As part of the coaching discovery journey, I lead self-discovery retreats for small groups during the cooler months of the year to the beautiful country Japan. Being close to nature, in the mountains or by the lakes and oceans, it is a great way to get in touch with oneself and discover what is truly important in one’s life. To support this journey, I adopt a 4-step approach to enable oneself to relax, reflect, recharge and renew from the pressures of daily routines and responsibilities.
RELAX: When we are able to put a “pause” on life’s demands and simply “do nothing”, we induce our mind to nurture imagination and incubate creativity in response to life’s pertinent questions.
REFLECT: “Doing nothing” requires disconnection from day to day busyness and schedules timeout to freely think and reflect, in order to develop a deeper clarity of what is truly important to us.
RECHARGE: We need to tap into our inner resources and discover the passion which will motivate us to achieve our goals and reach for our vision.
RENEW: We have a “blueprint” in our hands and we are ready to move forward, to consciously integrate more reflective and purpose driven actions into our daily life.
Alpine Skiing Retreat (December – March)
Japan has several world class ski and snowboard resorts with abundant, high quality snow, beautiful scenery and relaxing hot springs (onsens). Some of the most famous resorts are found in Nagano and Hokkaido where two winter Olympic Games have been held in recent decades.
While Niseko in Hokkaido is probably the most popular ski resort for overseas visitors, I have chosen the Japan Alps and north eastern region of Honshu in central Japan for the retreats. These venues provide the authenticity of a local cultural experience. The Japan Alps encompasses four prefectures: Niigata, Toyama, Nagano, and Gifu.
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7D5N Self-Discovery Retreat in Japan Alps
Nagano Ski Resorts
Many of the ski resorts are within the Japan Alps, in the prefectures of Nagano and Niigata. Quite a few of the resorts are situated near Nagano city, which hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics.
- The Hakuba Valley ski area consists of 10 resorts that are interlinked via buses. Hakuba is a 90 minute bullet train ride from Tokyo to Nagano, and then a one hour bus ride from Nagano to Hakuba.
- Shiga Kogen is a group of ski areas that are largely interconnected via the slopes. Access is via a 90 minute bullet train ride from Tokyo to Nagano, and then a 70 minute bus ride from Nagano to Shiga Kogen.
- Nozawa Onsen is the Kyoto of ski resorts, a historic hot springs and ski resort town in northern Nagano. Nozawa Onsen is a 100 minute bus ride from Nagano train station.
Niigata Ski Resorts
The town of Yuzawa is in the Niigata Prefecture and only 77 minutes from Tokyo on the Joetsu Shinkansen. The area is a treasure chest of ski resorts with more than a dozen places to play near Yuzawa.
- Gala Yuzawa is the easiest resort in Yuzawa town to access by train. The gondola to the mountain leaves directly from the Shinkansen (bullet train) station.
- NASPA Ski Garden is a skiers-only family snow resort located in the mountains of Yuzawa town and is only a few minutes from the Shinkansen station.
- Joetsu Kokusai is about ten kilometers north of central Yuzawa and spans a number of mountains and valleys. It offers long runs and lots of powder.
- Myoko Kogen is a group of 10 ski resorts located one hour north of Nagano in the Niigata prefecture.
Tohoku Ski Resorts
Tohoku, the north eastern region of Honshu, includes the prefectures of Yamagata, Iwate, and Aomori.
- Zao Onsen is a hot springs and ski resort town near Yamagata that is famous for its snow monsters (juhyo or “ice trees”). Zao is accessible via a 2.5 hour bullet train ride from Tokyo to Yamagata and then a 40 minute bus ride to the resort.
- Appi Kogen is a classy ski resort that keeps discerning skiers and snowboarders very “appi”. Appi Kogen is located near Morioka in the Iwate Prefecture, a 2 to 2.5 hour bullet train ride from Tokyo.
I have personally visited these ski resorts and invite you on this discovery journey to relax, reflect, recharge, renew and take in the sounds, sights and tastes of Japan. The program comprises self-discovery sessions with breath-taking scenery, snow skiing/snowshoes walking, exhilarating hot springs, authentic Japanese cuisines and unique cultural experiences.
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For more information or retreats for corporate groups, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.