Hoshino Resorts Tomamu, Japan
“... walking (and much more!) in a winter wonderland … ”
When the Australian summer arrives, Aussie families know to gear up for three months of swimming and sunning, the longest school holiday break of the year, and the excitement of the annual ‘festive season’. Conversely, while we enjoy our ‘ sunburnt country’ through summer, our familiar festive season motifs are almost entirely based on winter imagery. We joyfully sing about ‘…dashing through the snow’, ‘Frosty the snowman …’, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘ Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’ … without a snowflake, snowman, sleigh, or reindeer in sight.
So, tell the kids they can stop ‘dreaming of a white Christmas’ and take off for a family holiday in Japan, where fun-filled days can be spent in the snow at Adventure Mountain, Nipo Town (snow park for beginners), the Ice Village and the GAO Outdoor Center of Hoshino Resorts Tomamu in Hokkaido.
In just a little over the time it takes to fly from the east coast of Australia to Honolulu or Bangkok, you will arrive in Japan, and discover the gateway to a magical winter playground. From December to March Tomamu offers up endless snowplay and adventure for the whole family. Even better, here you can experience the best of both seasons, thanks to the resort’s amazing, tropical Mina-Mina Beach, where families can relax and indulge in water activities in the middle of a snowy landscape. But more about the beach later … It’s not easy to encapsulate the Tomamu experience in words. Is it a super family-friendly ski and snowboarding resort? Is it a magical, white-blanketed kingdom full of sled rides, an Ice Village and snow-covered forests? Is it an exciting, adventure-filled, and unforgettable experience for all ages?
Yes, it’s all of those things, and more, because Tomamu’s philosophy is truly terrific:: families come in all different sizes and configurations, with a whole bunch of different individual interests, so a family holiday in the snow must include ample diverse, exciting, age-and-ability-appropriate, fun opportunities for everybody. But it must also include experiences that the whole family can enjoy together, and remember forever.
And if you’re puzzling how one resort can combine so many fantastic summer and winter elements into one sensational family holiday destination, ask your hosts when you arrive. They are guaranteed to smile, and tell you, simply, “This is how we Tomamu.”
Let’s start with accommodation …
There are two hotels in Hoshino Resorts Tomamu – The Tower, a modern, convenient and affordable hotel for families, and Hoshino Resort Risonare Tomamu, a luxury hotel designed as a family resort for adults! Both hotels offer convenient ski-in/ski-out accommodation, and a great range of family rooms or suites, with options for larger groups and multi-gen holidaymakers, as well as free nappies, spas, Books&Café spaces and Kids Rooms, where children can play safely and the whole family can relax.
The resort has at least 20 different restaurants and cafes, including several buffet restaurants, each offering a wide choice of familiar meals and flavours for all ages. Try something different and treat the family to a traditional Japanese breakfast, take a night snow cruise for dinner in a mountain cabin, or dine at Mount Café RAP with its stunning bird’s eye view of the resort, from half way up the slopes. All of Tomamu’s eateries serve up delicious dishes created from fresh Hokkaido produce, including seafood, meat, dairy and vegetables.
Skiing & snowboarding
Whether you are a regular snow-loving family or firsttimers, Tomamu’s ski runs and snowboarding slopes are
fantastic, catering for all ages and abilities. Families can learn both disciplines together or in separate adult and children beginners’ programs and classes. If you’re new to the exhilaration of gliding on white powder then be assured - Tomamu instructors will make every stage of your tuition a safe, fun experience.
Children debuting on skis or snowboards can start their Tomamu holiday at the Kids Academy, where fun and challenging creative story-based lessons give firsttimers the confidence to learn, and engender a lifelong love for the snow! They can then test out their new skills on Adventure Mountain in two separate areas - Chokkari Mountain, for little ones with some experience, and Nipo Mountain for young beginners.
Nipo Town is a kids-only area for children too young to ski or snowboard and is a fun-filled wonderland that lets them enjoy some supervised snow time. Combine nursery, lunch and snow in a full-day program at GAO Kids Activity Club, as well as all-ages programs and fun activities for both parents and children.
Family snow play
At Tomamu the opportunity to play together as a family is all around you.
Enjoy a snow picnic in a mountain hut in the forest (and toast marshmallows); join in a dogsled tour or a banana boat ride across snow-covered terrain; try snow rafting or a family snowshoe walk; start a snowball fight, and build a snow hut and a snowman together. Bait your lines and fish through a hole in a frozen lake, then cook and eat your delicious catch right there and then; go on a family treasure hunt through a winter forest; create charms from delicate snow crystals in a natural Ice Village, and visit with Santa and real reindeer over the festive season!
The Ice Village
The resort’s spectacular Ice Village just has to be seen to be believed – made of real ice by hand, the village magically emerges from mid-December (depending on temperature). Tomamu is located near the source of the Mukawa River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean. When the seawater vaporises, it returns to Tomamu as rain, which then becomes ice and, when the temperature at Tomamu drops below minus 20 degrees celsius, the Ice Village – with its ice rink, ice slide, ice chapel and ice restaurant – comes to life.
…and what about the Beach …?
Pack your cozzies because you don’t have to miss a day of summer at Tomamu! Mina-Mina Beach provides a slice of the warm tropics in this winter wonderland, and boasts one of Japan’s largest indoor wave pools. The massive glass ceiling over the complex absorbs sunlight, creating a balmy, beachside atmosphere inside, regardless of the chill factor outside.
Bigger kids can hop inside the Cyber Wheel and roll on the water while little ones enjoy a splash and paddle in the Kids Pool while mum and dad relax on sun loungers near the Poolside Café.
Far left: Ice Village Above: Forest Buffet Restaurant Nininupuri Mina-Mina Beach Below: Gao Outdoor Center
Above: Ice Village