The best places for kids to try skiing and snowboarding in Tohoku!

The Tohoku region in the north of Japan is renowned for the abundance and quality of its snow, so much so that its known as "snow country". It is also home to many top ski resorts. Among these ski resorts are ones geared specifically toward children. For people who want to go skiing in the Tohoku region but don't know where to go, we have compiled a list of four ski resorts that are perfect for families. The following resorts are all family-friendly that not only offer beginner areas, kids' parks, and childcare centers, but also free lift tickets for elementary school-aged children (6 to 12 years old). You can also find interesting places to visit near the ski resorts to make your ski trip more enjoyable.

Kids get a great deal at Shizukuishi Ski Resort, one of the best in Iwate Prefecture and Northern Tohoku!

Shizukuishi Ski Resort
First up is Shizukuishi Ski Resort, a perfect places for families with great deals including free ski lifts for elementary school-aged children (6-12 years old). It is one of the best snow resorts in the northern Tohoku region, with a hotel and golf course located next door. Beginner skiers can casually take the ropeway from the base of the mountain to the Kids & Family Practice Zone where they can enjoy practicing their skills. A variety of courses are offered for beginners, including the Family Slope and Paradise Trail.

For thorough learning, kids can take one-on-one lessons (from 4 years old). For children who are not yet quite ready to ski, Shizukuishi Snow Land and Ninja Obstacle Park are great places to have fun in the snow. Here, children can enjoy fun activities such as tubing or making an igloo all day long.
Yukimiburo (snow view bath)
In the evening, enjoy a relaxing time with your family at the Shizukuishi Prince Hotel. If the "Shizukuishi Galaxy Ropeway" stargazing tour is offered, make sure to join it. The view of the star-filled sky accompanied by the commentary of a guide is sure to enthrall children. When the evening slopes get too cold, head to the large open-air baths at Shizukuishi Takakura Onsen, located south of the hotel. The bath is protected by a roof, so even if it is snowing, you can enjoy the view of the snow.

More information about Shizukuishi Ski Resort here

Walk the streets of Morioka for local noodles and Nambu ironware

Wanko soba
If you visit Shizukuishi, do not miss visiting Morioka. Morioka is in the heart of Iwate Prefecture and is a good place to look for Nambu ironware, which Iwate is proud to present to the world. Nambu ironware is simple, durable, and designed to last a lifetime. Their tetsubin (iron kettles), teapots, pots and pans are all perfect for everyday use.

While walking around the city, you can also enjoy Morioka's three major noodle dishes, Morioka wanko soba, Morioka reimen, and Morioka jajamen. If you are a fan of noodles, then you should definitely try them all. In early February every year, Morioka is decorated with illuminations from evening to night as part of the Morioka Yuki Akari Festival (Snow Light Festival).

Take a trip to Koiwai Farm and Tsunagi Hot Springs

Iwate Mountain and Farm in Winter
Koiwai Farm covers a vast area at the foot of Mount Iwate, where they offer opportunities to experience some unique things. At this farm in winter, you can take a snow train ride, go on a snowshoe walk, and during the "Koiwai Winterland" event, you can enjoy the winter tradition of eating jingisukan, a famous grilled lamb dish in a traditional "kamakura" igloo for an unforgettable memory. The experience of eating in the midst of the snow lights of Kamakura will stay with you forever. During the Koiwai Winter Lights "Night of the Galaxy Farm," you'll encounter one of the largest illuminations in the Tohoku region.

One of the nearest hot springs to Koiwai Farm is Tsunagi Onsen. A shuttle bus is available from Morioka Station for a limited period. Tsunagi Onsen has been around for more than 1,000 years and offer a wide array of accommodations, including Aishinkan, where you can enjoy 18 different types of hot spring baths, Hotel Shi-on, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Lake Gosho and the Ou Mountains from every guest room, Hotel Taikan, which has one of the largest baths in the northern Tohoku region, and Shikitei, a traditional ryokan renowned for its kaiseki cuisine made with local ingredients.

Even the youngest children can learn to ski at Hoshino Resort Alts Bandai, the largest ski resort in Fukushima Prefecture!

Alts Bandai Drum Can Plaza
Hoshino Resort Alts Bandai is located at the foot of Mount Bandai, one of the most famous mountains in Fukushima Prefecture. This ski resort is one of the largest in Japan and can be easily reached by car or by train. A local bus runs from Koriyama Station and a free shuttle bus from Bandaimachi Station.

Alts Bandai offers a range of "snow play programs" that the whole family can enjoy. These include snow rafting and other popular activities. On the sledding slopes, the free "snow escalator" allows even small children to go sledding as much as they want.

Parent and child sledding
For kids who want to try skiing or snowboarding, children as young as 3 years old can take the "Yukkidz 70" lesson. The program is divided into 70 steps, and each student can take lessons according to their own progress. "Club Yukkidz 70" is also a program that kids can join as many times as they want during the season. This resort offers the perfect environment for children and adults can learn and have fun together.

The resort center, located at the foot of the mountain, has a childcare room for small children who are a little too young to play in the snow. The childcare service is available for preschool-aged children between 1 and 6 years old. Children can be dropped off for an hour or more, with extensions available in 30-minute increments. This is a great service for those times when you need a little extra help.

More information about Hoshino Resorts ALTS BANDAI Snow Park & Resort here

Discover historical streets and local sweets with the family in Aizu Wakamatsu

Lake Inawashiro
After indulging in winter sports, head to Lake Inawashiro, about a 20-minute drive away. This magnificent lake can be seen from the ski resort and is visited by about 2,000 swans in winter. The scene of swans swooping down on the glistening, mirror-like lake is something to show your children.

The castle town of Aizuwakamatsu has many things to see and do. From Wakamatsu Castle, also known as Tsuruga Castle, to Nanukamachi Street and the Aizu Bukeyashiki (Samurai Residence), take a stroll through the historical streets of this region. Families can visit these sightseeing spots easily and in comfort by taking the "Haikara-san" and "Akabe" buses that go around Aizuwakamatsu.

Dawn at Aizu Higashiyama Onsen
While in Aizuwakamatsu, try their local sauce katsudon (pork cutlet rice bowl), miso dengaku (fried tofu in miso), or find a cafe participating in the "Machiaruki Sweets & Cafe" event. For the event, try the sweets and receive enough stamps to get a 500 yen ticket to bathe in the hot spring baths of Aizu Higashiyama Onsen or Ashinomaki Onsen. One of the lodges participating in the "Machiaruki Sweets & Cafe" event, "Onyado Toho" in Aizu Higashiyama Onsen boasts an open-air bath with a panoramic view of the surrounding area. The hotel offers a wide range of services for adults and also children, making it great for a stay.

Snow adventure fun for the family at Spring Valley Sendai Izumi Ski Resort in Miyagi Prefecture

Sledding play
Spring Valley Sendai Izumi Ski Resort is only 40 minutes away from downtown Sendai. The Snow Adventure park is a snow play area in front of the center house. It is filled with thrilling snow tubing and a 30-meter-long sledding course that will captivate children and adults alike. Snow escalators are installed here, so even small children can have endless fun.

Child skiing
The beginner area of the Snow Adventure park is perfect for young skiers to try their hand at skiing for the first time. It is separated by a safety net so children can practice without worry. You can purchase plans that include a lift pass (4 or 6 hours) and a one-day unlimited play ticket for the Snow Adventure park.

The school offers a "Skids Camp" for children from 3 to 12 years old (6th grade of elementary school). First-timers can learn to ski without worrying about other skiers in the "Skids Course." The 6-step system is well received by students, allowing them to improve while enjoying a sense of accomplishment.

More information about Spring Valley Sendai Izumi Ski Resort here

Have fun in Sendai before a relaxing time in Akiu Onsen

Sendai Pageant of Starlight
Visit Sendai, the largest city in the Tohoku region, on a December evening to see the city bathed in light in the Sendai Pageant of Starlight. The orange light will make you feel warm and cozy. The following day, wake up early and start by exploring the Sendai Asaichi (morning market). You can find fresh produce, such as fish and fruits, at low prices. For some local Sendai specialties, try zunda mochi, sasa-kamaboko, or gyutan-yaki for a taste of the region.

Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium is a popular place to visit in Sendai. The aquarium has a large tank that recreates the sea of the nearby Sanriku region. It also boasts the largest open-air stadium in the Tohoku region where dolphin and sea lion performances take place.

Akiu Otaki Falls in winter
Akiu Onsen is a famous hot spring resort within easy reach from Sendai. Overlooking Rairaikyo Gorge, a place that has become widely known and has been attracting many visitors, Hotel Zuiho offers six open-air baths and a large public bath, as well as a swimming pool. The heated swimming pool in the all-weather dome is very popular, even featuring a water slide that can be enjoyed by children aged 3 years and up. Free floatation items are available for people who can't swim.

Everything for kids at Kurobushi Kogen Snow Park Jangle Jungle in Yamagata Prefecture

Lift and mountain view
Kurobushi Kogen Snow Park Jangle Jungle is a ski resort that boasts an abundance of 100% natural snow and is great for families with young children. It is about a 30-minute shuttle bus ride from Sakurambo-Higashine Station, which is connected to the Yamagata Shinkansen line. Many gentle and wide slopes make this an ideal place for beginners to improve their skills. Lift passes are free for children 12 years old (6th grade) and under.

Children at a ski resort
A variety of kids' lesson programs are available for ages 5 and up, including private lessons as well as group lessons, "v-shape skiing lessons," lessons for junior badge tests, and more. Rentals of clothing and equipment are also available, allowing beginners who want to try to get started.

The base of the mountain is home to two children's slopes. The "JANGLE Plaza" in front of the kids' slope has a kids' room, where children who cannot ski or are tired of playing in the snow can spend time in a warm indoor environment.

More information about Kurobushi Kogen Snow Park Jangle Jungle (Ski Resort) here

Snowy Wonders at Yamadera and Yamagata

Yamadera Temple in winter
If you want to find somewhere special in Yamagata, Tendo Onsen is a great place to visit and stay. Accommodations, from Japanese-style inns to resort hotels, are concentrated in the central area of Tendo. One example is the Tendo Hotel, which boasts a full range of kid's services, including a kids' land with playground equipment, a candy corner, rentals for children and children's meals. Parents can rest assured that their children will have a good time too.

From Tendo Station, take the JR Yamagata Line or the Senzan Line to Yamadera, one of Yamagata's most popular destinations. Risshakuji Temple, known as "Yamadera," is a temple associated with the famed poet, Matsuo Basho, who was inspired to compose one of his most well-known haiku poems. Climbing up the 1000 steps for a breathtaking winter view. Then get the train to Yamagata Station to enjoy Yamagata city's winter scenery: walk through Kajo Park, the former site of Yamagata Castle, or take in views of the Zao Mountain Range from the top floor of Kajo Central in front of Yamagata Station.

Satisfying skiing and sightseeing for the whole family in Tohoku!

Rafting at Shizukuishi Ski Resort
Even though there are many ski resorts in the Tohoku region, the four we outlined here are popular with families and children. Even if you are not accustomed to snow, it is surprisingly easy to spend time in the Tohoku region, as it is well-prepared for the snowy winter season. The ski resorts in the Tohoku region are known for their high-quality snow, so even beginners will find it fun to ski. Be sure to visit the surrounding areas and have an unforgettable winter trip in Tohoku with the whole family.

[Note] Pricing information and schedule are correct at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. Please check the official website before your trip.

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