If you love making powder turns, then you’ve probably heard that the snow in Japan is legendary.
The ski resorts in Japan enjoy snowfall totals of around 50 feet every winter. The snow sweeps straight in from Siberia and the snow falls almost daily in January and February. If you like skiing in powder snow that’s knee deep, then Japan should definitely be on your dream holiday destination list.
Skiing in Japan is becoming more and more accessible with direct flights from the UK to Tokyo. Whilst you’ll go for the powder snow, Japan offers a range of truly unique cultural experiences. The food is fantastic, the service is extremely efficient and friendly, there are lots of accommodation options including both westernised hotels and authentic traditional Japanese hotels. There are also lots of adventure options here including backcountry ski tours, local snow cat operators and stopover options to the modern city of Tokyo or the Buddhist temples at Kyoto.
Skiing in Japan
When you ski in Japan the first thing you’ll notice is that the slopes are mellow. That’s what makes it a powder paradise. The slopes are not steep. There are no couloirs or cliffs, which means you don’t need to be an expert to ski here. The slopes are relatively gentle and dotted with skinny birch trees.
There are plenty of runs for beginners and intermediates and the ski schools have plenty of international instructors, so brush up on your turns before hiring some fat skis on a powder day. Not all the lifts are the type of high speed quads you’ll find in North America, but after a powder run you might come to enjoy the slower pace to give your legs time to recover.
With the amount of powder days you can expect – you might want to take spares of everything. Wiping out in deep snow is always fun, but your ski gear is going to get wet – so take spares to give your gear time to dry out! Facemasks or buffs are essential equipment. Expect to see more than a few snorkels on a powder day!
Off the Slopes
Japanese ski resorts now cater well to a range of international skiers. Skiers from Australia have been flocking here for the last decade and as a result English speaking skiers can travel here with no worries.
The biggest resorts have a good nightlife scene with great bars. Everywhere you go you’ll find great local cuisine serving up Japanese delicacies. You can find some fine dining international cuisine in the bigger resorts.
One of the highlights of a ski holiday in Japan is relaxing in the natural hot spring onsens. Think natural hot tubs. However in Japan there is etiquette to follow. Only birthday suits are allowed – swim suits are not an option! Most hotels will provide you with local guidance on their onsen etiquette. Nearly all are segregated single sex onsens, although groups may be able to hire a private onsen.
Japan’s premier ski destination
At Snow Unlimited, we only offer one ski resort in Japan – Niseko. This is the finest ski destination in Japan and enjoys some of the best snow in the region, typically averaging 50 feet of light, dry powder snow every season. Australians visit the resort in their numbers and have nicknamed Niseko ‘Little Whistler’ The resort is regarded as Japan’s number one ski destination and is one of the best for international skiers to visit as Niseko blends both western comforts with authentic Japanese culture with relative ease.
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