Jakarta (ANTARA) - Japan has always been a magnet for foreign tourists, not only when the cherry blossoms bloom in spring but also in winter when it draws ski lovers.

While participating in the Japan-Indonesia Exchange for Young Journalists Program on February 15-21, 2023, ANTARA had the opportunity to visit Hakuba Village in Nagano Prefecture, one of the popular winter tourist destinations in Japan.

Located about 270.4 kilometers from the center of Tokyo, Hakuba Village can be accessed via the Kanetsu Toll Road and Chuo Toll Road in about four hours or 2.5 hours by using the Shinkansen super-fast train and bus.

Since the village is surrounded by mountainous areas, it has a relatively mild climate. When winter comes, millions of tourists flock to this village to ski.

With most of the population engaged in the tourism industry, tourists can find several ski resorts in this area, one of which is the Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort, which ANTARA visited recently during the program.
Hundreds of visitors go skiing in Hakuba Village, Nagano, Japan, Saturday (2/18/2023). (ANTARA/Katriana)

"There are seven locations for skiing in Hakuba Village. This is one of the most popular ski spots for tourists," Secretary General of the Hakuba Goryu Tourism Association Sato Bunsei stated on one occasion.

Visitors coming to the resort, located on the slopes of the Northern Alps of Japan, can reach 350 thousand a day.

Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort offers ski lovers several courses with varying degrees of difficulty. Hence, this place is ideal for beginners up to professionals keen on skiing.

Apart from skiing, visitors can also explore this place to simply enjoy the beautiful natural scenery during the winter season.

By paying a tariff of six thousand yen (around Rp682,180) per person, visitors can ski and relax in this place all day.

The rate includes the cost of taking a cable car to reach the top of the hill.

A number of visitors climbed the cable car in Hakuba Village, Nagano, Japan, Saturday (2/18/2023). (ANTARA/Katriana)

At the top of the hill is an observatory where visitors can enjoy views of the white blanket of frost covering the hills and mountains.

Visitors can come to the Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort individually or in groups and can directly order tickets at the tourist sites.

Visitors, who have not brought along adequate clothing to play in the snow, can also rent clothes at this place at around four thousand yen (or around Rp454,921).

Visitors looking to ski but have not brought the necessary equipment can also rent equipment at this place for a separate fee of around four thousand yen (about Rp454,921).

"Since people, who are used to skiing here, usually bring their own tools, the rentals are made separately," Sato said.

Playing snowshoes

After a cable car ride and enjoying the natural scenery from the top of the hill at the Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort, ANTARA was invited to try snowshoeing.

In contrast to skiing that is done using surfing, snowshoeing is an activity of walking on snow using a special board.

To try snowshoeing, visitors can rent snowshoe equipment at resorts or shops that also offer tours to enjoy the beauty of Japan's forests during the winter.
A number of participants played snowshoes in Hakuba Village, Nagano, Japan, Saturday (2/18/2023). (ANTARA/HO-Hakuba Village Tourism Association)

Before starting the activity of walking on snow, tour participants, who have ordered snowshoe equipment, will first be briefed on how to wear the board that is donned in order to complete the special shoes used to walk on the snow safely and comfortably.

Participants will also be given a stick that is used specifically to maintain the body's balance to prevent slipping while walking on snow.

After the participants put on lent jackets, pants, shoes, and boards and carry sticks, several guides urge the participants to start walking through the snow for about four kilometers towards the forest.

Along the way, the participants were treated to several views of the beautiful and peaceful natural scenery. The participants also felt lucky, as they could witness some rare snow monkeys hanging from the tree branches.

During the trip, the guides drew the attention of the participants to several spots that were considered dangerous to pass.

After arriving in the middle of the forest, the guides invited the participants to rest and provided seating mats that helped to protect from the cold snow.

The guides also served tea and biscuit snacks made directly around the resting area while the participants sat back and enjoyed the forest atmosphere in the cold snow.
Several participants took a group photo in Hakuba Village, Nagano, Japan, Saturday (2/18/2023). (ANTARA/HO-Hakuba Village Tourism Association)
After the break, the walking tour on the snow was over. The participants were invited to take pictures and then urged to immediately return to the starting point since as night time approached, the temperature in the forest kept falling, especially when it snowed.

Snowshoe activities or walking on the snow into the middle of a peaceful forest are ideal for those looking to unwind and seeking peace in the midst of nature.

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Editor: Sri Haryati
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