As usual, within our trip, there will always be a place of highlight, the pinnacle, the grand finale, the culmination of the trip. And in this round, it is Hoshino Tomamu Resort.
Info on our Japan Winter 2017 trip can be found here.
Hoshino Tomamu Resort was chosen due to its variety of activities in the resort, and most importantly, activities for families. Apart from that, it also has a nice family room with superb view.
Not only the family room, other room are also as spacious, with bedroom and living room.
They provided bath robe for adults and kids. To the kids, it was one of the fun stuff to wear.
There are common activities and there are some special activities that is only offered in Tomamu.
1. snow playing
This resort is huuge with a designated area to play snow. It has many mounds of snow and is slippery, so it is a good for sledding or sliding. There are mini-sleds that can be bought in the resort’s convenience store.
Another fun stuff to do is snowman building. It might sound simple, but there is a technique to it, otherwise, you will get small snowman coz the snow ball keeps on breaking.
Sled can be sold out, so buy early if possible. It can be bought using resort’s coupon as well.
For building snowman, soft fresh snow is needed. Hard-snow is no longer sticky and break easily. Go there early to have more fresh snow to build the snowman.
One advice from a buddy, is to buy carrot before going to the resort, so that we have nose for the snowman. Fortunately we did, as the convenient store did not sell carrot.
2. ski/snowboard and the school
One of the specialty of this resort is that it is a ski-in-ski-out resort. Just go to the rental area, and you will get all equipments there. Need not worry about running out of rental equipment, coz they have many of them. Just remember to bring a 100 yen coin for the locker if you have important stuff to keep. Otherwise, there is a free shoe cupboard to put your shoes.
This area has many slopes and many level of difficulty, from training slope, first-timer slope, beginner slope, to difficult slope. Of course, for my boy and I, we were able to reach only the beginner slope. I fell down a few times as I was moving too fast, while I can see my boy moved steadily with just one time of ski lesson.
The lesson is darn difficult to book, as the english speaking lesson was only a few. Do book early if you need one. I only managed to book my boy’s ski course (2 hour lesson), which was done like 6 months in advance. Even I couldn’t even get myself one.
Tips: for first-timer, need not worry if you don’t get the skiing/snowboarding lesson, just go out there with proper gear, spend some time in the training slope/area and see what others learn, then practice yourself. Ta da! free stuff. Of course train your body beforehand, coz you will definitely fall a few times before you get used to it. There are many kind of training to prep your body for skiing/snowboarding in YouTube.
Another tips for first-timer: do not ski straight down the slope, do zig-zag. This might sounds like “Of course, common sense”, but No! first time, we have high tendency to do that, coz that is what happen during the training. Silly me still did that, though I have been warned by a friend, haha.
Overall, it was really fun, we got addicted and end up spending 2 days for that. Even for the last day before going to Chitose. We did express checked-out, parked our luggage in the resort luggage service (for free), and went out to ski again until 2pm, then had lunch and took the shuttle to JR Tomamu Station.
Tomamu ski lesson
For those who don’t want to fall down, snow-mobile is the way to go. The cool thing is that you will be going to a secluded place with nice view.
Apart from the common activities we can find on ski resorts, Hoshino Tomamu offered more, especially those that can be done when the sky is dark:
1. Ice Village
Very interesting village of igloos with bar, store, art museum, ice-skating, and the “impressive entrance” to it, an ice slide.
2. Mina-mina Beach and Kirin no Yu
After a fun day in snow and ice, it will be nice to have something warm… or hot. This Mina-mina Beach is a swimming pool in a heated hall. This seems to try simulating a tropical beach, as it also has wave on certain intervals.
Inside the heated hall, there is another one of our favourite place. The public bath with outdoor hot-bath, Kirin no Yu. We always loved outdoor hot-bath, especially with superb scenery. This one has all those, made us forgot our time whenever we went there.
3. Unkai Terrace
For those who love scenery, this is the best place to be. Just that we did not spend too much time there due to time taken for ski. Oh right, this one only available before 3pm.
4. Many choices of restaurants
Many of the times, I read that ski resorts have limited choice of food. Luckily this place is quite the opposite. There are many restaurants. When we went there, they just built a new area called Hotalu Street, which is an area with many different kind of restaurant.
Note: Avoid common dinner time, it can get very crowded with waiting time of 1 hour.
There are many other stuff like cookie making, baumkuchen making, snow trekking, reindeer etc. which we did not have enough time for.
They provided a funny but interesting SantaClaus service. In short, this is to summon SantaClaus to your room and give present to your kids. Imagine those kids who loved Santa a lot haha, they will be super delighted. Of coz this will involve some fee and the present need to be prepared by the parents. Too bad, my kids have been taught to believe in Saint Nicholas instead of SantaClaus.
There are some stuff we find it interesting and convenient, however, probably also provided by any other resorts:
1. Convenient store
2. Luggage delivery and storage service
3. Pre-check out the night before, then express check-out on the next day.
They are more than happy to do this for you as it will reduce their effort to deal with the crowd during the day time.
Official Hoshino Tomamu resort can be found here.