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I recently won a Yuzawa town lift ticket (thank you Yuzawa Town and Snow Japan!) and decided to use it as an opportunity for a little mini getaway with the family. There is a hot spring resort hotel in Naeba town close to Naeba Skijo that I had been wanting to stay at for a couple of years and my wife also liked the idea of going , so after work on Friday we packed the kids in the car and were on our way!


One of my favorite things about winter in Japan is sitting in a outdoor hot spring bath while staring out over a snow covered landscape and the Yuzawa area is a great place to experience this magnificent combination. On the high end of the price scale there are beautiful ryokans (Japanese style hotels) with outdoor baths overlooking the mountains and the town below but even for people on a budget, like me for example, there are nice places to be found.


We stayed at Naeba West which is a part of the Honjo Resort. I think the reason it is affordable is because you have to cross the 17 to get to the hot spring baths but I would say the positives outweigh the negatives. It has a wonderful outdoor hot spring bath that I had to myself for over an hour. The combination of the beautiful wooden beams which made up the roof of the bath as well as the view of the snow covered forest made for a wonderful relaxing moment.




In the morning I woke up early in hopes of getting a few runs in while my family was still sleeping. Our hotel was within walking distance of the resort but far enough that I decided to drive. I rode the Prince Gondola 2 an snapped these picture on the ride up.






The ride down with really nice! the snow was better than I was expecting and I was able to hit some untouched powder without leaving the course. I was a little tight on time so I only was able to ride one run before heading back to the hotel to get ready for checkout. We made the 10 am deadline and drove to the resort as a family.


One of the reasons I chose Naeba was due to the variety of things they have for small children. The only problem is the resort is so big that the people working there don’t seem to know where everything is! I got a lot of mixed messages while looking for the kids room which lead to a lot of unnecessary walking with lots of stuff. I would recommend doing more planning than I did if you want to bring the family.


We eventually made it to the kids play room which was equipped with lots of toys to entertain kids between 1 and 4. There was also a nursing and diaper changing room next door. The room was clean and organized like the picture on the website when we got there but after a full day of kidmania here is what it looked like.




With the family comfortable I decided to head for the top of the mountain to snap some pictures. I started with a little something for the cheese fans out there. That is the Takenokoyama Romance Lift.




There were some beautiful snowcovered trees uptop.












Here is a view straight down into the resort and town below. The area below were I took this photo was roped off, but there were plenty of lines in the snow.








For the most part I spent the day on the sides of the courses looking for untouched powder to ride. Considering the majority of my riding was done mid to late day on a Saturday there was plenty of powder to be had. Naeba really does encompass a large area. I did venture slightly of trail once and came face to face with a kamoshika! For those of you who don't know a kamoshika is an animal which I believe is only found in Japan and looks like a combination of a deer a goat and a wild boar. Here are some pictures I got after he ran away from me and was climbing a really steep hill. I felt kind of bad for frightening it but I was pretty surprised myself!












While stopping to watch the kamoshika I also got a few more tree shots.














Overall it was a great trip for the whole family!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great Gumma

Missed this thread but saw the Kamoshikas on the front page and was wandering what it was

Do they taste good?

lol. They are not on the legal hunting list, so I have yet to have a taste. Probably taste like gamey chicken ;)

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