Winter season might be one of my most anticipated season since I moved to Japan. For those of you who might not be aware, I came from a country bestowed with a tropical climate almost all year around. So before the cold season will make its last wave goodbye this year, me and my husband packed our bags and took a 6 hour trip to the north side of the island, Nagano.
Far from the bustling crowd of other major cities, the rural area of Shinano Omachi in Nagano prefecture has its own proud gem. The city might be incomparable to other bigger towns surrounding the north island but it’s rich with visiting tourists because of its marvelous amount of snow during the winter season.
So me and my husband took our chances and reached the Alps Azumino National Government Park the day after we arrived in the city. This park is incredibly vast to begin with that it will take you the entire day to marvel the area. This place is both amazing in summer, when you want to go on a little hiking and camping adventure and in winter, when you want to enjoy the whole expand of snow. So, upon reaching the entrance, we payed our tickets and listed ourselves for some little tour.
The whole park was divided into different recreational areas to enjoy. Since we came there in winter, everything was undeniably covered with nothing but ice and snow.
Before the whole icy expedition, we also visited some of the park’s indoor museum. They have the entire house for galleries and cutting edge facility that will teach you all about nature and wild life. Not to mention other houses for resting, craft making and a marsh mellow dome that sure enough will make you want to go camping in an instant.
But since our itinerary is to experience the snow as possible, we joined in for a little tour with the park’s tour guides and wild life experts. We decided to level up the whole tour by equipping ourselves with some winter gears.
We came all the way to the heart of the forest across the dead end entrance to learn more about the forest life. With the help of our veteran guides, they showed us the animals living in the forest and their ways to survive the coldest season of the year; from nut eating squirrels, mating birds and hungry bears, they sure know the forest more than we do.
After the whole tour, a good warm rest was all we need. On the other side of the park lies a resting house just in front of the ski area for children. We definitely enjoyed squatting in with some tables along with other park goers while enjoying the view of ecstatic children playing in the snow.
We might be too old for this but we also wouldn’t miss the chance to relish the snow! After all, that’s the reason why we came all the way here, right? So we rented some ski flat forms (which was obviously too small for our size) and skied to our hearts content!
Now don’t be surprised if one of the things in our itinerary is snow ball fighting, because it’s definitely is! It sure felt like a child’s dream come true. You know the best part is being able to throw a snow in the face and pretty much enjoy it. lol
We all got tired eventually so before going home, we did some few strolls around the park and was delighted with some random finds.
The trip will never be concluded without a souvenir, do you agree? Well, at least that’s the way me and my husband think every time we travel somewhere new. Now if you are wondering the character with an icy mountain on top of its head, just so you know every prefecture in Japan has their own cartoon character that symbolizes their place and the things that you find in that place. Isn’t that just adorable? (as if Japan is not already loaded with adorable things). Interestingly, the shop also has a miniature depiction of their rich culture’s history for tourists to see.
I am definitely still in cloud nine even after writing about this trip! Just another checked mark in the bucket list!