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FoodHoshino Resorts Tomamu Winter Travel Guide • Just One Cookbook

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu Winter Travel Guide • Just One Cookbook

Discover the exciting winter activities and attractions at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu in Hokkaido, Japan. From skiing and snowboarding to the ice village and delicious foods, this guide has everything you need for an unforgettable winter vacation.

People sitting on high chairs overlooking Tomamu Ski resort and Hoshino Resort hotels

Tomamu Ski Resort is central Hokkaido’s largest ski resort. From various luxury facilities and accommodations to countless ski courses and delicious local Hokkaido cuisine, Tomamu has everything you need for the perfect winter holiday.

View overlooking Tomamu Ski resort and Hoshino Resort hotelsView overlooking Tomamu Ski resort and Hoshino Resort hotels

I had the pleasure of staying at Hoshino Resort Tomamu Risonare, a five-star hotel part of the Hoshino Resorts hotel brand in Japan. I’ll explore the stunning views from Unkai Terrace, get cozy in some igloos at the famed Ice Village, and more!

So, let’s get into the action!

How to Get to Tomamu

From Sapporo to Tomamu, using the highways takes approximately two hours and 15 minutes, with tolls costing 2660 yen one way. From New Chitose Airport, it takes an hour and 30 minutes with tolls costing 1830 yen one way (prices in 2024). During January and February, the highway is often narrow and slippery, so please drive carefully.

Alternatively, Tomamu is easily accessible by train from Sapporo. Board the Ozora Limited Express to Kushiro from Sapporo Station, which will arrive in Tomamu in approximately one hour and 45 minutes, costing 5,550 yen one way (price in 2024). From Tomamu Station, you can board a shuttle bus to the ski resort.

Tomamu also has easy access to Furano, another fantastic winter location. I love both locations as excellent alternative to the often crowded Niseko.

When is the best time to go to Tomamu?

Tomamu Ski Resort starts on December 1st and ends on April 1st. It offers nighttime skiing from late December to late March. If you want to ski or snowboard, January and February have the highest snowfall. This period has the highest chances of finding the sought-after powder snow. In March and April, you can still enjoy the slopes. However, with slightly warmer temperatures and less chance of powder snow.

Skiers and snowboarders on the ski slopes with Tomamu Ski resort in the backgroundSkiers and snowboarders on the ski slopes with Tomamu Ski resort in the background

I also recommend visiting between late January and mid-February as the Ice Village, one of Tomamu’s most popular attractions, is open. I’ll get more into that later on!

What is there to do in Tomamu?

Winter Sports – Skiing and Snowboarding

The majority of people heading to Tomamu will probably be looking to hit the slopes, and with good reason. There are 29 trails that cater to everyone, from the advanced skiers to the intermediates. For those who are just starting out there are ten beginner slopes. Various ski lessons are available to book here, or you can inquire at your hotel front desk or by phone.

For the advanced skiers, there are off-piste areas designated by the resort and backcountry tours if you want to experience the untouched powder snow all to yourself. Register with the ski patrol and sign a waiver, and you receive a bib to wear while skiing to signify you can ski off-piste.

Ski slopes at Tomamu Ski ResortSki slopes at Tomamu Ski Resort

Lift passes can be purchased online at the designated stations. A one-day ticket is 7000 yen ($47 USD) for adults and 5000 yen ($33) for children. There are also half-day and seasonal passes, about which you can find more information here.

Winter Activities – Snowmobile and More

If you want to enjoy Tomamu’s breathtaking scenery and snow, visit GAO Outdoor Center, which offers various winter activities. From snowmobiles and banana boats to winter horseback riding and snow trekking, it’s a great way to enjoy the thrill of the snow without hitting the slopes. Some activities are available during the day, whereas some need reservations, so please check on the website here.

I have always wanted to ride a snowmobile, and since the weather was nice, it was the perfect opportunity. There are 3km, 6km, and 10km courses available, allowing you to drive through the Tomamu terrain with a guide. Along the way, you can stop for a picture with the famous Hoshino Resort Towers in the background.

Riding a snowmobileRiding a snowmobile

Next to the outdoor center is a small cafe, Farm Design, where you can stop by and get some drinks and food. If you are traveling with children, it’s also a nice spot to relax while they play in the snow.

Farm Designs cafe exterior at Tomamu Ski ResortFarm Designs cafe exterior at Tomamu Ski Resort

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu – Unkai Terrace

One of Tomamu’s most well-known spots is Unkai Terrace, which can be accessed from the Unkai Gondola. During summer and autumn, it is known for its unkai (sea of clouds) that traverses the surrounding mountains and covers the resort. In winter, parts of the terrace are open; however, the higher elevated structures are not.

You can purchase the gondola tickets at the Unkai Gondola station – 1,900 yen ($13 USD) for adults and 1,200 yen ($8 USD) for children ages 7-11 (children below six are free, prices in 2024). Your hotel reservation may also include your tickets, so please check beforehand.

Gondola at Tomamu Ski ResortGondola at Tomamu Ski Resort

Upon reaching Unkai Terrace, you’ll be greeted by Kumo Cafe, which sells cloud-themed drinks and sweets. Once you walk outside, you’ll have panoramic views over Tomamu and the surrounding mountains.

View overlooking Tomamu Ski resort and Hoshino Resort hotelsView overlooking Tomamu Ski resort and Hoshino Resort hotels

The only two attractions open are the Cloud Bar and Cloud Walk.

When walking around, be careful of skiers and snowboarders who might be coming down from above!

View overlooking Tomamu Ski resort and Hoshino Resort hotelsView overlooking Tomamu Ski resort and Hoshino Resort hotels

While you won’t be able to see the sea of clouds during winter or enjoy all the attractions, the view is more than worth it!

Local Hokkaido Specialties

Throughout the ski resort, there are various restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy some local Hokkaido specialties. If you are staying the night, your hotel will have a host of restaurants to choose from.

In the center of the resort is Hotalu Street, a small complex filled with restaurants, cafes, and bars serving Western food and local Hokkaido food. From fresh seafood to miso ramen, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a meal outside the hotel.

I opted for soup curry at GARAKU, a popular restaurant with a flagship store in Sapporo. Soup curry is exactly as you would imagine. A deep, spicy, and rich curry but in broth form, allowing you to slowly savor its warmth and escape from the winter cold.

My one came with a tender chicken leg and an assortment of vegetables.

Hokkaido soup curry with chicken and vegetablesHokkaido soup curry with chicken and vegetables

Ice Village

From mid-December to mid-March (in 2023/2024, it was held between December 10th and March 14th), you can experience an ice village transforming the resort into a true winter wonderland. During this period, temperatures can drop as low as -22°F (-30 °C) throughout the night!

Hoshino Resort Tomamu Ice Village entrance signHoshino Resort Tomamu Ice Village entrance sign

The village has 11 ice domes filled with various snacks, drinks, activities, an ice rink, and even a zipline to enjoy the winter cold. There’s a 600 yen entrance fee for all staying guests and day visitors. Be sure to check your hotel booking, as sometimes a ticket is included in your stay.

The ice village is marked by a gateway made of… you guessed it! Ice! Following the lights will take you around the village and to a small area that looks over all of the ice domes.

To enter the village, you can take the stairs to the right or down the ice slide. As it is made of ice and quite steep, you slide down pretty quickly, so please be careful!

Hoshino Resort Ice VillageHoshino Resort Ice Village

Every day at 7:30 pm, there is a small fireworks show. I was filming for the Just One Cookbook IG reel, which you can check out on our Instagram page!

One of the standout features of the village is the ice chapel, where you can actually get married. Visitor entrances are held at specific times and only for 10 minutes, so please check the board when you are there.

Ice ChapelIce Chapel

Another popular spot is the ice bar, where you can enjoy original cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks served in an ice glass!

Frozen Ramen at Seicomart

In Hokkaido, there is a convenience store called “Seicomart” with a hot food section known as “Hot Chef,” which serves some of the best convenience store food in Japan in my opinion. If you have the chance, I highly recommend trying it. Anyway, instead of “Hot Chef,” the village has a Seicomart “Ice Chef,” which serves frozen goods such as soft cream. It’s also just like a regular convenience store with Hokkaido snacks, drinks, and goods.

What better way to warm up from the cold than huddling behind a small fire? Make sure to pick up a giant marshmallow and toast it over one of the fires throughout the village!

Toasting a marshmallow over a fireToasting a marshmallow over a fire

The highlight of the ice village was probably the ice ramen. Imagine a regular bowl of ramen, but everything is cold/frozen and served in a bowl made of ice! Albeit rather pricey (1,500 yen, $10 USD), it was surprisingly tasty and one of the more unique things I have tried in Hokkaido.

Throughout the village, you can enjoy ice cream making, learn about the history of the famous winter event, or even stay overnight at the ice hotel! You can see a complete list of the activities and opening times here.

Finally, upon arriving at the village, I recommend booking a slot for the zipline. It gets pretty busy, so get there as soon as possible!

Zipline over snowZipline over snow

Chapel on the Water

Just outside the ice village is the Chapel on the Water, made by world-renowned Tadao Ando. Built in 1988, the chapel is primarily made of stone and glass, with a small lake that reflects the surrounding forests.

During the spring, summer, and winter months, the glass facade opens so you can feel the wind and connect with nature. It is closed in the winter and is only available to enter in the evening from 8:30 pm.

Mina Mina Beach

If you are planning to travel with children or want to escape the cold, head over to Mina Mina Beach, Japan’s biggest wave pool. You can rent paddle boards and banana floats, while smaller children can enjoy the kid’s pool. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go, so I’ll have to return next time!

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu – Risonare

There are four iconic towers that belong to Hoshino Resorts. First, you have The Tower, a four-star hotel with a colorful exterior, which you will probably notice when approaching Tomamu. Then there is Risonare, a five-star hotel which I had the pleasure of staying.

Hoshino Resort Tomamu Risonare buildingHoshino Resort Tomamu Risonare building

Check-in was from 3:00 pm and was about as smooth as you would expect from a five-star hotel. Many of the staff spoke English, so it was very foreigner-friendly.

Hoshino Resort Tomamu Risonare hotel lobbyHoshino Resort Tomamu Risonare hotel lobby

The lobby was spacious and relaxing.

There was also a small kid’s play area and a work area, with complimentary soft drinks and coffee. It’s also a ski-in, ski-out hotel, so there is plenty of space to store your winter gear and quick access to the slopes. On the upper floors, there are meeting rooms and more workspaces.

The room had its own sauna, jacuzzi, and spectacular views over the ski resort. Various amenities were included, such as coffee, green tea, and Hokkaido water.

Tomamu Ski resort during sunsetTomamu Ski resort during sunset

There’s not much else to say apart from the room and the hospitality was fantastic. The room was relaxing, and I wish I could have spent another couple of days (or a week!) there. The staff also catered to any requests and were very accommodating.

Shinta Izakaya Tomamu

For dinner, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from – Otte Sette for fine dining French food or N43°SEAFOOD – GRILLED AGI for some grilled seafood. Unfortunately, every restaurant was fully booked so I strongly recommend booking in advance. While other restaurants are outside the hotel, I opted for a local izakaya, a five-minute drive from the resort called Shinta.

With a homely style, the menu consisted of izakaya classics using local Hokkaido produce. I decided on karaage (fried chicken), tempura smelt, and clams in a dashi broth. Everything was tasty, nothing out of this world, but it was a great option if all the other restaurants were fully booked.

I also recommend booking the hotel breakfast as soon as you can. Restaurant SORA is the most popular option but, again, it was fully booked. January and February are peak months, so be sure to book everything you can in advance. The only other option was Platinum, which was a pretty standard buffet breakfast.

Aside from Hoshino Resorts, there is a Club Med, an all-inclusive resort, and glamping spots just outside the main ski resort.

So that was my trip to Tomamu, and I hope I was able to show you why it is one of the top winter destinations in Hokkaido! One night is definitely not enough to enjoy all of what the ski resort and hotel have to offer. I would recommend three nights or more if you have the time and budget. Let us know where you would like us to introduce next in the comments below!

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