Hot Air Balloons
Take a winter flight in a hot air balloon
See the snow from above in a hot air balloon. Winter is the best time to take a balloon flight because wind currents tend to be more stable. It's also the only season during which you can see the surrounding landscapes blanketed in snow.
Hot air balloon tours are offered all around Japan, but one noteworthy spot is Furano in Hokkaido. From high up in the sky, you can take in panoramic views of the magnificent Tokachi Mountain Range and Daisetsuzan National Park.
Azumino in Nagano Prefecture is another particularly scenic ballooning location. Here you can look down at the stunning Northern Alps and wintry plains as you drift across the sky.
Hot air balloons take center stage at the Ojiya Balloon Festival in Niigata. This huge event is held in late February and features fireworks, food stalls and an assortment of colorful hot air balloons floating over a snowy backdrop. The festival is held over two venues and accessible by shuttle bus from Ojiya Station.