DIP INTO NAGANO’S SNOWY HOT SPRINGS
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