Suit Up for the 2015 Snowboarding and Skiing Season

Suit Up for the 2015 Snowboarding and Skiing Season
Sunny day of snowboarding

Winter is upon us! Although the snow may be a little late this year, that doesn’t mean the ski slopes aren’t already ready and waiting for you. I started my snowboarding last weekend at Grandeco, how about you?

Considering how warm it had been last week, the snow was actually in great condition for snowboarding. A couple of the lifts had been shut down due to patches of dirt and rocks, but the rest of the slopes were good to go. It wasn’t too crowded, and it was so nice and sunny I had to put on sunscreen. The snow did become icy as the sun set, so get out on the slopes early in the day!

For those of you who have your gear and are ready to go, check out our list of ski slopes around Fukushima!

If you are in need of gear, or are keen on upgrading what you have, try checking out Hard Off. This chain of stores sells a variety of secondhand items, including boards, bindings, boots, gloves, snow jacket, snow pants, goggles, etc. Although some of their items can get a bit expensive, they are often in good condition and/or brand name products.  Hard Off has locations in Iwaki, Fukushima City, Koriyama and Aizuwakamatsu.

If you prefer your gear shiny and new, Xebio Sports is another great location to fulfill your snowboarding and skiing needs. Don’t forget to ask your fellow JETs around you, they may know of some good shops selling gear. You can also try posting in our snowboarding and ski Facebook group, I know some people who have accumulated gear from their predecessors and friends.

Good luck on your search! If you have never done snowboarding or skiing before, this is a great time to start! There are lots of beginner-friendly slopes and even more friendly JETs willing to help get you on your feet. Not a fan of winter? Overcome that feeling by grabbing winter by its shoulders, throw it beneath your feet and ride it down the mountain (meaning snowboarding and skiing, of course. Or sledding. Or snowshoeing. Or simply walking down snowy mountains if that’s your thing).

Conditions of Grandeco Ski Slopes on December 12, 2015


December 2014 & January 2016 Lucky Island Events

Illumination in Fukushima City

Date: Wednesday, November 18th 2015 – Sunday, January 31st 2016

Area: Fukushima City

Time: 5pm – 11pm

Address: Around the east exit of Fukushima station and around Paseo

Details: If you find yourself in Fukushima City, make sure you check out the illumination in the city after the sun sets! Over 20,000 lights are illuminated during this event.



10th Annual Illumination in Koriyama

Date: Friday, November 20th 2015 – Sunday, February 14th 2016

Area: Koriyama City

Time: 5:30pm – 11:30pm

Address: Around the west exit of Koriyama station

Details: Check out Koriyama’s annual illumination during the holiday season around the station!



Kohata Flag Festival

Date: Sunday December 6th

Area:  Nihonmatsu City

Time: The festival starts at 9:30am, parade begins at 3:40pm

Address: Kohata Culture Center

Kamasuuchi-65 Kohata, Nihonmatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken 964-0203

Details: Said to be one of the three best flag festivals in Japan, this festival displays over 120 brightly colored flags.

Japanese Website:


Japanese New Year Program Event (organized by the National Youth Education Agency)

Date: Wednesday, December 30th – Saturday, January 2nd

Area:  Shibuya, Tokyo (National Olympics Memorial Youth Center)

Time: Starts at 2pm on Wednesday and ends at noon on Saturday

Price: 5,000 yen, including lodging, meals and activities

Details: If you have decided to stay in Japan over the New Years and don’t have any plans, why not participate in a New Year`s Program with other foreigners and Japanese people? The camp is open to ALTs and anyone with a residence status in Japan. The entire camp is conducted in Japanese, so a little Japanese proficiency is necessary.


Application form (Japanese):

***********Applications are due December 4th! Sign up ASAP!**************


New Years’ Tea Ceremony at Oyakuen Garden

Date: Sunday, January 3rd

Area: Aizuwakamatsu

Time: 10am – 3pm

Price: 700 yen (which includes one tea ceremony)

Address: Oyakuen Garden

8-1 Hanaharumachi, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture 965-0804

Details: Better late than never to welcome in the New Year! Celebrate a fresh start with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in the beautiful gardens of Oyakuen in the winter.


Yanaizu Naked Man Festival

Date: Thursday, January 7th

Area: Aizu Region (Enzoji Temple)

Time: Starts at 8:30pm

Address: Jikemachiko-176, Yanaizu, Kawanuma District, Fukushima Prefecture 969-7201

Details: Welcome in the New Year with this unique festival! Local men strip down to their fundoshi loincloths, drink a bunch of sake, then run barefoot up a snowy hill to the temple, wrestle each other to climb up a rope to the rafters and ring a gong!



Tenth Day Market

Date: Sunday, January 10th

Area:  Aizuwakamatsu City

Time: 9am – 9pm

Address: Shinmei Street, City Hall Street and all along the main road

Details: Visit the traditional New Year’s market with over 400 years of history! There will be over 400 street stalls selling lucky charms and talismans, food, traditional goods, and much more!

Japanese website:


Thirteenth Day Market

Date: Wednesday, January 13th

Area:  Inawashiro

Time: All day

Address: All long the main road, Hon-machi and Shinmachi Street

Details: This market started in 1336 and sells delicious food and local products such as daruma, okiagarikoboshi, windmills, and much more!

Japanese Website: