The annual family snow trips have been a popular event for us for a while and it’s not too much of a drive – ~4.5 hours and 320Km to Nagano Prefecture’s Shiga Kogen Ichinose area, and even better, the last 15Km requires [rubber] chains or snow tyres, and as we have the former, I do get to enjoy driving in the mountains.
We usually like to try different places to stay for a bit of variety, but this year we stayed at the same place for two weekends in the ‘village’ of Ichinose, thanks to getting a deal staying at the Hotel Japan for a few days via Expedia.
Disconcertingly, the hotel we chose had a fire a couple of years ago in the main wing apparently, though from what we saw, it all looked like business as usual aside from lots of reminders not to smoke… I don’t know why, but does the name ‘Hotel Japan’ seem a bit generic? That said, breakfast was decent, it’s above an excellent Nepalese restaurant, and the onsen is nice and clean.
Anyway, for families, Ichinose is very decent – a cluster of hotels, some bars and restaurants, and access to much of the Shiga Kogen ski resort area, and even over to Kusatsu if you drive just a little bit more. We spent time around the Diamond area nearby – it’s not awesome powder or insane double diamonds, but it’s a nice family paced warm up area, then we drove the 5Km around to Okushiga, as they have a good ski school for the kids, and a good mix of steep, S bend oriented forest runs for variety, and on a good day, some nice powder – it’s also just a bit of a slide over to the Yakebitaiyama courses.