Snowboarding was on our to do list when we left Australia. Tim has done it a little bit before so knows what to do, I am a complete beginner.
We found a special online (snow japan.com) for a hotel and snowboarding package, honestly the package sounded too good to be true.
For 11,400 yen per person per night, which at the time was equivalent to $110 AUD we would get accommodation, breakfast, dinner, lift passes, snowboarding gear and all taxes. This is really cheap, so we were cautious whether it was a scam or not.
We decided to give it a go, we were in Yudanaka, so quite nearby. Hopping on the morning bus we travelled up through the mountains to Shiga Palace Hotel. When we arrived the snow was heavy (this photo was taken as we were checking out and the snow was melting) and the hotel looked amazing, very fancy indeed!
When we walked inside there was no one to be seen, keeping in mind that we were here during the end of the snow season, so the ski hills weren’t very busy. The interior was beautiful, Tim and I started to doubt this deal as there is no way that for 11,400 yen we would get everything that we listed above. Walking up to the reception desk we were greeted by a man who spoke no English what-so-ever. When he realised that our Japanese was as good as his English he went and got a man who could speak English very well. We asked the gentleman, named Mr Watanabe, about the deal we had read and to our surprise he was like ‘Ah yes, we will do that for you.’ Score!
Checking in the receptionist took our bags and put them in storage, he then took us downstairs to where all of the snow gear is kept and got us sorted with board, boots, pants, jacket, helmet, goggles and gloves. Everything seemed brand new, there were still in plastic wrapping!
We couldn’t believe our luck, this place was seriously amazing and the staff were so accommodating, the owner of the hotel even came out to wave us goodbye when one member of the hotel drove us the 200m to the ski hill, what service. It was obvious very quickly that Tim and I were the only foreigners here, everyone was Japanese and ever so friendly. Tim and I were the only snowboarders for the first day, which was much more relaxing for a beginner like me. On the ski lift we could see the ‘beginner’ hill, it was almost empty, there was so much snow, which Tim said was great and was so so so cold.
After lunch we took the ski lift to the highest point and took in the beautiful view of the Japanese alps.
I couldn’t resist making a snow angel, the ‘fluffy’ powdery snow brought out my inner child.
We had so much fun and as the sun began to set we called it a day and walked back to our hotel.
When we got back we took off our gear and placed them in the lockers provided and then headed upstairs to see our room.
The room was very nice indeed, it was really long with shower, toilet, cupboards, lounge room and bedroom.
Mr Watanabe knocked on our door with a couple robes and dining room attire. The only time that we have ever worn these clothing was when going to the onsen so we didn’t realise that we were supposed to wear them during meal time.
Snowboarding sure does build your appetite, so we dressed in our casuals and headed downstairs to the dining room.
When we entered the dining room we were greeted with a 8 course meal!!! And everyone else was in the attire that Mr Watanabe had brought us earlier…oops!
Tim ordered a beer and we tried to explain that we will quickly go and get changed, but the waitress didn’t understand what we were saying, so gave us a confused look when we quickly left the room.
When we came back downstairs dress appropriately the rest of the staff and visitors applauded, was rather funny.
After dinner we used the onsen hotspring and then sat down in front of the fire.
A really friendly elderly Japanese man came over and stoked the fire for us, he had no English so conversation took awhile and there was lots of acting out involved to try and get the message across. He cooked us sweet potato in the fire place, which was really nice.
The next day we did it all over again 😀 We woke to a massive breakfast, again around 8 courses
The ski hills were still snowy, but as the temperature had risen overnight the snow was starting to melt.
I was standing longer today and getting the hang of snowboarding, but definitely still spent a lot of time in this position:
We spent hours on the ski hill, Tim was a very patient teacher and by the end of the day I asked him to leave me alone and go have some fun by himself as I could see he was dying to go faster 🙂
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Shiga Palace Hotel, 5 star service and 5 star accommodation, I would recommend this place to everyone.