Japan Ski Resorts

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Japan offers incredible powder snow conditions, warm hospitality, cultural experiences, and high-tech wonders. Japan is Asia’s premier ski destination and attracts visitors from across the globe to experience the float and face shots provided by the famous powder snow. Stretching around the east coast of China, Korea and Russia, Japan’s islands offer everything from tropical oases in Okinawa to winter wonderlands in the North on Hokkaido. Compared to mountains across Europe, the USA and Canada, Japan’s mountain ranges are relatively low altitude. The magic and volume of Japan’s light, dry powder snow comes from the weather patterns that deliver copious amounts of snowfall from the North to the middle of Honshu. Winds cross over the cold dry expanse of Russia and China, moisture is picked up crossing the Sea of Japan, and as these clouds hit land – Japan – they dump light dry fluffy snow. Snow blankets the entire island of Hokkaido throughout the winter, and it is not uncommon to get snow down to sea level on the mainland, even in Tokyo! On the north island of Hokkaido, you have Japan’s most famous resort, Niseko. Niseko offers the largest bed base, with options for everyone from backpackers and hostels, moderate hotels, and self-contained apartments; through to luxury hotels and condos offering full-service perks such as ski valets. Niseko has plenty of delicious restaurants, bars and cafes which can be found buried under meters of snow. Hokkaido is also home to smaller ski resorts like Rusutsu, Kiroro, Tomamu and Furano which are growing in popularity each year. Over on the mainland of Honshu, are the Japanese Alps. The southern region tears through the Nagano and Niigata prefectures, and boasts a variety of ski resorts tucked away on differing aspects of the mountains. The resorts of the area typically offer multi resort lift passes, providing guests the opportunity and flexibility to explore the region. Hakuba is the most popular ski area in the region, again with a wide offering of hotels, condos and chalets to stay in. Wander the streets of Happo village and explore the local food and beverage choices. About 2 hours North of Tokyo on the bullet train, is the region of Tohoku. These resorts such as Shizukuishi and Appi are waiting to be explored. These ski resorts where relatively unknown on the international ski scene until recently and aren’t yet crowded like Niseko and Hakuba – get in before everyone else does! One incredible feature of Japan is its natural hot springs, with mineral rich waters warmed to varying temperatures, the experience of bathing in onsen pairs perfectly with skiing and snowboarding! Let the baths sooth your sore muscles, while the mineral water beautifies and softens your skin. Traditionally this is experienced fully undressed, in gender segregated public baths, but you’ll find varying experiences and one you’re comfortable with in the ski resorts. Cool experiences to tick off while you are in Japan include riding the bullet trains with scheduled services operating at speeds over 300kmph. If you can spend a few extra days in Japan, we recommend taking in the contrasting cities of Tokyo and Kyoto. Incredibly, new and old co-exist beautifully in Japan, with castles, temples and shrines all over the cities, villages and mountains. Your cultural experience will be intertwined with the beautiful Japanese people and their incredible food. From sashimi to ramen, fine dining to convenience store, devour it all! Stock up on snacks, sweets and treats before returning home – this is a cultural experience of its own of course – bringing local specialty treats and produce home as gifts to loved ones is called omiyage, which we highly recommend observing. No matter where you choose to go in Japan, you will no doubt be humbled by the hospitality of its people and their culture of respect…. And find yourself ruined for powder snow for life!!

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