Myoko-Nagano: Being Active
SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES
Apart from the numerous skiing options in the Myoko area there are a number of other ways to be active that are available. Below are listed just a small sample for you to consider. If you are aware of any others please contact us and send the details!
On November 8th/9th, 2009 Togakushi will host a 45km race that takes runners up and down the hilly hiking trails of Togakushi, Iizuna and Kurohime’s glamorous mountain range. A 25km middle course is an option for those looking for something less challenging. For beginners, juniors or team competitors a special 5km course is also available. See the official site for more details.
JW-PARK is a private skate park owned by the All Japan Winter Sports Junior College in Sekiyama, Niigata. They open the park to the public on most weekends from April to November, but you should check their homepage (if you can read Japanese) for cancellations (which happens often) before trekking out there.
To access the park take the train to Sekiyama Station (see access for more details). From Sekiyama Station it is a twenty minute walk or a five minute taxi ride. You need to buy your entrance ticket (about 1,500 yen) at the convenience store next to the park -they will give you a wrist band and you can then get into the park.
Kanaya-san in Joetsu City has this option for adrenaline junkies after the snow has melted. There is also a BMX track in the same area.
Tangram Resort runs a dry bobsleigh run outside of the ski season.
The famous wrestler Shimotori 霜鳥 was born in Arai, where he also spent his childhood. During summer he comes back to Arai for about three weeks to escape the humidity of Tokyo and practice. Practice is open to the public and it’s amazing to see them wrestling just one metre in front of you. Make sure to go and see this! Bringing a present, such as a bag of local koshihikari rice, is most appreciated.
Paragliding classes are run in Arai during the warmer months. Classes start at Y25,000 and tandem rides for Y6,000. Phone Paragliding Arai on 0255-70-1055 for more information.
Paragliding classes also take place between April-November (10am-3pm) at Iizuna-Kogen Resort. Cost is Y4,000 per session.
There are numerous golf courses in the area if you wish to indulge in such pursuits, plus packages are available from various hotels. APA Myoko Pine Valley and Akakura Golf Club are particularly well known in this regard. Check the Golf page for for more details or contact one of the Tourist Centres.
There are many tennis courts throughout the area, such as those attached to resorts like APA Myoko Pine Valley
For kids and adults alike who want a bit more reality in their ninjutsu, there is an actual Togakure Ryu Ninpo teacher available. The teacher has a gift shop at the foot of the Chu Sha, the “middle shrine” of the three great shrines of Togakushi. Lessons are Sunday nights from 8pm, and if one would like to try an introductory lesson, you can go into the gift shop and ask for Matsuhashi-sensei. He doesn’t speak English, but there are a couple of students who can interpret for any would be ninja. Most students are only passing through, but there are 3 locals (2 of which speak English) that learn regularly.
There are endless trails and routes to be discovered in the area. It may be best to bring your own trusty wheels, and a recent Japanese government tourism initiative encourages visitors to carry their bikes on trains (at no extra cost). It’s better to have a bike bag if doing so as some JR staff insist on one. For the more casual rider rental is available with some of the accommodation packages offered by local hotels, such as Canadian Log House or in Myoko Pine Valley. In May you can even take part in the Myoko Highland Cycle Festa. Examples of some rides in the local area can be found here.
From July – Mid-October visitors can experience any of twenty different activities in Madarao for only 4,500 yen. These include water skiing, rafting, paragliding, horse back riding, etc., as well as water and highland sports at Lake Nojiri, Lake Kibo and the Chikuma River.
More than 100 kinds of wild birds inhabit the Togakushi Highlands – one of the most renowned areas in Japan for wild birds. Togakushi Forest Botanical Garden (part of the Joshinetsu National Park) covers over seventy hectares and is visited by many bird watchers and hikers.
Do you run, or can you recommend, any activities in the area? Please contact us with the details!