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A Real Life Winter Wonderland

Chasing the best of Biei's winter scenery

Biei's snow starts to fall from late November and stays on the ground right through until April. If you're counting, you'll notice that is about six months. In other words, Biei spends half the year covered in snow!

It can be a challenging time of year for locals but on the plus side it is low season for both farmers and tourists to the town so many of the residents use winter as a time of year to take it easy. Many farmers use the time to indulge in their other passions like arts and crafts or winter sports.

Apart from the relaxed atmosphere. the snow also makes Biei's landscape very beautiful. In fact, it looks exactly like a winter holiday card!

To celebrate this festive season, we wanted to share our top winter scenery spots in Biei. Why not enjoy your own winter holiday here and see it for yourself?

~A request from the people of Biei~

We will introduce some of Biei's famous trees in this article but please be aware that all trees sit on private property and crossing the boundary without permission is trespassing. Apart from this, bacteria on the undersides of your shoes can pass diseases to crops. Please obey any signs indicating that you are at the boundary of private property and never enter the fields. If you want to take photographs, please do so from the roads. We thank you for your cooperation in preserving Biei's beautiful landscape for the next generation.

1Shin'ei Hill

The red-roofed house, white-roofed in the snow!

Shin'ei Hill is one of Biei's observation hills with a commanding view of the Tokachi Mountain Range on clear days. Even if the weather isn't completely clear, however, you can still enjoy the spectacle of Biei's hills covered in fluffy white snow.

From here, you have a great vantage point of a little house nestled in the hills. Although you can't tell in winter, this is Biei's famous Red-Roofed House. In the snow, however, it paints a picture of a cozy home in a frosty landscape. Doesn't it just look like a perfect holiday card?

2Christmas Tree

Biei's Christmas Tree, both beautiful and lonely in the falling snow.

Biei's landscape is agricultural and open for the most part so where the odd tree does grow, it sticks out starkly against the landscape. Many of these trees have also been given names either by the locals or due to brand advertising or commercials.

One such tree is the Christmas Tree and it is one of Biei's most popular trees in the winter. Nobody is quite sure how or why it became so popular or if it was popular before or after the winter months. Either way, in winter, it's not unusual to see many people gathering to take pictures of the tree. It seems particularly popular with couples.

If you're lucky, you might get there just as the sun is directly above the tree. Not only does it cast a shadow that looks almost like a reflection of itself on the snow but it also looks like the sun is a big natural star atop the tree!

Nature provides the tree-topper!


Biei Tourism Etiquette

Lately, the Christmas Tree has become very popular so we would like to remind you of Biei's tourism manners.

Firstly, please be aware that there is no parking lot near the Christmas Tree. The road is often congested with parked cars as visitors take a look at the tree. Please keep in mind that the road is a public road and is often used by Biei locals.

Secondly, the field in which the tree stands is private land, even when covered with snow. Entering the field is trespassing. Furthermore, bacteria or parasites on the underside of your shoes to sink into the soil and damage crops. Please be respectful of boundaries and take any photographs or selfies from the road.

3Animals in the Snow

Nature's supermodels-- the red fox.

With such unspoiled nature for miles around, it's no surprise that many animals have made the hills of Biei their home.

While some of them snuggle up and hibernate for the winter, others look their most beautiful against the backdrop of white snow.

One such animal is the Hokkaido Red Fox with their fluffy red coats and bushy tails. They are a beautiful sight as they stroll across Biei's winter landscape and, judging by the swish in their tails, they clearly know it! Their piercing bark is often heard, but they are shy creatures with keen senses so they are rarely seen.

If you are lucky enough to spot one, try to stay quiet and still as you observe it. As you drive through the hills in the morning, keep an eye out of your window for foxes sat at the base of slopes, banks or banks, waiting for unsuspecting mice or voles to emerge from their nests… just in time for the fox's breakfast!

Aside from these two creatures, you can see many other birds and mammals in Biei's winter. All of them are a great sight, if you manage to spot them!

Can you see me? I'm a mountain hare!

A living marshmallow... the adorable Hokkaido Long-Tailed Tit!

4Shirahige Falls

Dramatic ice pillars and fairytale blue at Shirahige Falls

Could this possibly be the Ice Queen's lair? Or the snow level of an RPG video game?

It's neither—this is real life! Shirahige Falls is one of Biei's main natural attractions and is located about 3km upstream from one of our top attractions, the Biei Blue Pond. Its blue colour looks great all year round, but if you ask us, we'll tell you it looks most beautiful in winter. This amazing fantasy landscape really makes you feel the magic and sparkle of Biei's winter.

Next to Shirahige Falls is Shirogane Onsen hot spring resort. The falls are at a higher altitude than the rest of Biei so it certainly is very cold—how about warming up with a dip in the natural spring waters?

5Panoramic Views From Snowy Hills!

If that's not enough for you, then why not try snowshoeing?

Capture memories with your camera but also in your heart as you join a knowledgeable guide for a walk through a snow-covered pasture in an experience we have created especially with the cooperation of Biei's farmers.

You haven't truly seen Biei's winter scenery until you've gazed out at a perfectly snowy landscape from the crest of a hill. Plus, being the first person to walk through the pure white snow just feels so good! Take a look at the video and link below to learn more!

Snowshoeing on a Scenic Biei Hill

Mid December – End of March
(※This may be changed depending on the snow conditions)
Around 2 hours
Adults(Aged 13 and up):4,500yen per person
Children(Aged 12 and below):3,500yen per person
※Price for single participants: 7,000yen

Have we inspired you to spend winter with us? We hope to see you soon in Biei, a true Winter Wonderland.