Tourists offered to snowboard, ski for free in Japan
INQUIRER.net / 02:46 PM February 02, 2017
The winter season in Japan attracts numerous foreign tourists to ski and snowboard on the country’s coldest regions. Because of this, the Fukushima Prefecture is offering foreigners to ski for free in the Aizu region.
This promotional campaign applies to foreign visitors between the ages of 19 and 24, under which they will receive a free one-day lift pass. For those outside the age range, there is another promo where the day pass will only cost 2,000 yen (roughly P1,000), reports RocketNews24.
The Aizu area itself is just 80 minutes away from Tokyo station to Koriyama station on the Shinkansen bullet train. This makes it easy access for foreigners who might have trouble navigating the Japanese train system if the journey involves more than one train ride.
There are a variety of runs and ski resorts at the Aizu area, including a 3,500-meter trail for beginners and kids. There are also mogul and slalom runs for snowboarders and advanced skiers.
For accommodation, be it for the day or overnight, visitors can stay at the Urabandai Grandeco Tokyu Hotel which is right next to the Grandeco ski resort, one of the largest resorts in the area. The hotel offers twin and family rooms, indoor and outdoor onsen hot spring, a swimming pool, western and Japanese-style restaurants, as well as a beautiful view from the lobby lounge.
An overnight stay also comes with a breakfast buffet that has a make-your-own pancake service.
Apart from skiing and snowboarding, there are other activities to be enjoyed such as snowmobile riding (1,000 yen), snow rafting (1,500-2,000 yen), and snowshoe tours. There’s also an area called ‘Deco Land’ where beginners and children can learn to ski on a gentle slope. A half-day entry ticket is 600 yen while a full-day pass is 1000 yen.
The Grandeco resort is part of the Bandai-Asahi National Park and includes Mt. Bandai, one of Japan’s most famous volcanoes. The ski season is rather impressive and stretches from November until early May.
Aizu has not seen much international attention and has been largely enjoyed by local Japanese visitors. This means little to no crowds and more room to enjoy the pristine dry snow in the ski region.
For those who have plans to visit Japan some time soon, the special deal for the 1-day pass runs until March 31. More information can be found at the I Play Fukushima website. Visitors can also get to know the Grandeco ski resort over at their official site. This might be a good chance to enjoy one of Japan’s well-kept secret snow destinations, before the tourist crowd takes over the place. Alfred Bayle
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