Walking the Dog: Guided Snow Hikes with Canine Companions Proving Popular

Guide to Japan Society

A dog walking in the Nyūkasa area, along with its owner wearing snowshoes. (© Nagano Nippō)
A dog walking in the Nyūkasa area, along with its owner wearing snowshoes. (© Nagano Nippō)

Guided hikes through the snow in the Nyūkasa area of Fujimi-chō, Nagano Prefecture, are proving popular for people and canines alike. Dog owners wanting to enjoy a seasonal adventure with their beloved pet can get on the cable car at the Fujimi Panorama resort, which will ferry them to the top of the 1,780-meter mountain. From there, humans put on snowshoes and set off. Both people and dogs can have fun in the snow and enjoy the magnificent winter landscape.

Fujii Ken’ichirō, an employee of outdoor service provider Hitoike-sō, is one of the guides on the trail. A 10-year veteran, he says that the treks have remained popular even during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He explains there are many repeat customers and that slots are always fully booked both for weekdays and weekends.

All variety of dogs take part in the walks, including beagles and golden retrievers. Depending on the breed, some of the dogs even wear snow boots. They walk alongside their owners into the woods, heading towards the meadows and marshes around the base station on Mount Nyūkasa.

The large amount of snow that has fallen this year has increased the enjoyment for participants. “Both people and dogs have so much fun running around in the snow,” Fujii says. “It’s quite a heartwarming scene.” The beaming participants show their appreciation to Fujii. “He is a great guide,” one says. “It’s a fabulous day out.”

The tours are scheduled to run through the middle of March.

(Originally published in Japanese on Kyōdoshi.com on February 6, 2022. Translated and edited by Nippon.com.)


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