The yen's cheap, so head for the Olympics in Nagano City, Japan. Only once before have the Winter Games been in Asia (Sapporo, 1972), and never before this far south (the same latitude as San Francisco.) Organizers who took reporters through the site last month jokingly said they may have to go to the local temple to pray for snow, which averages 2 in. in February in Nagano proper. Don't worry: the mountains, where a dramatic men's downhill route was designated last week, get more than 50 in. And aren't the four "Snowlet" mascots cute?

Located in Hakuba, 30 miles from...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!