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[Experience Report] Snowshoeing on a Biei Hill

A world of purest white... Winter in Biei really is beautiful.

When we talk of Biei, patchwork hills come to mind. Most of you probably imagine the hills as a summer attraction, yes?

In fact, Biei is beautiful even in midwinter!

The fallen snow wraps up Biei's hills-- the scenery is pure white, as far as the eye can see.

Today, we'd like to give you a rundown on a special experience for you-- our snowshoeing tour on a Biei hill, where you get to walk atop fluffy powder snow!

(Note: To operate this tour, we have received special permission from Biei's farmers. You may not walk on the hill without the company of our specialist guide, so please keep this in mind.)

So, to begin with... what are "snowshoes", anyway?

Snowshoes are a tool that allow you to walk over the top of deep snow with ease. If you were to walk on snow with your regular shoes, you'd sink right through it and it'd be pretty difficult to walk! However, snowshoes distribute your weight across a wider area of the snow's surface, giving you a buoyancy boost and allowing you to easily walk over the snow without sinking!

We recommend that you wear waterproof snow boots for snowshoeing. Heels are a no-go. If you don't own any snow boots, then don't worry! As in the picture above, we can lend you waterproof "overshoes" that you slip on over your footwear.

As for your clothes, try to wear something breathable-waterproof, such as ski or snowboard wear. As you walk, you will also work up quite a sweat. To avoid catching a cold, we also suggest that you make sure your inner layer is heat-insulating and fast-drying. And of course, gloves and hats are a must. If you have sunglasses, it makes things a little easier for your eyes!

The snowshoe tour starts from here!

Once we've donned our snowshoes, all we have to do is walk forward. Walking backwards throws off our balance, so for the time being we'll just keep going straight! As we head for the unfolding hilly scenery, you can get used to the feel of snowshoes on your feet.

As we walk, we can listen to our guide's explanations and discover many new things, too!

This shape is often mistaken for a bird's nest, but it's in fact that Christmas staple-- mistletoe! Mistletoe is a bit of a weird plant which grows as a parasite on the branches of trees, without extending its roots down to the soil.
These are the footprints of a red-backed vole. If you look closely, you can see the drag mark its tail has left behind, running right through the middle of the footprints.
On the mornings of very cold days, we may even be able to see beautiful hoarfrost! Hoarfrost is water vapour or fog that has cooled to below freezing point and frozen on trees and other surfaces.

The origin of these unusually-shaped footprints are a snow hare!

Wow... look at that! Just look at that view!

As this is private land, these hills are usually inaccessible. So this scenery is reserved just for us on this tour!

Pure white snow, and a beautiful blue sky... You'll surely be moved by the sight of the blue and white world, extending into infinity.

If we lie back on the snow and wave our arms and legs about...

...then we can make snow angels! Let's enjoy our time in the snow to the fullest!

Walking over the soft and fluffy snow is so much fun! Any feeling of cold has vanished!

And unlike skiing, snowshoeing also doesn't require you to have any prior experience or technique. Anyone can enjoy it freely!

Please do come and savour Biei's winter to your heart's content~

"Snowshoe Tour" - Explore a majestic winter wonderland in Biei.

From Mid December~End of March
(※This may be changed depending on the snow conditions)
Around 2 hours
Adult&Child(6 years and above.) fee ¥5,000
※Single participant fee applies ( Adult 6,000)