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Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2020 Events

Check out the exciting activities going on between January to March at our favorite ski resorts around Japan.

Snow Tubing Curling Competition
Join this hilarious twist to curling: one person sits in a snow tube as a “curling stone,” while teammates sweep with a curling broom. Free participation and prizes available.
When: Dec. 29, Jan. 12, Feb. 24, Mar. 14 (Joetsu Kokusai); Jan. 13, Feb. 23, Mar. 15 (Iwappara)
Where: Joetsu Kokusai / Iwappara Ski Resort, Niigata

Oze Iwakura New Year Fireworks
Enjoy an evening of night skiing from 5-9 p.m. followed by a fireworks show.
When: Dec. 31
Where: Oze Iwakura, Gunma

New Year Countdown at Alts Bandai
End the year with night skiing and fireworks.
When: Dec. 31
Where: Alts Bandai Snow Park and Resort, Fukushima

Nozawa Onsen New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Ring in the new year with the annual fireworks at Nagasaka Station. Enjoy free sake tasting on the slopes or join the visitors in front of The Craft Room to enjoy some warm drinks and craft beers while enjoying a great view.
When: Dec. 31
Where: Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort, Nagano

New Year at NASPA New Otani
Watch the slopes light up with torchlight skiers on New Year’s Eve followed by fireworks. On New Year’s Day, take part in traditional mochi (rice cakes) pounding.
When: Dec. 31 – Jan. 1
Where: NASPA New Otani, Niigata

Madarao New Year Fireworks

Madarao New Year Fireworks
Ride until 11:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve then enjoy a countdown and fireworks to celebrate 2020. 
When: Dec. 31 – Jan. 1
Where: Madarao Mountain Resort, Nagano

New Year Festival at Hakuba Cortina
Enjoy a spectacular countdown with fireworks on New Year’s Eve and sample free toshikoshi soba, noodles traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day. 
When: Dec. 31 – Jan. 1 
Where: Hakuba Cortina, Nagano

New Year Torchlight Skiing at Niseko
Take part in Japan’s biggest torch skiing! 150 skiers and snowboarders will be riding down as the clock strikes twelve; register by Dec. 29 and you could be part of this spectacular occasion. There will also be fireworks and a New Year “Lucky Draw” where you could win prizes. 
When: Dec. 31 – Jan. 1
Where: Niseko Grand Hirafu, Hokkaido

New Year Countdown and Sake
2019 ends on a romantic note at Joetsu Kokusai with candles and fireworks. The resort will be serving Niigata’s sake the following day.
When: Dec. 31 – Jan. 1
Where: Joetsu Kokusai, Niigata

Iwappara New Year Party
Ring in the new year with fireworks and a special show.
When: Jan. 1
Where: Iwappara Ski Resort, Niigata

New Year Sunrise Skiing at Sapporo Teine

New Year Sunrise Skiing
Catch the first sunrise of the year with the Summit Express, which runs from 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day. It is ¥1,800 for one lift and ¥3,500 for the whole morning (6 a.m. – 12 p.m.)
When: Jan. 1
Where: Sapporo Teine, Hokkaido

Competitive Sled Racing for Kids
This sled race is great for children and families. Free of charge, prizes available.
When: Jan. 19, Feb. 16, Mar. 16 (Iwappara); Jan. 26, Feb. 16, Mar. 8 (Joetsu Kokusai)
Where: Joetsu Kokusai / Iwappara Ski Resort, Niigata

Winter Night Festival at Kirikubo Suwa Shrine near Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field

Winter Night Festival
This spiritual event will be held at Kirikubo Suwa Shrine and features traditional taiko drumming.
When: Jan. 23, 30
Where: Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field, Nagano

Kamakura Igloo Festival at Gala Yuzawa

Kamakura Igloo Festival
Stay cozy in these surprisingly warm igloos while enjoying winter festivities during this three-day event.
When: Jan. 24-26
Where: Gala Yuzawa, Niigata

Dynaland Fireworks Festival
Spend a romantic evening watching the fireworks from the slopes or even from the lifts.
When: Jan. 25
Where: Dynaland, Gifu

2020 Sapporo Snow Festival
Sapporo’s beloved festival is one of the most impressive ice sculpture festivals in the world. Enjoy the impressive sculptures featuring everything from famous monuments to Darth Vader.
When: Jan. 31 – Feb. 11
Where: Odori-koen, Sapporo, Hokkaido

Thanksgiving Festival in Hakuba
Warm up with traditional winter food like tonjiru (pork soup) and mochi rice cakes and participate in a lottery for prizes.
When: Feb. 1
Where: Hakuba Iwatake, Nagano

Soul and Snow Retreat

Soul & Snow Retreat
If you’re a woman who loves to ski, snowboard and healthy living, escape to this winter yoga retreat for women by women. Held in Myoko, this retreat includes daily yoga lessons, guided meditation, backcountry guided tours, local Japanese meals, kimono experience, onsen hopping and your private room. Guides speak English, Japanese and French. 
When: Feb. 2-8
Where: Myoko, Niigata

Tazawako Kogen Winter Festival

Tazawako Kogen Winter Festival
Experience the 48th annual yuki matsuri, which includes impressive fire dances, a lantern festival, fireworks, dances and treasure hunt challenges. 
When: Feb. 15-16
Where: Tazawako Ski Area, Akita

Kutchan Yukitopia Snow Festival
Kutchan Town located in the Niseko Region will host an activity-packed snow festival blending traditional community festivities (taiko drumming, local food and rice sampling, dances) with exciting bobsled and snow rafting challenges, snowshoe hiking, test ski events and live music.
When: Feb. 15-17
Where: Asahigaoka Ski, Kutchan, Hokkaido

2020 FIS Mogul World Cup at Tazawako Ski Area

2020 FIS Mogul World Cup
Watch the world’s top athletes compete at this freestyle skiing championship. 
When: Feb. 22-23
Where: Tazawako Ski Area, Akita

First Tracks at Hakuba Cortina
Free first tracks!?! Limited to ten guests staying at the resort hotel.
When: Mar. 1, 8, 15
Where: Hakuba Cortina, Nagano

Snow Machine Festival 2020
This alpine music festival comes to Japan and will showcase four days of dance music around Hakuba Valley. The lineup includes international and local artists including Peking Duk, Bag Raiders, What So Not, Hot Dub Time Machine and Confidence Man. 
When: Mar. 1-4
Where: Hakuba Happo-One, Nagano

Alts Japan Sky Lantern Festival
The night sky lights up with glowing lanterns at this fun event for families and a romantic one for couples. 
When: Mar. 7
Where: Alts Bandai Snow Park and Resort, Fukushima

Nozawa Festival of Lights
Nozawa Onsen
’s January Fire Festival may get all the glory, but this night festival at the Hikage Base is a fun family affair with lanterns in the snow, a torch ski procession with traditional ski costumes through the ages, music, sake tasting. 
When: Mar. 7
Where: Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort, Nagano

Joetsu Winter Carnival
March is still a great month for skiing with less crowds and great snow. This annual festival features fireworks, torch skiing, raffle prizes and special performances.
When: Mar. 14
Where: Joetsu Kokusai, Niigata

Niseko Shootout and Film Festival
Join this season-long photo and video contest to win gear, wear and exciting snow season prizes. Tag #NisekoShootout for your chance to win. Photos and video will be featured at the film festival at the end of the season.
When: Until Mar. 14
Where: Niseko, Hokkaido

Madarao Speed Challenge
All you need to do for this simple race is to ski or snowboard as straight and fast as you can, and you get two tries! Participation is free and prizes available. 
When: Mar. 15
Where: Madarao Mountain Resort, Nagano

Niigata Festival at Gala Yuzawa

Niigata Festival
Sample the local cuisine and learn about the culture at this festival put together by Niigata Tourism.
When: Mar. 19-22
Where: Gala Yuzawa, Niigata

Hakuba Cortina Snow Machine Fes

Hakuba Cortina Snow Machine Fes
If your kids love trains and planes, be sure to let them hop into the resort’s snowcats, which will be on display for one day only. 
When: Mar. 22
Where: Hakuba Cortina, Nagano

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