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Traditionally in Japan, kamakura- snow domes with a cave dug into them - had been used in snow country for celebrations, including the New Year. In Yuzawa, blessed with so much snow, large kamakuras can be made. There are optional tours where you can enjoy dinner inside a large kamakura that'll be comfortable even with several adults inside!

Regional dishes enjoyed in a large kamakura

Every winter a large kamakura emerges in Yuzawa Ipponsugi Ski Resort. It's a compact ski resort with only one run. However, because it's situated in the middle of an onsen town surrounded by large hotels and resort apartments, it's highly accessible and within walking distance from the Joetsu Shinkansen's Echigo Yuzawa station.

Surprisingly large kamakura

The large kamakura at Yuzawa Ipponsugi Ski Resort is so big it's almost two stories high! This is only possible because Yuzawa gets so much snow. The ski resort also includes areas for sledding and other snow activities.
The entrance to a kamakura is a small hole that only one person can just squeeze through. But it's so spacious inside.

Tables and chairs for a break

The interior of a kamakura is surprisingly spacious and the ceiling is also high. There are chairs and tables with enough space for a few adults to sit down with ease. The kamakura blocks wind so you can stay warm and comfortable inside.
You'll see candles nestled in nooks carved into the snow wall to light the room. Flickering flames create a fantastic atmosphere inside.

Enjoy regional food inside a kamakura

If you sign up with an optional tour, you can enjoy a meal inside a kamakura, comprising regional dishes cooked in a restaurant adjacent to the ski resort. The meals are brought to the kamakura, warm and freshly made.
The rice balls feature koshihikari rice from Uonuma Shiozawa, a local region. Enjoy a break, with chunky miso soup and konjac with miso.
[Experience kamakura]
・Dates: January 14 - March 25, 2018
*The dates are subject to change depending on the quantity of snow.
・Tours scheduled for at least 2 participants
・Apply to: Snow Country Tourism Information Center (Tel: 025-785-5353 / Mail: yoyaku@yuzawaonsen.gr.jp)
* You can apply for the tour up to a day before, but applications will close once full.
・Fee: 3,000 yen per adult, 2,500 yen per primary school pupil
*Admission is free for children under school age but it does not include meals.
・Meeting time and area: 3:45pm at Snow Country Tourism Zone Information Center, Echigo-Yuzawa Onsen Tourism Association, at the west exit of Echigo Yuzawa station (local staff will be there to guide you)
・Venue: Yuzawa Ipponsugi Ski Resort
・Charges include: Meals, experience fees, and snow tools including sledges
・Not included in the charges: Please pay for drinks when you are there
photo & text : Chiho Kuriyama

Facility Information

Snow Country Tourism Information Center

Address
2431-1 Yuzawa, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata 949-6101
URL
https://www.snow-country-tourism.jp/
Notes
Access: At the west exit, Echigo Yuzawa station, Joetsu Shinkansen

Yuzawa Ipponsugi Ski Resort

Address
2521 Yuzawa, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata 949-6101
Notes
Access: 2-minute walk from Echigo Yuzawa station, Joetsu Shinkansen.

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