Après-ski fun at Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU with kids

Ice village magic tomamu

You might think that with six lifts and scores of runs, including off-piste and backcountry areas, that Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU is all about shredding the slopes, but there are endless other indoor and outdoor activities for little snow bunnies and powder pups, whether they’re strapped into skis or not.

We certainly love the pow, and spend as much of our time as possible carving it up.

Snowing at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu

But Raffles and I are equally enamoured with the Ice Village, a magically illuminated wonderland built entirely of ice, which we visit on several occasions.

picture courtesy Hoshino Resorts

Slipping into the village with ungainly abandon down a steep ice slide, hooting and hollering all the way, we explore the shops, a fairytale wedding chapel and a hotel room where you can sleep overnight on a slab of ice.

Ice Village Hoshino Resorts

There’s also a bar serving up flaming beverages in carved ice glasses, which of course I have to test drive! Spoiler alert: the drinks are not only utterly delish, but they prove effective as anti-freeze for warming my frosty insides on a -23 degree night.

Raffles joins me at the Hoshino Resorts Tomamu Ice Village Ice Bar

The hit of our visit is the ice rink, the centrepiece of the Ice Village, although with piles of powder falling during the day we find it more like snow skating and are in fits of frozen giggles as we slide and tumble around the rink in spectacularly uncoordinated style.

Ice skating at the ice village Tomamu

The blazing fire back at our accommodation, Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu, proves just the spot to defrost post-skate.

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu with kids

Another great place for defrosting après- ski is the steaming hot Mina-Mina Beach, an 80-metre long heated indoor wave pool, Japan’s largest, that offers a slice of tropical summer despite the freezing temps outside.

Mina Mina Beach

Raffles grabs an inflatable pizza slice from amongst a pile of plastic flamingos, crocodiles and random sea creatures, and dives straight into the water. By the time I call him in, my little action man has moved on from pizza slices to riding the waves on a stand-up paddle board, acting for all the world like he’s holidaying in Hawaii rather than in a subzero wintery wonderland.

SUPing at Mina Mina Beach

There’s also an open-air bath facing the forests of Tomamu which has me tempted, but Raffles decides that he’s not in the mood for an onsen this time around, which is surprising given how hard we struggle to keep him clothed at the best of times.

On another occasion, we find ourselves in a giant yellow inflatable boat on our way to a Family Snow Picnic, Tomamu style.

Snow Rafting at GAO Outdoor Center Hoshino Tomamu Resort, Hokkaido

Raffles and I hold on for dear life as we speed across the powder into side country, towed by a supercharged snowmobile.

Snow rafting

The family picnic and snow rafting, along with snow banana boating, snowmobiling and snowshoe walks are just a few of the offerings of the GAO Outdoor Center.

When we slide to a stop, we don snowshoes to clomp our way inelegantly across the untouched snow.

Snow fields Hoshino Resorts Tomamu with kids

Eventually we reach a little hut, where we stop for an hour to play in the snow.

We stopped at this hut on our family picnic at Hoshino Tomamu Resorts

We’re given sleds and take turns sliding down the mountain with all the grace of drunken hippos.

Sledding at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu

Eventually, Raffles gives up and builds himself an arsenal of snowballs. Chaos ensues as he and our gorgeous host, Yuki, wage an all-out snow war, chucking snowballs in every direction and using the mini-sleds to bash the snowballs about in some kind of hybrid ice tennis.

Snow fight Hoshino Resort Tomamu with kids

They boys stop their shenanigans only for gorging on the melting, magical s’mores we toast over a fire in the hut, and a mug of steaming sweet tea.

family picnic at Tomamu

Tummies still rumbling, we gobble down a bubbling Hokkaido style cheese fondue at Green Kitchen, Raffles finding time to sword fight imaginary snow dragons with some of the epic icicles hanging off the roof.

Icicle swords at Tomamu

Then it’s time to snowshoe our way to what appears to be a random tee-pee surrounded as far as the eye can see with nothing but soft, untouched snow.

Teepee at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu

As we slip through under the canvas, Raffles discovers, to his absolute delight, that he’s not only allowed, but being actively encouraged, to play with sticks and fire. Booyah!

Bamkuchen making at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu

We’ve come to make Baumkuchen, a ten-layered cake popular in Japan. The process is painstaking, with the cake cooked over the open fire, one fine layer at a time.

Bamkuchen making at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu with kids

It’s a hungry nine-year old pyromaniacs dream come true, especially when he gets to eat the results of his endeavours.

Snowshoeing at Tomamu

Speaking of eating, Raffles finds it easy to appease his hefty appetite, chomping his way through the resort’s more than 20 on-site restaurants. He makes it a mission to dine on Hokkaido’s best local delights, stuffing his copious gob with fresh sashimi and sublime sushi, platters of fresh crab and salmon, Hokkaido scallops, steaming rice bowls, spicy soup curry, chargrilled local meats, hot pots and enormous bowls of ramen cooked every way imaginable. Often in a single sitting.

Kanemaru Goto Shoten

We’re especially partial to dining in the new hotalu street, Japan’s first ski-in/ski-out shopping precinct where some of the resort’s best restaurants can be found, along with sweet stores and shopping.

Hotalu ski in/ski out shopping and dining precinct at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu

Enchantingly surrounded by fire pits that blaze away even when the snow is falling, which it does, constantly, it has a great atmosphere (and some rocking ramen) that brings us back time and again.

Of course Hokkaido has so much more to offer visiting families than just skiing. For those who are more in to sunshine than snow, here some of the best all season things to do in Hokkaido with kids.


Disclosure: Raffles and I were kindly hosted by Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU but, like our opinions, all skating, snow fights and scoffing are our own.



6 Comments on Après-ski fun at Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU with kids

  1. stuntman
    February 5, 2018 at 1:38 pm (6 years ago)

    Raffles looks like he’s about to stack that sled!

      February 5, 2018 at 5:55 pm (6 years ago)

      It really was pure magic Lorraine!

  2. Simone
    February 10, 2018 at 4:57 pm (6 years ago)

    This looks amazing. Just spent a while working out how to get there!

  3. Rachel
    March 26, 2018 at 10:40 pm (6 years ago)

    There are so many fun activities listed here! We can never drag ourselves away from the slopes to try other things, but we really should! Thanks for nudging us to try something different.


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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