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Our family's trip to Japan was extremely well planned and well executed, on very short notice... Hats off to you!
Family from Minneapolis

Nagano's Winter Wonderland

The exhilarating Nagano’s Winter Wonderland itinerary is perfect for culture vultures and winter sports fans alike, take in the dazzling sights and sounds of Tokyo, the amusing inhabitants of Jigokudani Monkey Park and the beauty of the traditional Japanese towns of Akihabara and Asakusa - famous for the Senso-ji temple, dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon - before traveling to the Nozawa Onsen for three days of skiing, cosy hospitality and winter frolics. With instructors on hand to guide newbies, this is an ideal trip for beginners, seasoned skiers and mixed groups.

Highlights
  • Revel in the bright lights and glamor of Japan, one of the greatest cities on Earth.
  • Witness the humorous antics of the denizens of Jigokudani Monkey Park.
  • Ski, ski and ski some more on the Olympic slopes of Nozawa Onsen.
  • Discover the history of the Crow Castle - one of Japan’s premier historic castles.
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1
Tokyo

Arrive today in Japan’s thriving, exciting capital - Tokyo. Transfer to your luxury hotel - we recommend the Peninsula Tokyo or Aman Tokyo - and while you get acquainted with your new surroundings, relax in preparation for the day ahead.

Day 2
Tokyo

Enjoy a full day exploring Tokyo. Start the day with a peek at the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world, and then move onto Jogai Shijo with its mixture of shops and restaurants - designed to celebrate traditional and innovative Japanese dishes - where you can also experience a fire ceremony at the at the local Fukagawa Fudoson temple. Continue your exploration of Tokyo with a visit to the well-known and revered Meiji Jingu Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji; then head to modern, funky and trendy Harajuku, before the more traditional towns of Akihabara and Asakusa, and experience the contrasting nature of Japan’s dedication to the future and reverence of the past.

Day 3
Nozawa Onsen

Depart Tokyo on the Shinkansen high-speed train towards the town’s ever popular Jigokudani Monkey Park. The park is inhabited by Japanese macaques who live in the forests of the Jigokudani valley, gathering around the hot springs to escape the winter cold and, famously, often spied covered in snow relaxing in the bubbling waters of a hot spring, in a way not unlike humans. Although the park is open all year round, the bathing monkeys are best seen from December to February, when the entire area is covered in a layer of gleaming white snow. Head onto Nozawa Onsen, check into your ryokan - we recommend the Sumiyosiya Ryokan or Ryokan Sakaya - and, like the Japanese macaque, you too can take a dip in the onsite hot-spring bath.

Day 4
Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa Onsen is in Nagano Prefecture, approximately 186 miles northwest from central Tokyo. The ski area is not large, but is extremely pretty and as off-piste skiing is also allowed, the actual skiable area is far bigger than it may first appear. Remote Lands will arrange your ski passes during your stay in Nozawa Onsen (rentals not included) and today you will have a full-day with a ski instructor, who will help you familiarize yourselves with the slopes.

Day 5
Nozawa Onsen

Enjoy your day skiing with your pre-arranged ski passes, valid during your stay in Nozawa Onsen (rentals not included). Depending on your dates of travel, there may be an evening Winter Illumination or Festival - these run from December to March.

Day 6
Nozawa Onsen

Today is your last full day of skiing. As on previous days, Remote Lands will organize your ski passes (rentals not included), enabling you to get on slopes without delay. So, make sure to rise early and make the most of this opportunity to work on your form and perfect your technique.

Day 7
Tokyo

Today, you will return to Tokyo, with a stop to visit Matsumoto Castle, a National Treasure of Japan, and view the legendary fortifications - also known as the "Crow Castle" due to the black exterior walls and ominous presence. Matsumoto is about a 50 minute train ride from Nagano, enroute back to Tokyo and your final night - we recommend Aman Tokyo or The Peninsula Tokyo.

Day 8
Departure

Following a relaxing morning and check out, you’ll be transferred to Tokyo International Airport and for your onward journey.

 

Suggested Accommodations

Location
Accommodation
TOKYO
Aman Tokyo, The Peninsula Tokyo

Aman Tokyo

Since its opening at the end of 2014, Aman Tokyo has been one of the most talked-about luxury hotels in the city. The most striking thing about it is its location; spread across the top six floors of a 40-storey tower in the Otemachi business district, the panoramic views are simply incredible. What’s more, all of the 84 rooms and suites take full advantage of the lofty position with floor-to-ceiling windows letting light in during the daytime, while also framing the breathtaking lit-up cityscape at night. Aman Tokyo has also received praise for its impressive interiors, which have been inspired by minimalistic design, including the use of camphor wood, washi paper and stone surfaces throughout the rooms as well as traditional Japanese facilities such as large ‘furo’ baths. Situated on the 33rd floor, both guests and non-guests can enjoy the fine Mediterranean food at the hotel’s signature restaurant, not forgetting more of those incredible views across Tokyo stretching as far as the Imperial Palace Gardens and Mount Fuji in the distance. Elsewhere, there is a spa, enclosed garden area, swimming pool, wine cellar, cigar lounge and a whole host of other facilities to keep guests entertained.

 

The Peninsula Tokyo

Mere steps from the Imperial Palace sits Tokyo’s newest luxury hotel, The Peninsula Tokyo. Located in Marunouchi district just a short walk from the shopping paradise of Ginza, the hotel is perfectly located for business or pleasure. With a total of 314 elegantly decorated rooms and 47 suites, the Peninsula Tokyo’s accommodations are among the most spacious in all of Tokyo, and offer plenty of amenities including espresso machines, complimentary Internet access, multifunction fax machines, nail polish drying machines, and shoe shining service. The hotel’s culinary options include Cantonese cuisine at the Hei Fung Terrace, regional Japanese fare at Kyoto Tsuruya, and International food and beverages at Cirque Culinaire and Peter. For relaxation, enjoy the hotel’s state of the art health club with pool complex, undergo a “spa journey” at the Peninsula Spa by ESPA, or try a leisurely jog around the Imperial Palace. Other amenities include a business center and a boutique store that offers food, gifts and souvenir items.

 
 
NOZAWA ONSEN
Ryokan Sakaya, Sumiyosiya Ryokan

Ryokan Sakaya

Located in the center of the world-famous and increasingly popular Nozawa Onsen village - considered by many to be the Japanese ski resort - Ryokan Sakaya is within easy reach of the slopes and just 15 minutes from the local travel hub, Togari Nozawa Onsen Station. Built 110 years ago, the hotel is made up of 29 rooms and features authentic Japanese design and accoutrements from the Taisho period, but also comes equipped with modern additions such as a free WiFi connection, flat-screen televisions and a choice of either Japanese or Western-style beds. The peaceful atmosphere, produced by the wooden architecture and traditional interiors, is enhanced further by the presence of one of the most beautiful onsens in all of Japan, allowing for both indoor and outdoor hot-spring bathing. With a reputation for excellence developed since its inception in the early 20th century, it is no surprise Ryokan Sakaya is a repeated nominee, and winner, of multiple hospitality awards, including Japan's Best Ski Boutique Hotel at the World Ski Awards in 2013.

 

Sumiyosiya Ryokan

Located just 11 minutes’ walk from the Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort, via the Yu-Road moving walkway, Sumiyosiya Ryokan is one of the oldest ryokans in Nozawa, and one of the few luxury hotels operating within the popular ski resort. Constructed almost entirely out of wood, the exteriors and interiors of the award-winning accommodations create a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere, which extends from the lobby throughout the hotel, to culminate in the magical setting of Sumiyosiya Ryokan’s own private onsen. The rooms themselves are in the traditional Japanese style, featuring elegant clean lines, shoji (paper walls) and tatami flooring, combined with modern accoutrements to create a simple, but very cosy, living space. With incredible cuisine, often prepared within the steaming waters of the nearby Ogama cooking onsen, and an incomparable level of service set against a striking backdrop, the hotel has developed an enviable reputation in the region and was named one of the Best Hotels for Service in Japan in the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2015.

 
 
TOKYO
Aman Tokyo, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi

Aman Tokyo

Since its opening at the end of 2014, Aman Tokyo has been one of the most talked-about luxury hotels in the city. The most striking thing about it is its location; spread across the top six floors of a 40-storey tower in the Otemachi business district, the panoramic views are simply incredible. What’s more, all of the 84 rooms and suites take full advantage of the lofty position with floor-to-ceiling windows letting light in during the daytime, while also framing the breathtaking lit-up cityscape at night. Aman Tokyo has also received praise for its impressive interiors, which have been inspired by minimalistic design, including the use of camphor wood, washi paper and stone surfaces throughout the rooms as well as traditional Japanese facilities such as large ‘furo’ baths. Situated on the 33rd floor, both guests and non-guests can enjoy the fine Mediterranean food at the hotel’s signature restaurant, not forgetting more of those incredible views across Tokyo stretching as far as the Imperial Palace Gardens and Mount Fuji in the distance. Elsewhere, there is a spa, enclosed garden area, swimming pool, wine cellar, cigar lounge and a whole host of other facilities to keep guests entertained.

 

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi

Housed in the skyscraper Pacific Century Place, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi has just 48 rooms and nine suites. Fitting the needs of the leisure and business traveler, all accommodations have plasma televisions, WiFi, twice-daily housekeeping services, down or hypoallergenic bedding and a private bar as standard amenities. The spa has two private treatment rooms with a variety of treatments available, and guests are also welcome to relax in the spacious lounge, steam sauna, jet showers, Japanese scrub showers and a traditional onsen bath. There is one restaurant, Ekki Bar & Grill, which offers continental cuisine paired with a mostly New World wine list. Other hotel facilities include a 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour business center and a lobby lounge and bar with dramatic views of the city lights below.

 
 
Meet An Asia Expert
From Our Blog
Our co-founder Jay Tindall finds Japan both a challenging and rewarding travel destination, which requires several visits to truly understand. It's also his favourite food destination in Asia.
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