Snow Play for Newbies

During a Tokamachi winter the snow is everywhere you look!
If this is your first time seeing snow you’re in for a treat. The people of Tokamachi have been playing in the snow all of their lives and can help you figure out what to do.
Use this guide to learn how to make the most of your fun in the snow.

STEP1 Get a good feel for the snow

The snow in Tokamachi is thick and heavy because of the high humidity, meaning it is easy to pack and sculpt! Start by making a small snowman: make two spheres about the size of your fist, with one being a bit smaller. Put the smaller sphere on top of the bottom one. Voila, you’ve made a snowman.
Now put on some waterproof snow boots (we recommend long ones that go up around your shins) and tromp around in the snow. Kick it up like a pile of leaves. Refreshing, right?
No snow boots? No problem – rent a pair for 500yen from the Tokamachi Tourist Association (west entrance of the Tokamachi Station).

STEP2 When there’s snow, there’s a way (to play)

Once you’ve put on your gloves, hat, snow boots & ski wear, it’s time to play! Roll around in the snow, have snowball fights, make more snowmen…anything goes.
Play safe and make sure the park or plaza you’re in isn’t going to be dangerous. Please avoid rivers and snow gutters (grates in the road where shoveled snow is put).

●Recommended spots
・Belnatio Snow Forest Fairy
・New Greenpia Tsunan

STEP3 Try out some snow shoes

s you may find out firsthand, snow boots don’t always cut it when you’re walking in an area with snow piled up more than a couple feet. This is where snow shoes come in handy. These contraptions hook right onto your snow boots and make it possible to walk on top of the snow without sinking in. They take a bit of getting used to, but we have instructors to help guide you through your first time walking with them! Please ask for more information.

STEP4 Fun in the snow – more than just snowboarding and skiing

When you think of snow activities, those are the main two that come to mind, right?
Come visit the Matsunoyama Onsen Snow Park, where you’ll discover there’s more to the snow than these sports. Feel the breeze as you whiz down the hills on a rubber board during airboarding, or try out the Snow Stunt Scoot, an activity similar to kickboards. There’s also snow-tubing, where you sit in a giant rubber donut and slide down a snowy slope. Of course, there are many more activities to discover beyond these, so give them a try!

●Contact these companies for more information:
・Matsunoyama Onsen Ski Resort
・Nihon Outdoor Service

STEP5 The epitome of snow play: snowtop day camping

Experience day camping on top of the sparkling white snow!

●Day camping at a ski resort
If everything listed above sounds fun, you can pitch a tent on one of the slopes at ski resorts and experience all of the above. Some resorts offer equipment rentals to optimize your day camping trip.

●Rice flour pancakes, maple syrup harvesting and snowtop day camping

Everyone knows about maple syrup, but did you know it can be gathered from the forests during winter? The sap collected from the painted maple trees can be boiled down into maple syrup.
The best thing for maple syrup is arguably pancakes, so how about making some pancakes with rice flour made from local koshihikari rice? They’ll go perfect with your original maple syrup and you’ll feel accomplished sitting next to the fire! This is definitely a unique way to experience the snow.