Tag Archives: winter

The Slopes Near Shima Onsen: A Skiers Paradise, a Snowboarder’s Dream!

Norn Minamai

Japan is world-renowned for its abundance of ski resorts and top-notch powder snow.
Niseko in Hokkaido and Hakuba in Nagano are particularly popular among international visitors and residents.
In fact, many come to and live in Japan for the sole purpose of enjoying some of the best slopes in the world.

Of course, some visitors may have other things in mind when visiting.
Some prefer just a taste of the snow while enjoying the scenery, shopping, or onsen. Shima Onsen offers the perfect solution to such visitors.

Although there are no ski resorts in the direct vicinity of Shima Onsen, it takes a mere 2 hours by car to get to the world-class slopes in Naeba or the powdered dreamland of Karuizawa.
Imagine taking a day-trip to a snowboarder’s paradise and returning to relax your weary muscles in Shima Onsen’s healing waters.
For international visitors who decide to rent a car, such a day-trip could be the perfect way to spend your time here at Shima Onsen.

Check here for car rental information

Read on for more information on the many ski resorts in the Shima Onsen Area!

Ski Resort(Naeba)
Naeba Ski Resort

Naeba Ski Resort is a world-renowned ski resort which has hosted the Alpine Ski World Cup in the past.
Although located in the neighboring Niigata Prefecture, the ski resort is surprisingly close—only an hour and a half by car!
Just take the Kan-Etsu Expressway’s Tsukiyono Interchange (IC) to get there in a flash.

Tambara Ski Park, also known for its summer lavenders, is only half an hour away from the Kan-Etsu Expressway’s Numata IC.
For another option about the same distance away, check out Kawaba Resort’s long course, which is only 25 minutes from the Numata IC.
While you’re there, try dropping in at the famous michi no eki (“roadside station”), Kawaba Den-en Plaza.

The Numata IC itself is about an hour away from Shima Onsen via Kokudo (“National Highway”) 145 and 353.

For a ski resort closer to Shima Onsen, we recommend Norn Minakami Ski Resort, which is only 3 km from the Kan-Etsu Expressway’s Minakami IC.
This is without a doubt the most convenient ski resort in terms of access from Shima Onsen.

Other excellent options are the Karuizawa Snow Park and the Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort, both of which can be accessed via the Joshin-Etsu Expressway’s Usui Karuizawa IC.
While neither resort receives much natural snowfall, the slopes are made with high-quality snowmaking equipment.

Because of this, you never have to worry about the quality of powder changing from year to year, since the conditions on the slopes aren’t dependent on the weather!

Despite its name, Karuizawa Snow Park is in an area called Northern Karuizawa, which is actually in Gunma, and only a little over an hour from Shima Onsen.
This resort also boasts slopes and snow activities for kids, making it a family-friendly choice as well! What’s more, there are short-term tickets for either 2 or 4 hours, for visitors who only want a small taste of the snow.

Karuizawa

Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza

Also noteworthy, the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza is right next to the Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort.
Why not enjoy some shopping before or after you hit the slopes?

Onsen! after skiing

As you can see, Shima Onsen isn’t only a place to go for a nice bath.
We’re surrounded by excellent ski slopes, so why not take advantage? After all, the ski-onsen combo is popular even among the Japanese!

If you interested in Japanese style Onsen, Please click here
Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan >

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Winter in Japan: Open-air Onsen, Scenic Snowscapes, Skiing and More!

SnowInShimaOnsen

As we’ve written before on our blog (see links below), the Japanese take pride in the distinct charm of each of the four seasons.

The cherry blossoms of spring and the dazzling autumn leaves, the electrifying buzz of the cicadas in summer and the calm, sheer white snow of winter beckoning you to come play!

Hanami
Autumn Leaves

The winter season is upon us now, so you may be asking yourself: what is there to do here in Japan? Well, let us give you just a few ideas!

In winter, you can enjoy snowy landscapes stretching over a wide range in Japan, from Hokkaido in the far north to the more central Northern Kanto where Shima Onsen and our Kashiwaya Ryokan are located. Although it depends on the conditions in each region, generally the snow season is from December until March.

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Drive trip in a car. Watch out road closures during winter.

Drive in Winter

In my previous blog, I wrote an article to recommend using a rental car for traveling areas close to airports and major cities, such as onsen near Tokyo.

By using a rental car, you can travel more freely at the destination suburbs.

Gradually more and more foreign customers also visit our Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan by rental cars.

For such customers, watch road closures information during winter.

Our Shima Onsen is located in Gunma, which is next to Shibu-Yudanaka Onsen in Nagano famous with snow monkeys, Tochigi with Nikko, Niigata with Naeba Ski Resort and so on.

The boundaries between those prefectures often pass through mountain roads.

In addition, some of main roads are closed during winter due to snow.

Kashiwaya winter scene

Also on the other day, a customer tried to visit us by a rental car from Nagano side.

But he had to take significant detour as the planned road was closed during winter.

Since this kind of information is hardly transmitted to customers overseas, it will be a sudden problem when they try to visit us with GPS and maps.

Although you can obtain information in Japanese through Japan Road Traffic Information Center, it seems that they do not transmit the information in English.

The winter road closures, which seem to be related to customers to Shima Onsen, are the following two sectors.

Route 292, From mid-November to late April
It is a road, which passes from Shibu-Yudanaka Onsen in Nagano famous with snow monkeys to Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma, through Shiga Kogen.

Route 120, From late December to late April
It is a road, which passes from Nikko in Tochigi with Nikko to Katashina in Gunma, through Konsei Toge.

If you’re planning to drive to snowy places during winter, obtain winter road closure information in advance and act with spare time, such as by inquiring to hotels and ryokan you are planning to stay.

Related article:
Let’s go to Shima Onsen by a rental car! You’ll have more fun!
“ETC Card” is essential when using a rental car in Japan

If you interested in Japanese style Onsen, Please click here
Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan >

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