Category Archives: Snow / Ski

10 Winter Play Spots in Saitama, commutable from Tokyo

With the dry and sunny weather, January is a great month to be out and about in Saitama. The choice of winter-only activities is an added incentive to don some winter woollies and head out into the cold. We may not have much (if any) snowfall, but you can still ski and play in snow in the Tokorozawa / Sayama area of Saitama.  We have a great selection of ice-rinks throughout the prefecture including one natural rink in rural Saitama. There is also a selection of indoor activities such as sport centres, heated pools and strawberry greenhouses to warm you up on even the coldest of days. Below is a pick of 10 indoor and outdoor locations, where you can either embrace or escape the cold this winter in Saitama.

1. Kasa skate rink

This is the only natural skate rink I know of in Saitama. Local volunteers band together to turn the natural ice pool into a suitable skate rink. However, as it is natural ice extra precaution is advised. You can borrow skates, guards and helmets at the rink.

Access: Bus from JR Hachiko Line Ogawamachi Station or Ogose Station to Shohoji 「正法寺」 . The rink is a five minute walk from the bus stop.

Free parking for up to 40 cars.

Address: Nishidaira, Tokigawa machi, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0364. Telephone: 0493-67-0853

Hours: Open 9 am to 4 pm weekends and holidays only, while the ice is frozen, typically until early February.

Cost: 500 yen for high school students and adults, 200 yen for children. Skate rental is also 500 yen for high school students and adults, 200 yen for children.

2. Numakage Ice Rink

The 50 metre pool in Numakage park is transformed into an ice rink in the winter. The rink opens late on weekends. If you just want to observe people skating you can enter the rink area for free.  There are other facilities of interest in the park such as an indoor pool and yoga and pilate classes.

Access: 10 minute walk from JR Saikyo Line Musashi Urawa station.

Free parking for up to 150 cars.

Address: 2-7-35 Numakage, Minami Ku, Saitama City, Saitama 336-0027. Telephone: 048-861-9955

Hours: Open 9 am to 6 pm on weekends and until 8.50 pm on weekends and public holidays until February 19th.

Cost: 640 yen for adults, 310 yen for primary and high school students, children under 7 are free. Skate rental costs 360 yen per person.

3. Saitama Ice Arena Winter Only Illuminated Rink

The Saitama Ice Arena is open all year round, but for weekends during the winter months they also have a sub rink that is illuminated at night. The main rink is an olympic sized rink. They have all the necessary safety gear available for children; you can borrow helmets for free.

Access: On Fridays, weekends and public holidays there is a shuttle bus from the east exit of the JR Takasaki Line Ageo station. It costs 200 yen for adults and a 100 yen for children. 20 minute walk from New Shuttle line’s Haraichi and Shonan stations.

Free parking for up to 70 cars.

Address: 4-386 Hinode, Ageo City, Saitama 362-0032

Hours: 10 am to 6 pm for the regular rink, the illuminated rink is open 6 pm to 8 pm on weekends, Fridays and public holidays for the months of December, January and February only.

Cost: 1100 yen for adults and high school students, 600 yen for children. Skates cost 500 yen to rent.

4. Lake Town Koshigaya Ice Rink

The huge outlet of Lake Town in Koshigaya have a seasonal outdoor ice-rink during the winter months in the “Sora no Hiroba”. From the 9th of January it is only available on weekends and public holidays.

Access: About a 7 minute walk from Musashino Line Koshigaya Lake Town Station.

Approximately 6 kilometres from the Misato Interchange on Joban Expressway. Approximately 7 kilometres from the Soka Interchange of the Tokyo Gaikan Expressway. Parking for 2200 cars. The first 5 hours are free and after that 100 yen for 30 minutes.

Address: Laketown Koshigaya, Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture 343-0828 Japan. 

Hours: 11 am to 7 pm on weekends and public holidays.

Cost: 500 yen for 30 minutes for anyone over 13 years old.
300 yen for 30 minutes for children between 4 and 12 years old.
600 yen for parent and child pair ticket.
Skate rental 400 yen per person.

Lake Town Outlet Skate Rink | KOSHIGAYA

5. Seibu Snow Kingdom

The Snow Kingdom in Seibu Amusement park will run until March 5th this year. Kids can enjoy sliding down the snow on snow tubes, sledges and / or giant inflated slides. They also have buckets and spades for digging tunnels or striders for use on the snow. There is also a ice skating rink in the amusement park.

Access: 5 minute walk from Seibu Tamako Line Seibu Yuenchi Station and Seibu Line Seibuen Station.

12 kilometres from Tokorozawa Interchange on the Kanetsu Expressway. Parking for 1200 cars (1300 yen per day).

Address: 2964 Yamaguchi, Tokorozawa City, Saitama 359-1145. Telephone:  042-922-1371.

Hours: The schedule varies a lot, but generally speaking it is open Fridays to Mondays and is generally closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. Hours are 10 am to 4 pm.  Please check the official website to make sure the snow park is open the day you hope to go: http://www.seibuen-yuuenchi.jp/guide/snow/

Cost: If you hold an entry ticket to Seibu Amusement Park the Snow Kingdom costs 800 yen for adults and children over 12, and 500 yen for children from 3 years old to 12 years old as well as seniors (over 60). If you have a “free pass” ticket it is 500 yen for over 12s and 300 yen for children and seniors.

Snow Kingdom @ Seibu Amusement Park | Tokorozawa

6. Sayama Ski Resort

This indoor artificial snow resort is the only one of its kind in Saitama. They don’t have any special play attractions for children, but they do have ski lessons for children and parents on a Saturday. They also have individual lessons and a ski school.

Access: 3 minute walk from Seibu Ikebukuro Line and Seibu Yamaguchi Lines Seibu Kyujomae station.

10 KM from Iruma Interchange on the Ken-O expressway following route 463 on to route 55. Parking for up to 700 cars. Costs 1200 yen per day.

Address: 2167 Kamiyamaguchi, Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture 359-1153, Japan. Telephone: (04)2922-1384

Hours: 10 am to 9 pm on weekdays and open from 10 am to 9 pm and then again from 10 pm until 6 am for night skiing on weekends.

Cost: Ski lift for adults is 4,100 yen, 3,300 yen for high school students, and free for primary and preschool aged children.  90 minute lessons with ski lift included for a parent and child cost 6,800 yen.

Sayama Ski Resort | SAYAMA

7. Waku Waku Dome

Waku waku Dome is a health centre in Asaka City. They have a number of indoor heated pools including a shallow pool with slide for children. The centre also has a play room with rest area for small children.

Access: 15 minute walk from Tobu Tojo LIne Asakadai Station and JR Musashino Line Kita Asaka station.

Free parking for up to 200 cars.

Address: 27 Hamasaki, Asaka-shi, Saitama-ken 351-0033

Hours: 9 am to 10 pm

Cost: For residents of Asaka 2 hours in use of the pool costs 400 yen for adults and 200 yen for students. For non-residents it is 800 yen for adults and 400 yen for students. Use of the pool is free for children under 7 years old.

8. Kasukabe Yumoto Onsen

There are many onsen throughout Saitama, but some are more child friendly than others. Yumoto onsen in Kasukabe has a nice area for children with an elephant and dinosaur slide into the hot spring.  There is also a pool in the resort and you can take yoga as well as enjoy a number of different relaxation services such as a hot stone sauna.

Access: Free shuttle bus from  Tobu Skyliner Sengendai station and Tobu Urban Park Noda line Toyohara station.

Free parking for up to 1000 cars.

Address: 66-1 Shimoōmashi Shinden, Kasukabe-shi, Saitama-ken 344-0036

Hours: 10 am to 8.30 am (22.5 hours), the pool is open until 7 pm.

Cost: Weekdays are 1340 yen for adults and 620 yen for children between 3 and 12 years old. On weekends it is 1750 yen for adults and 720 yen for children between 3 and 12 years old.  Entry is free for children under 3.

9. Shimura Strawberry Farm

Strawberry greenhouses are a great place to warm up during winter. The temperatures are usually above 20 degrees and it is lovely and humid making a nice change from the dryness outdoors.  This strawberry farm is one of my favourites, because of the little but engaging play area indoors and some fun features outdoors as well as complimentary hot drinks.

Access: Approximately 1 kilometre or 4 minutes by car from the Sakado exit of the Ken-O expressway.

Address: 102 Konuma, Sakado, Saitama 350-0202. Telephone: 080-5028-1062 between 8 am and 6 pm.

Hours: From 10 am, generally Tuesday to Sunday, from January 2nd until end of April or early May.

Cost: This year the cost is 1800 yen for adults and children over 6, children between 3 and 6 years old are 1400 yen,  2 year old children are 200 yen. You can also buy punnets of strawberries. One punnet costs 600 yen.

Strawberry Picking with a play area | Sakado

 

10. Spocha

Spocha is Saitama’s largest indoor sports and play centre. It is a great centre to enjoy all year round, but on the coldest of days what better way to warm up than with some indoor physical activity. There are over 70 sports and games you can enjoy in Spocha from Archery to Zorbing and everything in between.

Access: Free shuttle bus from the East exit of JR Takasaki Line Ageo Station.

Address: 917-1 Hiratsuka, Ageo-shi, Saitama-ken 362-0011

Hours: Monday 9 am to 6 am (open 21 hours), Tuesday to Thursday 10 am to 6 am, Friday to Sunday 24 hours to 6 am on the Monday morning.

Cost: Different packages available starting at 540 yen for preschoolers and 1,720 yen for adults. Costs include access to all >70 activities, games and sports.

For more detail please see:

【Spo-cha】|Ageo

 

Between the weather, New Year festivities and seasonal activities, January is actually one of my favourite months in Japan.  The locations and activities listed above are only a small sample of what Saitama has to offer in winter. We also have some stunning winter scenery that can only be witnessed in the first six weeks of the year, such as the Misotsuchi Icicles in Chichibu and the Ashigakubo Icicles in Yokoze. The latter were only discovered 3 years ago, but have already risen to national acclaim due to their stunning beauty, particularly when illuminated at  night.  Saitama may not be top of the list for places to visit in winter in Japan, but we do have a good choice of activities, events and winter scenery to enjoy.

Where do you like to visit and what activities do you enjoy during Winter?

 

 

Snow Kingdom @ Seibu Amusement Park | Tokorozawa

【Information Share】

Where can my kids experience playing in the snow near Tokyo?

The Seibu Amusement Park runs a snow park every winter from early December until the start of March. This season the planned dates are December 3rd until March 5th. Kids can enjoy sliding down the snow on snow tubes, sledges and / or giant inflated slides. They also have buckets and spades for digging tunnels or striders for use on the snow.

Hours and Cost

The schedule varies a lot, but generally speaking it is open Fridays to Mondays and is generally closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. Hours are 10 am to 4 pm.  Please check the official website to make sure the snow park is open the day you hope to go: http://www.seibuen-yuuenchi.jp/guide/snow/

Information for this year has not yet been released on their website, but I was able to obtain prices in advance for the pass. The price for entry to both the amusement park and the snow park with sledge rental included is 2100 yen for high school children and adults and 1200 yen for children aged 3 to 12 and adults over 60 years of age.  The price to just enter the snow kingdom has not been released yet, but last year’s prices were 1,100 yen for adults, 500 yen for children and 2 years old and under are free.

Access information below the photos.

Snow Kingdom Seibu




 

Access

5 minute walk from Seibu Tamako Line Seibu Yuenchi Station and Seibu Line Seibuen Station.

12 kilometres from Tokorozawa Interchange on the Kanetsu Expressway. Parking for 1200 cars (1300 yen per day).

Sat nav/ GPS: phone number 042-922-1371

Address: 2964 Yamaguchi, Tokorozawa City, Saitama 359-1145

 

 

西武園ゆうえんち「雪の王国」についてのご案内。都内近郊のお子さまと一緒に遊べるゆうえんちは西武園ゆうえんちへ、春は桜!、夏はプールと花火・ビアガーデン! 冬は雪の王国やフィッシングランド!さまざまなイベントをご用意してお待ちしております。

Source: 雪の王国 | 西武園ゆうえんち

If you want to enjoy indoor skiing and / or snowboarding all year round and close to Tokyo:

Sayama Ski Resort | SAYAMA

Saku Ski Garden Parada |Nagano

Saku Ski Parada Nagano (5)

Recently, we went skiing in Nagano. I use the term “skiing” as a general term for being in the snow, seen as very little skiing was actually accomplished. Plus, the snow was fake as at the time we were having a particulary warm winter. Regardless of the lack of real snow, or perhaps thanks to it, the kids had a blast. This is a good place to introduce young children to snow and/or skiing for the first time.

KIMG7259

Parada kids park south slopesWe went to Saku Ski Garden Parada which is a day resort; there is no night skiing and there is no hotel attached to it. We stayed in Karuizawa on one of our visits and commuted from Saitama in less than 2 hours on our next visit. The resort says about 70% of their business is from families and that is the overall impression I got on our visits. There were kids of all ages enjoying the snow and plenty of younger kids in the designated snow play areas.




A round up of what I like about Saku Ski Parada;

  •  The resort has two parts – North and South. The South area is a Parking Area on the Joshin-etsu expressway meaning that, apart from being convenient, it is quite safe to travel to the South slopes even in the height of season. (In Japan the highways are well maintained and serviced even in the snow. However, I would recommend snow tyres even for commuting to the South slopes, which are right on the highway. For the North slopes snow tyres are essential. Please note, if there has been a heavy fall, there is a possibility that the highway will be closed.)
  • For people coming by train it is also quite convenient as there is a free shuttle bus that takes 10 minutes from Sakudaira Station, which is less than an hour from Omiya by bullet train. It makes Parada a popular spot for those on a day ski trip from Tokyo or Saitama. From Tokyo its only 90 minutes by train and bus.
  •  You can move between without restriction between the South and North slopes once you have paid into one. While the South slopes and amenities are literally right on the highway, the North, which has the better snow, is about 5 kilometres off the highway, through windy mountaineous roads.
  • Due to the spread of the areas the place is a good size and there aren’t a huge amount of lifts or courses; 7 of each.
  • On our first trip we went to the South, and our more recent visit was to the North. Thanks to the division of the resort, the North can be less populated as it is harder to get to. On the day we went, I thought it was busy, but my husband told me that was only a tenth of how busy it gets.
  •  We didn’t need to bring very much with us in terms of changes of clothes and we could hire boots and equipment there. We brought our own apparel and sleds. Clark’s winter lined boots sufficed for our 3 year old and 1 year old, as they were just playing in the snow, and we rented proper ski boots for 4 year old and 6 year old.
  • Food is quite reasonable for the type of place that it is. The pizzas are good value and are actually quite nice. They are made up fresh, so expect to wait about 20 to 3o minutes for a pizza order to be ready. The fast food counter is just that – fast! They also have a self service restaurant.
  • It is a very family friendly resort. They have rest areas and facilities for babies. We didn’t avail of it this time, but I like that there is a creche, where you can leave children while you ski. They children from as young as 6 months old.
  • Both North and South areas have a great kids play area. They can use sleds and tubing or just play in the snow. They also have bouncing castles. They have a mascot, which is a giant beetle, which comes around to meet the kids.
  • They have a snow escalutor in the kids play area.
  • They have lessons for kids from as young as 3 years old.
  • It is part of the family ski group; you could apply for a free lesson for a primary school aged child at the resort, but the closing date is gone for this year.
  • Overall I thought it was good value, even for a family of six. I did have discounts for lift passes and for the play area, but asides from that the costs are fairly standard for that area.

Address:  2681 Shimohirao, Saku, Nagano 385-0003

TEL: North Parada – 0267-68-5116, South Parada – 0267-67-8100

You can get up-to-date information on costs, snow, weather and more on the well maintained English webpage for the resort here:

http://www.saku-parada.jp/

Saku Ski Garden Parada ski resort in Saku City, Nagano, Japan – SnowJapan ski and snowboard resorts in Japan

 

#snowjapan #familyfriendly

Adult lift pass and information for Houdaigi | Gunma

There are a number of ski resorts that participate in a family ski programme. They offer discounts on lift passes to families. There are some conditions, for example you have to have a print version of the coupon on your person, you cannot get the discount by showing it online. Most resorts in the programme also stipulate that children of the family must be under a certain age, usually primary school age or younger. Generally, you cannot use these coupons in conjunction with any other type of discount. However, for those who fall within the guidelines, there are some great savings to enjoy. The coupons I will be featuring this month can only be used for the 2015-2016 ski / snowboarding season.


Hodaigi Snow Resort, MINAKAMI, GUNMA

The Hodaigi family snow resort in Minakami, Gunma, is offering a 1,000 yen discount on their “daily adult pack”. The pack includes a meal ticket. The regular cost is 5,200, with this coupon that you must print out from the link, it is 4,200 yen; http://famiski.jp/coupon/gunma/hodaigi/  – CLICK the blue button with a printer icon and 印刷する. This coupon is only for those visiting the snow resort with young children.

Season: December 12th 2015 to April 10th 2016

Lifts: 6

Courses: 16

Preschoolers: Lift is FREE

Kids park: FREE, but if you use the snow esculator it costs 700 yen for the day or 100 yen for one time.

Parking: FREE on weekdays

Ski School: for over 3s

Creche: “Snow fairy Nursery/ Creche” accept children from 6 months to 6 years old, 1,600 yen for one hour.

Attraction: They have sleighs with handles

Events: Kids snow festival on January 24th, February 21st, March 13th

Access: Train – FREE shuttle bus from Minakami station on the Joestu Line. Car – 17 kilometres from Minakami interchange on Kanetsu expressway.

Brochure: (Japanese only) http://hodaigi.jp/hp-mng/uploader/1/files/HODAIGI_REAF2016.pdf

URL: http://hodaigi.jp/

English site: http://www.snowjapan.com/japan-ski-resorts/gunma/minakami/minakami-houdaigi

TEL: 0278-75-2557

Address: 3839-1Fujiwara, Tone District, Gunma

**Print the coupon from the linked page**

ゆきあそびをテーマにした遊びが満載「ファミスキ.jp」

Source: ファミスキクーポン 水上 宝台樹スキー場│ゆきあそびサイト ファミスキ.jp