Snow and Journey

Matsunoyama Onsen – A Famous Medicinal Hot Spring Village in Yukiguni

Places in Japan like YUKIGUNI, which have become synonymous for their natural beauty are also known for their quality ryokan: rustic Japanese-style hotels with traditional baths. However, in this same area there also exists whole onsen villages, which are many onsen and hotels in the same area. As some hot springs can be rather remote, onsen villages are good for travelers who prefer a livelier atmosphere. Today we will be discussing one such onsen village: Matsunoyama Onsen in Tokamachi! Let the tour begin!

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Kaengata

Kaengata and Jomon – The Original Artists of Japan

Jomon pottery is said to be one of the oldest pottery in the world. The most famous example is the Kaengata earthenware, which was on display at the British Museum. There are many different types of Jomon earthenware, but the Kaengata earthenware has only been found in the area of present-day Niigata Prefecture, suggesting that Niigata Prefecture has been a cultural centre for the past 5,000 years.

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Uncho Ishikawa

Uncho Ishikawa: The Master Artist of Niigata’s Winter Temples

Art in this region of Japan has a long and storied history, including that of YUKIGUNI’s best-known artist: the painter and sculptor Uncho Ishikawa. Born in Edo (modern day Tokyo) in 1814, he was something of a young prodigy in his day. At only 20 years old he had already become a master craftsman, and was given the name Ishikawa as a sign of membership into the famed Ishikawa group of artisans. Very little of Uncho Ishikawa’s early work still exists; instead, his reputation largely rests on the art he has left behind in temples around the Niigata region, for which he has been given the moniker “The Michelangelo of Japan.”

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Forest therapy

Forest Therapy at Tsunan’s Taruda Mountain Park

In a previous article, we discussed the recognized health benefits of natural therapies like visiting an onsen. These sort of remedies are a far cry from modern Western medicine, but they are still being used today by people in order to maintain their physical and mental health. Likewise, for those who have had their fill of the hot spring and want to experience something new, the YUKIGUNI area is also home to a licensed forest therapy base in the town of Tsunan.

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Snow Country Tourist Information Center

An Introduction to the Snow Country Tourist Information Center

When planning a fun-filled vacation at YUKIGUNI, there’s no reason to go it alone: today, we are introducing the invaluable Tourist Information Center! Located just outside the Echigo-Yuzawa shinkansen station, this is your one-stop shop for all your regional travel needs. It also just so happens that they are very friendly, and are ready and eager to help you!

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A onigiri and landscape

A piece of Japanese gastronomy

To stroll around to different places to eat is fine, but sometimes it is good to concentrate on the dish that is right in front of you. When you find something delicious where you are, spare a thought for the ingredients involved and the person who grew them. Try to get a feel for the way the terroir and the culture are connected. The story that envelops the food will enrich your journey.

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flame-shaped earthenware

Modern people might learn how to face nature from the Jomon people

A culture that has lasted for 10,000 years, unparalleled in world history. Living in harmony with nature. Villages arranged in a circle so that they can see each other, which develops the connections of people. Plenty of time because we are buried in snow in winter. Something that has been left behind in modern times is there. Something fundamental. Jomon asks us “What is richness?”

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Maker of Echigo-jofu certified as a UNESCO cultural heritage

Relation between Kimono fabrics and snow

Scattered across YUKIGUNI are fabric production areas. These fabrics have, since ancient times, had a deep connection with the climate, nature and the life of the people of YUKIGUNI. We visited local people involved in the production of these fabrics.

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Discovering YUKIGUNI

Let’s go to YUKIGUNI

Many people who come to the YUKIGUNI (snow country) for skiing or snowboarding probably only remember places like the ski resort or the train station. And that’s a real shame!

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