Japan II: My first snow experience

One on my life goals is to experience snow. And I have been dreaming about it ever since I was little. I could still remember shredding Styrofoams and pretend they were snowflakes. Yes, Styrofoam is the poor man’s snow.

Growing up in a tropical country, I was deprived from winter and snow. Which is why I always prefer going to places where there’s winter to at least feel the chill that my country will never offer. Hong Kong is an easy option. But what is winter without snow?

My first attempt to experience snow was back in October 2015 in Japan. but I guess it was way too early for me to find snow in Japan. So for me to check that item in my bucket list, I made sure that the next time I visit Japan, it should be in time for winter with snow.

Fortunately, I was able to book a flight Cebu – Tokyo during the winter season. Although I felt that it was too early for snow considering it was the first week of December, research and google had been very helpful in finding snow during the early week of December.

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Just 2 hours (by Shinkansen) from Tokyo, Yuzawa is a town located within the Minamiuonuma District, Niigata Prefecture. It is a mountainous area bordering northern Nagano Prefecture and northern Gunma Prefecture. Because of its geographical location between the Sea of Japan and the surrounding Alps, it has one of the highest annual snowfalls in Japan.

So best friend and I made plans to spend a day in Yuzawa. Obviously, it was the highlight of our Japan trip.

How to get there:

From Tokyo, take the Echigo – Yuzawa Shinkansen. Regular rate is at around Y6,000 (or Php2,500) one-way. But a JR pass can save you from spending a lot of money. Once you are in the station, you can choose to ride a bus going to Kagura Ski resort but schedules are quite limited. You can take a cab for Y1,500 if you are in a hurry (like us).

Snow in Yuzawa falls earlier than the other areas in Japan. I believe snow come as early as November. If you’re planning to spend a day in the snow in Japan, Yuzawa is your best bet!

P.S. Snow was not as magical as what I imagined. It makes your skin itch, your ears burn, and it makes you feel sick.

But I will come back for snow. 🙂

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