“Oh, The Jolliness of Winter!” ~Discover Some of The Most Impressive Winter Sights At The Heart of Tohoku and Shinetsu!~

Some of the most boldly beautiful winter sceneries can be found in Japan! Tohoku and Shinetsu are the saluted regions for expressing the best of winter every year! From snow festivals derived from ancient times, delightful and interesting snow characters like Snow Monkeys basking in hot spring waters and ‘Snow Monsters’, to delicious gourmets, there’s so much to discover! Be enticed by the powerful Namahage dance from the vivid Namahage Sedo Festival inspired by Japanese folklore, a smooth sleigh ride on fine powdered snow in the Nagano hills of Nagano ski resort, and delectable hot pot infused with seafoods to soothe your taste buds in this icy season, it offers an abundance of a winter charm like no other. Experience a wonderful snowy paradise at its finest, at Tohoku and Shinetsu with an unlimited ride pass with “JR EAST”.

Tohoku

  • The Tohoku region is one of the regions in Japan located in the northeastern part of Honshu, covering the following prefectures – Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, and Fukushima. For travel to the Tohoku region, we recommend the “JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)” where you experience unlimited rides on JR EAST trains

 

Shinetsu

  • Shin-Etsu region is a collective term for Nagano and Niigata prefectures. For travels around the Shin-Etsu region, we recommend the “JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)“, for unlimited JR EAST train rides.

Zao Soft Rime [Yamagata Prefecture]

Zao’s rime, also known as the snow monsters of Mount Zao, is a piece of snow art created by the forces of nature. The process of excessive snowfall and freezing winds combined, causes the formation of soft rime on large trees with uniquely odd shapes. Winter is the essence of Zao’s attractions with a spectacular and impressive huge snowy field scenery. Riding the “Zao Ropeway “, will enable you to enjoy a 360 panorama view of the rime field. Discover the charm of snow monsters rime during daytime, dusk and at night which offers different outlook. Apart from that, you may also get a closer look at the rime tree at night using the “Night Cruiser” snow vehicle equipped with heater, where the snow rime unleashes a neon-greenish glow which is utterly spectacular.

☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Tohoku area) to lookout for these SNOW MONSTER OF MOUNT ZAO!

Mount Hakkoda [Aomori Prefecture]

The Hakkoda trees that resembles a shape of a powerful ‘snow monster’ due to the process of severe snowfall endurance and freezing winds has transformed into a magnificent and beautiful winter scenery. The best timing to enjoy a landscape of fantastic white snow is from January to February. You may also enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view from the Hakkoda cables ropeway (cable car), watching a sea of rime for above. It remains one of the best winter experiences in Hakkoda!
☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Tohoku area) to lookout for these SNOW MONSTER OF MOUNT Hakkoda!

Tadami River and Tadami Line [Fukushima Prefecture]

Voted first place as the “Best Ten of the Railway Line with Beautiful Autumn Leaves” by NIKKEI Plus 1 and third place of “Local Line with Beautiful Snow View”, the Tadami line is a local line is a highly sought-after spot among travelers and photographers, located in the secluded mountains in the west side of Fukushima prefecture. Travelling across iron tracks, the travel journey via the Tadami line offers an iconic blend of beautiful valleys. This immensely popular picturesquare hillside offers a majestic view of Tadami River Bridge suspended over the Tadami river surrounded by a forested landscape all richly coated in thick white snow! Pictures are normally taken when the train carriage passes over the bridge. The sight of it all will leave you mesmerised!
☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Tohoku area) to experience the wonderful scenery of Tadami!

Hoshitoge Rice Terraces [Niigata Prefecture]

Hoshitoge Rice Terraces at Tokamachi is a photogenic rice field, known for its approximately 200 large and small tiered, rolling terraces and slopes that sits along the Japanese countryside of Miyagi Prefecture. Throughout the four seasons, the scenery is beautiful, but even more extravagant during the winter months where the snow makeup is spread out across the fields especially with the reflection of sunlight, offering a landscape that appears like a fairytale town! It’s breathtaking scenery of lush white snow will leave you in awe and amazement!
☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Nagano, Niigata area) to experience this amazing spot!

Nyuto hot spring resort [Akita Prefecture]

The seven hot springs scattered around the Nyuto mountain in Towada and Hachimantai National Park are called “Nyuto Onsenkyo”. These hot springs coming from different sources have more than 10 types with varying spring water qualities, each catered for various health benefits. It is said that the hot spring baths around Nanayu Meguri are effective curing remedies for all diseases. The Tsurunoyu Onsen is the oldest long-standing onsen dating back to historical times which belonged to Lord Akita. It’s an open-air hot spring worth experiencing in the cold winter months, while enjoying “Yukimi” (also known as snow viewing).
☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Tohoku area) to enjoy a treat for the senses!

Jigokudani Monkey Park (Snow Monkey) [Nagano Prefecture]

Jigokudani Monkey Park is located in the valley of the Yokoyu River, which originates from Shiga Kogen in Nagano Prefecture. This place offers the unique experience of seeing wild monkeys or best known as “Snow Monkeys” bathing in a natural hot spring. They are the only species of monkeys known to do so, which is what makes this place a worldwide sensation and a highly sort-after winter attraction for visitors. These snow monkeys covered in snow, love to soak themselves in hot spring pools to get the warmth while withstanding winter’s blistering cold. Due to the heat from hot spring water, blood rises to their head, turning their faces red, which is absolutely cute and rare.
☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Nagano, Niigata area) to see these blushing monkeys!

Hakuba ski resort [Nagano Prefecture]

Hakuba Ski Resort in Nagano Prefecture is a resort famous for its rich fine powdered snow. Glide, ski and snowboard on the terrain trails engulfed in lushful snow, while admiring the majestic skies, and snowy mountainous Alps that surround your 360-degree viewpoint.
☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Nagano, Niigata area) to experience the best of winter!

Namahage Sedo Festival [Akita Prefecture]

As one of the Michinoku Five Snow Festivals, the Namahage Sedo Festival is a winter festival held during the winter season every February for 3 consecutive days (second Friday, Saturday & Sunday of February) in Oga City, Akita Prefecture. The event is a reflection of Oga’s winter and traditional ethnic culture, where Namahage, the visiting god for the people of Oga is believed to demolish evil, disasters, and restore good harvests, and provides overall good luck.
The festival is a popular and most sought-after winter attraction that revolves around a spectacular and powerful Namahage folk dance performed at Shinzan Shrine in Kitaura in combination with the “Sedo Matsuri” ceremony. The dance that unfolds under the Sedo Light (Holy Light) on the grounds of the Shinzan shrine is an intriguing sight to behold!

Event Details
Event Schedule: 7th – 9th February 2020 (Fri-Sun), 6pm – 8:30pm
Venue: Mayama Shrine

☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Tohoku area) to witness this mystical dance!

Hachinohe Enburi [Aomori Prefecture]

As a representation of the Hachinohe region, the Hachinohe Enburi is a traditional event that welcomes the arrival of spring. This traditional event features a rather unique dance where the dancer, “Tayu” wears a gorgeous crow-like hat shaped like a horse’s head, and dances by shaking their heads vigorously expressing the actions of rice cultivation, such as sowing and planting rice. Carried on by generations, it boasts the tradition of instilling the region to pray for a good harvest. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of Aomori prefecture’s southern region’s intangible folk culture.

Event Details
Event Schedule: February 17 (Mon)-20 (Thu), 2020
Venue: Chojayama Shilla Shrine, Hachinohe City Center, Hachinohe City Public Hall Cultural Hall, Hachinohe City Hall Citizen’s Plaza, Kojokaku, Nejo Castle Plaza

☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Tohoku area) to witness Japan’s folk-driven traditions!

Kiritanpo hot pot [Akita Prefecture]

A local favourite, the Kiritanpo is a well-known delicacy in Akita prefecture savoured by many. The unique dish is made out of freshly cooked rice which is pounded and meshed to be formed into cylinders, which is then wrapped around wooden stick, and toasted over an open hearth. Considered an important staple in Japanese cuisine, this authentic yet uniquely simple formulation can be enjoyed with various seasonings such as soy sauce and miso sauce. It is best eaten during the winter months to keep the bodies warm from winter’s blistering cold.
☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Tohoku area) to get a taste of this unique delicacy!

Shonai Kitamae crab (Snow crab) [Yamagata Prefecture]

The snow crab is found in the deepest and coldest waters of the Sea of Japan, making it one of the freshest and delicious crab species in the world! Snow crab fishing in Shonaihama is done from October to March every year. The “Shonai Kitamae crab” is the highest quality of snow crab found in the regions of Shonaihama in Yamagata Prefecture. This exotic crab, proudly fished by Yamagata fisherman, weighs more than 1 kg with a shell width of more than 13 cm. It is recommended to eat shabu shabu with the shonai kitamae crab.
☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Tohoku area) to satisfy your cravings with one of the best tasting crabs on the planet!

Sanriku Oysters [Miyagi Prefecture]

The season for raw oysters falls from October to February in Sanriku, thanks to the blessings of a nature-infused environment. The deliciousness of Sanriku oysters is contributed by the good quality of water that surrounds the Sanriku coast. These oysters are thick, embodying a rich sweetness that carries its own unique quality and exotic taste! Head down to Sanriku and savour some of the best oysters you can ever have!
☞ *Get an affordable unlimited ride pass under JR EAST (Tohoku area) to to enjoy a feast of oysters.


 

■ Travel within Tohoku with “JR East Pass”

Explore the Tohoku region of Japan with the JR East Pass (Tohoku area) at a great price! Experience a 5-day unlimited ride with JR East trains at the following rates:

  • Adults = 19,350 Yen*
  • Children = 9,670 Yen*

For further details, click on the link below:
https://www.jreast.co.jp/multi/pass/eastpass_t.html
(* When purchased from outside Japan via the official website)

 

■ Enjoy Trips to Kanto / Nagano / Niigata with the “JR EAST PASS”

Enjoy a 5-day unlimited ride exploring the regions of Kanto, Nagano and Niigata in Japan with the JR East pass at a great price!:

  • Adults = 17,310 Yen*
  • Children = 8,650 Yen*

For further details, click on the link below:
https://www.jreast.co.jp/multi/pass/eastpass_n.html
(* When purchased from outside Japan via the official website)

 

■ JR-EAST Train Reservation

Reservations for a train ride via the Shinkansen and other trains can be made online before the start of your trip to Japan to avoid any hassle and enjoy a comfortable trip.
For further details, click on the link below:
https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/English/wb/common/Menu/Menu.aspx


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