Snow Country Gourmet/Cycling Tours *Tours for 2020 seasons have closed, next tour for 2021 starts in April

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

To use cycling as the medium to explore the beautiful scenery of the towns and rural areas of this part of Snow Country, and to get to and enjoy the unique cuisine of the region through the seasons—in a way otherwise almost unattainable to travelers, both international and Japanese.

Spring

Cycling through fields of new green, while picking and enjoying sansei wild vegetables and other spring flavors.

Summer

The mountains and rice fields are deeply green, while the many kinds of vegetables grown in the area are also developing. Cool natural streams are a great break on hot cycling days.

Autumn

The time of the harvest, with the new rice drying in the traditional way on hazakake throughout the area. Beautiful colors in the mountains; the best of the harvest at meals. Saké production begins at local kura, a possible stop during cycling.

Exploring Snow Country

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.

Exploring the unique cuisine

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.

Meeting local people

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.

tour info Detail

Highlights

  • Exploring Snow Country
  • Exploring the unique cuisine
  • Meeting local people
Day 1

Minami-Uonuma Course: 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.

11:00 Meet guide(s) at Muikamachi Station
11:30 Cycling
12:00 Lunch at Taiyaki Tomochan
13:00 Cycling
14:00 Saké Brewery at Aoki Shuzo
15:00 Cycling
15:45 Farm experience at Kuratomo Farm
16:45 Cycling
17:30 Tsukemono (pickle) shop at Imanari Tsukemono
18:30 Cycling at Yotoge, Onsen town
19:00 Hotel check-in at Ryugon
19:30 Dinner

Accommodation: 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. At dinner, chefs carefully prepare dishes over a hearth in the center of the dining room; these are served with final local saké and wine.
Breakfast is a wonderful set based around freshly-steamed Koshihikari rice from Uonuma; the other items are a variety of delicious flavors, all ingredients from Niigata.

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.

 

Day 2

Echigo-Yuzawa Course: 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.

7:30 Breakfast at lodging
9:30 Departure by train
10:30 Meet guide(s) at Echigo-Yuzawa Station
10:40 Buy lunch at Echigo-Yuzawa Station
11:00 Move to start point Bus
12:00 Cycling
12:15 Lunch If good weather, outdoors
12:50 Doboroku/yama dango making at Lodge Nakanouchi
13:50 Cycling
14:20 Explore history/food at Arato Castle ruins
15:20 Cycling
16:00 Break at Mitsumata Michi no Eki
16:15 Cycling
16:30 Explore history at Wakihonjin Ikedaya
17:00 Move to minshuku
17:30 Banquet with locals at Minshuku
19:30 Move to Kaikake Onsen by car/bus
20:00 Check-in at Kaikake Onsen

Accommodation: 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.

Day 3 - A

8:00 am Breakfast at lodging
9:30 Departure by train
11:30 Arrival at station; disperse

DAY 3 - B

Matsunoyama Course: 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.

11:30 Meet guide(s) at Matsudai Station
12:00 Lunch at Satoyama Shokudo
13:00 Cycling
14:00 Experience village life at Koyamaru
14:15 Cycling
14:30 Visit spring water spot at Koshimizu spring
14:35 Cycling
16:00 Tea break at Bijinbayashi
16:45 Cycling
17:15 Village life Yotoge, Onsen town
18:15 Hotel check-in
19:30 Dinner at Jiro
21:00 Free time and sleep

Accommodation: Hina no Yado Chitose

Served directly from the hot spring source, the 29-room inn provides three guest rooms with attached rotenburo outside baths, as well as two private baths. 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. At the izakaya Chiro, not far from the inn, enjoy floor heating using the spring water, and cooking done before you on
the irori open hearth. 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.

PeriodEnd of April to Middle of November
Venue
Includesexperiences, insurance, lodging, meals, accommodations
Required Equipments
Event Conditions
From ¥242,000/2 people
2 nights 3 days (2 cycling courses)

*After sending a booking request, we will confirm availability and get back to you.

How To Book

Booking Request

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Confirming Availability

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Completing The Booking

Fill the form we send by email and proceed with payment.

Departure Day

Finally, come to the meeting point to enjoy the tour!

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