The arrival of winter always meant being able to play one of my favourite sports, and having snowboarded in Niseko at Hokkaido, Japan last year, I was keen on going to Japan to snowboard again. My friend then organized another trip to Shiga Kogen 志賀高原, which happens to be one of the largest ski resorts in Central Japan located near Nagano 長野, and also the host of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Since I already have planned for 2 weeks in Japan before I fly back to Canada via San Diego, I welcomed the idea of snowboarding in a new resort.
I started this journey from Bangkok, Thailand after attending a friend’s wedding and would take a direct flight onboard Thai First Class in the old 747 cabin to Haneda which allows me to land closer to the city centre.
Before meeting up with my friend, I would stay at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo which was showing rates of around 33,000 Yen (~US$330) for 2 nights. I also proceeded to redeem my Marriott 2 free nights awards at the Nagoya Marriott Associa which is conveniently located above the JR Nagoya Station. For transport within Japan, I purchased a 7-day Japan Rail Pass in the Green Car cabin which costs me 37,800 Yen (~US$378).
The JR pass allowed me to make day trips to Arashiyama and Shirakawa-go from Nagoya, including return trips to Nagoya from Shinjuku. This will also allow me to travel one-way to Nagano on the Shinkansen. Since I would be snowboarding in Shiga Kogen, I would just purchase another set of tickets to return to Shinjuku, Tokyo after about a week in Nagano area.
In Nagano, my friend arranged for accomodation in the first night at Prince Hotel Yakebitaiyama with another 3 nights at Hotel Kodama located in Ichinose village, which is a central location in the ski resort. After that we will spend a night at the Ryokan Biyu-no-yado in Yudanaka before returning to Tokyo. Another night in Tokyo to enjoy the culinary delights of the city before I board another long haul flight onboard ANA First Class to San Francisco.