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Winter Picnic in Niigata

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Winter Picnic in Niigata


Enjoy a special moment in the snowy forest with hot pancakes and freshly harvested maple syrup

Niigata Prefecture


One of the heaviest snowfall regions in Japan, Niigata Prefecture is known as a “snow country.”  Famous for the fine powdery snow that covers its mountains in the cold season, Niigata is a paradise for winter sports and attracts every year numerous skiers from all over the world. If you don’t feel like skiing, but still want to enjoy winter landscapes, how about having a unique picnic in the snowy forest? The Maple Syrup Harvest and Pancake Making Tour is a wonderful option for those who want to experience Niigata’s winter scenery at a more leisurely pace. 



The tour is operated from mid-January to the end of February in front of Yabukozaki Campground in Tokamachi City. After wearing special snowshoes, you will head into the forest with a guide to harvest maple sap. Walk through the quiet forest and enjoy the cool, soft feeling of walking on snow. If you are lucky, you may even catch glimpses of wildlife. The guide will show you how to collect sap from a maple tree. Sap protects the trees from freezing during cold weather conditions and is plentiful in winter.



After collecting this precious gift from nature, it’s time to head back for the much-anticipated picnic in the snow! While the sap is boiled and processed into syrup, let’s make gluten-free pancakes with local rice flour. Enjoy delicious hot pancakes and handmade maple syrup in front of a fascinating landscape of snowy mountains and savor a special moment that will warm your body and soul.



How to get there


From Tokyo Station, take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa Station (about 90 minutes) and transfer to the Hokuhoku Line for Matsudai Station (40 minutes by local train). Pickup service is available from Matsudai Station to Yabukozaki Campground (10 minutes).


Yabukozaki Campsite
829 Yomogihira, Tokamachi-shi, Niigata-ken



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