vegetables, one of the most ubiquitous of which is bitter melon. This knobbly, cucumber-shaped gourd vegetable native to tropical and subtropical climates acquires its bitterness from cucurbitacin, a natural defence against grazing wildlife. True to the old Chinese saying ‘good medicine tastes bitter’, it really is ‘medicine for life’ – cucurbitacin has been scientifically proven to destroy cancer cells, and bitter melon has long been a fixture in Chinese medicine for its medicinal properties. Known by the Okinawans as goya, you’ll recognise the melon around the islands as the main ingredient in their trademark dish – goya chanpuru. Sit down to enjoy some deliciously prepared with egg, tofu, salt, pepper and anything else that happens to be nearby, and get to know the locals you over a few drinks. You’ll find the welcoming spirit of their native culture as warm as the subtropical weather – because at the end of the day in Okinawa, it all comes back to moai and yuimaru baby.

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Visiting Okinawa

Planning your adventure in Okinawa Okay, so you’ve had your leave approved and are getting excited about going on an adventure in Okinawa. This page will help you get started finding the most cost-effective and convenient way to get there from Australia. Have fun, and don’t forget to avoid the typhoons from July to September!

Flights to Naha Airport

Domestic flights and island hopping

As you can see on the map below, Naha Airport will be your first port of call in Okinawa whether you’re on a domestic flight from Tokyo, Nagoya or Osaka, or an international flight from Korea, China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. To save time and minimise the collateral that can arise from using different carriers, choose China Airlines or China Eastern Airlines; both can get you to Okinawa from Australia with a single stopover on the way. China Airlines departs from Sydney and Brisbane, while China Eastern departs from Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne.

Japan now has a number of low-cost domestic airlines offering ver y competitive tickets to Okinawa from the mainland; check the websites of Jetstar Japan, Peach Aviation, Skymark Airlines and Air Asia Japan for some great deals. Japan Airlines’ oneworld Yokoso/Visit Japan Fare and ANA’s Star Alliance Japan Airpass/Visit Japan Fare also offer savings on connecting flights within Japan. If you’re planning on doing some island hopping from Naha, Japan Transocean Air’s Okinawa Island Pass is another cost-effective option.

Package tours, accommodation and more Beijing Seoul Osaka

Tokyo (Narita) Tokyo (Haneda)

Japan Package www.japanpackage.com.au Ph: (02) 9267 0010 Shop RP1.09, The Galeries 500 George Street, Sydney

Shanghai

Taichung

Taipei

Naha

Hong Kong

Tokyo Osaka Seoul Beijing Shanghai Taipei Taichung Hong Kong

3hr 2hr 2hr 3hr 2hr 1hr 30min 1hr 40min 2hr 30min

*Times are approximate

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These Japan-specialist travel agents in Sydney a n d M el b o u r n e c a n a ssi s t w it h a l l yo u r Okinawa-related needs.

JTB Australia www.jtbtravel.com.au Ph: 1300 739 330 Sydney Office Level 18, Town Hall House 456 Kent Street, Sydney Melbourne Office Level 6, 10 Artemis Lane, Melbourne


The Kii Peninsula: Japan’s Spiritual Heart

Monk-ey Magic

•Nagoya

Chubu Centrair Osaka International Airport International Airport •Tsu •Osaka •Matsusaka •Ise Kansai International Airport

Mie

•Wakayama

Wakayama

For over 1,000 years, royalty and commoner alike have traversed the mountain trails of the Kii Peninsula, on pilgrimages to the sacred sites interspersed throughout its rugged surrounds. These sites include the World Heritage listed shrines of Kumano Sanzan and Koyasan; and if it wasn’t for the custom of relocating its main altar to a newly-constructed building every two decades, 2,000 year old Ise Jingu nearby would be a walk up start to join them. Kumano Sanzan and Koyasan are located in Wakayama Prefecture on the western side of the peninsula, while Ise Jingu is in Mie Prefecture on the eastern side, an area also famous as the birthplace of the illustrious Iga-ryu ninja school. Both prefectures have an abundant variety of seductive hot springs and gourmet delicacies, which will see you loving your own pilgrimage to the Kii Peninsula every step of the way.

Trip Notes

Wakayama Prefecture

Mie Prefecture

www.wakayama-kanko.or.jp/world/english/index.html

tourismmiejapan.com/travel/access.html

Wakayama Prefecture’s southern port city of Tanabe is a major gateway to the pilgrimage routes and shrines of the Kii Peninsula, and an ideal area to be based in with plenty of hotels, traditional inns and B&Bs in the city and surrounding districts. The train journey from downtown Osaka takes 2.5 hours, while direct from Kansai International Airport it’s just an hour and 45 minutes.

The beautiful inner grounds of Ise Jingu, Japan’s most sacred shrine, are only a 15 minute bus ride from Ujiyamada Station in Mie Prefecture on the eastern side of the Kii Peninsula. The station is just an hour and 50 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Osaka, in the beautiful port city of Ise. Save time if you’re travelling by train from Tokyo and change at Nagoya, from where Ujiyamada is another 90 minutes.

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The Kii Peninsula: Japan’s Spiritual Heart

Wakayama Prefecture

Journey deep into the heart of the Kii Peninsula on a pilgrimage to Koyasan, and experience temple life...

Koyasan

•Wakayama 1Koyasan Ryujin Onsen Yunomine Onsen •Kumano Hongu Taisha Kumano Hayatama Taisha Tanabe• • Shirahama Onsen • Katsuura Onsen Kumano Nachi Taisha Nakahechi Pilgrimage Route

eng.shukubo.net/index.html The rare opportunity to experience life in a monastic community makes the World Heritage-listed Koyasan one of Wakayama Prefecture’s most memorable attractions. Guests at its 52 temple lodgings are immersed in a daily routine which includes meditation sessions and sutra chanting, with traditional Buddhist vegetarian cuisine on the menu. The Koyasan monastery was founded some 1,200 years ago by Kukai, a master of Esoteric

22

Buddhism canonised as the saint Kobo Daishi. The atmosphere throughout its ornate buildings and lush natural surroundings is serene, yet very powerful, and it is a beautiful place to admire the colours of Japan’s four seasons - especially when they are ushered in with a ceremony. One of the most impressive is the Koya Fire Festival, which marks the coming of spring and the start of the climbing season on the mountain every year.


Nakahechi Pilgrimage Route, Kumano Kodo www.tb-kumano.jp/en The Nakahechi Pilgrimage Route is part of a World Heritage listed series of ancient trails known as the Kumano Kodo, and starts from the outskirts of Tanabe on Wakayama Prefecture’s south coast. It will set you on your way to the grand shrines of Kumano Sanzan, following a path filled with lush natural scenery. Thanks to the accommodation in the rustic old villages along the way and buses that provide access to key stops, the route is equally as open to a leisurely stroll as it is a multi-day adventure.

Hot Springs www.wakayama-kanko.or.jp/world/english/things/spa/index.html Wakayama Prefecture is a hot spring heaven, and one of its most ancient is the World Heritage listed Tsuboyu at Yunomine Onsen, which pilgrims on the Kumano Kodo have been enjoying since it was first discovered 1,800 years ago. Nearby is Ryujin Onsen, famous as Japan's most beautifying hot spring. Visit Katsuura Onsen on the southeast coast of Wakayama Prefecture for outdoor baths with sweeping coastal views, while Shirahama Onsen, set in another seaside town, is one of Japan’s three most famous baths.

KOYASAN

KUMANO

Japan's resting place of the Gods

Holy mountain top town with a 1,200-year history

UNESCO World Heritage Site

'Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range'

Wakayama Prefecture

http://www.wakayama-kanko.or.jp/world/english/

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The Kii Peninsula: Japan’s Spiritual Heart

Mie

Prefecture Visit Japan’s most sacred shrine, discover the way of the ninja, and enjoy a soothing hot spring…

Yunoyama Onsen Iga-ryu Ninja Museum•

•Tsu Sakakibara Onsen

•Ise Jingu Isobe Watakano Onsen Ise-Shima Onsen Hamajima Onsen Ise-Shima National Park Ise-ji Pilgrimage Route To Kumano Sanzan

Iga-ryu Ninja Museum iganinja.jp/en/ Ninja from Mie Prefecture’s Iga-ryu school typically lived double lives as local farmers, while stealthily gathering intelligence on the enemies of their lord. This involved their own sophisticated brand of fire and magic techniques, and hundreds of weapons. The Iga-ryu Ninja Museum in Iga City, Mie Prefecture presents a range of exciting, interactive displays that reconstruct the world of the ninja with astonishing realism. It

24

showcases more than 400 weapons and gives guided tours of a ninja farmhouse, revealing the maze they used to protect the closelyguarded secrets of their precious explosives from falling into the wrong hands. The museum even puts on a ninja show, where you can see first-hand how the ninja used some of their weapons to get out of a sticky situation. If you love martial arts, don’t miss it!


Ise Jingu www.isejingu.or.jp/shosai/english/index.htm Amaterasu Omikami, the Shinto sun goddess and mythical ancestor of the Japanese imperial family is enshrined at Ise Jingu, the nation’s most sacred shrine complex. It is a collection of 125 different shrines, dotted around the Isuzu River in deep forest, and connected to the Kumano Sanzan shrines via the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes. Amaterasu Omikami was first enshrined at Ise Jingu 2,000 years ago, and every 20 years since 690, priests have relocated her altar to a newly-constructed shrine in a ceremony known as Shikinen Sengu.

Hot Springs tourismmiejapan.com/recommend/onsen.html You’re never far away from a great hot spring bath in Mie Prefecture. One of its most famous is Sakakibara Onsen, which has been used by pilgrims for over a thousand years to purify themselves before entering Ise Jingu. The original springhead of nearby Yunoyama Onsen is said to have been revealed by a deer using its waters to heal a wound, and it is now another famous bathing retreat. The hot springs in Mie’s picturesque Ise-Shima National Park are also highly recommended for the views, not to mention the fresh local seafood.

Mie

Mie

K

Mie Mie Tourism and International Strategy Bureau of Mie Prefectural Government Narita International Airport Narita International Airport Chubu International Airport

K

Chubu International Airport Kansai International Airport Kansai International Airport

25


h c u m too r

Where is

e d w po never enough? Hokkaido

Tohoku

29

117 a Nagano-Niig

Is it in your coffee plunger every morning? Inside your shoes? Or on your lawn? Come back from a snow holiday in Japan, and you might be saying ‘Over my morning ride at Niseko’, ‘On my daily Appi’, or ‘In my cup of Hakuba’. Yes, upwards of fourteen metres every season

© Furano Tourism Association / ©JNTO

26

ta 71

is too much. But once you experience too much, it’s never enough. Hardcore skiers and boarders aren’t the only ones who can’t resist going back for another taste either; the Japanese are renowned for extending the warmest of welcomes to all who visit their shores, and are wonderful hosts at one


of the world’s most attractive snow holiday destinations for families, couples, and anyone in between craving a slice of winter magic. Sit back and enjoy as G’Day Japan! proudly presents a selection of Japan’s best snow resorts, backcountry areas and side-trips along the way. You’ll find they’re affordable to visit

on a variety of budgets, and easy to access from Japan’s international airports – which are just a ten-hour flight north of Australia. See you on the slopes!

Resort Data Icons Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope

Snow depth, terrain, longest run, and the number of gondolas and lifts at ski resorts are displayed as icons for quick comparison. Snow depth figures are a guide only, and may fluctuate from season to season.

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in g n i i k s y o j n e s ' L et

o d i a k k H o

HOK K A IDO POW DER BELT

fts oke wa and sm s in t s x re als rela the fo the loc s roam r w re a o e e n h b s o s t of or th w griz zly where arc tic n add a h b , . s w u o s s o e id N e a rn in th H okk wilde inters. a place ome to arsh w nspoilt p eak s ; uring h e r of u st. Welc d e ti ic b n n w o a e o v fr lc n ea vy s ey lo of vo Imagin by h e a what th co n e s o un d e d d doing om the rr rl fr u o s y w s tl g e n ge und th ot sprin om aro l-rich h riders fr minera h it w , filled resor ts

NISEKO

32

KONBU ONSEN

44

OTARU

46

FURANO

52

TOMAMU

63

KAMUI

64

ASAHIDAKE

65

KURODAKE

66

TOKACHIDAKE 68

Hokkaido Powder Belt •Asahikawa Asahikawa Kamui• • • Furano• Otaru• •Sapporo • • New Chitose •Niseko

© Hanazono Powder Guides / Niseko Hanazono Resort Photo by Kazuyoshi Arai

Kurodake Asahidake Tokachidake Tomamu

29


Niseko•Furano•Sapporo•New Chitose Airport

SKI & SNOWBOARD RENTAL Book online and save up to

30%!!

Save your time and money with Good Sports, so you can spend more of it where you really want to – out on the slopes!

Flexible pick up and drop off in Niseko, Furano, Sapporo CBD hotels and New Chitose Airport

%

Huge savings on ski/snowboard rentals """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Six day ski, boot and pole rental package """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" for two adults and two kids Save """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" ¥39,200* ¥25,000! """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Other outlets ¥65,000 """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Contact us 10:00-18:00 (JST) on +81-11-200-1655 www.goodsports.co.jp/white_eng/rental """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" *When booked online in advance

Equipment

One day

Two days

Three days

Cost per extra day

Ski Set (skis + boots + poles) or Snowboard Set (snowboard + boots)

Adult ¥3,150 Child ¥2,100

Adult ¥4,900 Child ¥3,500

Adult ¥6,300 Child ¥4,900

Adult +¥1,400 Child +¥1,400

Snow Suit Set (jacket + pants)

Adult ¥2,800 Child ¥2,100

Adult ¥4,200 Child ¥2,800

Adult ¥5,600 Child ¥3,500

Adult +¥1,400 Child +¥700

Accessories (goggles + gloves + beanie)

¥1,400

¥1,750

¥2,100

+¥350

Full Set (incl. 3 of the above)

Adult ¥6,300 Child ¥4,200

Adult ¥9,100 Child ¥5,600

Adult ¥11,200 Child ¥7,000

Adult +¥2,100 Child +¥1,400

Helmet

¥1,500

¥2,000

¥2,500

+¥500

*Children must be 11 years old or younger


FASTER CHEAPER WHITE-LINER Ski Shuttle

Direct to Niseko from New Chitose Airport and Sapporo

Unbeatable value for money! No.1

WHITE-LINER

¥2,300

Train

¥2,940

6 trains daily

3h 30m

Local bus

¥2,300

4 buses daily

3h 30m

Taxi

¥40,000

Anytime

2h 30m

11 buses daily

2h 30m

Valid as of 2012. Calculated from New Chitose Airport to Niseko Grand Hirafu.

Book online and save 20% on return tickets and 10% off one-way tickets! %Never miss the bus from New Chitose Airport – we run eleven connecting services all day from 9:30am to 9:30pm! %

Alright! """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Stopping everywhere you need in Niseko """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Book your seats to Niseko from New Chitose Airport or Sapporo online and save! """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Shuttle Bus Timetable """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" www.goodsports.co.jp/white_eng/ski-bus """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Check our Facebook page for special offers and weekly updates! """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Hokkaido Niseko Holidays - White Liner & Good Sports """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" New Chitose Airport 2h 30m Hirafu Welcome Center 20m The Green Leaf Niseko Village 5m Hilton Niseko Village Niseko Northern Resort Annupuri 5m Nook Annupuri 10m Hotel Kanronomori 5m Niseko Grand Hotel

Ticket Type Adult One way Child One way

Regular price ¥2,300 ¥1,150

Discount online ¥2,070 (10% off) ¥1,035 (10% off)

Ticket Type Adult Return Child Return

Regular price ¥4,600 ¥2,300

15m

Discount online ¥3,680 (20% off) ¥1,840 (20% off)

*Return tickets are only valid between the same two destinations *3-11 year olds are eligible for child fares *No charge applies for infants travelling in an adult's lap

Domestic Terminal Hirafu Welcome Center

9:30 12:00

10:45 13:15

New Chitose AirportpNiseko 11:45 12:45 13:45 15:00 14:15 15:15 16:15 17:30

16:00* 18:30*

16:30 19:00

18:00 20:30

19:30 22:00

21:30 0:00

* Departs from International Terminal. This is a connecting bus for flight CX580, and will wait up to 21:30 in the event of a delay.

Hirafu Welcome Center Domestic Terminal International Terminal

8:00 10:30 10:40

NisekopNew Chitose Airport 9:00 10:00 11:15 12:15 11:30 12:30 13:45 14:45 11:40 12:40 13:55 14:55

13:30 16:00 16:10

14:30 17:00 17:10

16:00 18:30 18:40

Stops at Hirafu Welcome Center, The Green Leaf Niseko Village, Hilton Niseko Village, Niseko Northern Resort Annupuri, Nook Annupuri, Hotel Kanronomori, Niseko Grand Hotel


AREA MAP

N I S E K O Kutchan-cho 倶知安町

(3min from JR Kutchan Station) 0136-22-3344 Hours: 10:00-18:00 Tue-Sun www.niseko.co.jp (Japanese)

Machi-no-Eki Plat Information Centre まちの駅ぷらっと

JR Kutchan Station JR倶知安駅

Niseko Hanazono Resort

ニセコハナゾノリゾート

P42

P39

Grand Hirafu グランヒラフ

Mt Niseko-Annupuri ニセコアンヌプリ

Goshiki Onsen 五色温泉

Niseko Annupuri

ニセコアンヌプリ

Mt Moiwa モイワ山

Konbu Onsen

昆布温泉

Yukichichibu Onsen 雪秩父温泉

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Hokkaido

Mt Yotei

Shiribetsu River

羊蹄山

尻別川

Niseko-cho

JR Hirafu Station

ニセコ町

JR比羅夫駅

JR Hakodate Main Line JR函館本線

Aza Motomachi 77-10, Niseko (Accessible by road only) 0136-43-2051 Hours: 9:00-18:00 Mon-Sun www.niseko-ta.jp/en

Niseko Village

Michi-no-Eki Niseko View Plaza

道の駅ニセコビュープラザ

ニセコビレッジ

JR Niseko Station Niseko Town Information Centre

JRニセコ駅

JRニセコ駅観光案内所

0136-44-2468 Hours: 8:00-17:00 Mon-Sun

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The ride of your life starts here

N I S E K O Niseko seems predestined to have become one of the world’s favourite snow holiday destinations. Whether you choose let your hair down in the international buzz of the resort areas, or escape to the secluded hot spring retreats nearby, the powder is always the first thing you hear about. What really takes it to the next level for so many is the complete package it offers; the beauty of its landscape, the warmth of its people, and so much more in between!

© Niseko Hanazono Resort / Niseko Photography

SNOw+Culture+People

BEST SKI RESORT EVER! You’ ll never know till you come to NISEKO!

Kutchan Tourism Associaion

www.niseko.co.jp PH +81 136 22 3344

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Hokkaido If you were looking for traditional Japan, you might have taken a wrong turn. Niseko has b e come a memb er of the international skiing and boarding empire, carving out its place as a nation-state built on a roaring trade of powder from November to April every year. Riders from long-established powder cults in Europe and North America, as well as rogue powder cells in Australia and New Zealand make the pilgrimage every season to trade for their share of abominably large falls reaching up to sixteen metres. And between the four different resorts spread over the majestic Mt Niseko-Annupuri, there’s always a bargain waiting to be found. Granted, it can be hard to see at times in the frequent white-out, which blankets the mountain as Siberian weather fronts collide with warm currents from the Sea of Japan, showering down their payload; but not finding your own unspoilt powder somewhere in Niseko is generally about

Hotel Comfort and convenience in Centr al Niseko... Easy access to the slopes Breakfast buffet service Only hotel with a gym in Hir afu Choice of hotel or lodge accommodation Group accommodation at The Heritage townhouse 10% guest discount on food in-house at Monty’s BBQ & Pub

The M Group Niseko

HOTEL · LODGE · HERITAGE · MONTY'S BBQ & PUB

View availability and book at

www.mgroupniseko.com. M Hotel & Lodge, Heritage 170-145, Aza Yamada, Kutchan-cho, Hokk aido Monty ’s BBQ & Pub M Lodge Niseko Email: reservations@mgroupniseko.com

anda Chinese Cuisine

M Hotel Niseko

35


OFF - SEASON

© NAC Niseko Adventure Centre

Hot, sweaty, wet and wild

as likely as the Pope condoning abortion. This is not to say that Niseko has become an exclusive communit y of pompous gits who won’t talk to you unless you can rock a 360 tail grab; far from it, with loads of families returning to the resort every year for another exciting taste of its custom-designed adventure parks and slopes, which are well-supported by international snow schools. Great nightlife and a variety of events, as well as fast access from Japan’s major airports are also on Niseko’s long list of charms. So start booking your trip today, and get ready to experience the snow holiday of a lifetime!

The resorts in Niseko get their name from Mt Niseko-Annupuri, the peak at the centre of the powder craze, but the area is actually split between the two towns of Niseko and Kutchan. Although the snow bids them farewell in May, the outdoor adventure continues across their beautiful alpine environment until November brings the first powder of another white winter. Cycling is a popular, and rewarding way to see the countr yside in summer, and enthusiasts peddle their way through the July Nature Ride, and the annual Hill Climb, which departs from Kutchan’s Jaga Matsuri – a riotous potato harvest festival in early August. With all the streams and rivers in full cascade, hiking, rafting and canyoning are great summer activities as well. The brilliant red, gold and orange leaves of autumn are the Niseko off-season’s grand finale, and are just as spellbinding from its mountain trails as they are from one of many hot springs you’ll find dotted through the area.

Sushi Train YOTEI-MARU

We have many kinds of delicious sushi at reasonable prices, as well as seasonal sushi only found in Hokkaido. We also have table space especially reserved for parties.

Italian Cafe Bleu Cielo

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

36

Open 7 days 11am-8:45pm (Last order) 1-12 Higashi 1, Minami 8, Kutchan-cho Phone: 0136-22-4101


Rhythm Snowsports | Niseko’s Biggest and Most Progressive Store!

Conditions in Niseko are unlike anywhere else in the world. The resort boasts an annual snowfall of 18 metres and most of that is the lightest and driest powder snow that most people have ever had the pleasure of skiing. A ski holiday in Niseko is a unique experience so it's important that you and your family or friends are equipped with the most suitable gear for the conditions. Rhythm Snowsports offers Niseko's most comprehensive range of gear for rent so leave your regular skis or board at home and try something from their extensive, powder specific range from the best well known brands. The store's computerized rental system has been a huge success over the years and ensures your rental experience will be a quick and easy one. It's cheaper to rent by booking directly through their website so head to www.skihirejapan.com

and make a booking. Rhythm is also the largest retailer in the area and stocks everything that you need to explore the mountain and village. From hand warmers and beanies to jackets, pants, gloves goggles and now a fully dedicated Back Country section. If you are looking for a new pairs of skis or board and bindings, come and check out the range of top brands that Rhythm has for sale. Rhythm also boasts the best Boot Fitting service in the area 'Boot Solutions' run by qualified podiatrists with many years of experience in the ski industry. If your own gear needs some TLC take it in to Rhythm's Tune and Repair centre where they offer everything from waxes to repairs, mounts and full tunes. Rhythm makes sure they have you covered for everything and there are always plenty of expert staff on hand at all times to help assist with selecting the gear that is best for you. A FREE pick up/drop off service is also available from the Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri and Moiwa areas when r e nt in g w i th R hy thm . Yo u c an simply call us on 0136 23 0164 and we will send our courtesy shuttle out to pick you up and drop you off when you have finished.

Contact us for some great Early Bird discounts! BOOK NOW www.skihirejapan.com

• •

free pick up and drop off service • rentals • sales • tuning boot fitting • backcountry hire • equipment storage


Hokkaido grand-hirafu.jp

Grand Hirafu Resort Yamada 204, Kutchan-cho, Abuta-gun Open 8:30-20:30 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

290cm 375cm 445cm 420cm 415cm

NISEKO

+81-136-22-0109

Beg

Int

Adv

30%

38%

32%

5.6km

1

14

940m

40°

The global sensation with an undiscovered secret for all Entire houses disappear underneath it. Trees struggle and strain under the weight of it. And you’re going to be covered in it after a day dodging trees, flying off kickers and carving out deep grooves on the never-ending slopes of Grand Hirafu Resort. It’s known as powder snow, and until you visit, it’s very hard to appreciate the vast quantity and quality that the resort enjoys until April every season. Grand Hirafu was first constructed in 1961 to host the All-Japan Alpine Ski Championships, and having just seen the addition of a new

188-19 Aza Yamada, Kutchan-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido Phone: +81-136-22-1123 Email: reservations@chaletivy.com www.chaletivy.com

As the first new Hirafu hotel to open in 20 years, Chalet Ivy, a brand new boutique hotel, officially opened its doors on December 19th, 2012! Chalet Ivy's concept is very simple: we aim to be your home away from home in Hirafu. Whether you are touring the bounty of natural beauty that is summertime in Hokkaido or heading out for a long day on the world-famous Niseko powder snow, Chalet Ivy is here to heartily welcome you home afterwards! Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope

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Mountain Center and Gondola to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2011-12, it’s in better shape than ever. An ever-growing number of skiers and snowboarders from around the world have become converts to its addictive combination of icing sugar-like powder, comprehensive budget, mid-price and deluxe accommodation options, and vibrant nightlife with everything from Japanese-style tapas bars to fine dining restaurants.

AI-CARUMBA Bar BARUNBA Barunba is Indonesian for good wave. Drinks from ¥500, smoke as much as you want inside!

Bar BARUNBA

170-50 Aza Yamada, Kutchan Phone: 0136-55-5615 Open: 20:00–03:00

40

in Sh ow everyone ve Niseko so me locool by keeping it t. wh en yo u’re ou drin k Make su re yo u d responsibly an board don’t go over e yo u we want to se a smile go ho me with on yo ur face!


www.nisekowinter.com

Ski Snowboard Rental Shop

NISEKO RESORT SERVICE Best value and service in Hirafu

Ski (inc. poles) 1 day ¥3,000~ Snowboard 1 day ¥3,000~ Rental & lesson value pack ¥9000~ (Discount rate available for 2 days or more)

Each month, you’ll find Grand Hirafu buzzing with an exciting mix of events and competitions, including the New Year’s Eve torchlight ride and countdown, Grand Hirafu special dinner buffet, and family ski competition. They reflect the resort’s appeal to a wide range of powder enthusiasts, both young and old, as well as its commitment to providing holidays in a class of their own all year round.

167-3 Yamada, Kutchan-cho

Phone: 0136-22-6201

Free pick up (In the Hirafu area)

www.gdayjapan.com.au

www.yummyspizza.jp YUMMY’S 170-175 Aza Yamada, Kutchan-cho, Hokkaido T: 0136-21-2239 Open daily 17:00-23:00 (Winter only)

Jam Cafe Bar @ Niseko

Tsubara Tsubara Rich, tasty, and spicy.. Come and experience our philosophy of curry for yourself in Hirafu!

189-13 Yamada, Kutchan-cho Phone 81-136-23-0700 jam.cafebar.niseko/Facebook open 18:00 / close 26:00

Tel: 0136-23-1116 Open 11:30-15:00, 18:00-22:00

Izakaya Sakae Heartwarming Japanese home cuisine, served with love in Hirafu. Perfect for family dinners!

Tel: 0136-22-4198 Open 17:30-22:00

Izumikyo 2, 132-14 Aza Yamada, Kutchan-cho

Manpuku Tei Hearty Korean home cooking in Hirafu! Make sure you drop in for a bite as soon as you arrive in Niseko. You’ll love it, and will more than likely be back again and again during your stay. Just come and try our food once, and you’ll understand!!

Open 18:00 - 23:00 Closed occasionally Tel: 0136-25-4079

41


hanazononiseko.com/en/winter/index.html

Niseko Hanazono Resort Iwaobetsu 328-1, Kutchan-cho, Abuta-gun Open 8:30-21:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

94cm 190cm 255cm 247cm 210cm

NISEKO

+81-136-21-6655

Beg

Int

Adv

25%

63%

12%

3.3km

0

3

1000m

30°

Niseko’s best option for families just keeps on getting better Dad sighs, and casts a longing gaze over at the crew returning from the backcountry with silly grins on their faces, while Mum patiently holds the hand of little Joey as he attempts to turn for the 658th time that day. Sound familiar? Well, rest assured that you won’t have to go through this at Niseko Hanazono Resort. In fact, with its massive array of programs designed to turn kids and beginners into confident riders, you can expect exactly the opposite. Fun and learning in a safe environment are all in a day’s work for the instructors at Hanazono’s Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS), the only school officially run by a resort in the Niseko area with a full range of programs for kids – all in surroundings specially customised to suit their needs. As anyone who’s skied or boarded can testify to, just trying to stand up for the first time can rapidly turn into stand up comedy, let alone trying to engage in forward movement. And this is where the three magic carpets at Hanazono come to the rescue, transporting new riders for up to 125 metres back to the top of their mark for another attempt at glory. Thanks to the 28 lifts that link up the rest of the 50km course network, climbing hills remains a foreign concept even after you graduate from the realm of the magic carpets. For many, exploring the world beyond starts with a trip to the 3.3km Silver Dream Course – a wide, undulating serenade dominated by the Fuji-like cone of Mt Yotei. It looms up on the horizon as you glide into a mellow right, framed between freshly-powdered embankments just waiting to be carved up on either side. Once you’ve whet your appetite there, a detour to one of Hanazono’s three terrain parks can really get the adrenalin pumping in earnest.

42

Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope


Hokkaido Start out small with the rails and boxes in the Beginner’s Park, or step it up with longer, more challenging lines in the Hanazono Park, or the Jib Park. Hanazono even has Hokkaido’s only bag jump open from early March, to help make the transition to bigger and bet ter jumps with minimal punishment. If you’d rather be airborne without your ride, check out the epic 200 metre zip line in the adventure park. The incredible variety of options at Hanazono doesn’t stop on the slopes either; they’re topped off by little touches that turn a good holiday into a great one – minimal queues, �100 hot chocolate in the mornings, special play areas for kids, and the Niseko Kamonohashi – their friendly platypus mascot. Add Niseko’s consistent, quality dumps of champagne powder, and you have what is truly the complete package when it comes to snow holidays – and one you will struggle to find elsewhere.

43


Peace and tranquillity, tucked away in a quiet corner near Niseko…

KONBU ONSEN www.konbuonsen.com (Japanese) © JNTO

A s its powder snow has risen to fame, the resor t areas of Niseko have acquired an at times hectic atmosphere that can make it easy to forget you're supposed to be on a holiday. Peace and quiet, fine dining and drinking, and rejuvenating hot springs are deceptively close though, in the village of Konbu Onsen. The lush forest of Niseko-Otaru-Shakotan Kaigan QuasiNational Park is just next door to the village, and it puts on an impressive colour display reflecting the changing seasons throughout the year. Squirrels flit in and out of the shrubbery during the green, blossom-filled months of May to August, and after the last reds and yellows of autumn have hit the turf, the village becomes a steaming sanctuary from the heavy powder snow covering the forest in winter. The nine different hot spring inns and hotels in Konbu

Onsen are a 20 minutes bus ride from Niseko Station on the JR Hakodate Main Line, and hotels operate free shuttle buses to the nearby ski areas of Annupuri (10 minutes), and Hirafu (20 minutes). Moiwa Ski Resort is even closer at just 2-3 minutes away by car, with shuttle access from the village. It has a collection of six different courses, with the longest reaching 2.8km. Rafting, canoeing and other adventure tour operators also provide a set down and pick up service for guests at Konbu Onsen during the off season. A Yu-meguri Pass is a great way to experience a spread of the different hot springs in the village, at a discounted rate. For �1,400, the pass gives you three visits to one or more participating hot springs, and is valid for 180 days from the date of purchase.

Hotel K anronomori

All the elegance of Japanese culture, with the style of a boutiq ue hotel Exceeding guest expectations is all in a day's work at Hotel Kanronomori. Part of a reputable Hokkaido boutique hotel group, we offer ten room types, including twin rooms, and suites with built-in hot spring baths. Only the freshest in seasonal produce is on the menu, and our natural hot spring bathing experience with forest views is legendary!

415 Niseko, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido TEL +81-136-58-3800 FAX +81-136-58-3107 E-mail: reservation@kanronomori.com www.kanronomori.com

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For pain, take two of these...

Skier: Peter Ilin ksy

To helmet, or not to helmet?

You’ve spent a lot of money to visit Niseko and experience the best powder in the world. Don’t ruin it with the wrong boots: see our boot fitting specialist for a free consultation.

O

ne morning a young skier came hurtling down from the peak like a runaway shopping trolley, and collected my instructor mate who happened to be wearing a helmet. Fortunately Morgan got off with a bit of a headache, but the young man was stretchered from the field with severe head trauma. Use your head while it’s still screwed on properly, and check out Inski’s great range of helmets in all sizes and colours.

Skier: Peter Ilinksy

Variety is the spice of skiing... and riding!

inski.com.au Sydney City Niseko Hirafu Ph: (02) 9233 3200 Ph: (+81) 136 558 558

There’s more than one way to carve up a mountain, so don’t get stuck in a rut. Give yourself a break and rent some performance powder skis or boards selected for Niseko conditions, and swap as many times as you like.


OTARU Lighten up your life

Otaru

Redefine your notion of fresh sushi and take a romantic winter side-trip to the historic port of Otaru, just a hop, skip and a jump from Niseko...

N

iseko may have the lion’s share of

yellow street lamps, exude a romantic old-

powder snow and the best mountains

world atmosphere that Niseko couldn’t match if

to enjoy it for miles around, but fate

Charles Dickens were reincarnated and elected

has decided there are some things it may never

as its local mayor.

acquire: a romantic canal lined with heritage buildings, and sushi so fresh it’s almost jumping

The spectacle is officially known as the

off the plate.

Otaru Yuki-akari-no-michi, translated rather unimaginatively by some as the Otaru Snow

Not to worry however; both of these are just a

Light Path Festival. The River of the Heavens

day-trip away in the historic port city of Otaru.

Festival in Otaru could be just as appropriate,

Make it an overnight stay in February, and you

given the way that the hundreds of glowing glass

get to experience the beautiful spectacle of

orbs floating down the frosty Otaru Canal are

hundreds of lamps lighting up the night sky,

described metaphorically in Japanese as the

casting an otherworldly glow across the canal

‘Ama-no-gawa’ – or the Milky Way in English.

and the rows of Victorian buildings beside it. For ten days every February, over two thousand Victorian buildings? That’s right, just when you

volunteers tirelessly scrape away the incessantly

thought Japan couldn’t push the boundaries of

falling snow from the orbs, and keep them alight

the unexpected any further! There are cobbled

while most would normally be huddled around

streets to boot, which combined with pleasing

heaters with hot cups of tea. It is symbolic of the

46


frontier spirit of this small community, once an outpost of hardy nineteenth-century trailblazers. Otaru was as an important gateway to Hokkaido from the mainland throughout these years; more importantly for sushi lovers, it continues to be home base for a large flotilla of fishing boats, bringing in the freshest and finest from the Sea of Japan. Take a stroll about town, and you’ll soon see that the hardest thing about eating sushi in Otaru is deciding where not to go. There are over 130 options vying for diners’ attention with tantalising window displays, the oldest of which have been established for well over fifty years. Some of the most well-known are clustered around the appropriately named Sushiya-dori,

Your first stop in Otaru! Otaru City Tourist Information Center otaru.gr.jp

Let our friendly staff make your visit easier with free maps and brochures. We're open 9 : 0 0 -18 : 0 0 ever y day of the year except New Year's Day at three handy locations: JR Otaru Station, Canal Plaza ( English speaking staff, open 9:0019 : 0 0 i n s u m m e r ) a n d Asakusa Bridge.

Otaru Tourism Association English blog

: otarustyle.blogspot.jp (URL subject to

change)

How far is it to Otaru?

Niseko OR Otaru $ 90 min % 120 min Sapporo OR Otaru $ 35 min % 35 min 47


a street just a few hundred metres from Otaru Canal. Don’t worry if your Japanese is not particularly dazzling when you go in; a good appetite and a sense of adventure are all that is needed to sit at the counter and point to whatever looks delicious. If you can remember though, just ask for ‘shunno-mono’ and you’ll be guaranteed extra satisfaction. The phrase means something like ‘whatever’s in season’, ensuring you get to sample the tastiest of what has just come into port that day. Whether your sushi dining experience rounds off a tour of Otaru Canal or is the opening scene of a pleasant digression about town, it adds an essential touch to what is a very memorable day-trip from Niseko.

小樽

Indulge in all the comforts of Japan, just a minute from Otaru Station.

Natural Hot Spring “Akari no Yu” Dormy inn Premium Otaru

3-9-1 Inaho, Otaru City, Hokkaido ph:81 0134-21-5489 mail : in-otaru@dormy-hotels.com

Enquiries welcome. 48

dormy inn premium otaru

SERCH


Hokkaido

r e d Pow Belt

Hokkaido Hokkaido Powder Belt •Asahikawa Asahikawa Kamui• Kurodake • Asahidake • Furano• Otaru• Tokachidake • •Sapporo • Tomamu New Chitose •Niseko

Am I going to need my karate outfit, or should I bring a Bible? The name might bring these questions to mind for a few, but to skiers and boarders, the most religious thing about the Hokkaido Powder Belt is obvious: snow, and plenty of it. Hoshino Resort Tomamu, Furano Ski Resort, Kamui Ski Links, Asahidake Ropeway and Kurodake Ropeway are where you’ll find it piled high over peaks you wouldn’t be surprised to meet David Attenborough in filming a nature documentary. So start packing, and get ready to join riders from around the world there on the search for the perfect slope, with the perfect powder...

49


New Furano Prince Hotel Located on the slopes of Furano Ski Resort, 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: Email furano-scott@princehotels.co.jp

2013-2014 Winter specials Pay 5 nights / Stay 7 nights Free adult lift passes Kids ski free Conditions apply. Please contact your local travel agent for details.

Furano Snow School

Atomic and Salomon Station

Enjoy skiing and boarding with our local instructors!

Your one-stop shop for quality rentals

Want to take your skiing or boarding to the next level in a fun, safe environment? Then look no further! With professional English-speaking instructors offering group and private lessons for both adults and kids, Furano Snow School is the way to go. Find us conveniently located in both Prince Hotels and the Kitanomine gondola terminal.

A wide range of quality rental skis, boards, clothing and accessories are available from the Atomic & Salomon Stations in both Prince Hotels, Furano Ropeway Station and the Kitanomine Gondola Station - you won't need to bring a thing with you to enjoy the powder in Furano! Drop in and swap gear, or top up on wax for free whenever you like.

This is just the tip of the iceberg...

Kitanomine Terminal LB, Kitanomine-cho, Furano Phone: +81-167-22-1935 Email: sp-topia-furano@voice.ocn.ne.jp

www.sportpia.co.jp/en


furano-areaguide.com The Furano Area Guide comprehensively covers all the sightseeing attractions, activities, restaurants and accommodation the town has to offer. View it online as an eBook, or get a copy from the following locations: Furano Biei Tourism Centre Open daily 9am - 6pm 1-30 Hinode-machi, Furano, Hokkaodo 076-0025 Japan Ph: +81-(0)167-23-3388 Furano Tourism Association Open daily 9am - 6pm 18-1 Kitanomine-cho, Furano, Hokkaido 076-0034 Japan Ph: +81-(0)167-22-5777

Having fun in Furano

The town that won't let you leave without having a good time Furano brings together a generous selection of snow holiday options and perks that make it a great choice for ladies and gents of all ages, especially family groups. Its Furano Ski Resort is one of Hokkaido's largest, and has a variety of slope choices including a 4km stretch of uninterrupted powder pleasure, giving all guests the opportunity to find their comfort zone. Instead of going out and doing this yourself though, just sign up for a free guided tour of the slopes in English with the Furano Ski Hosts. These friendly volunteers are a goldmine of information on the local area, and offer a unique service recognised by the

Japan National Tourism Organisation's Systematized Goodwill Guide (SGG) program. Furano Ski Resort gets even better for kids aged 12 or under, who enjoy the privilege of free lift passes. There are plenty of other resorts out there offering discounted passes for kids, but making them absolutely free is exceptionally rare - just bring along some identification to make the most of it. Furano is also a convenient base for exploring the nearby slopes of Asahidake, Kamui Ski Links and Hoshino Resort Tomamu in the Hokkaido Powder Belt. Day trips inclusive of lift passes from the town to

all these destinations are reasonably priced, low on hassle and high on powder - the perfect way to add a bit of spice to your holiday. You haven't quite ticked all the boxes without a soak at a nearby hot spring village afterwards though - and thanks to the local taxi service, it's a piece of cake.

FURANO Tourism Association

Experience a Japanese tea ceremony or live cultural performance in Furano, and make your sta y un forget table! We're proud to promote good relations between people from all over the world!!

“We love it!�

Make sure everyone comes!!

Beautiful town, lovely people!

Very enjoyable evening!

www.furanotourism.com 51


AREA MAP

F U R A N O P60

Furano Ski Resort Kitanomine Zone 富良野スキー場北の峰ゾーン

P60

Furano Ski Resort Furano Zone 富良野スキー場富良野ゾーン

Furano Prince Hotel 富良野プリンスホテル

New Furano Prince Hotel 新富良野プリンスホテル

Furano Cheese Factory

富良野チーズ工房

52


Hokkaido Sorachi River 空知川

Shirogane Onsen 白金温泉

Shirahige-no-taki Waterfall しらひげの滝

Tokachidake Onsen

十勝岳温泉

Highland Furano

Kamifurano

ハイランドふらの

上富良野

Frontier Furanui

フロンティアフラヌイ

JR Nemuro Main Line JR根室本線

Furano Winery 富良野ワイン工房

JR Furano Line JR富良野線

JR Gakuden Station JR学田駅

1-30, Hinode-machi, Furano 0167-23-3388 Hours: 9:00-18:00 Mon-Sun www.furanotourism.com/english/home.htm

Furano River 富良野川

Furano Tourism Association Asahigaoka Park 朝日ヶ丘公園

富良野観光協会

JR Furano Station JR富良野駅

Furano Town Centre 富良野中心部

JR Nemuro Main Line JR根室本線

Furano Jam Garden ふらのジャム園

Glass Forest Furano

グラス・フォレストインフラノ

53


Real powder, and the real Japan

F U R A N O

Immerse yourself in Furano’s local culture as you discover the magnificent set of courses at Furano Ski Resort, and use the town as a springboard to explore the wild, untamed backcountry of the surrounding Hokkaido Powder Belt. It might see you getting overexcited enough to pre-allocate your next block of annual leave for another trip – but hey, where else is the powder going to be this good?

Hotel Naturwald Furano We have both Western and Japanese style rooms available. Whichever style you choose, we promise a pleasant stay. Our location offers panoramic views of the ski hill, just across the street. 14-46 Kitanomine-cho, Furano, Hokkaido (About 7 minutes by car from Furano Station) Phone: 0167-22-1211 Email: h_takeda002@hkd.jtb.jp

http://naturwald-furano.com 54


Hokkaido The powder at Furano is famously among Hokkaido’s best, and the weather, with sunny, blue skies, is perfect for being outdoors and enjoying it. This applies day and night, with runs open until 8pm on both sides of Furano Ski Resort. Kamui Ski Links, Asahidake, Tokachidake and Hoshino Resort Tomamu lie scattered nearby in Hokkaido Powder Belt, and are all easily accessible by shuttle bus as an exciting day trip. You’ll find a combination of rugged backcountry, unique family-friendly facilities and ever y thing in between – in other words, all the ingredients necessary to have an amazing snow holiday no matter whether you’re visiting with family, friends or just yourself! Back in Furano, there is a pleasant variety of shops and restaurants within close range of the slopes, offering a delicious palette of seasonal flavours drawn from the local area. Adding an extra dimension to your holiday in Furano are its cultural events, organised FURANO

Annexe for long term guests now open!

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. Station is 1 minute on foot. Free parking is available.

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

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.

55


specially for visitors throughout winter by the Furano Tourism Association – often with free admission. Live traditional music, including the awe-inspiring sounds of Japanese Taiko drumming, happens weekly from mid January to February, the busiest part of the ski season. The local traditional performing arts association coordinates a range of other shows featuring every thing from Japanese dancing to calligraphy, flower arranging, tea ceremony, and swordplay, and yet another source of cultural enrichment in town is the Furano Theatre Factory, showcasing performances by graduates of Japan’s eminent Soh Kuramoto drama school. Furano and its surrounding districts are well endowed with a total of more than 90 hotels, inns and lodges, and local transport needs are well catered for by the Lavender-go bus, which operates year-round. It travels ex tensively between downtown Furano, Furano Ski Resort, Asahikawa Airport, and Asahikawa Station. Getting to Furano has never been easier either,

Furusato-sou 14-50 Kitanomine-cho, Furano, Hokkaido Phone: 0167-22-2612 www.tabi-hokkaido.co.jp/furusatoso Cosy, welcoming inn 1 minute from the ski area, and a short walk from the bus stop. All rooms are Japanese tatami-style.

www.gdayjapan.com.au

Furano’s Only Ski-front Luxury Apartments Just one minute walk to the Gondola

www.freshpowder.com + 81 167 23 4738

Tsuru Apartments gs 10% discount on bookin2013 31, made before Aug ust

Only 5 minutes to the ski slope

Furano Alpine Travel FAT has been operating in Furano for a long time, so we think we can do the best assist guests with private transfer service from Furano area to anywhere in Hokkaido. Model fare Chitose airport to Furano Niseko to Furano

¥36,000 ¥68,000

(Jumbo taxi holds maximum number of passengers with luggage 6) We also operate the ski resort transportation between Furnao and Kamui, Tomamu, Asahidake. The transfer service is arranged from single traveller to large groups.

P W

56

+81 167 23 1618

M

+81 90 2777 4620

www.tsuru-apartments.com/

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

www.alpn.jp


Hokkaido thanks to a new expressway linking the town to New Chitose Airport. In addition, low cost carrier Skymark Airlines operates flights from Kansai International Airport in Osaka, as well as Narita International Airpor t in Tokyo to Asahikawa Airport, which is just one hour from Furano Station on the Lavender-go shuttle bus. With so much to offer, Furano is the ideal choice for those who want to experience real powder, and the real Japan!

Romance on Ningle Terrace Ningle Terrace is a strip of shops housed in quaint log cottages, located below the New Furano Prince Hotel. The terrace sparkles at night with fairy lights, casting a magical glow over the snow-capped cottages and pine trees - it’s the perfect place to find some unique handcrafted souvenirs of Furano, or just enjoy going for a stroll to soak up the romantic ambience.

Furano ski holiday at the North Country Inn The perfect mix of Western and Japanese style accommodation

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. • Ski shuttle • North Bar (Pool table, darts, lounge wi-fi) • Lounge (CNN, English paper, wi-fi) • Town shuttle • Japanese indoor/outdoor baths • Ski rental

For enquiries contact Ken McBride kenny@north-country.co.jp

www.northcountryinnfurano.com 57


Sweet and Delice Got a sweet tooth? Furano Delice is the answer. If you have a passion for sweets, then don’t pass up an opportunity to visit Furano Delice. This delightful little shop is a dream come true for owner-chef Michio Fujita, who counts the Furano Milk Pudding – freshly prepared and served in a Furano milk bottle - among some of his most famous innovations. Criticised early on for being different, the Furano Milk Pudding turned the tables and became a national obsession after 1,000 of them sold out in 28 minutes at a Tobu Department Store in Tokyo,

catching the eye of buyers at other affluent department stores in Tokyo and Osaka. Today, Fujita prepares a seasonal menu of cakes, biscuits, puddings and pastries for his customers using as much of the local Furano farm produce as he can – and the results are divine. Enjoying the taste of a soft, moist and creamy Double-Fromage twolayered cheesecake, along with the panorama of Furano as you sip a coffee from the café terrace is pure bliss, and will complete your trip to the town in style.

Sweets Confectionary Furano Delice's FreshBaked Specials Limited to this store only! Double-Fromage (Petit) Double-Fromage Chocolat (Petit)

In-house limited special cakes available Fresh-Made Furano Milk Pudding and More Pudding a la Mode Tartlet Fromage Seasonal Fruit Tartlet Strawberry Tart Deli-choux (Cream Puff) House-Roasted Coffee

Shop Access From JR Furano Station: 10 minutes by car From Asahikawa Airport: 60 minutes by car From New Chitose Airport: 180 minutes by car

Furano Delice

2156-1 Shimo-Goryo, Furano, Hokkaido Phone: (0167) 22-8005 Open: 10am - 6pm (Closed Tuesday)

http://shop.le-nord.com


Snowmobiling fun in the Furano backcountry

The views of the glittering winter landscape around Furano are spectacular enough from the town or the slopes of its ski resort, but you’ll feel like the postcards on the local rack don’t really do them justice once you’ve experienced a snowmobile tour with Asobiya. Their small-group tours of the snow plains, alpine forest and peaks in the Furano backcountry run over distances of anything from a lazy 3km bog lap, to a mammoth day tour of more than 60km. Don’t feel daunted if you’re not a seasoned snowmobiler – these guys are professionals who take every care in ensuring that everyone is au fait with their snowmobile before setting off, and will kit you out with all necessary safety equipment. All you need to do after that is sit back and enjoy the ride – tours run from December to April, and can be booked by emailing Asobiya at info@ asobiya.jp.

Leisureguide ASOBIYA

www.asobiya.jp

Snowmobile Ice Fishing Parasailing Snow Shoe Trekking Hot Air Balloon Flight and more. Email: info@fuyuri.jp

Phone: +81 167 22 0534

Email: info@asobiya.jp

Only 1 minute by walk to ski area.

1&2 Bedroom self contained apartments

Chalet FUYURI www.fuyuri.jp 59


www.princehotels.com/en/ski/furano.html

Furano Ski Resort Nakagoryo, Furano-shi Open 8:30-20:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

FURANO

+81-167-22-1111 Apr

130cm 190cm 230cm 220cm 140cm

Beg

Int

Adv

40%

40%

20%

4km

2

8

964m

34°

The powder is finer at -30°C... and the welcome is warmer! Let’s face it, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. A holiday at a snow resort that boasts incredible powder dumps often comes with the compromise of enduring incessant blizzards, which can make it look like they had to Photoshop the blue skies into the advertising brochure. Your own photos of the blue skies at Furano Ski Resort however, will require no digital editing for a sizeable chunk of the season. And there’s still an average nine metres worth of the lightest, driest powder in Japan there to be enjoyed! Peeling off the embankments in a fine-grained mist as you criss-cross down the slopes, it stays fresher for longer in temperatures that can plummet to -30°C. When the sun shines on through it illuminates shards of diamond dust in the air, sparkling against the powder-coated backdrop.

Bistro Le Chemin

Intimate French bistro serving local produce from Furano. Special courses for Australia Day, Valentine’s Day and anniversaries. Aza Shimo Goryou, Furano, Hokkaido Phone: 0167-23-2004 www.le-chemin.com

FURANO BAKERY 1F, Furano201 building, 1-1 Motomachi, Furano City, Hokkaido Phone & Fax 0167-22-2629 www.fb-furano.com

A la Campagne

TOMIKAWA SEIMENSHO

12-22 Hinode, Furano, Hokkaido Phone: 0167-23-1965 www.furanotomikawa.com

Delicious courses featuring prime cuts of Wagyu beef and pork, and the freshest vegetables farm direct from Furano.

No trip to Furano is complete without special miso chashu ramen! Soy ramen in a lighter broth is another favourite on our menu, hotly contested by 33cm Namara-bo dumplings - fast-food treats just five minutes down the road at our restaurant in Furano Marche! Thu-Tue 11am-3pm & 5pm-8pm Sat, Sun & Holidays 11am-8pm

60

Open 7 days for lunch & dinner Special miso chashu ramen ¥900

Snow depth

Terrain

2-2 Asahi-machi, Furano Ph: 0167-23-3322 Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope


Hokkaido The volcanic peaks of Daisetsuzan National Park emerge above it on the horizon from the summit of the resort, which drops down a satisfying 964m to the two ski-in, ski-out Prince Hotels below. On the way you’ll find 24 different courses, s tretching for 25km across t wo zones: the Kitanomine Zone and the Furano Zone – which has the longest season of the two, open from late November to early May. While some of the courses are challenging enough to have hosted numerous FIS World Cup events, there remains a good spread for beginner and intermediate riders. They are complemented by a range of excellent perks: free skiing for kids aged twelve and under, night skiing until 8pm, a family adventure park, and a friendly snow school. To find your niche, sign up for a free guided tour in English with one of the Furano Ski Hosts, and enjoy their personal welcome to what is one of the Hokkaido Powder Belt’s most well-rounded resorts.

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/

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 (Last order 21:00) Closed Mon

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OFF - SEASON Four seasons in one day

All the colours of the rainbow Tr av eller s make t he pilgrimage t o Fur ano during the ski off season to enjoy a dazzling display of lavender fields, and delicious local produce, while the rapids, canyons and peaks of nearby Daisetsuzan National Park also bring in adventurers answering the call of the wild. No matter what their chosen spor t though, visitors and locals alike are unanimous in their appreciation of Furano’s hot springs. The Furano Prince Hotel provides a stylish bathing option close to 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. Taking a day trip to one of the small hot spring villages in Furano’s surrounds is also highly recommended; for a start, try Biei-Shirogane, which is an hour’s drive away and also has some beautiful hiking around the impressive Shirahige-no-taki waterfall.

Yama-no Doxon

It’s no wonder the Japanese have become a nation of photographers, surrounded by such brilliant colours throughout their four seasons. These colours have also been an age-old source of inspiration for Japanese painters, who have created refined, timeless images of their mountains and countryside known the world over today. The torchbearer of the Japanese painting tradition in the moder n era is Sumio Goto, a legendar y watercolour artist who has spent decades putting Kyoto, Nara and other especially scenic parts of Japan to the brush. Goto settled down in a small studio in Furano in 1987, a dot in a vast and beautiful landscape overlooked by the peaks of Daisetsuzan National Park. Ten years later, he converted it into the Goto Sumio Museum of Art, a museum housing some 130 pieces of his life’s work. As well as displaying Japan’s four seasons on the wall, the museum serves them fresh on a plate to diners at its restaurant. It’s the perfect place to while away an afternoon if you’re passing through the Hokkaido Powder Belt, and enjoy the four seasons of Japan in one day.

Goto Sumio Musuem of Art, Furano 130 delicate, rich and poignant watercolours by renowned artist Sumio Goto.

Boutique Brewery in Furano, with pilsner, wheat, and dark beers from ¥500!

20-29 Kitanomine-cho, Furano, Hokkaido Tel: 0167-22-5599 Web: http://doxon.jp

FURANO BURGER Higashi-Torinuma 1 Furano City Hokkaido Japan TEL & FAX : 0167-23-1418

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www.gotosumiomuseum.com Ph: +81-(0)167-45-6181


Hokkaido www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en

Hoshino Resort Tomamu Nakatomamu, Shimukappu-mura, Yufutsu-gun Open 9:00-19:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

120cm 170cm 190cm 180cm 110cm

TOMAMU

+81-167-58-1111

Beg

Int

Adv

25%

40%

35%

4.5km

1

7

699m

35°

Fun times at Hokkaido’s number one family-friendly resort! Banana boat and -30°C aren’t normally two concepts found in the same sentence in Australia, but they go together perfectly at Hoshino Resort Tomamu. A powder-blessed snow destination in one of the coldest parts of Hokkaido, it offers a great range of activities that make it the island’s number one family-friendly winter retreat. Give the skis and boards a break for a while – have you ever ridden a horse on a trek through beautiful snow-covered mountains? Skimmed across a powdery plateau on a raft? Or enjoyed a drink at a bar in a village constructed entirely of ice? These are just some of the many activities that the folks at Tomamu have in store for their guests. Often organised into convenient onehour blocks, they work equally as well as an interesting intermission to powder skiing and boarding, as they do for those who want to enjoy the snow, but are still finding their balance. For the powder-ready, Tomamu is a paradise waiting to be explored. And if you need any gear to hit the slopes or massive terrain park, the resort’s Salomon Atomic Station rental shop has the latest carving skis, and fat skis perfectly suited to the conditions. Sorted!

The family holiday of lifetime, in the incredible winter of Hokkaido Ski-in, ski-out access to amazing powder Unique après-ski fun in the ice village Only children’s adventure park in Hokkaido Delicious fine dining, buffet and café style restaurants Rejuvenating baths, and Japan’s biggest indoor wave pool

Enquiries: yoyaku@slowtomamu.co.jp Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

www.snowtomamu.jp Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope

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www.kamui-skilinks.com/ (Japanese only)

Kamui Ski Links

KAMUI

Nishioka 112, Kamui-cho, Asahikawa-city Open 9:00-17:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

135cm 175cm 220cm 210cm

+81-166-72-2311

Apr

Beg

Int

Adv

40%

40%

20%

4.5km

1

5

601m

40°

Powdered tree runs just 40 minutes from Asahikawa! Taking deep carves at speed down the 3km Gold Course, and weaving through unmarked tree runs are some of the highlights of a day on the slopes at Kamui Ski Links. There are 14 powderladen courses altogether, set between 751m and 150m on the 800m Mt Kamui-yama. The policy on off-piste skiing at Kamui is free and easy, so don’t be shy to go exploring if you have enough control and experience under your belt. To start with, try the Panorama Course, the Bump Course, and the Ezo-matsu Course near the peak, the three designated black runs with terrain that can drop suddenly by as much as 40°, and some tight gaps to negotiate between the trees. The FIS -approved Gold Course is rated intermediate, but has quite a steep decline conducive to excessive speed, followed by unexpected bumps that can launch you into the air without warning. At its widest this course measures a juicy 150m, and is just begging to be torn apart. If you’re starting out with basic skiing technique, head to the four mellow, compacted runs close to the foot of the mountain. Kamui also has a good selection of hire gear on site, and some cosy restaurants to enjoy.

ASAHIYAMA ZOO

40 minutes by bus from JR Asahikawa Station!

Marching penguins, swimming bears and soaring eagles are just the tip of the iceberg here – come and say hi, we’d love to see you!

Open daily except Dec 30 - Jan 1 until April 7 2014 Admission: Adults ¥800, and free entry for kids!

Now, where are those penguins?

More: www5.city.asahikawa.hokkaido.jp/asahiyamazoo/zoo/English/top.html

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Snow depth

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Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

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Powder-coated volcano anyone?

A S A HID A K E At 2,291m, A sahidake is Hokkaido’s tallest peak. It’s also an active volcano, and the white columns of smoke that billow out of it intensify as temperatures plummet during the fierce northern winter. Take the ropeway from the hot spring village of Asahidake Onsen up to Sugatami Station on the mountain at 1,600m, and you’ll find four marked courses for intermediate riders and above to enjoy. The powder is sublime, and considered by many to be even finer and drier than Niseko’s thanks to lower humidity levels

inland. S u g a t a m i St a t i o n o f f e r s a c l o s e r l o o k a t Asahidake’s smoke signals, and if you’re on a backcountry ski trip, you’ll be getting even closer still, as you venture into the vast tracts of powder further up the mountain. Back down in Asahidake Onsen, there are plenty of welcoming, comfortable inns where visitors enjoy nature’s blessing of hot springs and delicious local cuisine. It’s all waiting for you just 1.5 hours by bus from Asahikawa, the main transport hub in the Hokkaido Powder Belt.

Enjoy the seasonal beauty of Mt Asahidake from our mountain lodge-style resort hotel.

Lavista Daisetsuzan

Asahidake Onsen, Higashikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido FAX: 0166-97-2345 E-mail: la-daisetsuzan@dormy-hotels.com

Enquiries welcome.

lavista daisetsuzan

SERCH

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Sounkyo and Kurodake A kaleidoscope of colour all year round...

It’s a sobering -20°C, and you’re standing in a giant igloo filled with the glow of luminescent reds, pinks and purples. The colours warm the interior with a charming glow that evokes fairy floss, big tops and other childhood pleasures, and cast an enchanting light on the icicles beckoning towards staircases, winding through tunnels and leading to waterfalls and ice sculptures, all frozen in time. This is the winter guise of the Ishikari River in Sounkyo, a hot spring village etched into the base of a spectacular series of intersecting gorges in Daisetsuzan National Park. The villagers have refined the process of building the sculptures as the river freezes over to an art officially

known as the Sounkyo Ice Festival, which attracts visitors from near and far every year from January to March. Many of these visitors are also in Sounkyo to enjoy powder skiing and boarding, carving fresh trails down the 1,984m Mt Kurodake by day, and imbibing in the best of local produce by night. Let’s not forget the snowshoe hiking either of course! In between all this are countless hours spent lolling about in the village’s hot springs, tastefully constructed institutions set off pleasant little walkways lined with brilliant flower beds in the warmer months. What makes a stay in Sounkyo exceptionally memorable is the sublime simplicity, yet sophistication with which

Daisetsuzan Kurodake Ropeway

the locals have harnessed nature’s bounty to welcome visitors, all with a down-toearth sincerity unique to the countryside of Japan. It leaves you with the feeling of wonder as you walk away that you have experienced a genuinely unspoilt part of the nation’s frontier, where the dynamic beauty of the natural landscape remains in pristine condition for all to enjoy.

Where is it? Hokkaido Powder Belt, 110 minutes from Asahikawa. How long can I ski? Mid-November to early June. It’s the longest season in Japan! Tell me more! www.sounkyo.net/english

Putting the handsome in hot springs... A welcoming oasis in the w i lderness of the Hokkaido Powder Belt, Sounkyo is your base for powder, adventure, and relaxation all year round...

The ultimate way to ski, hike or stroll Mt Kurodake, departing from Sounkyo hot spring village.

Brochure available at http://www.rinyu.co.jp/modules/pico01/

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Visit us online at www.sounkyo.net/english


Hokkaido

Lose the crowds, and find the powder! Chuck Olbery Director, Hokkaido Powder Guides Furano, Hokkaido Before I started Hokkaido Powder Guides, I spent some time weighing up what all the different mountainous areas in Japan have to offer. The allure of the highest mountains on Hokkaido attracted me to Furano initially; but in the end, I found so much more that made me decide to settle down and base my business here. One of these things of course, was the snow. T hank s to the cold temp erature s and low humidity, the quality of the powder is fantastic. In fact, it could be some of the lightest in the world for its consistency. My clients come from different parts of the globe, but they all seem to agree that the snow here is the best they have skied. The joy of riding the powder is the feeling of pure weightlessness you get – it feels like you are actually suspended in mid-air! Another bonus to the area is its location. Furano sits in the geographical centre of Hokkaido, and while Furano Ski Resort is only a five minute drive away, the town serves as a good base to access the surrounding resorts of the Hokkaido Powder Belt. They can be very quiet during the week, and there are days when we have the slopes all to ourselves. In the north of Furano there is Kamui Ski Links, and to the south is Hoshino Resor t Tomamu. All of them have differing micro-climates, which means that we almost always have good powder to ski even when there isn’t fresh snow in Furano. Another of the surrounding ski areas we visit is Asahidake. You will see more fat skis here per skier than anywhere else in Japan, for a good reason: it is otherwise known as the ‘Powder Factory’. After a decent dump, forget face-

© Takahiro Nakanishi

shots; the snow will be flying over your head! Seeing where you are going can be a challenge, so I always instruct clients to stop, and scan the area for trees before skiing their lines. Clear days are rare in winter, but if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Asahidake sending up playful volcanic plumes into the sky from its different vents, it is just magical. For backcountry skiing, we visit the mountains of Daisetsuzan National Park across the valley from Furano. They are known as Kamui Mintara, or the ‘Playground of the Gods’ to the local Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, and are one of the foremos t backcountr y destinations in Japan. One of the highlights is skiing down a live volcano with smoke billowing out of the crater. You have to earn your turns, but they’re well worth the effort. A great way to finish is to celebrate the ski day in a thermal hot spring in the forest. When the water is hot, we just shovel snow in to bring the temperature down – while making sure there are no locals already in the water. On longer trips around Daisetsuzan National Park, you have the opportunity to experience a Japanese inn – known as a ryokan – with its own hot springs. Rooms have traditional tatami mat floors inside, and you get to meet your fellow guests wearing yukata, a light kimono at dinner, fresh from taking a bath. Plentiful quantities of fresh fish and other local delicacies are on the menu, and upon returning to your room, you will find your futon has been rolled out neatly. Sleep comes easily, thanks to the good food, good turns, and dare I say it, good sake!

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Total backcountry immersion

T OK A CHID A K E

Tokachidake is a craggy, 2,141m lava-encrusted peak in Daisetsuzan National Park, covered in wildly-varying stretches of alpine forest, glaciers and apocalyptic volcano-scapes. Come November though, and it all rapidly disappears under a hefty package of powder. This package contains falls of up to 30cm on a near-nightly basis, which waits untouched the next morning for skiers to enjoy all day until reaching a halt at one of the park’s hot spring inns. The inns are small oases of hot, healing water

Kamihoro Inn

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

dot ted around the village of Tokachidake Onsen, and many innkeepers go out of their way to drive their guests to the ski areas. Some don’t need to though, being located right on Tokachidake’s doorstep - which has the added blessing of particularly steaming outdoor hot spring baths, keeping the snow at bay with temperatures of more than 42°C! Ju s t a sk your lo c al innkeep er in advance, and they’ll more than likely take care of your transpor t needs from A sahikawa Domestic Airport, Asahikawa or the Furano area. • 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

Kamihoro Inn Our outdoor hot spring

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


OFF - SEASON

Enchanting alpine adventure

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

The better the view, the better the hot spring experience. And you’ll be hard pressed finding a hot spring with views in the same league as Tokachidake. The hot spring baths around the village at the foot of Tokachidake are perched up to 1, 28 0 m above sea level , and t hey enjoy a variety of impressive vistas bursting with colour throughout the off-season. The mountain is one of Japan’s 100 most famous peaks, and has a lush alpine environment that makes it a paradise for hikers and campers. The fields nearby in Kamifurano are filled with beautiful striped carpets of lavender, cosmos and other blooms in the warmer months of the year, painting the undulating hills in a utopian patchwork complemented per fectly by the distant peaks. When they’re not growing flowers, the local farmers produce a delicious harvest of fruit and vegetables to go with the locally farmed pork and fresh seafood from the coast – so don’t forget to bring a good appetite along when you visit!

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 Tokachidake, Kamifurano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido

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Experience a snow holiday like no other with Classic Resorts Japan

• Hakuba • Shiga Kogen • Nozawa Onsen • Myoko • Snow Monkeys, stunning scenery and vibrant local culture • Endless runs for all levels with masses of light, dry powder

www.snowlove.net/japan


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HAKUBA VALLEY 72 OMACHI 102 SHIGA KOGEN 103 NOZAWA ONSEN 105 SHIBU ONSEN 108 OBUSE 110 MATSUMOTO 111 NAEBA/KAGURA 114 MYOKO 116

Myoko Kogen Nozawa Onsen • Shibu Onsen • • •Naeba • • •Shiga Kogen Hakuba • Obuse Omachi •Matsumoto

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AREA MAP

H A K U B A Winter Olympics Memorial Hall 白馬村オリンピック記念館

Hakuba Village Tourism Bureau 白馬村観光局

3476 Hokujo, Hakuba Village 0261-72-7100 Hours: 8:30-17:30 Mon-Sun www.vill.hakuba.nagano.jp

Obinata Onsen

おびなたの湯

P87

P82

Happo-One

Hakuba 47

八方尾根

白馬47

Echoland Onsen エコーランドの湯

P78

Hakuba Saegusa Museum 白馬三枝美術館

Hakuba Goryu

白馬五竜

Himekawa Onsen Tenjin-no-yu 姫川温泉天神の湯

Hakuba Katakuri Onsen Juro-no-yu

白馬かたくり温泉十郎の湯

JR Iimori Station JR飯森駅

JR Kamishiro Station JR神城駅

Sanosaka さのさか

Lake Aokiko 青木湖

Minekata みねかた

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Nagano-Niigata

P99

Tsugaike Nature Garden 栂池自然園

Hakuba Cortina

白馬コルチナ

Mimizuku-no-yu Onsen

P98

みみずくの湯

Tsugaike Kogen Ropeway

P97

Hakuba Norikura

栂池高原ロープウェー

白馬乗鞍

Tsugaike Kogen 栂池高原

Iwatake Onsen 岩岳の湯

JR Chikuni Station 千国駅 JR Oito Line

P96

Iwatake 岩岳

Kurashita-no-yu Onsen

JR大糸線

Mt Asama 浅間山

倉下の湯

JR Shinanomoriue Station 信濃森上駅

JR Hakuba Oike Station JR白馬大池駅

JR Hakuba Station JR白馬駅

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Gold medal-winning powder

H A K UB A V A L L E Y The Hakuba Valley is where it all went down during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics; medals were hotly contested, but at the end of the day, everyone that experienced the kiss of its powder and the excitement of its curves was a winner. And it was all just another chapter of fun in the history of its friendly little village community, who continue to welcome visitors from around the world to share the bounty that Mother Nature has blessed them with.

H A KU BA

D E E R LO D G E Affordable ski-in ski-out access to the Hakuba Happo slopes

www.hakubadeerlodge.com

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Nagano-Niigata Once the harsh perpendicular corners of Tokyo’s urban sprawl give way to the undulating curves and wispy cloud s of Japan’s mount ainou s countryside, you know you’re on your way to Hakuba. The series of tunnels on the bullet train route flicker in and out , in abrupt inter vals like someone adjusting the dial on an old television set, before they come to rest on the outdoor scenery channel again. Less than half a morning later, you’re closer to the Sea of Japan than the Pacific, and are set tling in to your new digs nestled in the Hakuba Valley. Surrounded by the peaks of Chubu Sangaku National Park, it remains a small, friendly village

Hakuba Yamatoya

community despite a seasonal influx of visitors from far and wide, keen to enjoy the beautiful environs of one of Japan’s most compelling outdoor adventure destinations. The valley lies on the snowier side of Japan’s main island, in the firing line of the same weather front s that de s cend from Siberia every winter with a gigantic package specially addressed to skiers and boarders. It contained nearly eight metres of powder for the village of Hakuba alone during the 2012-2013 season, a fraction of the bounty it reserved for the mountain slopes. They were the per fec t des tination for the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998, and resorts like Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba 47, Happo One,

7days 9:30am - 7:30pm (Sun 9am -) A•Coop HAKUBA Open Only a 3-minute walk from Hakuba Station. Supermarket chain store

Top quality ski equipment sales, next to Hakuba Station. Big range including ski, cross country, and more, all in premier global brands, beginner to advanced.

6398-1 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura Phone: 0261-72-6000

Fresh! Delicious!

T: +81-261-72-2200

Japan Holidays -Designing your Dream TEL: +61 7 33002396

E:INFO@JAPANHOLIDAYS.COM.AU

Travel Agent Lic No—3202461

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Japan Holidays are the best Japan Travel Search Engine you’ll ever find ! Our experienced staff have over 100 years of specialist travel in Japan, thus we can design your DREAM HOLIDAY. Guided Tours; Self Drive Holidays; Food tours; Golfing excursions; Walking tours; Yoga & Wellbeing Tours & Individual Itineraries

Ski/Snowboarding

Kumamoto castle & Sakura

Kumamoto, Kyushu Tour

Kyoto Houses-Sagano

www.japanholidays.com.au

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OFF - SEASON

Iwat ake, and Tsugaike Kogen continue to attract lifelong fans with an undying passion for their excellent powder, scenery and facilities. Travelling with the family? No worries – just don’t forget to leave the kids park once in a while. As fun and addictive as it is, there really is more to Hakuba than snow tubing. Hankering for a slice of backcountry action instead? The local guides are taking a group out tomorrow. The point is, no matter how you like to enjoy your snow holiday, you can expect to be blown away by the sheer variety of quality options on offer for visitors to the Hakuba Valley. This applies of f the slopes as well; be it a luxury five star hotel, backpackers hostel or an authentic Japanese inn, there is accommodation to suit every taste and budget in the valley – of te n w i t h s o m e m o u t h - wa te rin g l o c al delicacies on the menu. Before calling it a night though, you’ll want to do as the locals have done for centuries, and recharge those tired muscles in one of the village’s natural hot springs. You might also find yourself getting sidetracked by the nightlife in Hakuba, and hanging out with the other skiers and boarders still buzzing with the excitement of another big powder day in Hakuba!

HAKUBA

It turns out that those banks you were having so much fun on in Hakuba during February are actually the side of a river in May – so just swap your board for an inflatable raft, and you can continue right where you left off. Canyoning, raf ting, kayaking and hiking are all terrific ways to enjoy the lush surrounds of the Hakuba Valley in the off-season, and are made easy, safe and exciting thanks to local adventure specialists. Knowledgeable guides can introduce you everything from the wonder of canoeing on Lake Aoki to see the fireflies at night, to multi-day trekking through valleys blooming with intense colour, and mountain biking down winding alpine nature trails. Although things can get uncomfortably sticky in Japan’s lowlying urban areas during summer, Hakuba is cradled in a basin 700m above sea level that offsets the humidity, and balances out daytime temperatures in the early thirties with cool, refreshing evenings.

Enjoy your stay with warm family hospitality and delicious Italian food at our B&B in Echoland, Hakuba. But shhh… it’s a secret!

Misorano 2937-725 Hakuba Village 76

Life is all about balance

www.hakuba-syo.com


Nagano-Niigata www.hakubagoryu.com (Japanese only)

Hakuba Goryu

HAKUBA VALLEY

Kamishiro 22548, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun Days 8:15-16:50, nights 18:00-21:30 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

110cm 229cm 311cm 269cm 228cm

+81-261-75-3131

Beg

Int

Adv

35%

40%

25%

5km

1

11

926m

35°

Strap yourself in for the powder wave riding Grand Prix! The sun is shining, the powder is glittering... But strangely enough, the crowds don’t seem to have found their skis or boards today at Hakuba Goryu. It may sound impossible, but could very likely happen to you on a Monday morning in the wilds of this enormous resort. And it’s the kind of Monday morning everybody should aspire to! Tearing down what is essentially a giant powderwave, walling up to angles near 40° on the Grand Prix and Champion courses at the top, the ride feels like you’ve just been towed in to surf towards the mountainous reef of the Japanese Alps in the distance, with 3,000m peaks rising gracefully above a 2,000m crowd. There are chunky embankments waiting patiently in permanently carvable shapes on either side, and when you close in on the foot of the slopes, a plain of snow shines from on the opposite side of the valley like a mirage. It’s all very real though, and you’d better keep your eyes open to make sure you don’t go unintentionally flying off one of the kickers in the terrain parks, or lose a tooth on the mogul burn. In total, Hakuba Goryu has 23 different courses ideally suited to a combination of learning and developing, or just plain taking it easy. Riders with their L-plates can stay well within their comfort zones around the base of the resort, and enjoy a lesson from one of the schools. If you’ve got a full ski or snowboard licence, then report to the gondola at once – it’s time to go riding! The 1,624m, lift-accessible peak of Hakuba Goryu is also the drop-off point to a vast backcountry area that lies beyond. Going out there without a seasoned guide could be one of the last decisions you ever make; but join a trip with one of the local guides, and your chances of living a long and fulfilling life as a backcountry rider will

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Longest run

Gondolas

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Vertical drop

Steepest slope


otelMontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotel MontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontB MontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontB Hotel Mont Blanc Hakuba & Annex MontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontB www.hakubagoryu.net MontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontB Shuttle access to Hakuba Goryu lancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontBlancH Annex for groups just 30m from the slopes Lift ticket delivery from 6am akuba&AnnexHotelMontBlancHakuba Healing quasi-natural hot spring &AnnexHotelMontBlancHakuba&Anne xHotelMontBlancHakuba&AnnexHote lMontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMon BlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontBlan cHakuba&AnnexHotelMontBlancHak ba&AnnexHotelMontBlancHakuba&An We look forward to welcoming you soon. nexHotelMontBlancHakuba&AnnexH elMontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelM ntBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontBla ncHakuba&AnnexHotelMontBlancHak Hotel Hakuba Hotel uba&AnnexHotelMontBlancHakuba&A Hakuba Goryu Genryu-no-Yu New Bernina nnexHotelMontBlancHakuba&Annex hotelhakubagoryu.jp Natural Hot Spring www.tsugaike.net otelMontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotel MontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontB lancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontBlancH akuba&AnnexHotelMontBlancHakuba &AnnexHotelMontBlancHakuba&Anne xHotelMontBlancHakuba&AnnexHote lMontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMon BlancHakuba&AnnexHotelMontBlan cHakuba&AnnexHotelMontBlancHak ba&AnnexHotelMontBlancHakuba&An nexHotelMontBlancHakuba&AnnexH elMontBlancHakuba&AnnexHotelM 22200-8 Kamishiro, Hakuba Phone: +81-(0)261-75-2550 E-mail: info@hakubagoryu.net English inquiries: djsoulza@msn.com

Outdoor hot spring bathing and a range of classy, affordable Japanese-style rooms Larger rooms perfect for the banter and fun times of a small group get-together

Ideal option for families, with Japanese-style maisonettes for those not used to futons Facilities customisable to suit group excursions, parties and small functions

Soothe your aching muscles, and recharge for another powder session in Hakuba while enjoying the magnificent view from our spacious outdoor bath. Located inside Hotel Hakuba Goryu Open 12-9:30pm during winter Admission: Adult 짜600, Child 짜400, Infant 짜100

21396 Kamishiro, Hakuba Phone: +81-(0)261-75-2275 E-mail: yoyaku@hotelhakubagoryu.jp

20m away from the slopes at Tsugaike Kogen Perfect place to enjoy night skiing Easy access to the Tsugaike Kogen kids play area Discounted lift tickets for Hakuba Goryu and others!

Tsugaike Kogen, Otari Village Phone: +81-(0)261-83-2620 E-mail: info@tsugaike.net


Nagano-Niigata improve exponentially. If you crave more variety but aren’t quite a backcountry expert yet, fear not; Hakuba Goryu has a joint lift pass system with Hakuba 47 next door, so you’ll always have somewhere new to explore. Cultural events at the resort throughout the season are also highly recommended – especially the fireworks at the Hakuba Goryu Snow Festival in March! The resort has some 120 different places to stay, and if you haven’t managed to organise something in advance, the Hakuba Goryu Stay Info Desk open from 7:30 to 18:00 in JR Kamishiro Station will help you book on the spot when you arrive. More than 100 facilities are B&Bs run by friendly local families, followed by hotels and self-contained apartments within easy reach of the local shopping strip. To make the choice even harder, some of the hotels and B&Bs have their own hot springs in-house. While the desk may be able to help you on that idyllic Monday morning you’ve been dreaming of, you might have to consider building an igloo if you haven’t booked in advance on a weekend in January or February, or over the festive season. The word on Hakuba Goryu’s powder pleasure is well and truly out, and these are the times riders from all around the world get together at the resort to carve it up and share the rush together.

Hotel Stelle Belle Phone: 0261-75-2244 Email: info@stelle.co.jp www.stelle.co.jp

Just a three-minute walk from Stelle Belle to the Hakuba Goryu chairlift! You will be relaxed at 24 hours hot springs and large Miso-barrel open-air bath!

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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 Extensive December December to to early early May May season season powder e WORLD-CLASS 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


Nagano-Niigata www.hakuba47.co.jp/winter/en

Hakuba 47 Mountain Sports Park Kamishiro 24196-47, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun Open 8:00-16:15 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

69cm 124cm 206cm 214cm 172cm

Beg

Int

Adv

30%

40%

30%

HAKUBA VALLEY

+81-261-75-3533

6.4km

1

4

794m

32°

The resort where dreams become reality for powder believers Fast, steep slopes, deluxe terrain parks and mellow sanctuaries for beginners fill the 23 courses at Hakuba 47, which enjoys the longest winter season in the village from December to early May. The vertical measures up at 794m from tip to toe, and you’ll find a variety of satisfying runs criss-crossing it for up to 3.8km. After a fresh powder fall, the angle on the R-2 and R-3 advanced courses becomes even more conducive to speed, and at 1,620 and 800 metres long respectively, these courses are a dream come true for powder believers. The R-3, which has a permanent mogul lane shaped into it, is actually one of Hakuba 47’s Double Black Diamond Club courses, a special program designed to promote backcountr y powder skiing according to stringent safety standards. Candidates sign up at the Activity Center to take a lecture, and if they fulfil the requirement s , will be allowed to go for th and enjoy specific off-piste areas with the full blessing of the snow patrol. The Activity Center is also the place to make a booking for the First Tracks program, which gives you first crack at the powder from 7.30. In the freeriding depar tment , Hakuba 47’s major draw card is its massive R-4 snow park. There’s plenty of room for boarders and skiers to carve some nice lines over the fun boxes, rails and kickers, or the centrepiece, a 3.5m high, 16m wide, and 100m long half pipe. If you had any second thoughts about whether you could handle the steepest slopes out on the mountain, which can teeter over to 32°, this will set things straight in a matter of seconds. Beginners are well catered for at Hakuba 47 with several course options, the longest of which stretches to 3.6km, and can polish their technique with a lesson at the Activity Center.

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Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope


Hakuba Snowmobiling Safaris Feeling a little delicate out on the slopes in Hakuba? It might be time for a day off, and a Lion Adventure has just the answer! easy as pie, pick ing you up from your accommodation, providing all equipment necessary, and organising a hot lunch! Of course, if you’re already snug in your own ski or snowboard wear, with a pair of snowboard boots, or any other goo d, s turdy b oot s designed for snowy conditions, all the better. Don your regalia, saddle up, and meet your bright yellow Sk iDoo! Acceler ating and s tr ate gic b o dy positioning are about the extent of the physical activity required to operate one of these machines, while you take the weight off your tired legs and tour the back country of Hakuba. Lion Adventure makes this tour as

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Af ter making sure ever ybody has completed some figures of eight at the bottom of the hill, the guides will step things up to a bog lap session on the mountain over groomed tracks. Never ridden a snowmobile before? Don’t worry, most beginners have a handle on the basics in no time, and are ready for step three: off-piste adventure!

Working up an appetite gliding across the powder on your SkiDoo, you’ll be glad to find a hot lunch waiting in Lion Adventure’s private lodge at the base of the ski area. After another rematch on the mountain, it ’s time to visit Jigokudani Monkey Park and meet the famous snow monkeys! These cute little critters playing in their own hot spring bring out the photographer in everyone, and they even let you take close ups. As an additional option, Lion also of fers this tour without the Snow Monkeys, and offers snowmobiling in either Hakuba, or Shiga Kogen instead. So don’t get stuck indoors, and make the most of your day off out in the snow on this great tour!!


Hakuba's No. 1 Day Tour Snow Monkey & Zenkoji Temple Tour

Visit the world-famous Jigokudani Monkey Park, the home of hundreds of wild monkeys who spend their days soaking in natural hot springs, and Zenkoji Temple, a revered national treasure of Japan with a 1,400 year history. Tour includes a delicious lunch at a sushi train restaurant. Departure from Hakuba: 8:00am Cost (lunch inclusive): Adults ¥10,000, Kids 3-11 yrs ¥8,000

BOOK 30 DAYS OR MORE IN ADVANCE FOR A 10% DISCOUNT Website: hakuba-entertainment.com Bookings: +81 (0) 261 85 2292

Snow Side Goryu Condos ¥5,000~ per person/night

White Mountain ¥4,000~ per person/night

The best location in Nagano, with ski in/ski out access to the slopes and a gorgeous view across the valley. Ski back to your door for lunch! All apartments are self-contained with their own bathroom and kitchen, and sizes range from one to three bathrooms.

Studio-sized with up to two bedrooms and their own living room, these comfortable apartments are ideal for a budget family holiday or group of friends. They are close to the Hakuba 47 bus stop, and the perfect place to soak up the beautiful mountain surrounds or visit nearby attractions.

Eaglemont B&B ¥5,000~ per person/night

Red Sun Rooms B&B ¥4,000~ per person/night

Cosy European-style hotel in the middle of Happo-One ski village with a great range of lively bars and restaurants right at your door. Bathrooms, comfortable beds and your own lounge area, with rooms big enough for four or couples. Shuttle bus to other resort areas departs outside the front.

The backpacker's choice with comfortable rooms, bathrooms and kitchen facilities. There's no need to share a dorm or bathroom here! The amenities of Eaglemont Hotel are just across the road, and shuttle buses stop right at the door. Rooms fit two to four people.

BOOK 90 DAYS OR MORE IN ADVANCE FOR A 10% DISCOUNT Bookings: +81 (0) 261 75 5155 Enquiries: info@more-resort.com CALL +81(0)261 75 5155 For Bookings Website: hakuba-hotel-moreresort.com


Nagano-Niigata www.happo-one.jp/english

Happo-one

HAKUBA VALLEY

Hokujo Happo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun Open 8:00-21:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

160cm 210cm 240cm 200cm 170cm

+81-261-72-3066

Beg

Int

Adv

30%

50%

20%

8km

1

22

1071m

35°

Adrenalin-pumping action at Hakuba’s choice of champions W hen the words s teep, deep and exciting are thrown about in ski and snowboarding literature so often, it’s hard to feel like they do a description of Happo - One any justice whatsoever. Yet a quick look in the Oxford Dictionary confirms that if there’s anywhere entitled to these terms, it’s this resort. ‘Rising or falling quickly, not gradually ’ is exactly what happens when you point your skis downwards on its slopes covered in powder ‘having a large distance from the top or surface to the bottom’, and the result most definitely makes one ‘feel ver y pleased, interested or enthusiastic’. With inclines in excess of 30°, Happo-One was a worthy stage for downhill and slalom races at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, and continues to be carved up regularly by the pros. The action starts from the resort’s 1,831m peak, and as you hurtle back down over a 1,071m drop to 760m on a clear day, there are sections where it feels like you’re skydiving above the Hakuba Valley. All this snow has to come from somewhere though, and when it arrives, the skydiving sensation turns into something like floating in a giant fluffy cloud.

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

www.blackbearproperties.com Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope

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Nagano-Niigata You’ve probably assumed by now that more than half of the 13 courses at Happo-One are for intermediate to advanced riders – and you’re exactly right. It has legendary runs like the 3.5km Riesen Slalom Course; the name means Giant Slalom in German, and it’s hosted the fabled Riesen Slalom competition every year for almost 70 years. There’s also the Skyline Course, with a juicy 6km of downhill reaching angles of up to 32°. For an even steeper drop – or drop in, make sure you check out one of Happo-One’s parks. The Happo Banks snow park has an especially ripping collection of 3D terrain features that would have skaters frothing at the mouth if there was no snow on it, and the only real limit to enjoying it is your imagination. The park is the brainchild of Hayato ‘Bubbles’ Maruyama, a veteran pro snowboarder and pio n e e rin g s lo p e d e sign e r w h o ha s b e e n instrumental in spearheading Japan’s bowl riding movement. Check out the Happo Banks opening party if you’re at Happo-One in early February, and you can see pros tearing it up just as Bubbles intended. With such an amazing range of options on the mountain, it’s hard to fit some space in for Happo-One’s other highlights; suffice to say that with 350 often hot spring-equipped accommodation facilities, a host of restaurants, and a joint lift pass option with surrounding resor ts for even more variet y, organising a comfortable stay to suit your budget and taste is a piece of cake.

The Best Tex-Mix in JAPAN

The place to be this winter!

YOUTUBE LOGO SPECS

Open 6 tillPRINT late in the basement of Hotel Weisser Hof Happei, Hakuba on light backgrounds standard

main red

gradient bottom

C0 M96 Y90 K2

C13 M96 Y81 K54

white

black

PMS 1795C

WHITE

BLACK

cross.bar.58 C0 M0 Y0 K0

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on dark backgrounds standard

PMS 1815C

C100 M100 Y100 K100

no gradients

no gradients

Bar Cross Hakuba

watermark

watermark

stacked logo (for sharing only)

stacked logo (for sharing only)


Wind in the Wagyus In a world-famous powder resort area like Hakuba, it can be all too easy to end up as just another face in the crowd. There’s no danger of this at Hakuba Windy Lodge though, an intimate, friendly little retreat famous for its great hospitality and attractively-priced wagyu beef. Diners in cities like Tokyo normally pay a premium for their wagyu, a highly sought-after delicacy for its distinct marbling and superior flavour. Visit the lodge’s Wagyu Kobeya restaurant however, and you’ll find it being barbecued Japanese-style every night at prices city folk can only dream about. It’s all accompanied by a good selection of locallyfarmed pork and chicken, seafood, fresh vegetables,

beer, wine and sake. Don’t forget to sample some of the chef’s amazing home-made BBQ sauce either! When you’ve eaten your fill, enjoyed a glorious bath and want to explore the area the next day, a car can be very handy. The lodge steps in again here to make life easier for guests and non-guests alike; bring your international driver's licence, passport and credit card to hire a vehicle at a great price. To top it off, the family at the helm of the lodge and their staff speak English, and are up to date with events and great deals to be had in the village. It’s a home away from home, and you can rest easy knowing that you’re in good hands!

Friendly English speaking staff. Come and experience authentic hospitality from our Japanese owner.

Restaurant

WAGYU KOBEYA

Get your fill of premium Wagyu Beef!

HAKUBA WINDY LODGE

Just one minute away from the slopes!

Now providing a convenient, cost-effective rent-a-car service! 4WD, sedan and family sizes equipped for snowy conditions Flexible pick-up and drop-off locations around Hakuba Includes insurance and roadside assistance Available to both guests and non-guests

www.windy-kobeya.com Wadano Area HAPPO-ONE SKI RESORT 89


A Pilar of excellence

Freshly prepared Italian cuisine featuring premium cuts of beef, local pork and trout isn't generally the first thing you'd expect to find waiting at the top of most mountains, but things are different at Happo-one in Hakuba. Commanding a sweeping view of the surrounds from the upper station of the Hakuba Happo-one Alpine Lift, the tastefully-designed Restaurant Pilar serves all this, along with fresh Hakuba blueberries and other goodies from the local farms. The chef's three different lunch courses are reasonably priced between ¥3,000 and ¥4,000, and are complemented by a selection of on-tap beer, wine, champagne, grappa and cognac. Other delicacies on the a la carte menu include Hakuba trout pie with yuzu cream sauce, and basil-flavoured Acqua Pazza with mussel and rockfish. Pilar is not just physically in the highest location around for a full-service restaurant; with all this great food to enjoy in between skiing, it's also right up there when it comes to the best dining options in Hakuba.

Spend the night at Cherry Pub! If the draft beers, wine, bourbon, scotch whiskey, cognac, and over 70 cocktails at Cherry Pub aren't enough to keep out the cold, order some of their BBQ back ribs, New York cut steak, buffalo wings, tacos or stone-baked pizzas – it's the perfect way to kick back and relax after a great day's skiing.

Restaurant Pilar

www.pilar.jp

Discover a new level of dining in Hakuba Window seats with spectacular alpine views Delicious course and a la carte lunch menu Lunch package with return lift ticket for non-skiers

Restaurant Pilar is located at the upper station of the Alpen quad lift, Hakuba Happo-one Winter Resort, and opens daily 11:00-16:00 (weather permitting) except Tuesdays during the ski season. Please call 0261-72-8438 for advance reservations.

Cherry Pub

Open daily 17:00 – 24:00, closed Tue Ph: 0261-72-2343

Huge variety of drinks and quality pub grub in Echoland near Hakuba Station www.cherrypub.jp


Hakuba's leading accommodation group with best Japanese hospitality. Locals with regional knowledge will be your perfect concierge in your best ski holiday.

HAPPO ONE SKI RESORT

Hotel Information

The XVIII Winter Olympic Games Venue

Hakuba Tokyu Hotel eeeee

Hotel La Neige Honkan eeee

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

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

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

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

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

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 eeeee

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

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


s ic s a B y r t n u o c Back by James Robb "3. 2. 1. Dropping!" came over the radio as the camera reels rolled into action, the heli hovered above and the perfect line opened up below him. Four or five massive turns, some sluff management and then a high speed straight-line out to the bottom. Smiles and cheers all around. All in a day’s work for big mountain freerider, right? They make it look so easy, and it makes us all want to shred like them. The allure of the most epic lines and the freedom of fresh powder fields calls to pretty much anyone who has spent any time on a snowboard or skis. Blazing your own trail and ripping your own turns off a face is what off-piste skiing is all about. Access to the backcountry terrain has also seen boards and touring skis undergo a real jump in popularity, with many companies flaunting other backcountryspecific gear. However, having the ambition and ability to get into the backcountry does not always equate to the best choice for your longevity on this planet.

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We as skiers and snowboarders are most of the time looking for steep terrain with great powder snow that we know will challenge us, get the adrenalin pumping and create that one-of-a-kind of feeling of exhilaration. Unfortunately, the type of snow and terrain that is great for 'riding' is also perfect for 'sliding'. Yes, prime avalanche terrain. In most cases, it is the skier or rider who triggers the slide that takes them or others in their party out - and rest assured, avalanches don’t make any exceptions for experts. The following questions and recommendations are a brief rundown of what off-piste enthusiasts should be aware of prior to heading out.

Pre-trip

❄ Do you have proper training and experience to go outside of controlled resort areas? ❄ Do you know your route and have a map, compass and an alternate route plan? ❄ Have you checked the weather for today, as well as the weather over the past week? ❄ Have you checked recent avalanche bulletins and reports? Do you understand them? ❄ Does your group have an experienced "leader"


who can make informed decisions to ensure your group's safety in and out of the backcountry? ❄ Do you have the appropriate gear for self-rescue? ❄ Have you informed someone of your planned route, back-up route and return time? ❄ Do you know emergency contact numbers in case of an accident? ❄ Do you have insurance? Backcountry rescues are expensive!

Gear

❄ Do all members of your party have appropriate winter clothing? ❄ Do all members of your party have the essential avalanche transceiver (beacon), probe and shovel? More importantly does everyone know how to use them in a rescue situation? ❄ Do you have a first-aid kit, rescue gear, cell phone, radio, GPS and emergency overnight gear? ❄ Do you have enough food and water? ❄ Do you have a method of ascending, i.e. ski touring bindings, skins, snowshoes or a split-board?

During Trip

If you are departing via a ski resort, did you fill out a trip route card? Ski areas that you can access the backcountry from will provide these at the base of the mountain or at the gate into the backcountry at Hakuba ski resorts. ❄ What is the weather doing now? Will this affect

the stability of your intended route? ❄ Is everyone in your group comfortable with the terrain your route takes you into? ❄ Are you making safe and informed route decisions for your party? ❄ Are there other parties in the area? Will your route affect them? Will their route affect you? Who is above you/below you? ❄ Are there signs of recent avalanche activity? What about whoomphing, shooting cracks or debris? ❄ Are you constantly reassessing the snow stability and your group's ability? If you are unsure about the snow stability, stick to simple terrain away from avalanche start and run out zones- and do not exceed your experience or ability! If you are unsure about the terrain, it's best to hire a guide to take you safely out and back from the backcountry. Enrolling in an Avalanche Safety Course is also a first step in acquiring knowledge that will invariably help you survive. Play safe out there! James Robb is a professional guide and General Manager at the Evergreen Outdoor Center in Hakuba, Nagano and has resided in Nagano for over 10 years. He has attained his CAA Level 1, CSGA Level 1, CSIA Level 2, CASI Level 2 Advanced Wilderness Explorer First Aid & CPR as well as multiple other guiding certificates.

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www.hakuba.jp/iwatake/en

Iwatake Snow Field

HAKUBA VALLEY

Hokujo Iwatake, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun Open 8:00-17:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

70cm 135cm 180cm 188cm 190cm

+81-261-72-2780

Beg

Int

Adv

30%

50%

20%

3.8km

1

12

539m

35°

Hakuba’s hidden gem with an exclusive panorama of the Alps The 26 colourful courses at Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field cleverly utilise the natural geography of Mt Iwatake, sprawling north to south and east to west from its 1,289m peak. This area is hidden away from the gondola station at the base or the adjacent highway, and some mistakenly assume at a glance that Iwatake is a small resort. Never judge a book by its cover though – a vast expanse unfolds as you reach the summit, and find yourself smack bang in the middle of an uninterrupted 360 panorama that takes in the Northern Alps and Hakuba Basin. Being the only location that enjoys this view in Hakuba, Iwatake wins the hearts of many instantly and keeps them coming back, time and time again. F r o m t h e t o p , I w a t a ke s e c t i o n s o f f i n t o four areas with their own special features. Mountainside, the area immediately around the summit, is a gentle affair affording beginners the opportunity to get up high for once and soak up the beautiful scenery – and the view makes it worth a warm-up even if you’ve got a bit more riding experience. The Hillside area is centred around a wide creek bed with nice embankments on either side to carve up, and also has an off-piste subsection in the shadow of the mountain – where the powder stays fresher for longer. Don’t forget to cut a few lines through the Love Snow Park either if you’re a park person. Starting off from the top of the northern slope, it has a nice series of fun boxes, rails and kickers up to 10 metres high. Complementing the four different sections on the mountain are Iwatake’s refreshing natural hot spring, a range of different restaurants, and a special kids room for the youngsters so Mum and Dad can get some playtime of their own in. Iwatake has all the options; how you enjoy them is completely up to you!

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Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope


Nagano-Niigata www.tsugaike.gr.jp/snow (Japanese only)

Tsugaike Kogen

HAKUBA VALLEY

Tsugaike Kogen, Otari-mura, Kitaazumi-gun Days 8:00-17:00, nights 18:00-21:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

102cm 228cm 269cm 275cm 277cm

+81-261-83-2515

Beg

Int

Adv

50%

30%

20%

4.6km

1

21

904m

35°

The highest terrain park in Hakuba, heli-skiing and more! Adventure is the middle name of the team who run Tsugaike Kogen, a highland oasis of colour in the off-season, and one of Hakuba’s biggest powder resorts in winter. The twelve courses at this 155 ha behemoth are connected by 27 lifts, and give everyone enough space to play while enjoying magnificent views of the Hakuba Valley. One of the best unfolds from the Tsuga-no-mori Course, a wide intermediate slope dropping from an altitude of 1,700 metres. On the way down, you’ll encounter Hakuba’s highest terrain park – the Hit Park, which has some kickers measuring up to twelve metres high, boxes, and banks. Running down the ridge beside Tsuga-no-mori is the Uma-no-se Course, a 35° expert’s run with tighter turns, moguls and more amazing views. If you prefer your powder untouched, head to the ungroomed sections of the resort, or splash out with a backcountry heli-ski trip. Tsugaike Kogen also has some cracking events on during the season, headlined by the Ultra Thankyou Festival in February. It’s a dazzling display of fireworks and sparklers that heat up the night sky, and show just how much Tsugaike appreciate s the suppor t of the skier s and boarders who come back every season. When night falls on the slopes, everyone has an option to suit their budget and taste in accommodation at Tsugaike’s even mix of ski-in, ski-out hotels, B&Bs, traditional inns and lodges. There’s also a massive array of restaurants offering everything from hearty dude food to more classy fare, as well as two hot springs for an obligatory après ski soak. It’s no easy feat to send everyone that visits your resort home with an ear-to-ear grin – but with all these options, it’s a foregone conclusion at Tsugaike Kogen!

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www.hakuba-alps.co.jp/ski/ (Japanese only)

Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Resort Hakuba-norikura-kogen, Otari-mura, Kitaazumi-gun Open 8:30-16:30 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

93cm 222cm 209cm 168cm

Apr

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Int

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30%

50%

20%

HAKUBA VALLEY

+81-261-82-2811

2.5km

0

9

600m

38°

Jaw-dropping views from a resort with something for all With all its romantic mountain scener y and seclusion from the hustle and bustle of resorts further south, Hakuba Norikura Ski Resort, or Hakunori for short, is the solution whether you want to stoke the fires of a relationship, take the kids on the experience of a lifetime, or just hit the powder with a few mates. Riders with their stripes will love the tree runs, ungro o m e d p ow d er burn s and mo gul s a t Hakunori, and its Alps Snow Park rocks! Make sure you choose the interconnected option with Hakuba Cortina when buying your pass, and double the fun.

Getting cosy in the Cure House Japanese ski resorts are constantly trying to outdo each other in the bathing facilities department, and the Hakuba Alps Hotel at Hakuba Norikura Ski Resort is especially worth visiting for this reason. Unique to the local area and open to visitors, its creativelynamed Marine Blow jet bath, body-massaging Jacuzzi, Utaseyu beating shower, lie-down bath and steam sauna are officially known as the Cure House – a health spa complete with beautiful night views of the slopes. W www.hakuba-alps.co.jp/

Hakuba Alps Hotel

Your ultimate destination for action and relaxation Ski-in, ski-out access to the slopes Spacious runs with ungroomed powder and moguls Rejuvenating open-air hot spring and health spa French and Japanese fine dining restaurants Japanese, Western and Chinese buffet

www.hakuba-alps.co.jp/ski/ www.hakuba-alps.co.jp/english/e_index.html 0261 82 2811 98

Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope


Nagano-Niigata hakubacortina.jp/ski_winter/index.html

Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort Chikuniotsu 12860-1, Otari-mura, Kitaazumi-gun Sun-Fri 8:30-20:00, Sat 8:30-21:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

133cm 225cm 293cm 257cm 263cm

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Int

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40%

30%

30%

HAKUBA VALLEY

+81-261-82-2236

3.5km

0

7

530m

42°

Get your share of the biggest powder dumps in Hakuba! Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort boasts a gigantic natural bowl, which enjoys Hakuba’s biggest powder dumps each season. Just add its liberal of f-piste polic y, and you have a ser ving of powder heaven complete with tree runs on the side! Cortina has plenty of other exciting options to suit all riders, and classy accommodation at its Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba to boot. Spice things up with an interconnec ting pass to Hakuba Norikura Ski Resort next door, and check out the Cortina Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ HakubaCortinaResort for live updates.

Good times in the tub at Cortina Stay at Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba for a week, and you still might have trouble trying all the baths in its Yu Plaza. The facility harnesses natural hot spring water from the nearby mountain to fill eight skinnourishing tubs of rustic stone and elegant wood, including a fragrant cypress bath, waterfall bath and Jacuzzi. Don’t forget to try the mist and dry saunas as well, and there’s a cold bath if you need to reset your temperature gauge. W hakubacortina.jp/index.html

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Investing in the Hakuba property market Tabito Hashimoto Sakura Real Estate At Sakura Real Estate, we receive a range of property enquiries from overseas clients looking to secure a slice of paradise here in Hakuba as an investment, or to fulfil their dream of moving to the Northern Japanese Alps. It can appear quite confusing without a good knowledge of the Japanese system, but we specialise in simplifying everything with a clear, step-by-step process explained in English. Here are four of the most common topics that we cover during our initial consultation. 1. Market Conditions Land and housing values entered a steady decline after Japan’s real estate bubble burst in the mid 1990s, creating a buyer’s market in both urban and rural areas. Today, real estate prices in Hakuba have fallen to 30% below the levels they were at around the time of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, and are substantially lower than many other snow holiday destinations around the world. While the 2007-08 financial crisis did have a discernible impact on overseas interest in the property investment market here for a short while, there has always been a steady stream of people looking to acquire their own special retreat abroad – and Hakuba’s beautiful Northern Japanese Alps location fits the bill perfectly. 2. Property Types We recommend real estate based on the orientation of our clients; small chalets, for instance, are ideally suited to expats living in Japan. They offer an idyllic resort lifestyle all year with easy access to major cities - and Hakuba is just three and a half hours from Tokyo.

Commercial properties close to the ski resorts on the other hand, merit the attention of our investors looking to develop. Their business strategy often involves adding western touches to Japanese-style accommodation facilities, and remarketing them as boutique lodges. 3. Avoiding legal pitfalls We guide our clients through the legal procedures of acquiring a property, and outline the documentation that must be provided for a successful application. By knowing the process inside out, we eliminate any unwanted stresses that may arise later as a result of inconsistencies in the application. 4. Asset Maintenance It can be hard to reach a firm decision if you’re unsure about how to maintain your property during long periods away – and considering the potentially devastating effect of excessive snow accumulation in Hakuba, this is not something to be taken lightly. Fortunately, we have a network of reputable property managers who are more than capable of solving this problem.


Sakura Real Estate, your first choice in Hakuba.

Established in 1984, Sakura Real Estate is here to help with all your property and investment needs in Hakuba, and keep your life stress-free. Our team of 6369-5 Hokujo, Hakuba, Kita-azumi, Nagano professionals is committed to giving you thorough support with detailed knowledge, a strong bond of mutual trust with the local community, and the expertise of our fully qualified chief trader of real estate, who is fluent in English. Please don't hesitate to contact us at any time for personal assistance when you relocate, invest or develop in Hakuba. Licensed by Governor of Nagano (6) No. 3560

Sakura Real Estate Sales Direct +81-(0)261-72-6133 Email sre@cocoa.ocn.ne.jp

We are right in front of JR Hakuba Station.

We are open 7 days a week from 9am - 5pm and can also meet you outside business hours by appointment. Feel free to drop into our office next time you are in Hakuba.

www.srehakuba.com


The No. 1 town in the Northern Alps

O M A C H I A small alpine town in the south of Hakuba with a real grassroots community feel, Omachi keeps its visitors warm and entertained in winter with a combination of powder, festivals and… you guessed it – hot springs! Expect to be put through your paces skiing or boarding at the nearby Kashimayari Ski Resort no matter how experienced you are; it has some great courses running down from two different peaks, with a fun little terrain park, as well as night skiing and boarding. If simple is beautiful for you though, head to Jiigatake Ski Area or Yanaba Snow Park instead. Après ski, you can’t go wrong with a soak in the baths at Omachi Hot Spring Village, which fully capitalise on breathtaking vistas of the Northern Alps. The village has a combination of 17 dangerously comfortable inns and hotels – but before you cancel all other activities, let your hair down with the locals at their February Festival of Fireworks and Sound – and say cheers to Omachi!

OFF - SEASON When winter calls it a day around Omachi, it’s time to go exploring; the 3,000m peaks begin to radiate colour without their snow-wear on, crystal-clear lakes appear, and Japan’s biggest dam spouts forth a raging torrent fuelled by the melting Northern Alps. The sight of water pounding into the valley below the 186m high Kurobe Dam is an ode to the feats of modern engineering; somehow though, the 3.7km snow corridor open from A pril to June around Murodo seems more i m p r e s s i v e , o n ac c o u nt of t h e i n c r e d i b l e machinery used to burrow through and keep it looking like the side of a freshly-frosted, 20m high cake. These are just some of the highlights of the 90km long Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route just outside Omachi, which can be experienced on foot, trolley bus or cable car amidst beautiful splashes of colour from April to November.

City of Omachi Your number one base for exploring the Northern Alps

Omachi City Tourism Association Phone: 0261-22-0190 http://kanko-omachi.gr.jp/english/

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2884-26 Tair a, Omachi City, Nagano, 398-0001 Phone: +81-(0)50-3786-0099 (8am-9pm) http://global.hoshinoresort.com/kai_alps/


80km of slopes. One king-size resort.

SHIG A KOGEN

The drive up the coast from Sydney to Woy Woy has postcard views along the way, and covers some 80km; exactly the same can be said about the ski across all the different slopes at Shiga Kogen, Japan’s largest snow resort. These 80km are divided up over 21 interconnec ted ski areas, located bet ween 1,400m and 2,300m in the peaks of Joshin’etsu Kogen National Park. Powder covers them from November to May, and the lion’s share of the terrain is the domain of intermediate skiers and above.

Access to the network of 71 lifts and gondolas at Shiga Kogen is simplified with one pass, which is also valid on shuttle bus services. You’ll discover the famous Snow Monkeys bathing in natural hot springs a short walk from parts of the resort; why not follow their lead, and try it yourself in the nearby hot spring villages of Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Onsen? Getting to Shiga Kogen is a simple matter of an hour’s bus ride from Nagano Station, which is just another 90 minutes away from Tokyo.

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park While other monkeys across north and central Japan are doing it tough in sub-zero temperatures, the monkeys of Jigokudani Valley – just half an hour’s d rive f rom Shiga Kogen – enjoy a steamy time together, spending a large part of the winter months in their own natural hot spring. They’ve attracted a steady crowd of admirers over the years, and are one of the cutest sights you’ll see in Japan. © jigokudani yaen-koen/© JNTO

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www.addressnozawa.com

At kk Nozawa Hospitality, we have developed properties that allow visitors to share in the life of Nozawa onsen, less than three hours from Tokyo – skiing, hiking & biking, culture and more. Fresh food, excellently prepared; acclaimed sake brewed locally; a hot coffee and a cold craft beer. Water everywhere: public baths, private baths, streams, ponds, lakes… We treasure Nozawa Onsen and it is our privilege to offer you our hospitality.

nozawa onsen’s perfect accomodation res@nozawahospitality.com Singapore office: +65 6412 0128

address nagasaka

the dojo

www.nozawahospitality.com Tokyo office: +81 (0) 269670360

kawamotoya

yamaki

paradise chalet

tamon restaurant


Waist-deep powder dumps ahead!

NO Z A W A ON S E N

Nozawa Onsen enjoyed almost twelve metres of powder during the 2012-2013 season – and that was nothing out of the ordinary either, in a place with average falls of 1,218cm recorded annually by the Japan Meteorological Agency. This figure by the way, is just for the village. Take a ride up to the top of the mountain after an overnight dump, and you’re going to be waist-deep! As well as all this powder, Nozawa Onsen is well- endowed with a rich cultural heritage and vibrant community spirit. The village has

a number of historic inns with private hot spring baths, as well as beautiful old public hot springs open to all for a donation upon entry. Don’t be shy when you get in; the price of admission generally includes some great bathtub conversation with the locals. They take exceptional pride in welcoming people to enjoy all the natural bounty they have been blessed with, and add the finishing touch to what would have to be one of the most gratifying ski resorts to visit on the planet.

Tough love at a fiery fiesta When the sake starts to flow, and 42 year old men from Nozawa Onsen are herded atop a pyre of beechwood, ceremonially bombarded by the villagers and defended by its inebriated 25 year olds every year on January 15, the Dosojin Fire Festival – one of Japan’s top three – has officially begun. The pyre is later torched sans the occupants as an offering for peace, prosperity, a good harvest and great powder in the coming season!

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www.nozawaski.com/winter/en/index.php

Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort Toyosato 7653, Nozawaonsen-mura, Shimotakai-gun Days 8:40-16:20, nights 16:30-20:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

270cm 390cm 390cm 300cm 140cm

Beg

Int

Adv

40%

30%

30%

NOZAWA ONSEN

+81-269-85-3166

10km

2

18

1085m

39°

Step aside, and make way for the mother of all powder resorts S e t o v e r 2 97 h a o f N a g an o ’s s p e c t a c ular Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort has an enviable 36 courses running down from the 1,650m peak of Mt Kenashi, and a decadent ski season lasting from December right through to early May. Powder burns from the top are unbelievable, with overnight falls of a whole metre setting up waist-deep sessions the next morning. Head over to the north-facing slopes out of the sunshine on the Grand Prix Course, and you’ll find the pow stays fresh all day. Experts after a fresh challenge to go with it will want to check the 39° wall out, while anyone with the courage and endurance will experience a transcendental high on the 10km mega-run from the top of Mt Kenashi down to Karasawa Slope, which drops over 1,000m. Uenotaira Snow Park at Nozawa boasts a 3.5m tall, 110m long, and 4m wide half-pipe, to complement a good selection of fun boxes, waves, rails and kickers designed with something for all riders in mind. Diggers keep the park in mint condition every day and it enjoys a spacious setting over 2km worth of mountain, between 1,410 and 1,220m. A free shuttle bus will get you out to the resort from the village of Nozawa Onsen daily during the season, and you won’t find a better way to wind down after a big powder day than with a dip in one of its seductively charming hot spring baths. Choose an inn, hotel, or whatever else takes your fanc y to stay in beforehand from the Nozawa Tourism Association’s comprehensive English lis ting at nozawakanko.jp /english / hotel, and you’re on the way to one of the most incomparable snow resort experiences anywhere in the world!

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Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope


Nagano-Niigata And our first stop après ski is… Known to the villagers as the Soto-yu, the thirteen public hot springs in Nozawa Onsen have been managed cooperatively for centuries under a volunteer stewardship system called Yu-Nakama. They are one of the village’s most famous attractions, and all are welcome to enjoy their healing waters for just a small donation at the door. Number one on the list for many visitors is the O-yu, a sulphurous spring said to relieve gastrointestinal compla i nt s, r heu m at ism , a nd fe m ale -s pe cif ic complaints. Nearby is the Kawara-yu, a slightly more saline spring effective against dermatitis. The Takino-yu has waters of a similar composition, only they come straight out of the ground at a steaming 78°C! The village’s Ogama spring is even hotter at 90°C, and instead of being open to the public as a Soto-yu, assumes the role of a kitchen. Among other things, it produces delicious soft-boiled onsen-tamago eggs, widely regarded as a delicacy in Japanese cooking.

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: +81-(0)269-85-3166 Email: info@nozawaski.com

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SHIBU ONSEN ...

When in

Rome

SHIBU ONSEN

...

Monks and samurai have all enjoyed the revitalising waters of Shibu Onsen, a slice of history wedged neatly into the Japanese Alps around the corner from the snow monkeys. With nine public hot springs and countless private inns scattered throughout the village, there’s room for you too...

S

tea m wa f ts t h roug h t he cobbled wo o d e n s t r e e t s o f Sh i bu O n s e n, creat i ng a pleasi ng haze arou nd t h e k i m o n o - c l a d, sa n d a l w e a r i n g f i g u r e s sa u n t e r i n g a b o u t i n a h o t s pr i n g - i n d u c e d s t u p or. O n e i t h e r s i d e a r e t h e c u r ve d e ave s a n d wo o d e n l a t t i c e wor k o f t r a d i t i o n a l bu i l d i n g s, e n c i r c l e d by t h e m a je s t i c p e a k s o f t h e Ja pa n e s e A l ps o n t h e h or i zo n. T h e v i l l a g e i s t i m e l e s s, a n d ye t a n o t h e r o n e o f t h e Na g a n o P r e f e c t u r e’s m a n y u n i q u e h i s t or i c a n d c u l t u r a l t r e a s u r e s. L egend has it t hat Budd h ist pi l g r i m Gyo k i e n joye d t h e f i r s t r e l a x i n g ba t h a t a m or e Spa r t a n, u n t a m e d ve r s i o n o f Sh i bu O n s e n s o m e 1, 3 0 0 ye a r s a g o. Fe a r s o m e w a r l or d s a n d t h e i r r e t a i n e r s f o l l o w e d i n h i s f o o t s t e ps t o h e a l t h e i r wo u n d s d u r i n g b l o o d y c i v i l w a r s, a n d by t h e t i m e Ja pa n w a s u n i f i e d i n t h e s e ve n t e e n t h c e n t u r y, t h e or i g i n a l s pr i n g h e a d s w e r e b e i n g s i ph o n e d o f f t o s u p p l y or n a t e ba t h h o u s e s a n d i n n s. 108

T h e s e bu i l d i n g s a r e s t i l l s t a n d i n g i n Sh i bu O n s e n ove r 4 0 0 ye a r s l a t e r, a n d t h e i r b e a u t i f u l a r r ay o f c r e a m y w h i t e, r u s t y br o w n, ja d e g r e e n, a n d c r ys t a l c l e a r ba t h w a t e r s c o n t i n u e t o f low stra i g ht out of t he g rou nd at temperat ures ra ng i ng f rom 42°C to a s e a r i n g 9 8 ° C. A s i d e f r o m t h e n i n e pu b l i c ba t h h o u s e s i n t h e v i l l a g e, t h e r e a r e a h o s t o f t r a d i t i o n a l i n n s s h a r i n g a l m o s t f or t y d i f f e r e n t s pr i n g h e a d s b e t w e e n t h e m. St ay a w h i l e t o s l o w l y savo u r t h e p l e a s u r e o f pr i va t e h o t s pr i n g ba t h s, a u t h e n t i c Ja pa n e s e h o s p i t a l i t y a n d b o u t i q u e sa k e br e w e r i e s, a n d t h e o n l y r e g r e t yo u’l l f e e l i s t h a t yo u d i d n’t d i s c ove r Sh i bu O n s e n e a r l i e r i n l i f e. T h e p l e a s u r e o f a s o jo u r n i n t h e v i l l a g e d o e s n’t s t o p t h e r e e i t h e r – ju s t t e n m i n u t e s u p t h e r oa d a r e t h e o n l y m o n k e ys i n t h e wor l d w i t h t h e i r o w n p e r s o n a l h o t s pr i n g ba t h s, w h i l e h a l f a n h o u r a w ay a r e t h e wor l d - c l a s s s l o p e s


o f Sh i g a K o g e n. T h e e ye s o f t h e wor l d w e r e o n s k i e r s a t Sh i g a K o g e n d u r i n g t h e 19 9 8 Na g a n o W i n t e r O l y m p i c s, a n d i t s va r i e t y o f r u n s s e t ove r a n e x pa n s i ve 8 0 k m r e s e r ve i t t h e t i t l e o f Ja pa n’s b i g g e s t s k i r e s or t. F u r t h e r a f i e l d a r e t h e h i s t or i c g e m s o f M a t s u m o t o Ca s t l e a n d Z e n ko ji

Te m p l e, b o t h Na t i o n a l Tr e a s u r e s o f Ja pa n a n d t wo o f Na g a n o P r e f e c t u r e’s m o s t m e m or a b l e p l a c e s t o v i s i t. T h e s e a s o n a l c o l o u r s o f Sh i bu O n s e n m a k e t h e d ay t r i p s t u n n i n g l y b e a u t i f u l a l l ye a r r o u n d, bu t b e w a r n e d: h av i n g a ba t h b e f or e yo u g o c a n l e a d t o a s u d d e n c h a n g e o f p l a n s!

Six different springheads. 400 years of history. One hotel. The pride of Shibu Onsen for sixteen gener ations, the Kokuya Hotel has become the second home of guests from around the world for its bewitching selection of private and public hot spring baths, and exquisite creative modern cuisine. M ake it yours too.

Kokuya Hotel Nagano

Shibu Onsen St, Yamanouchi-machi Shimotak ai-gun, Nagano

www.ichizaemon.com 109


Inspiration for the master

O B U S E

Strolling through the quaint, chestnut-lined streets of Obuse, it’s easy to see why the alpine town appealed so strongly to legendary Japanese ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai during his later years... Surrounded by fertile farmland and blessed with a rich natural climate, Obuse is a town that looks and tastes delicious! Its boutique breweries and vast tracts of flower beds add dashes of beautiful fragrance and colour, making it a veritable feast for the senses all year round. The buildings in Obuse’s most historic precinct date back several centuries to Japan’s feudal past, and one of the best places to appreciate them is around the Hokusai

Museum. Hokusai applied his masterful brushstrokes to festival floats, scrolls and screens over the course of his time in Obuse, and the museum showcases some forty of these works. Visitors to the Hokusai Museum seldom leave the town without exploring its boutique sake breweries and local winery, all proud to offer delicious drops made from farm produce harvested in the pristine alpine surrounds. They make excellent souvenirs you won’t

find elsewhere, along with the delicious local chestnut products. Obuse is a lovely side trip if you’re skiing or boarding at one of Nagano Prefecture’s nearby powder destinations, and organising a guided tour in English with the Obuse Culture and Tourism Association will ensure you don’t miss a thing. To really soak up the ambience and get into a lower gear, stay a while at AlaObuse, a charming guest house in town.

Guided Tours available in English The Obuse Culture and Tourism Association office inside Obuse Station provides directions and ¥3,000 guided tours of the town in English. Just ask at the station, or call them on +81-(0)26-214-6300. Visiting from Tokyo % Tokyo 1hr 45min

Nagano

34min

Festivals, Events and More www.ala-obuse.net (Japanese only) www.town.obuse.nagano.jp

Obuse Accommodation Email Ala-Obuse at ala_info@ala-obuse.net, or call them on +81-(0)26-247-5050.

Obuse Winery

Matsubaya Honten

Takazawa Brewery

Fresh, fragrant and 100% local wines walking distance from Obuse Station Open 9am-5pm Email: info@obusewinery.com

Taste-test delicious local Obuse wines and sakes, and fall in love Open 9am–5pm Email: info@matsubaya-honten.co.jp

Home of the Japanese Alps’ boutique specialty, Yonekawa brand sake Open 7.30am-8pm Email: yonekawa@stvnet.home.ne.jp

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Matsumoto Welcomes You! Home to the impressive Matsumoto Castle, a National Treasure of Japan, Matsumoto is a culturally rich town nestled in the soaring mountains of Nagano Prefecture. An excellent base for exploring nearby hot spring villages, and fabulous natural attractions like Utsukushigahara Kogen, a high altitude mountain plateau, Matsumoto is a vibrant destination just waiting to be discovered!

CHUBU JAPAN SHIRAKAWAGO 50m by bus

TAKAYAMA

HAKUBA 2h 20m by bus

2h 30m by train 2h by train

NAGOYA

SNOW MONKEY

1h 30m by train

MATSUMOTO Narai Tsumago Magome

2h 40m by train

SHINJUKU

2h by train

1h 30m by train

KARUIZAWA 1h by train

TOKYO

Matsumoto City Tourist Information Centers are open 7 days 9:00-17:45, and provide a range of local information in English. 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 Matsumoto Tourism & Convention Association Tel: 0263-34-3295 Email: yokoso@matsumoto-tca.or.jp


MATSUMOTO Historic castle town in the Japanese Alps

Soak up the mix of beautiful alpine scenery and culture that makes Matsumoto one of Nagano Prefecture’s most rewarding destinations...

Matsumoto Castle

Sightseeing and shopping

Surrounded by a moat and flanked by the snow-capped Japanese Alps, Matsumoto Castle evokes the atmosphere of traditional Japan in living colour. Original wooden interiors and stonework, along with an impressive display of weapons and armour from the days of its construction line the way to its top turret, which commands sweeping views of Matsumoto City and the Alps. This was the seat of power in the Matsumoto Domain from the late sixteenth century, and the castle is now one of four designated as National Treasures of Japan.

Matsumoto’s rich history as a castle town has also been preserved in the charming Namako-kabe latticed plaster facades of the traditional buildings lining its Nakamachi area. Go for a stroll there to soak up the atmosphere, and discover traditional crafts and a museum, or branch out further with a Sui Sui Town sightseeing bike. The bikes are free to hire daily from 8:30am to 5pm at various locations throughout Matsumoto, with further details available from its tourist information centres.

Convenient bus, rail and air access to Matsumoto, the second biggest city in Nagano Prefecture, put the castle on the map for day trips or extended stays in the area, which is right in the backyard of powder snow meccas like Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen.

Along the way, quench your thirst with some of Matsumoto’s quality natural spring water straight from the well. Local wells in the town are abundant and especially popular among hikers to the surrounding alpine areas, with the water from Genchi Well acclaimed as the region’s best.

Matsumoto Castle at a glance Location: 15-minute walk or 5-minute bus ride from JR Matsumoto Station Admission: Adults ¥600, Kids ¥300 Hours: 8:30am - 5pm Closed: Dec 29 - Jan 3

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Genchi Well

Nakamachi


Three scenic trips around Matsumoto 1 / Kamikochi

Situated at the end of a long valley encircled by the 3,000 metrehigh peaks of Chubu Sangaku National Park in the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto is the gateway to areas of incredible scenic beauty within such as Kamikochi and Norikura.

Located at an altitude of 1,500m, Kamikochi is cool, scenic and busy. Trails along its Azusa river are equally suited to a leisurely stroll or demanding hike, and offer spectacular scenery and fresh air from the summer months into early autumn. The centre of activity is at the Kappa Bridge, where you'll find a few restaurants and souvenir shops. It's all a short walk from the bus terminal, which links Kamikochi back to JR Matsumoto Station.

2 / Utsukushi-ga-hara Kogen

3 / Norikura Kogen and Mt Norikura Norikura Kogen is a sweeping plateau which sits to the east of Mt Norikura at an altitude of 1,500m. Hikers will enjoy total immersion in its alpine forest with three cascading waterfalls along the trail, while further up on Mt Norikura towering snow walls offer another awe-inspiring walk between May and June. Kengamine, the highest peak on Mt Norikura at 3,026m, can be reached in two hours from Tatamidaira at 2,700m, which is accessible by bus from JR Matsumoto Station.

A peaceful meadow with grazing cows and lovely wild flowers, along with an old bell tower once used by those lost in the fog lies just beyond the car park at Utsukushiga-hara Kogen, a highland plateau on the eastern edge of Matsumoto. It can be the starting point for a short refreshing walk or a long adventure, and has a breathtaking 360 degree panorama of the alpine scenery that brings out the photographer in everyone on a clear day. The plateau is an 80 minute bus ride from Matsumoto bus terminal, in front of JR Matsumoto Station.

Where is Matsumoto? 1.5 hrs from Hakuba 2 hrs from Snow Monkey Park 2.5 hrs from Tokyo 3 hrs from Osaka

More info: welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp 113


www.princehotels.com/en/ski/naeba.html

Naeba Ski Resort-Mt Naeba 202 Mikuni, Yuzawa-machi, Minami Uonuma-gun Mon-Fri 8:00-17:00, Sat & Sun 8:00-20:30 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

82cm 222cm 302cm 276cm 201cm

Beg

Int

Adv

30%

40%

30%

NAEBA

+81-25-789-2211

4km

3

11

889m

32°

Ride the world’s longest gondola and explore a powder empire Naeba Ski Resort is a veritable powder snow empire in Niigata Prefec ture, built on 20 30cm of largesse almost nightly. Its 22 courses descend the 1,789m Mt Takenoko-san, and are conveniently linked by 13 gondolas and chairlifts. There are off-piste areas to discover, and thanks to the world’s longest gondola, an entirely different, more untamed resort next door to explore. The 5.5km Dragondola adds even more possibilities to the plethora of options Naeba offers for all riders, and in the process, sets a new category of satisfaction for them.

First stop for families Kids on debut can expect the royal treatment at Naeba Pandaruman Kids School. Yes, there will be giant Panda involved, but rest assured that by the time your holiday is over, they’ll be tearing around on the slopes and generally having a smashing time leaving you breathless. It could be on skis or a snowboard – or you could all just end up cruising on snowmobiles and tubes in the family-friendly Family Snowland. W www.princehotels.com/en/ski/naeba.html

Naeba

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Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope


Nagano-Niigata www.princehotels.com/en/ski/naeba.html

Kagura Ski Resort-Mt Naeba 742 Mitsumata, Yuzawa-machi, Minami Uonuma-gun Mon-Fri 8:00-17:00, Sat & Sun 7:30-17:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

113cm 293cm 366cm 380cm 343cm

Beg

Int

Adv

35%

35%

30%

KAGURA

+81-25-788-9221

6km

1

20

1225m

32°

Make some tracks of your own at the peak behind the peak Had enough of the bright lights for a while? The Kagura Ski Resort backcountry could be your ideal escape. One of the most scenic gateways to its 172 ha of powderiness is the Tashiro Area at 1,600m, accessible via the Dragondola from Naeba Ski Resort next door. There’s a full 24 courses, but its experienced crew only up on the black powder burns and tree runs further in the Kagura Area around 1,845m. For a deep powder experience, spend a night in the Wadagoya, a log cabin perched at 1,380m in the middle of the slopes with a cosy fireplace inside.

Setting the standard in style The Naeba Prince Hotel is a stylish and comfortable four-building, 1,242 room complex with ski-in, skiout access to the slopes at Naeba. Choose from 21 restaurants inside with Japanese, Chinese, French and more on the menu, and relax in the plush Chatelaine Cocktail Lounge or Windsor Main Bar afterwards. It’s all less than three hours away on the bullet train from Tokyo and connecting bus from Echigo Yuzawa Station. W www.princehotels.com/en/naeba

Tashiro

Kagura

Mitsumata

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Another day, another powder burn.

M

Y

O

K

O

Š Myoko Snowsports

Views from the Myoko Kogen stretch all the way to the Sea of Japan, covering the frozen expanse of Lake Nojiri under a vast sea of powder. The skiing and boarding is superb, and the location has a unique traditional charm that will leave you with memories of a fairytale snow holiday for years to come. There is always something fresh to explore throughout the 60 courses spread over its eight different resort areas; in fact, you could literally ski your first tracks at Myoko Kogen, and still be discovering thrilling powder burns for decades to come. With extensive programs geared to improvement for kids, budding racers and freeriders, as well as full rental facilities, you could do it without owning a pair of skis either. In between all this, the done thing is to discover the different therapeutic proper ties of the seven hot springs at the bottom of the slopes.

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Š Myoko Snowsports

They contain a variety of different minerals, and gush from the earth in hues of black clay to reddish-brown and milky white. Reaching Myoko from Tokyo takes an easy 2 hours and 15 minutes on the bullet train to Nagano City, followed by a shuttle bus.


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YAMAGATA

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IWATE

120

AOMORI

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FUKUSHIMA

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•Shin Aomori Hakkoda• •Appi Tazawako Akita• •

•Morioka Tohoku Shinkansen •Sendai

•Zao •Inawashiro Naeba•

•Koriyama

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THE BEST SNOW HOLIDAYS IN JAPAN

TOHOKU HAKKODA ◆ TA Z AWAKO ◆ APPI ◆ Z AO ◆ INAWASHIRO ◆ NAEBA

Shin Aomori

Hakkoda

Appi Morioka

Tazawako Akita

Tohoku Shinkansen

Easy access from Tokyo! Zao Naeba

Sendai

Inawashiro Koriyama Tokyo

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

Tokyo

A more traditional Japanese experience is on offer at Tohoku including an abundance of natural hot springs. We look forward to welcoming you!

TOHOKU TOURISM PROMOTION ORGANIZATION

http://en.tohokukanko.jp


Sliding high in Japan’s north

T O H O K U The Tohoku region offers a unique take on the quintessential Japanese snow holiday, and it’s much closer than you think...

Come November each year in Tohoku, and it’s time to start shovelling snow. The same weather s ys tems from Siberia that hit it s nor thern neighbour Hokkaido are doing what they do best until April, and showering the almost 70,000 km² area with constant, heavy falls of fine powder. During the 2012-13 winter for instance, the Japan Meteorological Agency recorded more than six metres of snowfall in the northern Tohoku port city of Aomori, a generous helping exceeding its annual average of 555cm. Located much higher up in the mountains, Tohoku’s

snow resorts generally enjoy well above double that amount every season. As well as putting all their snow to good use with excellent courses and terrain parks for riders of all levels, the resorts and surrounding villages of fer a unique combination of hot springs to relax in, local delicacies to savour, unique cultural traditions to experience and accommodation to enjoy. Appi and Zao are two perfect examples of this – and located as little as 200 minutes from Tokyo on the bullet train, they’re as easy as pie to visit.

OFF - SEASON Some of Tohoku’s most memorable highlights all year round include two UNESCO World Heritagelisted sites: the ancient Buddhist temples and gardens of Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture, and the virgin cool-temperate forests of Shirakami on the border of Aomori and Akita Prefectures. There are also the islands of Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, one of Japan’s three most famous views, and the beautiful Agano River in Niigata Prefecture.

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

Zao Hot Springs Ski Resort Zao Onsen 940-1, Yamagata-shi Open 8:15-21:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

49cm 176cm 217cm 203cm 134cm

YAMAGATA

+81-23-694-9617 Beg

Int

Adv

40%

40%

20%

9km

1

37

880m

38°

You haven’t done Japan until you’ve dodged an ice monster Weaving in and out of glittering tree runs is a major highlight of a snow holiday at Zao Hot Springs Ski Resort, a spacious 305 ha of powder pleasure in Yamagata Prefecture. Covered in ice crystals that gradually expand to form surreal shapes, the trees are known as ice monsters and look especially impressive in the glow of the resort’s colourful night-time illumination. No snow holiday at Zao is complete without a soak at the famous hot spring village nearby, which is dotted with gorgeous traditional inns and B&Bs. The journey up takes just 3.5 hours from Tokyo thanks to the bullet train, which connects with direct bus services from Yamagata City. www.appi.co.jp/foreign_country/english

Appi

IWATE

Appi Kogen, Hachimantai-shi +81-195-73-6401 Mon-Sat 8:30-20:00, Sun & Public Holidays 8:00-20:00 Dec 41cm

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

62cm 91cm 105cm 99cm

Beg

Int

Adv

30%

40%

30%

5.5km

2

14

805m

34°

Bigger or better? Choose Appi, and enjoy both at once! Appi prides itself on a constant supply of the finest, driest powder from December to May, waiting to be tracked ever y morning on 21 expansive, winding runs down two mountains. They average over 2km long, and even beginners can handle the longest of them all, the 5.5km Yamabato run. During the week, chances are you’ll have even more room to stretch out on Appi’s spacious 282 ha while the locals are at work. Towada-Hachimantai National Park provides a magnificent backdrop to the resort, which can be accessed in just 3 hours and 20 minutes from Tokyo on the bullet train and a connecting bus from Morioka.

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Snow depth

Terrain

Longest run

Gondolas

Chairlifts

Vertical drop

Steepest slope


Tohoku www.alts.co.jp/english

Alts Bandai Snow Park & Resort

FUKUSHIMA

Shimizudaira 6838-68, Sarashina, Bandai-machi, Yama-gun +81-242-74-5000 Mon-Fri 8:30-16:30, Sat 8:00-21:00, Sun & Public Holidays 8:00-17:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

80cm 150cm 200cm 100cm

Apr

Beg

Int

Adv

35%

40%

20%

3km

1

6

580m

29°

A resort that understands the true meaning of awesome With sponsored international riders giving lessons for all levels, styles and age groups at its Snow Academy, and English speaking staff on duty 24 hours a day, Alts Snow Park and Resort is the first choice of many an international visitor. Its 29 different courses are sectioned off into four zones designed for everyone from families on a relaxing break to professionals perfecting their tricks, and the terrain park gets an especially big thumbs-up from boarders. Hot springs aren’t far away either, and it can all be reached on the bullet train from Tokyo to Koriyama and a connecting shuttle in just under three hours.

www.hakkoda-ropeway.jp/lnks/ski/skiarea.html (Japanese only)

Hakkoda Ski Resort Kansuizawa 1-12, Arakawa, Aomori-shi Open 9:00-16:00 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

214cm 275cm 326cm 304cm 160cm

AOMORI

+81-17-738-0343

Beg

Int

Adv

20%

60%

20%

5km

0

2

666m

30°

An undiscovered gem strictly for those who want pure powder If you’re the type of rider who is more than happy to sacrifice the hustle and bustle of a big, international resort in your quest for powder, Hakkoda Ski Resort should be at the top of your list. Some say it’s how Niseko used to be before it took the world by storm; don’t expect any crowds, or fences either – but be smart and book a guide if you’re going off-piste. When the sun’s out, the horde of frozen trees – or ice monsters – add a mystical atmosphere to untouched powder between them, which makes for an amazing ride. The bullet train connects nearby Aomori to Tokyo in 3.5 hours, from where Hakkoda is another hour away by bus.

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Yamagata Prefecture A feast for the senses awaits you all year round in Yamagata Prefecture, just a couple of hours on the bullet train from Tokyo.

Yamagata Tourist Information Center Kajo Central, 1-1-1, Jonanmachi, Yamagata-shi 2023-647-2333

yamagatakanko.com


Yamagata

Tree’s a crowd •Tokyo

As diverse as it is exciting, Yamagata Prefecture offers a superb combination of traditional charm and modern convenience, and is the ideal escape for those looking to get off the beaten track… The prefecture is an area of incredible scenic beauty, with some 160,000 hectares of National Park and other natural reserve areas. Almost half of this belongs to Bandai-Asahi National Park, an expanse of alpine old growth forest home to native bears, macaques and other wildlife, and the sacred peaks of Dewa Sanzan. While this creates the perfect environment for exploring the outdoors throughout the seasons, many choose to admire it from one of Yamagata’s numerous hot springs instead. With over 400 different springheads, supplying water famous for a variety of health benefits to almost 600 inns, bathhouses and other facilities, it’s not hard to see why the prefecture is known as a hot spring kingdom. The basins and plains that punctuate Yamagata’s mountainous countryside yield top-quality produce, including the delicacy of Yonezawa Beef, while the local people continue rich cultural traditions, welcoming the visitor to a part of Japan with enough diversity to comfortably occupy an entire holiday itinerary.

Introducing Kitekero-kun... People have always said that Yamagata Prefecture looks just like a smiling face on the map of Japan, and now Kitekero-kun is here to personify it! This friendly little chap is the mascot for the Yamagata Destination Campaign, a joint project of the Prefecture and the East Japan Railway Company to showcase the beauty and hospitality of Yamagata between June 14 and September 13, 2014 – see you then!

Getting to Yamagata Tokyo Tokyo

Yonezawa, (southern Yamagata) 2 hrs Yamagata, (central Yamagata) 2.5 hrs

Haneda (Tokyo) Haneda (Tokyo)

Yamagata Shonai

1 hr 1 hr

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Winter

Providing a unique backdrop for skiing and boarding day or night, the ice monsters at Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort are a must-see.

Yamagata Prefecture is at the top of the list for those who like a snow holiday with a touch of unique local culture and cuisine. And did we mention powder? The prefecture’s towering slopes and terrain parks are covered in the stuff from late November to April, creating perfect conditions for skiing and boarding. Winding past the expanse of frost-covered trees at Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort lit up beautifully at night and known affectionately as the ‘ice monsters’, is especially unforgettable, as is a soak in the nearby hot spring village afterwards.

Warm up with a drink inside this astonishingly ornate igloo at the Yuki Hatago Festival, held every February in the picturesque alpine town of Nishikawa.

Seasonal highlights

Autumn

The spectacular vistas along the Mogami River famously provided inspiration for haiku poet Matsuo Basho, and become a kaleidoscope of colour in autumn.

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Vistas of blazing red, yellow and orange are so breathtaking in the Yamagata countryside during autumn that it can be hard to feel like you’ve taken enough photos. One of the best ways to prevent this is by getting above the action on a ropeway or mountain peak, including the ruggedly beautiful Mt Zao, or sublimely spiritual Mt Gassan. It all looks just as good from the water too, on a cruise down in the Mogami River – an ancient transport route winding through old-growth cedar forests. Don’t forget to sample Yamagata’s delicious autumn harvest either!

Yamagata’s Yonezawa Beef is one of Japan’s top three Wagyu brands - enjoy a sukiyaki hot pot or steak when you visit, and join its long list of admirers.


Spring

Cherry blossoms add a scenic touch to any spring journey in Yamagata, and look even better up close at one of its many national parks, gardens and castles.

Nourished by melting snow and a pleasant rise in temperature, Yamagata Prefecture’s host of cherry blossom trees add beautiful splashes of pink to its parks, gardens, temples, shrines and mountainous countryside every spring. A festive tipple is de rigueur among the many locals partaking in the national custom of hanami, or cherry blossom viewing in their local park – and what better way to connect with the local culture than by enjoying some of Yamagata’s locally-produced sake, famously sought after for the quality of water and rice that goes into it.

Have you tried them all? Spring the ideal time to enjoy the labours of the traditional sake brewing season in winter, and visit a boutique brewery.

of Yamagata Prefecture

Summer

Three days have passed by the time the last drum beat of the Yamagata Hanagasa Festival has sounded, entertaining over a million visitors.

The festive spirit abounds in Yamagata during the warmest months of the year, with locals taking to the streets en masse to the thunderous roar of taiko drumming, singing and dancing. Nowhere is this more visible than at the Yamagata Hanagasa Festival, a tour de force of 10,000 dancers in traditional costume that attracts huge crowds to Yamagata City every August. Local produce unfailingly continues to satisfy too, with chilled soba noodles, a famous prefectural delicacy made from buckwheat, especially refreshing summer fare.

Symbolising Japan’s traditional culture of elegant simplicity, Yamagata’s famous soba noodles receive full marks when it comes to satisfying the taste buds.

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Hot under the collar The historic hot springs of Yamagata Prefecture

If the people you meet in Yamagata all seem to have exceptionally smooth, glowing skin and a relaxed demeanour, it could have something to do with the prefecture’s vast number of hot springs. These mineral-rich pools of health and happiness are found everywhere from the coastline to mountainous interior in Yamagata, and can be enjoyed quickly on a day trip, or slowly and decadently on an overnight stay. Many of the hot springs are the prized attractions of tight-knit village communities, and have been kept in pristine condition for centuries. For visitors, this means the chance to experience the

architecture and ambience of traditional Japan, with a twist of local specialty cuisine and aweinspiring scenery. The milky-white pools of Zao Onsen, a village with a 1,900 year-old cluster of springheads collectively dubbed ‘The Fountain of Beauty’ in Japanese, have all these qualities in abundance. Soaking in one of the village’s outdoor baths to admire the splashes of red, gold and orange in autumn, lush green in summer, snow white in winter or pink in spring is stunning, and the ideal way to experience the world of hot spring bathing in Yamagata Prefecture.

Yoshidaya Ryokan

Hotel Oakhill

Relax and revitalise in the mineral-rich waters of our well-established inn, conveniently located in the heart of Zao Onsen.

Our stunning view of Mt Zao and the slopes gets even better from skis or a snowboard - and we're just a 2 minute walk from it all!

13 Zao-Onsen, Yamagata Ph: 023-694-9223 www.hoteloakhill.com/yoshidaya01.html

756 Zao-Onsen, Yamagata www.hoteloakhill.com

Enquiries: yoshidaya@view.ocn.ne.jp

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Miyamaso Takamiya A sophisticated blend of tradition and modernity

54 Zao Onsen, Yamagata Ph: +81-(0)23-694-9333 www.zao.co.jp/takamiya

Travel 297 years back in time. Stay in the future.

Hotel Jurin Ski-in, ski-out access to world-class powder

814 Zao Onsen, Yamagata Ph: +81-(0)23-694-9511 www.zao.co.jp/jurin

Take a big breath of Yamagata Prefecture’s fresh alpine air, ascend the stately stone staircase, and experience Miyamaso Takamiya, a 297 year-old hotel in the picturesque hot spring village of Zao Onsen. Renowned industrial designer and Yamagata local export Ken Okuyama oversaw a refurbishment of a selection of the suite rooms at Miyamaso Takamiya to celebrate its 290th anniversary, and overall, it’s virtually impossible not to pick a winner. Especially hard to overlook though are the rooms with charming old wooden tubs, overflowing with the hotel’s own healing milky waters straight from the 1,900 year-old hot springs at Zao Onsen. Miyamaso Takamiya is one of five lovely

hotels around the village operated by the Takamiya Hotel Group; and if you’re on a snow holiday, look no further than Hotel Jurin. Getting to the slopes of Zao Onsen Ski Resort from this hotel is simply a matter of skiing out the door, and it has a famous old hot spring bath with a beautiful view of the surroundings. There’s more bathing pleasure to be had at the group’s Lucent Takamiya and Hammond Takamiya hotels, also popular for long-stayers, and some daring modern architecture at its Takamiya Rurikura Resort; the perfect complement to Miyamaso Takamiya and Hotel Jurin. Between their irresistible charms, you’re sure to discover a special something that inspires you to turn your own holiday to Zao Onsen into a lifelong tradition.


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 that 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.

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A journey to the not so far east G’Day Japan! takes a tour of Ryokan Gojyuan, Sydney’s only Japanese-style inn... When Linda Evans first thought of opening her own ryokan during a trip from Tokyo to Beppu in 2001, it was nothing more than a daydream. The spell of their sophisticated charms proved too strong however, and she realised there was only one thing to do: make it a reality. More than ten years later, she can stand inside Ryokan Gojyuan, bathed in refreshing natural aromas from the wooden interior and garden outside. Shakuhachi music wafts along the breeze as carp hover in the garden pond, reflecting the now wood-panelled exterior of her sandstone family home in Balmain, in Sydney’s inner west. ‘There’s nothing here in Sydney like it,’ she explains as she walks past simple, yet ornate displays of Japanese pottery, and under a beautiful wooden relief mounted in the gable of the roof. ‘It’s all a labour of love that my husband and I have been slowly constructing since 2007. A lot of the timber has been reclaimed from parts of this house and others, and given a new lease of life. We’ve combined this with original and antique items from Japan. Our main bath for instance, was beautifully constructed from hinoki – or Japanese cypress, by a company based in the Kiso area of Gifu Prefecture. The wood there is particularly sought after for its beautiful grain and fragrance – and now we’ve got it, we can see why. It’s just magnificent. At the moment we’re also involved in supporting Japanese cultural workshops, helping to organise specialist instructors that introduce people to tea ceremony, making Japanese sweets, and so on. They’re part of a wonderful circle of friends that support us – we couldn’t do it without them!’ Stepping out the front door of Ryokan Gojyuan, the inspiring sight of Sydney Harbour Bridge appears on the horizon, bringing home the contrast between the oasis of Japanese culture that lies just on the other side of the door.

Ryokan Gojyuan 208 Darling St, Balmain NSW 2041 Website: www.ryokangojyuan.com Ryokan Gojyuan Phone: (02) 9810 3219


SEIKO - OUR HERITAGE

The story of SEIKO began in 1881, when a 22 year old entrepreneur, Kintaro Hattori, opened a shop selling and repairing watches and clocks in central Tokyo, now known as the Ginza. In 2013 SEIKO celebrates its 100th Anniversary since the initial manufacture of the first wristwatch made in Japan, the Laurel.

Laurel, the first wristwatch made in Japan, serves as Official Timer of the 18th 1913 The 1964 SEIKO makes its debut. Olympiad, Tokyo, and provides 1,278 stopwatches.

1881

Kintaro Hattori opens a shop selling and repairing watches and clocks in central Tokyo.

1953

SEIKO produces Japan's first TV commercial.

pocket watch is appointed as Japan 1929 SEIKO National Railway's official "Railway Watch".

of cal. 6139, the world's first 1969 Introduction automatic chronograph watch equipped with both vertical clutch and column wheel.

1895 Seikosha builds the first pocket watch.

signature piece, the Grand SEIKO is 1960 SEIKO's first launched.

of the world' s first computerized 1990 Introduction diver's watch "Scubamaster" cal. M726 with

of the perpetual calendar watch 1998 Introduction driven by the world's smallest ultrasonic micro

dive table and depth meter functions.

1987

SEIKO serves as Official Timer at the 2nd IAAF World Athletic Championships in Rome, Italy.

1992

motor cal. 8F32. SEIKO serves as the Official Timer at the games of the 25th Olympiad in Barcelona, Spain.

serves as the Official Timer at the 3rd 1991 SEIKO IAAF World Athletic Championships in Tokyo,

of the world's first thermo-electric 1998 Introduction watch, SEIKO Thermic cal. 6C12.

Japan.

1988

Introduction of the world' s first "A.G.S." watch cal. 7M22 (later renamed as "Kinetic.")

serves as the Official Timer at the 1993 SEIKO 4th IAAF World Athletic Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

2006 Introduction of Credor Spring Drive Sonnerie serves as Official Timer at the 10th IAAF serves as Official Timer at the 11th IAAF 2005 SEIKO 2007 SEIKO World Championships held in Helsinki, Finland. World Championships held in Osaka, Japan.

2007 Introduction of the Spring Drive Chronograph. 2006 Introduction of world's first E-ink watch.

serves as Official Timer at the 12th IAAF 2009 SEIKO World Championships held in Berlin, Ggermany.


In 2012 the SEIKO Astron GPS Solar watch was launched to the market. In September of 2013 the second generation of Astron GPS will be available. The new Astron collection will feature a ‘limited edition’ piece and honours the memory of the founder Kintaro Hattori and his vision that SEIKO should always be “One step ahead of the rest”.

of the world's first multi-function 1975 Introduction digital watch cal. 0634. of the world's first quartz watch, 1969 Introduction "SEIKO Quartz Astron" cal. 3500.

of the world's first analog quartz 1983 Introduction chronograph.

of the world's first diver's watch 1975 Introduction with titanium case, the Professional Diver's 600m. of the world's first six-digit LCD 1973 Introduction quartz watch cal. 0614.

of the world's first watch with 1984 Introduction computer functions UC-2000.

serves as Official Timer at the 8th 2001 SEIKO IAAF World Championships held in Edmonton, Canada.

1999

Introduction of SPRING DRIVE, a spring-driven luxury mechanical watch with quartz accuracy.

of the world' s first three-band 2005 Introduction (Japan, Germany, US) Radio Wave analog Solar watch.

2003

SEIKO serves as Official Timer at the 9th IAAF World Championships held in Paris, France.

serves as Official Timer at the 19th 2002 SEIKO Winter Olympic Games held in Salt Lake City,

2005 Introduction of the Kinetic Perpetual.

USA.

1999

Introduction of the Ultimate Kinetic Chronograph cal. 9T82.

of Spring Drive automatic winding 2004 Introduction movement. Power reserve extended 72 hours.

of SEIKO Spring Drive Spacewalk 2010 Introduction commemorative edition. of Credor Spring 2011 Introduction Drive Minute Repeater

of the world's first EPD watch with 2010 Introduction an active matrix system.

special limited edition piece, in 2013 commemorative memory of Kintaro’s vision “One step ahead of the rest”.


Paris Miki

Over 80 years of vision Japan is more visible than ever in Australian daily life - we eat sushi, drive Japanese cars and use chopsticks - and what's more, Japanese craftsmanship and customer service is even helping to make daily life more visible for Australians. Optometrists Paris Miki opened their first Australian store in Chatswood in 1988, and have since expanded with more stores around Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast. They continue to provide their

customers with quality eyewear and great service, a wellestablished tradition stemming from the company's motto: ‘For our customers and their future’. Thanks to their commitment to excellence, Paris Miki's original retailing and repair business founded in 1930 in Himeji City, the home of one of Japan's most famous castles, has grown to become a global network of some 1,200 stores.

Stores in Australia are popular for their highly functional, stylishly crafted quality eyewear, including Hoya and Nikon lenses, handmade AU brand frames, and ultra lightweight, Japanese-made titanium frames. After-sales service applies right across Paris Miki's global network, so no matter whether you're at home or abroad, you can rest assured knowing that Paris Miki will be there to look out for your eyesight.

We're all about you.

The professionals at Paris Miki select the best eyewear for your needs, and give you complete peace of mind with friendly after-sales service. Superior quality Hoya and Nikon lenses Ultra-light titanium frames made in Japan

Paris Miki Optical Chatswood Flagship Store Shop 228, Lower Level Westfield Shoppingtown, Chatswood NSW 2067 Phone: (02) 9413 2033 Email: chatswood-parismiki@paris-miki.com.au www.paris-miki.com.au Mon - Wed & Fri P 9:00-17:30 P Thu 9:00-21:00 P Sat 9:00-17:00 P Sun 10:00-17:00


Staff Solutions Australia: the bilingual recruitment specialists Since its establishment in 1991, Staff Solutions Australia has assisted hundreds of companies with startup, recruitment, HR management, and more... Staff Solutions Australia (SSA) provides consultation services on all aspects of personnel, employment and salaries to companies establishing themselves in Australia, from its head office in Sydney and branch offices nationwide. A Japanese company, it has a well-established track record of providing qualityfocused, comprehensive recruitment services for more than two decades. SAA offers full support for

both jobseekers and firms in Japanese and English-speaking industries, connecting employers with jobseekers and assigning temporary personnel, providing a translation service and executive support, and arranging interpreting services. The company also specialises in education consulting and vocational training, designed to assisting the career development of truly international professionals who are ready to take their next step up.

The professionals who provide these services at SSA are a highly specialised, knowledgeable team of counsellors and HR consultants with extensive experience, and have earned the commendation and trust of many well-established multinational corporations. Recruitment consultation services remain free of charge until successful placement is achieved – so don’t hesitate to contact SSA today for all your Japanese and English recruitment needs.

Your Japanese-speaking Your Japanese-speaking recruitment solution recruitment solution

At Staff Solutions Australia, we understand that staff are the lifeblood of your company. Staff Solutions Australia is one of Australia’s largest Japanese recruitment companies, and provides a comprehensive level of consultation on the following areas: Staff recruitment: Let us introduce you to our multi-skilled pool of Japanese and local Australian jobseekers - you won’t pay a thing until you find the right candidate. Temporary jobs: We assign temporary staff for as little as one day, and take care of technical details like salary, superannuation and payroll tax so you don’t have to worry about a thing. HR consulting: See us for consultation on salary ranges, staff placements and more. Our registered jobseekers have various skill sets, including: • Bilingual Japanese and English • Native Japanese and business English • Native English

Recruitment areas: • Accounting & finance • Sales & marketing • Office admin & PA • Trading & logistics • Engineering • Banking & investment • Legal & IT • Business development

Staff Solutions Australia Pty. Ltd. Suite 1602, 60 Margaret St, Sydney NSW 2000 TEL: + 61 2 9241 2455 FAX: +61 2 9241 6788 Email: career@ssaust.com.au www.ssaust.com.au


The charms of Japanese sake Hideaki

Fukada

Sake Sommelier, Toriciya Fine Japanese Cuisine

Playing to win ‘This one’s a cloudy premium sake from a boutique brewery in Tottori,’ Hideaki Fukada professes from behind the bar at Toriciya, his cosy izakaya-style restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cammeray. ‘They’re not exactly in the major league when it comes to output, but they’ve got the quality down pat – and that’s what matters,’ he nods approvingly. Fukada-san’s knowledge of his home country’s traditional brew is encyclopaedic, and his enthusiasm to share it with anyone willing to listen boundless. Sake, he says, is the ultimate accompaniment to just about any cuisine imaginable, eclipsing the more fixed rubric of red and white wine, and the stiffening blast of spirits like whiskey with a delicate, malleable flavour that can assume multiple guises depending on its serving temperature. ‘I was a parochial beer-drinker until I turned 25 – but that all changed in an instant when I tried a warm sake after a long sweaty day in the kitchen,’ he recounts with a smile. ‘It completely

opened my eyes. The flavour was just superb, and I wasn’t getting all dehydrated either.’ As Fukada-san laments however, those who have enjoyed a similarly life-changing experience in Australia remain in the minority. ‘We’re still at the point where people will feel perfectly justified in forking out $100 for a bottle of wine, but put that price tag on a bottle of sake, and they’ll think you’ve gone mad.’ Fukada-san has had his own successes despite this, finding his way to people’s hearts with brews that have a unique story behind them. ‘One of our crowd-pleasers is Tamagawa, a sake from English brewer Philip Harper’s Kinoshita Brewery in Kyoto. It’s a versatile performer at a great price – and people are amazed to find out that it’s the work of an Englishman!’ A glance around at the satisfied customers in the restaurant makes it clear that with Fukada-san playing the sake game to win, we’re all set to reap the rewards.

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Depending on your company for dinner or drinks, asking for a glass of Honjozo Junmai instead of a Chardonnay can draw some quizzical looks. As these industry experts tell G’Day Japan! though, there are plenty of reasons why you should be doing it more often...

M i r ia m

G i b s o n

G r o u p S o m m e l i e r, U r b a n P u r v e y o r G r o u p

Trial and success Do you find yourself raising your glass in a nightly toast to the religion of Riesling? Or are you a more faithful subscriber to channel beer? Well, there’s a pleasant surprise ahead either way in the world of Japanese sake, says Miriam Gibson. ‘The fruity, floral notes of sakes brewed from finely polished rice make them a natural progression from wine,’ she explains from beside an impressive wall of barrels and exclusive boutique brews at the Urban Purveyor Group’s Sake Restaurant on Brisbane’s Eagle Street Pier. ‘When brewers choose to leave more of the rice behind instead, it creates yeasty, earthy tones reminiscent of a well-crafted beer.’ Polishing is one of the first steps on the road to fine sake – and when you’re trying to decide on a bottle to drink, checking how much of it has occurred is one of the easiest ways to separate the wheat from the chaff. ‘A number on the label with a percentage is telling you that the brew inside is a fine sake,’ Miriam says. ‘If it’s 50% or below, you’ve found a Daiginjo sake, the most aromatic –

and painstaking – variety of sake a brewer can create. A number of 60% or below indicates you’re holding a Ginjo variety. They have more recognisable aromas that form a nice little segue into the world of sake. You’ll also see the terms Junmai and Honjozo; the former indicates that the sake has been brewed using only rice, water, yeast and koji spores as a catalyst, while the latter has had a sparing amount of distilled alcohol added to fine-tune its flavour palette. A classic course dinner could start with an aromatic, lighter textured Honjozo Daiginjo, move to a Honjozo Ginjo or Junmai Ginjo, increase in intensity to a Junmai, and finish with an aged sake. Don’t be afraid of mixing it up though – sake doesn’t contain tannins or have a high acidity like wine – so you’re essentially immune to the disasters which can accompany that. Once you’ve got a feel for the flavour palette, experiment and have fun. It’s just a matter of trial and success, as I like to say!’

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Hikomago Junmai + Tuna Creation

Kimoto Dobu Daiginjo + Panna Cotta

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ikomago Junmai’s distinguished flavour is the perfect match for tuna – a fish notoriously difficult to match with wine. Its standout characteristic is that it can be heated to a full 70°C, where the sake’s intense flavour is at its best. When combined with Ocean Room’s Tuna Creation, the warmth of the sake plays well with the luscious tuna, resulting in a delicious burst of flavour.

Ichigin Junmai Daiginjo + Twice Cooked Pork Belly

Mixing, matching and munching There aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to matching food and sake – just personal preferences according to Raita Noda, the Executive Chef at Sydney Harbour’s Japanese Modern fine dining institution, Ocean Room. Here are four of his own..

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his award-winning sake has a dry, crisp finish, which intensifies the rich and complex flavours of Ocean Room’s gently simmered pork belly with a piping hot tofu broth. It has won gold at the New Sake Awards for over ten years – which is an impressive record in itself – and after trying the chilled brew, you’ll understand why.

Umetsu Koshu + Chilli and Garlic Live Marron

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ithout the acidity and grapey overtones found in wine, sake is the ideal match for many types of cheese. Ocean Room’s gorgonzola panna cotta pairs well with Daiginjo, as the sweet silkiness of the dessert is enhanced by the warmth of the heated sake. It’s a truly decadent combination.

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he heady fragrance of Ocean Room’s spicy chilli and garlic live marron plays well with this smooth, full-bodied sake. Umetsu Koshu is an aged, undiluted sake with a whiskey-like burnished tinge, giving it a rather complex palette that some may not be accustomed to. However when served on the rocks, this refreshing tipple reaches its full potential.

OCEAN ROOM

One of Sydney's most iconic dining destinations

Lunch: Tuesday to Friday from 12noon Dinner: Monday to Saturday from 6pm. Ground Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal Circular Quay West, The Rocks oceanroom@oceanroomsydney.com www.oceanroomsydney.com Phone 02 9252 9585 Facebook.com/Ocean Room

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Masuya Restaurant’s veteran sommelier Yuichi Kanamaru presents a special report on...

THE 10TH ANNUAL NIIGATA SAKE-NO-JIN Sa ke is as insepa rable w it h Niigata Prefecture as wine is with Bordeaux. One of Japan’s premier rice growing regions with crystal-clear waters, its breweries produce some of t he most sought a f ter products on the market - so when they get together every year to celebrate the Niigata Sake-nojin, it’s a national event. I was one of a record-breaking 56,000-strong crowd who packed into Niigata Convention Center for its tent h a n n iversa r y on Saturday, March 16 2013. It was the first day of the legendary all-you-can-taste weekend, w h ich keeps it s ad m i ssion pr ic e to a n incredibly generous ¥2,500 on the door!

A n i mpressive 88 brewer ies showca sed more than 500 different sakes for everyone to enjoy - and the fact that the crowds were prepared to line up for five hundred metres outside from 10am, and then again once they got inside, says only one thing: these sakes were well worth waiting for. Here a re t hree of t he best I ma naged to sample from in between the lively hustle and bust le, which made t he convention c ent re fe el l i ke a ba l my t ropic a l oa si s a m idst t he cr isp late w i nter weat her outside. Something of course, only sa ke breweries of this ilk could be capable of creating!

Daku

Manotsuru Maho

Denyu Junmai Ginjo

Musashino Shuzo, Joetsu City, Niigata

Obata Shuzo, Sado Island, Niigata

Takanoi Shuzo, Ojiya City, Niigata

Mild, and creamy f lavours characterise t his unfiltered sake from Musashino Shuzo in Joetsu Cit y – t he birt hplace of sk iing in Japan. The flavour of the rice used to produce it is distinct, but not so much as to overpower ever y thing with sweetness – retaining the taste of a true sake. Currently wowing diners in Miami and New York.

T he u npa ra l leled excel lence of t h is gent le, delicate and refined sake has been recognised both in Japan with gold medals at the National New Sake Awards for a record-breaking seven years in a row, and internationally with a gold meda l at t he Internat iona l Wine Cha llenge. Enjoy t he si m i la rly ref i ned taste of t h is brewer y’s Manotsuru Ichiho sake at Masuya Japanese Restaurant Sydney.

A full-bodied sake that places the flavour of the rice used to produce it – planted under direct supervision of the brewery’s managing director - on centre stage, w it h an extremely velvet y finish thanks to slow maturation in snow. Visit Izakaya Masuya Sydney to enjoy this brewery’s Koshino Hatsu Ume Sarara, a junmai sake also matured in snow.

MASUYA JAPANESE RESTAURANT ADD: Basement Level 12-14 O’Connell St, Sydney, NSW2000 TEL: +61-2-9235-2717 masuyacity@masuya.com.au 大吟醸、純米吟醸各種取り揃えております。

IZAKAYA MASUYA 純米酒専門居酒屋 ADD: Ground Floor 12-14 O’Connell St, Sydney, NSW2000 TEL: +61-2-9233-8181 izakayamasuya@masuya.com.au www.masuya.com.au 日本各地の酒蔵をオピニオンリーダーとし、日本を世界の観光立国に! 137


S ake o n t h e Syd n ey S cen e Broaden your palate with this diverse selection of premium sakes from across Japan, currently creating a sensation in restaurants and bars on the Sydney scene…

Kinmatsu Hakutaka (Junmai) Origin: Hyogo

Kiku-Masamune Taru Sake

Jozan (Junmai)

Origin: Hyogo

Ninki-ichi Kuroninki (Junmai Ginjo)

Origin: Fukui

Origin: Fukushima

The flagship brew from Hakutaka in Hyogo, one of Japan’s traditional sake making strongholds, with a powerful, full-bodied flavour maximising the umami qualities inherent in the rice. Equally as enjoyable when cooled or warmed.

An authentic dry sake, marked by a fresh hint of the Yoshino-sugi cedar wood barrels used to store it. Well suited to rich, spicy foods, Taruzake is best chilled, but can also be enjoyed at room temperature. Aim for 40-45° if heating.

An unfiltered sake, aged for 1.5 years and stabilised by heating in the bottle. Brewed using the region’s famous Gohyakuman-goku rice polished to 60%, with a great balance of umami, maturity, sharpness and dryness. Delicious at room temperature.

Dry and sharp with the calming aroma of a ginjo sake, and broad umami tones only found in a junmai ginjo sake. Brewed by a ginjo sake specialist, with a superior balance between taste and aroma that shines through whether chilled, at room temperature or warmed.

Akanesasu (Junmai)

Miyoshikiku Koharu (Junmai)

Niwa no Uguisu Daruma (Junmai)

Kikusui Kosen (Junmai)

Origin: Nagano Complex, full-bodied flavours punctuated by an overture of sweetness and umami. Produced with a variety of ingredients invoking the mountains of Nagano, unfiltered and undiluted where possible to pay homage to the natural flavours.

Origin: Tokushima Junmai-shu sake, produced with high grade Yamada Nishiki sake rice polished to 60%. Exceptionally delicate on the palate with a fruity flavour reminiscent of wine, equally as enjoyable for the connoisseur as it is for the novice.

Refreshing. Inspiring.

Origin: Fukuoka

A high quality, inexpensive sake that holds its charm well, and one of the top performers in the Kontatsu Australia wholesale product range. The brew is a highly fragrant junmaishu with umami, and refreshing overtones.

We trust our sake will bring you closer to enlightenment.

Watermoon. www.watermoonrestaurant.com.au

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Origin: Niigata

Junmai-shu sake without the heavy afterglow, easy to drink and delicious both chilled and warmed. A fruity aroma precedes maximal umami flavours from the rice, for a rich taste with exceptional clarity. Premium quality at a great price.

Watermoon 176 Victoria St, Potts Point Ph: (02) 9331-8850 Fri-Sat 12:00-15:00 Mon-Sun 18:00-22:00 Licensed/BYO $3pp (Wine only)


W h a t ’s i n t h e b o t t l e?

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It’s lucky that fine sake tastes as good as it does, because to make it right, brewers have to spend countless hours slowly manicuring grains of rice and putting them through a unique fermentation process. Knowing how it all works will help you choose a winner...

Know before you drink Rice Polishing Premium sake is fine-tuned by polishing the outer shell away from the rice to remove proteins and minerals that retard fermentation, and thereby depreciate the finished product. Daiginjo-shu sake rice is polished to about half of its original size, in a process that must be undertaken slowly to avoid cracking or heat damage. Fine Sake

Sake Grades The rice is milled down to at least

50%

The rice is milled down to at least

60%

Junmai Daiginjo

Daiginjo

Junmai Ginjo

Ginjo

Tokubetsu Junmai

Tokubetsu Honjozo

The rice is milled down to at least

Honjozo

70% Other

Normal Sake

70% of total sake productions

FutsuShu

and getting this temperature right is the key to unlocking the range of flavour tones in a single brew. 40-60°C is generally appropriate for Futsushu or Junmai-shu varieties, while premium Ginjo-shu or Daiginjo-shu sakes are served chilled at 7-10°C. Sake Brewers Toji, or sake brewers, are highly regarded in Japanese society for their skill and artistry, which they have refined and passed on for generations. Modern Toji are just as likely to be university graduates as they are experienced brewer y employees, working throughout the year in temperature-controlled breweries, or only in the traditional winter brewing season. Alcohol Content The majority of sake is diluted to an alcohol content of around 15%, from a raw figure of 18-20%, which is produced simultaneously during the brewing process as sugar compounds are created from the starch. This makes it distinctly different to the brewing process for beer, in which these compounds evolve consecutively.

Junmai Rice + Water + Yeast + Mould + No Additives 10% of total sake productions

Rice + Water + Yeast + Mould + Distilled alcohol (less than 10% of rice weight)

Serving Temperatures Sake is served chilled (hiya), at room temperature (jo-on), or warmed (kan),

Sake Meter Value The flavour spectrum of sake is quantified by a Sake Meter Value (SMV), which indicates the weight differential of sake against the same quantity of water at a prescribed neutral point of 4°C. Heavier sakes of around -4 are very sweet, while a +10 sake is the exact opposite. The balance point between the two is considered to be about +3.

www.azuma.com.au

Experience local sake, authentic shochu and seasonal delicacies, all handpicked by our sommelier... TORICIYA

Phone (02) 9904-2277 18 Cammeray Road, Cammeray NSW 2062 Tue-Sun 18:00-22:00 Licensed www.toriciya.com.au

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Rice Steamed rice is known in Japanese as gohan or meshi. These words can also mean an entire meal, illustrating the fundamental nature of this Japanese staple. Brown rice especially is high in essential minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium, as well as vitamin E, and B vitamins.

The Traditional Japanese

Diet

Far from falling out of the sky on a dining tray replete with a set of chopsticks, Japan’s traditional cuisine has taken hundreds of years, and possibly billions of bowls of rice to evolve. Famously balanced and nutritious, its beginnings lie in the frugal Buddhist meal format of ichiju issai, or rice, pickles, miso soup and one side. The core philosophies of ichiju issai remain in the backbone of food education in Japan, and the Japanese diet has gathered global attention as a preventative weapon against modern lifestyle diseases…

Seafood The diverse bounty of fresh, nutritious seafood surrounding the Japanese archipelago has been enjoyed throughout the seasons since the dawn of time. Full of essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA, vitamins and minerals, it is one of the secrets of Japanese longevity.

Seaweed Fishermen spend painstaking hours harvesting nori, wakame, konbu, hijiki and other types of seaweed cultivated around Japan. Packed with essential nutrients, fatty acids and low in calories, seaweed is a central part of dashi stock, and a traditional staple with rice.

Miso Miso paste is a nutritious seasoning added to sauces, pickled meat, vegetables, and soup. A fermented cocktail of soybeans, salt and koji mould, it functions as a major source of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin E, protein, iron and calcium in the Japanese diet.

Soy Sauce Japanese soy sauce is marked by a slightly sweet sherry-like flavour, the product of slowly and carefully fermenting soybeans and koji mould, often with a grain like wheat. The byproduct of pressing miso paste, it is high in antioxidants and lactic acid bacteria.

Tokyo Mart

Great range of high quality Japanese groceries, all at a reasonable price • One of the biggest Japanese supermarkets in Australia • Product lines almost identical to supermarkets in Japan • Diverse variety of products in stock, from everyday seasonings, to sweets • Freshness, quality, and value guaranteed on all products Shop 27, Northbridge Plaza, Northbridge NSW 2063 T: (02) 9958 6860 W: www.junpacific.com/tokyomart Open: Mon-Wed, Fri 9:00-17:30, Thu 9:00-18:30, Sat 9:00-18:00, Sun 10:00-16:00 Closed: Public Holidays

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ŠJNTO

Fermented Foods Koji, a mould with spores that typically grow on rice, sparks the fermentation process of soybeans and grain to produce nutritious miso paste and soy sauce. The slimy soybean super food of natto is another by-product of fermentation, instigated by spores of the natto bacillus mould. In addition, rice vinegar is used extensively in Japan to make healthy and delicious meat, fish and vegetable pickles.

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

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Sushi - Hokkaido The fish are fresher off the coast of Hokkaido, and the sushi? Sublime! Uni – sea urchin – is one of its most popular delicacies, and port cities like Otaru are the best places to experience it for yourself.

Culinary Diversity in Japan

© Otaru Tourism Association

Yonezawa Beef - Yamagata Put ‘Wagyu’ in front of beef, and you have quality; put ‘Yonezawa’ in front of that, and you have one of Japan’s top three Wagyu brands – a melt-in-the-mouth masterpiece of marbling, flavour and texture.

© Yamagata Tourist Information Center

Tonkotsu Ramen - Fukuoka

Food across Japan is a celebrated source of local pride and cultural history. The incredible diversity to be found on the dining table from north to south has deep roots in the days of ancient Japan, an agrarian society where the travel of common people between regions was scarce.

Fukuoka is Japan’s top tonkotsu ramen prefecture, and Fukuoka City is its spiritual home. Visit and savour the flavour of these delicious noodles in a rich, steaming hot broth made with pork stock.

Goya Champuru - Okinawa Bitter melon – or goya – grows in abundance on the islands of Okinawa. No visit to them is complete without trying this healthy regional specialty, typically stirfried with tofu, egg and pork.

© Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau

Welcome to the world of real Japanese sushi!

We uphold all the traditions of an authentic Japanese sushi restaurant because we want to offer a truly unforgettable sushi experience for our customers.

75 Military Road, Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Tel & Fax 02-9953-7317 http://www.sushistudio.biz/

Trading Hours: Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun: 6pm-10:30pm (Last order 9:45pm) Fri, Sat: 6pm-11pm (Last order 10:15pm) Tuesday Closed

Famous in Japan... Now in Sydney! We don’t make any compromises in recreating the taste of true Japanese tonkotsu ramen. All our noodles and soup are made in-house, so we can bring you quality at a nice price! Ramen from

$7.80

Hakata-Maru Ramen Level 3, Market City Foodcourt, 9-13 Hay Street, Haymarket 2000

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Ramen and Gyoza Set $9.80


History of Noritake

Towards the end of the samurai period in Japan, Ichizaemon Morimura, a merchant, witnessed large outflows of gold from Japan to overseas. Preached by Yukichi Fukuzawa, a famous scholar of Western studies, that "in order to get gold back to Japan, we must get hold of foreign currencies by export trade", Ichizaemon made a resolution to start overseas trading by himself for his country. In 1876, Ichizaemon set up a trading firm called "Morimura Gumi" and sent his brother, Toyo, to New York to open an imported goods store, "Morimura Brothers". It was the start of their overseas trading and the first step into Noritake's history. In the early days, their trade was focused on Japanese antiques and miscellaneous goods. As the porcelain ware was gradually increased in their business, Morimura Gumi was assured of its potentiality. In 1889, Ichizaemon and his comrades visited the World Exposition in Paris and were impressed with beautifully and exquisitely decorated European porcelains. Their desire to "make such beautiful, exquisite pieces in Japan" grew stronger. Eight years later, Ichizaemon dispatched his engineers, to Europe to learn the latest manufacturing methods and this was the beginning of his challenge to achieve white porcelain ware using Japanese materials. In 1904, "Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha", the forerunner of the Noritake Co., Limited, was established and a factory with modern equipment and facilities was constructed in Noritake, Takaba-villlage, Aichi,Japan (present: Noritakeshinmachi, Nishi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi). Although the operation was started, many more years of trial and error were spent before the production got into full swing. It was ten years later, in 1914, that Japan's first Western-

style dinner set was finally completed and exported to the United States. Their dinner ware business proved to be a great success and it grow into the world famous brand known as "Noritake China".

The birthplace of the Noritake. Today it's home to the head office and Noritake Garden.

Today, Noritake is an acknowledged leader in tableware industry and their wide range of products are sold over 100 countries and are used in fine restaurants, hotels and airlines throughout the world.

Welcome to Noritake Garden Built as a complex of historical, culture and commercial facilities, Noritake Garden encompasses 48,000 sqm locates in the center of Nagoya. An ideal place for learning its history and shopping and or for dining and relaxing. Visitors can get an up-close view of Noritake’s craftsmanship and traditions throughout the creation process.

Noritake Garden (Nagoya, Japan) Museum, Model plant, Shops, Restaurant, CafĂŠ Open: 10:00 - 17:00 Closed on Monday 3-1-36 Noritake-Shinmachi, Nishi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan Phone: +81-52-561-7290 www.noritake.co.jp/mori/

Visit Noritake's Ginza store in Tokyo

Noritake Ginza Store (Tokyo, Japan) Open: 11:00 - 19:30 2nd floor, Bunshodo Bldg., 3-4-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan Phone: +81-3-3567-6121

Contact in Sydney, Australia Noritake Australia Pty Ltd 4/153 Beauchamp Road, Matraville NSW 2036 Phone: 02-9316-7123 Fax: 02-9316-7085 www.noritake.com.au/


Excellence that continues to stand the test of time. The Kikkoman brand grew up from the roots of many eminent brewing families, who were providores to the Japanese Imperial Household. Soy-beans, wheat and salt were the medium with which they created a lasting legacy, which continues today without using artificial colours or f lavours. Their time-tested naturally brewed original Kikkoman Soy Sauce has been joined by a range of sauces and marinades, which are all part of a tradition of quality now enjoyed globally.

Recipe ideas can be found at

www.kikkoman.com.au


Kikkoman: tradition and innovation An unwavering dedication to quality has secured Japanese soy sauce maker Kikkoman a place as a household name around the world today...

Found in over 100 countries around the world, the Kikkoman soy sauce bottle is an instantly recognisable icon that you’ll even find waiting to welcome you on the tables of tapas-style Japanese izakaya bars. All of Kikkoman’s products, whether they’re marinades or other innovations such as organic and gluten-free soy sauces, are rich in amino acids that bring umami flavour to the dishes they accompany. Every batch of soy-beans, wheat, salt and water is carefully left to ferment over a long period to ensure maximum quality in accordance with a time - honoured tradition handed down for centuries, and contains no artificial colours or flavours. This tradition is the legac y of prestigious brewing families in Noda, near present-day Tokyo, who merged their businesses in 1917 to found what is now Kikkoman Corporation. Their ancestors had already been producing soy sauce in the town since the seventeenth century, and commanded the official status of purveyors to the Japanese Imperial Household. Wedged between two rivers that provided direct access to the Tokyo consumer market and a readily available water source, and within close range of soy-bean, wheat and salt centres, Noda gradually rose to prominence as Japan’s main soy sauce brewing hub. The Kikkoman factory is the largest in Noda today, and while functioning as a fully modernised production centre, it also retains a special place for its traditional roots with the Goyogura: a replica of Edo Castle, Tokyo’s famous landmark and symbol of the samurai era. The Goyogura is a fully refurbished version of the 1939 original, which was dismantled and relocated to the present factory site in February 2011. Aside from beautiful white plaster walls, stone foundations and pleasingly curved eaves, it features displays of original equipment traditionally used to brew soy sauce, all evoking images of days of yore. While retaining strong link s to the past, Kikkoman continues to look forward to the future, promoting a diverse range of quality products designed for a global palate in line with its long-term vision of making Kikkoman Soy Sauce a truly global seasoning, and promoting healthy living through food. Of equal importance with these long-term goals is its steadfast dedication to being a company that has a meaningful role within global society, one of its founding principles.


the new seiko astron gps solar. at last, a watch that adjusts to your time zone.

ASTRON. The search for totally precise time, everywhere on the planet, is over. By developing a low-energy-consumption GPS receiver, Seiko has been able to create a watch that connects to the GPS network and uses it to identify both time of day and time zone. The new Astron recognises all 39 time zones on earth, is precise to one second every 100,000 years, and by taking all the energy it needs from light, never needs a battery change. If you can see the sky, you will know the local time, anywhere on our planet. Finally, time and space are united in a prestige watch. seiko.com.au Stockist information – 1300 368 546 | info@seiko.com.au


G'Day Japan! #8