December 31st, 2011 was the first day I have ever snowshoed for the sake of snowshoeing. I usually have a board on my back and a beakon on my front, when I have snowshoes strapped to my feet. But on this beautiful blue bird day, I only brought my lunch, some hot tea, and great company.
I highly recommend getting away from the liftlines, and the powderhounds for this incredibly picturesque and amazingly peaceful trail that winds through forests and opens up to a panaromic view of Japan’s Northern Alps.
You can rent snowshoes at Minekata Ski Resort Hakuba for only 1000 yen, while the lift to the top is a mere 400. Another option is to buy a lift pass (half day 1900 yen, full day 2800 yen) do a bit of sliding, and a bit of walking. On the way back down, follow the cat track to Reflet, a great little cafe/restaurant that sells real hot chocolate and home-made cake. I also recommend their feshly baked cookies to take-away. A great way to end an awesome day.
UPDATE: Minekata will not be open for the 2014/15 season. 🙁