The Ultimate Paradise for Skiers at Hoshino Resorts

The Ultimate Paradise for Skiers at Hoshino Resorts

Enjoy the best powder snow in Japan at Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU and OMO7 Asahikawa

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A belt of powder snow stretching across central Hokkaido from north to south

The “Hokkaido Powder Belt” refers to an area of central Hokkaido, stretching from north to south, that has been gaining popularity in recent years for producing some of the best powder snow to be had in Japan. Hoshino Resorts, a renowned hotel and resort operator in Japan, has been leading the effort to spread the word about the wonders of central Hokkaido with a particular focus on the Powder Belt.

Asahidake, amongst a range of other ski resorts in the area, springs to mind when referring to parts of the Powder Belt popular amongst hardcore ski-fans and places worshipped as off-piste havens. Within this prominent belt of powder snow is the Hoshino Resorts-operated OMO7 Asahikawa located near Asahikawa Airport. Asahikawa, situated in the northern region of the Powder Belt, is the second largest city in Hokkaido and Hoshino Resorts has set up an establishment here to take advantage of the perfect location to send guests off to the surrounding ski fields.

Over on the southern portion of the Powder Belt is Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU Tomamu features tree runs and other off-piste courses, permitted for experts only, that offer the ultimate powder snow experience amongst hardcore skiers and snowboarders, whilst also gaining popularity amongst families and casual snow sports enthusiasts for featuring equally as fulfilling courses. This feature article will place spotlights on both areas to show off their various charms as well as offering handy information about their surrounds.

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An independent luxury resort — Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU

Tomamu is an independent ski resort run by Hoshino Resorts, a renowned Japanese hotel and resort operator. This massive resort in Hokkaido offers one of the best luxurious stays in all of Japan and features: two hotels on its expansive grounds; over 25 restaurants, cafés, and bars; Chapel on the Water, one of three chapels designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando; the largest indoor wave pool in Japan—Mina-Mina Beach; the open-air public bath Kirin no Yu and three other spa treatment facilities; and a range of other facilities.

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Two accommodation facilities can be found on the grounds. Tomamu the Tower caters to a range of needs, such as families with children, whilst RISONARE Tomamu is a five-star hotel with a whirlpool bath with a view and private saunas in all of its suite rooms that boast over 100 square metres of space each. Guests staying at either of the hotels have access to facilities across both of them, as well as the ability to ski in and ski out.

Guests of independent ski resorts tend to generally enjoy their stays within the resort grounds, and Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU has constructed an addition to enhance the resort experience. In 2017, Hotalu Street was built to take advantage of the mountain’s slope and features nine different places to eat, drink, and shop. The shops and restaurants on this street are connected by an approximately 160-metre-long wooden deck. It goes without saying that the restaurants are plentiful and can be visited at night, but what makes this street stand out is that its location on the ski field makes it possible for skiers and snowboarders to visit this little town on their shred down the mountain.

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Hotalu Street is a five-minute walk from both the Tower and RISONARE Tomamu, and enhances stays at Tomamu greatly for the ability to visit briefly during a ski, or for more leisurely jaunts after skiing or snowboarding sessions. Some establishments on the street do change over time, however, there are always popular Hokkaido institutions to be found there, making it a focal point for Japanese gourmands as well. This street allows guests to enjoy the ultimate resort stay whilst also experiencing the latest trending restaurants, making it a great attraction in Tomamu.

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The Ice Village is a night-time sight to see and enjoy during a stay at Tomamu. This village is only available during winter and features: the Ice Chapel, where weddings can be held; the Ice Hotel with beds, sofas, and other items made out of ice; as well as an ice slippery dip, ice skating rink, an ice bar, shops, and a variety of other icy establishments. Guests are also treated to fireworks displays from 7:30 PM very night.

It’s easy to get swept away by these wonderful facilities, but one of the main drawcards of Tomamu is how accommodating it is as a ski resort. The resort touts itself as “the most family-friendly ski resort in Japan”, and rightfully so. It features many courses that families with children can enjoy stress-free, such as those amongst the trees that are suitable for children. For those who opt not to ski or snowboard, there is the It is called as UNKAI Terrace in spring, summer and autumn.

The Same place in winter, called Terrace of Frost Trees. just off the gondola chair lift stop, which is an observation deck where visitors can gaze upon the trees glittering with white light from the frost and the magnificent view of the snowy mountains, as well as other facilities to get the most out of winter in the great outdoors.

Hardcore skiers will be particularly pleased to have access to off-piste areas, designed for advanced skiers and snowboarders, as they are open for those who dare to step foot in them. These off-course areas are generally outside of the jurisdiction of the ski resort, owever, by pre-registering at the Powder Area Registration Desk and receiving an arm band, unlimited access is permitted at no extra cost.The expanse of these open areas means thereis a high chance of being able to experience the ultimate, untouched powder snow the next day following a night’s worth of snowfall.

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Making the trip over to other ski slopes is another fun option whilst staying in Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU. Staying at Tomamu allows access to a range of ski fields that would otherwise be difficult to venture into if based in the northern vicinity of the Powder Belt. Twenty kilometres to the east is Sahoro Resort, which is known for its excellent quality snow and tendency to have clear skies. The popular Furano is also within convenient reach to visit as well. Tomamu is a highly recommended ski resort to set up base for a new trip to conquer the ski slopes of Hokkaido.

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Shred the slopes and then hit the town during a stay at OMO7 Asahikawa

Asahikawa, situated approximately 30-minutes away from Asahikawa Airport, is the second largest city in Hokkaido and known for boasting an excellent location as the gateway to the Powder Belt. It is in this fine city that Hoshino Resorts operates OMO7 Asahikawa, a unique hotel that provides a variety of services in an effort to promote Asahikawa as a city of skiing.

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While there are many advantages to staying in Asahikawa, one of the biggest is that the products and services here are not priced exorbitantly as they would be for resort-goers since it is a city where locals go about their daily lives. Ski resorts, with their growing number of overseas guests, fall into the habit of offering “tourist prices”, whereas a large city filled with locals has prices that are local-friendly.

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Staying in a city also comes with the added perk of all there is to be enjoyed after a skiing session, especially in the entertainment district of Asahikawa featuring over 1,000 dining and shopping establishments.

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OMO7 Asahikawa is leading the way in showing off all the joys of a ski trip based in the city of Asahikawa. The city is surrounded by a number of ski fields, from large ski resorts, to local ones with amazing open sidecountry areas such as Kamui Ski Links, and the world-famous backcountry paradise of Asahidake. What makes these ski slopes all the more appealing is that guests at OMO7 Asahikawa have access to free transport to and from them. Asahidake is popular amongst hardcore skiers, but tourists can also take the ropeway up to get close to the area where the volcanic smoke rises.

Back at OMO7 Asahikawa, skiers and snowboarders can converse amongst themselves in the lounge, or drop by the WAX BAR for some gear maintenance and choose from one of 30 different types of snow wax to suit various types of snow textures and temperatures. The WAX BAR is free to use for all guests.

For a unique service offered by OMO7 Asahikawa, look no further than OMO Rangers. OMO Rangers refers to a service where members of staff with vast knowledge about the city act as guides, on their area of specialty, for guests at the hotel. There are a range of tours, such as: trips around the city to taste the different, famous ramens; an izakaya (Japanese pub) crawl with fellow skiers and snowboarders in the hotel’s surrounds; or a day spent learning about the culture of Asahikawa. Tap into the knowledge bank of the OMO Rangers to learn about everything Asahikawa has to offer.

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Examples of the different places the Rangers may take guests include: a trip to a fabric-maker to explore the city’s crafty side; a visit to a cheese-maker to try out some of the city’s famous products; or dropping by the gallery of Hiroshi Abe, a famous local author of picture books. Guests can delve deep into the wonders of Asahikawa that only locals know about.

Hiroshi Abe has written and drawn over 130 books featuring animals and originally worked for 25 years as a zookeeper at Asahiyama Zoo, which is known as one of the best zoos in Japan. Guests should definitely hang up their ski boots for a day during a stay here to visit Asahiyama Zoo. This zoo has visitors coming back time and time again to see the lively and active animals, not often found at other zoos, due to the unique habitats Asahiyama has created to suit them. A stay at OMO7 Asahikawa is sure to enhance any trip to the city.

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【HOKKAIDO】 Report From Sapporo

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Plumes of smoke from Asahidake  Photos: Masaaki Kato

▶︎ Report from Sapporo – Father and Son

In the midst of September with autumn well on the way, Shu Ikeguchi, born and raised in Australia, visited Sapporo City in Hokkaido together with his father Ike, who has lived in Australia for 35 years. Shu, well versedin the culture of both Australia and Japan, provided a report on what drew them to the largest city in Hokkaido, a region famous in Australia for the powder snows of Niseko, and what they discovered nearby.

From Sapporo to Niseko


In the morning, we rented a hybrid car in Sapporo City and made for Niseko some 90km away. It was great to be out in the crisp autumn air; the mountain roads on the way to Niseko were lined with trees decked in autumn colors, and we could have kept driving for hours.
Our destination was Mt. Youtei, the main peak of Niseko area. The majestic outline of the mountain reminded me of Mt. Fuji, easily deserving its nickname of the Mt. Fuji of the north. The rivers by the roadside that snaked through the wilderness about us stirred up memories of the landscapes of Europe I had once travelled, and the waters were so clear you could see straight down to the riverbed. Reaching Niseko was easy thanks to the English language navigation system in the car. With its superb snow, the area has seen an increase in visitors from Australia over the past twenty years. And as the number of visitors has grown, so too has the town itself, quickly gaining an international reputation.
During our stay, I met Australian marketer and ski resort development pioneer Paul Haggart. Though it was clear just how monumental an effort it had been for him to come so far, his plans and goals for the future were clear and promised greater things to come. Niseko can become the best snow resort in the world – I am sure of that.
At the Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort, a wide range of accommodation awaits the hundreds of thousands of travellers who visit each year, and famous Australian entrepreneur Ross Findlay is said to have some 200 condominiums
in the area. In the autumn, the area hosts a beautiful display of autumn foliage and a pleasant, dry breeze. The view of Mt. Youtei as seen from Grand Hirafu was incredible.

The Nikka Whiskey Yoichi Distillery


That evening, we visited Yoichimachi on the Shakotan Peninsula overlooking the Sea of Japan to see the Yoichi Distillery of Nikka Whiskey, one of Japan’s most prolific whiskey manufacturers.
The red roofs of the distillery buildings made me feel as though I was in Scotland. It was there that founder of the distillery, Masataka Taketsuru, also known as the father of whiskey in Japan, travelled and threw himself into learning about whiskey, later seeking a place in Japan to build his own brand. That place was Yoichi, its cool yet warm climate reminiscent of Scotland.
The distillery Masataka created in 1934 to bring whiskey to Japan continues to produce fine whiskey today, and visitors can take tours of the whiskey production methods and processes.

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Historic Otaru


That night, we stayed in the port town of Otaru by the Sea of Japan not far from Yoichi. We went exploring the next day.
Otaru is a beautiful town where you can see and touch the history of Hokkaido. It prospered on the back of coal imports and trade with Russia, a fact that the numerous modern buildings throughout the town can attest to. The Otaru Canal is famed for its beauty and is a popular location in movies and television shows, which in turn has drawn an increasing number of visitors from abroad.
Given that you can see a side of a Japan from a hundred years ago, it was no surprise to see so many visitors with cameras in tow. The town is easy to navigate, and historic buildings like the Otaru Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Bank of Japan, and the old rows of buildings with their galvanized steel make for a beautiful sight. Salmon can be seen swimming in the rivers, and the ivy creepers along the antique buildings lining the river were picturesque. Keen photographers will stay on past sunset, to catch the stunning scenery of the canal by night.

Shiroi Koibito Park


Back in Sapporo, we visited the Shiroi Koibito Park, which combines the head factory of the Shiroi Koibito cookies famous in Hokkaido with an adjoining theme park. Here you can learn about the process used to manufacture the cookies and the history of chocolate, and view works of art. The western-style buildings of the park look straight out of Switzerland, while the merry-go-rounds make it look almost like Disneyland. It is a wonderful spot for couples and for families alike.
Afterwards, we went to see the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium that served as a venue in the Sapporo Olympics, the Sapporo Beer Garden, an all-you-can-eat stop for Hokkaido’s famous Genghis Khan cuisine, and many other wonderful tourist spots, taking in everything we could. There is more to Hokkaido than just the skiing, and this trip showed me just what is on offer, especially around Sapporo.
At an upper floor of JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo where we stayed in Sapporo was a large hot spring bathing area with a spectacular view out over the city. On the floor above was a bar with an equally breathtaking view where we enjoyed cocktails of the hotel’s own recipe after a long, hot bath. The hotel staff spoke English, and were a big help in providing information about the city. Choosing the right hotel is an important part of any trip, and this one left us more than satisfied.

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JR TOWER HOTEL NIKKO SAPPORO


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JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo, run by JAL Hotels, combines the convenience of being directly connected to Sapporo Station with the luxury of a resort. The hotel is built into the JR Towever, a landmark of Sapporo City that is built into the south exit of Sapporo Station. With natural hot springs that can be enjoyed from lookout-style spas, bars where you can kick back and relax, restaurants offering local cuisine, rooms with an eye for comfort, and views from high above, this hotel is a true urban resort.

Information: http://www. jalhotels.com/ domestic/ hokkaido/ sapporo/

【HOKKAIDO】 SAPPORO

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©Y.Shimazu   ©JNTO

▶︎ City of Hospitality, Sapporo

Tourist Hot Spots in Hokkaido

©JNTO

©Yasufumi Nishi   ©JNTO

Odori Park Sapporo TV Tower
Odori Park in the heart of Sapporo City is a place of rest for the city’s residents, and the host of festivals throughout the year such as the Sapporo Lilac Festival, the Yosakoi Soran Festival, and the Sapporo Snow Festival. Stretching over 1.5km from east to west, the park is dotted with beautiful flowerbeds, trees and shrubberies, fountains, statues, and monuments. A landmark of Sapporo City located in Odori Park, this tower offers the perfect vantage out over the Ishikari Plains from a height of 90m above the ground. The Sapporo TV Tower is the perfect spot for taking photographs, and the hours around sunset are a must see when the daylight fades, slowly giving way to the nighttime lights and illuminations as they light up the sky.
www.sapporo-park.or.jp/odori/ www.tv-tower.co.jp

©Hokkaido Tourism Organization   ©JNTO

©Yasufumi Nishi   ©JNTO

Sapporo Beer Museum Sapporo Snow Festival
Learn about the history of Sapporo Beer from the time of its establishment up until recent times through displays of historical materials. In addition to learning about the beer production process, there is a lounge where you can partake in beer tasting for a fee. A beer garden with over 3,200 seats is also available for those keen to enjoy the taste of Sapporo Beer. A traditional festival for all things ice and snow, this festival is held each year in early February in Odori Park in Sapporo City and surrounds. The Odori Park venue hosts sculptures made of snow of varying sizes across its 78,901 square metre expanse, while the Susukino site glitters with ice sculptures. Snow slides, play areas, and more are available for children.
www.sapporobeer.jp/brewery/s_museum/index.html www.snowfes.com

  ©Sapporo City

©Sapporo City

Sapporo White Illumination Yosakoi Soran Festival
An event celebrating the art of light held from late November to mid-February each year. Over 25,000 light bulbs come together to form an illuminations display that celebrates the coming of winter in Sapporo. In addition to displays in Odori Park, trees are lit up along the front of Sapporo station from north to south, and along Minami Ichijo Dori from east to west. An event held each year in Sapporo City in early June, the Yosakoi Soran Festival, which represents a combination of Kochi Prefecture’s Yosakoi Festival and the famous Soran Bushi song of Hokkaido, first began in 1992. The star attractions are the teams of up to 150 dancers that travel to 25 venues throughout the city in a parade.
http://white-illumination.jp www.yosakoi-soran.jp

©Yasufumi Nishi   ©JNTO

©Yasufumi Nishi   ©JNTO

Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill Shiroi Koibito Park
This location combines the green, rolling hills common to the Hokkaido countryside, dotted with herds of sheep feeding on the lush grass of the fields, with a perfect view of the Ishikari Plains. Here, too, you will find the statue of the famous Dr. Clark and other Sapporo monuments. It is no wonder that this is a popular wedding venue, and a top tourist destination for visitors to Hokkaido and Sapporo. This park is a chocolate museum that allows you to learn about the production of the famous Shiroi Koibito cookies. Not only can you learn about the history of chocolate production, there is a cake bar, and sweets workshops are held here as well. Do not miss out on the Chocolate Lounge, where you can enjoy Shiroi Koibito cafe, chocolate drinks, and a chocolate fondue.
www.hitsujigaoka.jp www.shiroikoibito.ishiya.co.jp