9 ski resorts 18 onsen spa areas Countless outdoor sports Huge helpings of nature!
Minakami Town both charming and exciting features during the winter season and also throughout the other seasons of the year. The mix of traditional Japanese tranquility and beauty and exciting winter and year-round outdoor sports is intoxicating, making the region a must visit destination on a trip to Japan.
The grandiose natural beauty which embodies the Tanigawadake mountain range is a fine starting point offering some incredible mountain scenery. The onsen hot springs. The outdoor river sports. The traditional Japanese crafts and culture available to experience...
The town of Minakami is located in the Tone district of northern Gunma Prefecture, on the border with Yuzawa in Niigata. It is about one hour and 20 minutes away by the Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station and less than a two hours drive.
Surrounded by mountains, the town covers an area with the total of 780 square kilometers with a population of about 23,000. The Tone river riverhead is located within the town, and this is the largest basin area in all of Japan. The town is named after the great book, "Minakami-kikou (The Traveler's Journal of Minakami)" which describes the spectacular natural beauty of the riverhead of the Tone river.
Tanigawadake, one of Japan's top 100 mountains, is one of the main symbols of Minamaki making for an endlessly impressive backdrop for the town.
The many valleys of Minamaki each with their own individual atmosphere and feel, many people visiting Minakami to view and explore all of the spectacular landscapes on offer.
Ski and snowboard resorts in Minakami town
Of surely great interest to SnowJapan readers - there are a 9 individual ski and snowboard resorts in Minakami. For more detailed information on each of the resorts - including resort data, location (including maps), resort reviews, photographs and daily updated snow and weather reports - click on the links below:
While skiing and snowboarding are the main attraction for most during the winter months, many are also enjoying the other activities that can be enjoyed in the snow like snow shoeing, snow tubing, sledging.... and just generally enjoying playing in the snow. In Japanese this is called 'yuki-asobi'. Many of the ski and snowboard resorts are increasingly offer these kind of different activities.
Onsen hot springs & culture
Minakami has 18 distinctive onsen areas making it a popular destination for those exploring the hot springs of Japan.
As well as simply feeling great - especially after a day out skiing or snowboarding - they are said to bring many health benefits as well.
For more information on the onsen available in Minakami please check the information on enjoy-minakami.jp.
In Minakami you can also enjoy visiting traditional buildings that were constructed during the Edo period and ruins that remain from the Jomon period. There's also opportunities to experience creating pottery or other crafts, and fruit picking in the summer months.
Outdoor sports throughout the year
There's no let up in Minakami! The area is one of the most well-know outdoor sports areas in the whole of Japan with an endless amount of activities and excitement to enjoy including rafting, lake canoeing, canyoning, paragliding, bungy jumping, mountain biking, camping, golf.... the list goes on. Once the snow disappears in spring, thoughts turn to other ways to get the adrenaline going - here's some images to whet the appetite!
Annual events in Minakami
March Minakami walk-skiing festival Fujiwara igloo and candle night
May Opening of Mt. Omine and Azumaya
June Opening of Mt. Tairappyo Firefly viewing Opening of Mt. Hotaka
July Opening of Mt .Tanigawa
August Minakami festival with fireworks display Sarugakyo spa resort & Lake Akaya fireworks display Lake Fujiwara marathon Mt. Tanigawa star gazing tour
September Oide festival Moon viewing
October Adventure festival The closing ceremony of Tanigawadake / memorial service for casualty
November Agricultural & cultural festival
December Snow campaign
Getting to Minakami
Minakami is a simple journey from the Tokyo by both train and car...
The Jomo Kogen Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen bullet train line is located in Minakami, about 8km from to the south of the centre of town. It is just around 70 minutes Tokyo Station to Jomo Kogen Station. The local Joetsu-sen train line also goes through Minakami, with the main station in the town called Minakami Station.
Getting to Minakami by train
Narita Airport --> [Narita Express: about 1h] --> Tokyo Sta. --> [Jhoetsu Shinkansen: about 1h 20min.] --> Jomo-Kogen Sta. (about 2h 20min.) Haneda Airport --> [monorail: about 22min.] --> Hamamatsu-cho Sta. --> [local train line: about 6min.] --> Tokyo Sta. --> [Joetsu Shinkansen: about 1h 20min.] --> Jomo-Kogen Sta. (about 1h 48min.)
Kansai International Airport --> [limited express Haruka: about 50min.] --> Shin-Osaka Sta. --> [Tokaido Shinkansen: about 2h 35min.] --> Tokyo Sta. --> [Joetsu Shinkansen: about 1h 18min.] --> Jomo-Kogen Sta. (about 4h 43min.)
Chubu International Airport --> [Nagoya Railroad: about 28min.] --> Nagoya Sta. --> [Tokaido Shinkansen: about 1h 44min.] --> Tokyo Sta. --> [Joetsu Shinkansen: about 1h 18min.] --> Jomo-Kogen Sta. (about 3h 30 min.)
The Kanetsu Expressway (toll road) runs through Minakami. The journey from Nerima I.C. in the northern Tokyo region to Minakami I.C. is about 156km and in good conditions takes around 1 hour 45 minutes. (Please note that in bad weather conditions and peak times, it can take considerably longer). The journey takes you north through Saitama and Gunma. The ski resorts and onsen areas of Minakami are all reachable by getting off the expressway at Minakami I.C. or Tsukiyono I.C.
Getting to Minakami by car
Nerima Exit --> [Kanetsu Expressway] --> Tsukiyono IC Exit, Minakami IC Exit (about 1h 40min.)