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Onsen/skiijo in Late December (BOOK NOW?)

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My bro and his fiancee are coming to visit in December, so I'm looking for an overnight stay up in the mountains for 4-6 people. But bro's lady isn't a big fan of snow action, though she does like onsen. We have no car so will have to train/shinkansen up. Mon frere is a beginner on the snow too, but I wouldn't mind a little more of a challenge.

So I'm thinking Nozawa, but because we can only do a single night stay somewhere nearer to Tokyo with a decent hotel/onsen would be nice, if anyone has any recommendations?

If not, does anyone know of a good affordable hotel with decent spa facilities so that the non-snow folks have something to do?

Trying to look on websites is a bit frustrating because they're mostly all in green season mode! (though they do look awesome, really wish I had a car :( )

Mr Wiggles

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If there are four of you, renting a car will be cheaper than anything involving the Shinkansen at regular prices. Probably more of an adventure too.
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As Mr W says, for four people hiring a car would probably be cheaper and easier.

How about Kusatsu for a place to go, it's reasonably close to Tokyo, although it does mean a drive up Tubby's favorite highway.

Kusatsu is much more of an onsen town than a ski town. I can't recommend any hotels though, when we go we stay in a company owned apartment. There is a hotel right beside the apartment, the Kusatsu Now Resort hotel. We have used the onsen there when the apartment on was being renovated, it's very nice. The hotel also has a nice big pool. Have no idea about the rooms.

As far a snow goes in Dec, probably only the top part of the mountain will be open. MichRich was there a few years back in late Dec and wrote a review.

Edit: If you need help twisting anyones arm about getting a car and heading to Kusatsu, you can mention that one way of getting back to Tokyo from Kusatsu can be via the big outlet mall at Karuizawa. It's a big outlet mall that I've been told has just been expanded again.

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