Colder climes, better times

Have fun this winter


DECEMBER 2021 Industry Perspectives / Text by Toby Waters

As winter approaches, we set our minds to new priorities: holidays, family, and cocoa. Many businesses and service providers in Japan exist to ensure this season is deeply enjoyable. Discover some of the many ways they make the coldest, darkest nights into the warmest, brightest, and most memorable.

Winter delights

One of the best things about the winter months is the opportunity to savour some excellent seasonal cuisine prepared to perfection. This is something that The Okura Tokyo is pleased to offer all its guests and visitors.

“Yamazato, our Japanese restaurant, serves seasonal ingredients — including crab, blowfish, and anglerfish — carefully selected by the chef, who uses various cooking methods to make a dozen small dishes for the courses he creates,” says Tetsuo Yabe, planning and promotion section manager. “It is a unique space where you can fully enjoy each of the four seasons of Japan, and the essence of Japanese cuisine.”

Those leaving the capital during the holidays can also have a quality dining experience at the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel.

“We give each of our guests a warm welcome by providing fresh, seasonal dishes made with ingredients carefully selected by our chef,” says Hiroyuki Yamamoto, general manager. “At our all-day dining restaurant, we change the buffet theme every month, which encourages guests to keep coming back to our hotel to enjoy our different winter food menus.”

In addition, you could visit the snowsports hub of Hakuba Valley in Nagano Prefecture, where the Evergreen Outdoor Center can help you find a distinctly authentic adventure.

“Guests love the professionalism, attention to detail, and safety that comes with the Evergreen name. After over 20 years in the Hakuba Valley, we know the area, locals, and culture better than anyone else,” says CEO Dave Enright. “We offer programmes for people of all levels, ages, and desires, from children’s ski lessons and winter camps to backcountry tours and Japan’s longest running recreational avalanche safety training — and much more in between.”

Appealing activities

Spending the winter in Japan can be a magical experience, thanks to its unique cultural experiences, as the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel’s Yamamoto explains.

“When you travel in Japan during the winter, there are many options for winter activities, including soaking in a Japanese hot spring, which can relax your mind and body after being out in the cold,” he says. “Also, our seasonal seafood, such as crab and oyster, are essential cuisine that you cannot miss.”

Visiting Hakuba Valley this season offers a chance to see a glorious Japanese snowscape.

“With over 13 metres of annual snowfall, a spectacular range of half a dozen alpine peaks that are just shy of 3,000 metres each, 10 ski resorts to choose from, delicious and plentiful restaurants, and traditional izakaya, Hakuba Valley is truly an international hotspot that remains steeped in age-old traditions and charming mountain culture,” Enright says.

Yabe notes that The Okura Tokyo puts you in a prime position to visit some of the capital’s most enlightening sites.

“Our hotel is close to some of Tokyo’s most famous shrines and temples, including the Hie Shrine, Atago Shrine, and Zojoji Temple. This makes us an ideal destination for the New Year,” he says. “Additionally, the grounds of The Okura Tokyo include the Okura Museum of Art, Japan’s first private art museum.”

No matter where you go or what you do this winter, enjoy the holidays to the fullest.