World Travel Magazine - - Inspire Me Christmas With A Twist -

Ringed with snowy moun­tains that are dot­ted with steamy hot springs, win­ter­sport fa­cil­i­ties, and play­ful snow mon­keys,

Nagano is a gem for those look­ing for a nearby win­ter es­cape. Though Ja­pan doesn’t tra­di­tion­ally cel­e­brate Christ­mas, you can still ex­pect to see the serene re­sort town of Karuizawa decked out in an ar­ray of fes­tive baubles, though the real draw comes from its sur­round­ing moun­tains. Karuizawa is lo­cated at the foot of Mount Asama, which means that there are a wealth of sooth­ing hot springs to slip into. For a more thrilling es­cape, head to the nearby Prince Snow Re­sort, the area’s largest ski area that fea­tures nu­mer­ous slopes for skiers of all lev­els, as well as a Kids Park for the young ones to en­joy the snow.

Since you’re in Ja­pan, why not make like the lo­cals and in­dulge in their tra­di­tional Christ­mas din­ner of choice? Ev­ery Christ­mas, over 3 mil­lion fam­i­lies in Ja­pan treat them­selves not to turkey - but to the golden, deep-fried good­ness of Ken­tucky Fried Chicken. So pop­u­lar is KFC dur­ing Christ­mas­time that their spe­cial Christ­mas din­ners of­ten have to be or­dered in ad­vance,or re­quire hours of wait­ing in line. But if you baulk at the idea of fast food, a litany of foods unique to the Nagano pre­fec­ture are also avail­able, such as the com­plex shinsu soba, or for the ad­ven­tur­ous, basashi - raw, sliced horse meat.

Tra­di­tional Ja­panese hot springs and pow­dery slopes await at Nagano

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