My husband loves to ski and I love exploring cities. From the beginning of our relationship we have made both work on one vacation each year. It started with our first trip to Europe, Val d’isere and Paris. That was a hard one to top but when we went to Whistler we stopped in Vancouver and fell in love with that city too. When we moved to Asia I thought it would be harder to figure these holidays out but having just returned from our second skiing/culture vacation I have to say I think it is actually easier here. This year we went to Niseko a beautiful ski mountain in Hokkaido, and then stopped in Kyoto for two and a half days on our way back.
Niseko is a beautiful mountain with both family fun and arduous skiing for an expert. It snows and snows allowing for fresh powder almost every day. There is also great food both on and off the mountain, which makes a huge difference to those of us not quite so interested in the skiing. There are several ski schools, this time we used NBS which had great English speaking instructors who are children adored. The instructors were so great our kids were begging us to go out at night so they could babysit, which we happily obliged.
We were especially fortunate this year as we travelled with friends who kept our children and us entertained throughout lines and traffic. We have always tried to this with ski vacations in the past and we find it makes everyone happier in the end. It also makes staying in a house that much more fun for both families and makes close friends all the closer.
After a week of skiing both my husband and children were suitably exhausted and ready for a new type of adventure and off to Kyoto we went. . Our experience in Kyoto was enhanced because we were also already accustomed to the foods and language of Japan by the time we got there.
There we explored the beautiful bamboo forest, temples, the Gion district not to mention a Movie park with Ninja training. We ate sushi and yakitori and more tempura than I care to remember. We left with a true understanding as to why Kyoto is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Asia if not the world.
There is a true advantage to this type of vacation with children especially. They have had days of sports and fun before they are exploring the temples and shrines. They end the holiday having exercised their bodies and opened their minds to new experiences.