Let’s have fun snowshoeing! Azumino, Nagano, Enshu

At Harvest, we’ve planned out a snowshoeing course that takes you through the marvelous woods that are renowned in Nagano Prefecture, where you will have views of the vast Japan North Alps. There’s nothing like snowshoeing across freshly fallen snow, keeping an eye out for animal tracks. It’s the kind of enjoyment you can only get from snowshoeing. Our course takes you into a mountain area that’s private property, so unfortunately we can’t describe it specifically on our website.


Snowshoeing: Fun for everybody

Snowshoeing is so much fun!


We first started hiking on snowshoes in the 1997/98 winter season. Up until then, we had enjoyed mountain skiing and telemark skiing (we still continue to enjoy these sports). Although they share a lot of elements in common, they require very different types of skills. Simply put, anyone who can walk can enjoy snowshoeing. That’s not true of skiing. You need to master certain skills in order to be able to ski, although mastering those skills is certainly a lot of fun in itself. Obviously, with snowshoeing, you won’t start out by trekking up mountains. But if you’re walking across fields that are safe for hiking, you can experience the full pleasure of the sport. You’ll be able to handle the ups and downs of walking in the woods with no problem. Walking on top of snow is truly a lot of fun.


Of course, one of the biggest pleasures of hiking is having lunch. We take along a small gas burner and provide warm ham and cheese that we’ve smoked in our own smokehouse, homemade bread, and of course, no lunch is complete without beer and wine! If the weather is good, we spend a leisurely hour having lunch. If you don’t go for any other reason, you should definitely try snowshoe hiking for the lunch alone.

Where do we go on our snowshoe hikes?


 We go any place where there’s snow on the ground. But snow by itself isn’t all that we enjoy. We go into woods where you can enjoy the ambience of trees around you, open fields of snow, the scenery of Japan’s vast North Alps, moderate uphills and downhills, and so much more. It’s combining all of those elements that makes snowshoe hiking so much fun, and so satisfying. The route that we designed takes us into woods, with the permission of the land owner, and to places that are only known by the local people. You can also enjoy low-lying village forests. Forest roads that are drivable when there’s no snow are transformed into a whole different world when snow accumulates. You can go places on snow that aren’t accessible in the summer because of forest growth. We’ve plotted out a number of favorite courses that take you to places such as these.
 One other thing is that snowshoeing is easy on the knees, because the snow forms a cushion, and you use hiking sticks. If you enjoy walking in the mountains in the spring, summer and autumn, but you haven’t ventured out in the snow, this is your chance to relax and enjoy the snow under optimum conditions.

Harvest Snowshoe Tours

To tell you the truth, things are pretty quiet in Azumino in the winter. That was why we put together some plans for things that we could enjoy doing with our guests.

What we do on a snowshoe tour

When tours are held, and 1-day schedule
・We can do tours on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, anytime when there is snow (usually from the end of December through the end of March). We can also accommodate requests for tours on weekdays, so please feel free to consult with us. Essentially, we can plan a tour anytime, so please let us know your preferences.
・We start out at 8:30 in the morning, and come back to Harvest around 4:00 in the afternoon.

Who can participate
As a rule, we limit participation to middle school students or older (we will take elementary school students if they enjoy walking and are physically fit enough). There’s no upper age limit. As long as a person is healthy and enjoys walking, we are happy to include them. Please feel free to consult with us if you are in the senior age bracket. You don’t need to have any particular skills, and even first-time snowshoers can relax and enjoy the experience. You don’t need to have any mountain-climbing experience or skiing skills.
In general, we conduct a tour if two or more people are signed up. If you would like to go snowshoeing with us on your own, please let us know. We can certainly discuss it.

Tour fees
●The fee for a tour is 14,800 yen per person (including tax), and the tour includes the following:
・Guide fee (the owner accompanies the guests throughout the day)
・Lunch (homemade bread, ham smoked in our own smokehouse, beer, wine and coffee)
・Snacks (chocolate, dried fruits, etc.)
・Overnight stay at Harvest (rate for one night/two meals, shared toilet and bath).

Snowshoe rental fee (separate from the tour fee): 1,500 yen (this includes snowshoes and hiking sticks)

Special request: For the Harvest snowshoeing tours, we are allowed to use a forest area called “Kitayama no Mori”. We ask that you please contribute 200 yen per person (high school students and older) as a fee to help preserve the forest land.

As the host holding the tours, we are covered by liability insurance, but this does not include accident insurance for individual participants. Please let us know if you would like to add this insurance. It costs 300 yen per person, separate from the tour fee.

What you’ll need to bring
・You’ll need waterproof boots with firm uppers, that are designed to protect you against the cold (you may need spats to keep snow out of your boots).
・A daypack-size backpack
・Clothing that allows hiking (something like fleece clothing is convenient, and we recommend underwear made of some of the new materials that are designed to dry quickly). You’ll want to have a windproof jacket or parka (something made of Goretex or similar material is recommended, as it may snow), gloves, a hat, sunglasses, etc.
・A stainless steel thermos that holds around 500 ml (2 people can share one)
・If you smoke, we ask that you bring a portable ashtray.

If you have the following, please bring them along:
・Hiking sticks (preferably the collapsible type, for touring)

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

■Telephone: (0263) 83-4317

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mailto: home@harvest.to