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No.177 (12/24/10)

Naqua Shirakami: More than just a first class ski resort

By Simon Bernard
Guest Writer

skiin Naqua Shirakami Ski Resort Living in Misawa gives you close proximity to some of the best snow in Japan.

Hakkoda, with 8 mountains and no groomed slopes, is paradise for back country and powder snow hounds. Skiing in Hakkoda requires higher skill level than that of regular ski resorts. It is suggested that you carry a backpack, snowshoes and poles even if you plan on just going on the “official” courses.

Getting a guide to take you off course to back country is the best way to enjoy the snow and awesome scenery without getting hurt or wasting time navigating thru unfamiliar turf. See my home page for all the information you need.

If you are more of a recreational skier/boarder or even a beginner, you should defi nitely check out “Naqua Shirakami” formerly Ajigasawa Ski Resort. Shirakami is the name of the mountainous area in western Aomori. It is a United Nations World Heritage beech tree forest preservation area.

skiin Naqua Shirakami Ski Resort Located on the north slope of Mt. Iwaki, the highest mountain in Aomori prefecture. With one gondola and four lifts, you can fi nd the right terrain for your ski and snowboard level. You have your choice of skiing in the daytime overlooking the Sea of Japan or in the evening under the lights and stars!

Naqua Shirakami is more than just a 1st class ski resort and hotel. There are fi ne dining restaurants, hot springs, massage, fi tness center and live local music found there.

Evening events include the Nebuta festival floats on snow, fireworks, a winter and Christmas carnival, and visits to the Suntory Ice Bar.

Naqua Shirakami is a great place for the whole family. Fun for kids includes snow mobiles, snow tubing, a bouncy house and even ski lessons in English! Snow caves, snow candles, snow slides and various other playground toys are available so kids can have fun playing in the snow.

You don't ski but the family does? No problem, you can catch a ride on the snow-limo to get the feeling of being on the slopes without learning to ski! Special ski and family packages are available to folks in Misawa base. Don't wait too long to make your Christmas and New Year's bookings. Call Misawa ITT at 226-3555 to reserve a holiday or weekend get away. Looking for just a day trip? Contact Outdoor Rec. or the Mogul Mashers Ski Club.

Driving Directions
Go out the main gate; turn right at the second street after the light. Turn right at the 4th street, you will end up going around the perimeter of the base. Turn right at the Y and you will be on Rt. 8. From the Y go 16 km. and turn left at the Circle K light. Go 0.7km and turn right, go over the bridge and go straight, this road will eventually take you to the Michinoku Toll road. After paying the toll 820 yen, continue straight 8km. till you see the sign for Aomori Higashi Expressway. Turn left to get on the expressway. After a few kilometers you will come to a booth to get a ticket, continue straight toward Namioka , this expressway will merge with the Tohoku Expressway bound for Tokyo. Get off at the fi rst interchange Namioka and pay the toll 800 yen. Continue straight and you will run into the Tsugaru Expressway. Go to the end of this expressway (no charge), when it ends turn left.

You will now be on Rt. 156. You will go about 7km and turn right at the Circle K light. (On this 7km. stretch you will pass by Elm Shopping Center, go over a big bridge where the road changes names to Rt.154 and then you will go by Aeon Jusco Mall). After turning at the Circle K light (you will be on Rt.37), go about 1km to the stop light and turn left onto Rt. 101(there is an Asahi pachinko parlor there). Now go about 8km. and turn left onto Rt.39, there is a “Michi no Eki” (road station) called Morita Earth Top at the stop light. Go 10km. and turn right at the “T”. You are now on Rt. 30. After 700 meters you will come to a light with the sign in Japanese for the ski resort. Turn left and follow for 3km. until you arrive at the resort.

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