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winter travel & skiing with kids

about 6 years ago
2 responses

Hi! My family and I are travelling in a group (4 adults, 1 teenager and 1 4yr old) this December. We will essentially be based in Kyoto but plan to travel to Tokyo using a JR 7day pass. I need advice on itinerary and places to go (also how to maximize the JR pass). I am also worried about traveling during the peak holiday season in it okay to be traveling end of December? should we move the 7day travel earlier in order to avoid the holiday crowd in the trains?

21 arrival in Kansai
22 Kyoto
23 Kyoto
24 Kyoto
25 Kyoto to Tokyo (day 1 of JR pass)
26 Tokyo
27 Tokyo (Disneyland)
28 Tokyo to Nagano (?) somewhere with a snow park, experience skiing and onsen
29 Nagano to Kyoto (stopover somewhere for Mt. Fuji?)
30 Kyoto to Kobe
Jan1 Kyoto fly out of Kansai in the evening

Would appreciate your advice. Thanks in advance.

1951 posts
about 6 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there,

In general, travel in Japan gets progressively busier from just after Christmas until around the 5th of January. As Christmas falls on a sunday this year, you can expect to experience more people on the trains from monday the 26th onwards as they take their winter breaks.

If it's possible I recommend flipping your journey on it's head and aim to spend your first week travelling up to Tokyo & Nagano, and then settle down to enjoy the lead up to the new year in Kyoto. Here are some ideas for the other points you mention

Skiing and snowboarding near Nagano

By far the best recommendation I have for Skiing/snow park/Onsen near Nagano is Shiga-kogen. Based in a huge national park, this snowfield is the largest in all Japan and has all the items you list in addition to famous hot-spring bathing japanese monkeys at Jigokudani Yaen Koen. There are many ski-schools for your youngsters to learn to ski, and a huge ski/snowboard range for the adults.

It's also very easy to get to with a JR Pass. From Tokyo you can travel up to Nagano, and then transfer to Shiga kogen on the JR Snow Liner bus (approx 1 hr).

General tips

I also have some general tips on things to do/see/stay near your main stops that I'll list below:


Hakone / Mt Fuji


Hope this helps!

2 posts
about 6 years ago

Dear Mari,

Thank you so much for the tips and advice. It's really helpful and I appreciate the time you guys take out to help us in our travel needs...helps us plan better!

1951 posts
about 6 years ago
Expert button 2

No problem - hope you have a great trip!

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