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JAPAN


MORE WINTER ADVENTURES


Cruise through drift ice Ice from Russia’s Amur River flows southward to Hokkaido in the winter and it’s possible to witness this phenomenon from the deck of an icebreaker. The best spot for this is the port of Abashiri on the Sea of Okhotsk, just 40 minutes by bus from Monbetsu Airport. Take a sightseeing cruise on the Aurora. ms-aurora.com/abashiri


Meet the snow monsters In wintertime, the snow- smothered fir trees overlooking the ski resort village of Zao Onsen in Honshu transform, taking on beautiful, otherworldly shapes. Marvel at these natural snow sculptures as you ski, snowboard, ride a cable-car, or take a night cruise in a specially constructed snow vehicle. zao-spa.or.jp


Go ice-fishing An hour outside Hokkaido’s capital, Lake Shinotsu is the perfect spot for some ice fishing. Nearby, a calming hot-spring soak awaits before you return to the bustle of the city. Chuo Bus offers full-day tours to Shinotsu from Sapporo. uu-hokkaido.com


Try dog-sledding Hokkaido’s raw splendour and winter traditions are highlighted on a dog-sledding experience in Takasu, a city near Asahikawa. Aſter an hour’s training session, you’re ready to pilot a sled pulled by a team of happy, well-cared-for canines across a snow-covered, four-mile course. moonlightladies.info


Visit the Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival Located in northwestern Honshu’s Akita Prefecture, this centuries-old festival (which is held between 15-16 February each year) features hundreds of snow domes called kamakura. Visitors enter the candlelit structures and sample sweet sake and rice cakes. There are also food stalls, snow sculptures and special events, lending a modern vibe to this most traditional of celebrations. japan.travel CT


58 nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel


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