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Japan is beautiful in every season, and not only is the stunning natural scenery a joy to behold, there’s also plenty of exciting manmade ways to elevate the experience even further.
Since it’s currently winter, we’ve been hearing a lot about winter activities taking place in the north of the country, such as Hokkaido’s magical ice village, where you can even enjoy a wintry afternoon tea.
Another option for those who love snowy landscapes is the Kamakura Pot Dining restaurant in Nagano. Far from your average outdoor dining experience, the restaurant, located in Ryuoo Ski Park, allows you to eat inside something that resembles a traditional Japanese igloo, known as a ‘kamakura’.
Each dining group is seated in their own private dome-style kamakura, which can fit up to 8 people. The restaurant is only open during winter and this season it will open its little igloo doors from 21st December to 21st March 2020 (although this can change due to weather issues).
But if you’re worried about being too cold to truly enjoy the snowy landscape and delicious food, each igloo contains a toasty kotatsu. A kotatsu is a truly life changing piece of Japanese furniture consisting of a low table covered in a blanket, which is heated from underneath. Patrons can take off their shoes and sit under the kotatsu, safe in the knowledge that it will keep any chills at bay.
On the menu is a Nagano specialty which is the perfect remedy for Northern Japan’s icy winter, a bubbling hot pot brought to the table on a portable stove so it stays piping hot throughout the meal.
For dessert is the not-traditional American import of s'mores. Visitors can roast the marshmallows themselves on an open flame, making it a fitting outdoor treat.
The dining plan includes hot pot, dessert and one drink. It’s slightly cheaper at lunch time (3000 yen for adults and 2000 yen for children), but surely the most arresting scenery occurs at dinner time (4000 yen for adults, 2500 yen for children).
Take a look at Ryuoo Ski Park’s website for more information about Kamakura Pot Dining.