Snow Country Gourmet/Cycling Tours

Courses to enjoy the unique cuisine, beautiful scenery and culture of the area

For more than 8,000 years, this area sees snow depths of more than three meters throughout winter.

Throughout these long and trying winters, our forefathers created a unique culture and cuisine in this pure white world.

Today only 70 minutes away from Tokyo, but a completely different world. The journey by cycle takes visitors into a wholly new experience for all
the senses.

The wisdom gained from a life where half the year is covered in snow is very much alive today.

That Snow Country wisdom is strongly reflected in the local cuisine.

The ingredients gathered from spring through autumn are salted, dried and fermented, creating a food culture that the area can truly be proud of.

With the help of the guides, guests can have direct contact with local people, learning about the ingredients of local foods, how they are made and preserved.

They can ask about the things that interest them: about life in a land defined by heavy snows, about history and culture, rural life, even about the best roads to ride on.

This provides an unmatched chance for guests to have a direct contact with the Japanese people—and, in particualr, the people of Snow Country.

Cycling courses

The Snow Country Gourmet/Cycling Tours are the ideal way to experience the unique food culture of the Minami-Uonuma region. This cycling experience takes guests
deep into the food culture of Snow Country, while also traveling through the mountains and countryside that provide the materials for these unique dishes. Guests
can choose any or all of the routes for their tour.

Cycling course 1: Matsunoyama

Theme: Harvest experience

A trip through local villages

The water resources made possible by the beech forests; the wild
vegetables and mushrooms: the blessings of the mountains, forests
and fields make the self-sufficient life of the area possible. Cyclists will
have a chance to do their own harvesting of the wild materials, while
gaining an understand of the sustainability behind the traditional
lifestyle. This is an area where fermented and preserved foods are
important; a local specialty is Yuji pork, vacuum-packed pork cooked
at very low temperatures using the Matsunoyama onsen water.

The course is in a mountainous area at altitudes from 190 to 360
meters. It’s a series of small mountains and valleys, continuous ups
and downs.

Where to stay? Hina no Yado Chitose

In winter, enjoy the special hot spring atmosphere unique to Snow Country, while enjoying meals with many items and
styles unique to Matsunoyama—including rice and saké from the tanada.

There’s a calm, timeless atmospheres and dishes unique to Snow Country, giving people a deep sense of the Japanese Satoyama.
It’s a refined place to stay, with the onsen to heal bodies tired from cycling.

Cycling course 2: Minami-Uonuma

Theme: Farm meals

Fermentation and the flow of water in the mountains, rivers and snow

An exploration of the nature that makes possible the best rice in Japan,
and the local history and culture. Direct, warm interaction with rice
farmers to learn about their lifestyle. Other food-related stops during the
cycle include a saké brewery (a natural connection with the rice and
water), and a tsukemono pickle maker, to learn the local style of
preserved food.

This is a flat course at 100 to 200 meters in altitude, providing wonderful,
views up at the mountains from the plain below.

Where to stay? Ryugon

Ryugon is an elegant hotel with a strong traditional feel; its meals are based on traditional recipes using local ingredients long used in Snow Country.

The rooms all have a connection with the surrounding scenery that is a distinctive feature of Japanese architecture. The rooms are a mix of solid wood and soft textures, with rooms overlooking the garden; a great place to relax and rejuvenate bodies tired from cycling.

Cycling course 3: Echigo-Yuzawa

Theme: History and food

From the Samurai days to today

An experience of the local foods from the 16th-century Warring States
period to the Edo (1603 to 1868).

The route includes making doburoku, the original, homemade style of
saké, and a visit to a castle ground. The guide will talk about everything
from the laws of the Warring States era to the food culture of the
Samurai. During these periods, people often traveled long distances, so
preserved foods were very important.

This is a mountainous course from 400 to 740 meters in altitude. The
first part of the course is an uphill climb; downhill from the middle
section.

Where to stay? Kaikake Onsen

Kaikake Onsen has been a place of healing of everything from eye diseases to the wounds of travelers and samurai since 1488.
The water is not overly hot, so by immersing yourself in the water for long periods of time you can definitely eliminate any fatigue from cycling.

The rice served is Uonuma Koshihikari; the local saké served is brewed with fresh waters from Echigo-Yuzawa and Minami-Uonuma.

It will be sold from May. We will update the information as soon as the schedule is decided.