Planning and booking a ski trip can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Depending on how big your trip is, it will require some initial research and planning. We spoke to Vivian Zhu, ski holiday expert at Flight Centre about ideas for Japan ski trips.
What is so special about skiing in Japan?
Three main reasons:
1) The powder snow there is truly amazing! A Japan ski trip is so exciting because you really get to enjoy world class ski conditions.
2) After a day on the slopes there is no better way to rest your tired body than a dip in the natural hot springs.
3) Aside from skiing, Japan is a great cultural holiday destination. So when you combine the two of these you get a really amazing holiday experience filled with fascinating culture, delicious food and awesome skiing.
The hot springs in Japan are a fantastic way to relax and take in the atmosphere. Japan is also a great shopping destination, particularly around Christmas and New Year. You can even split your trip and spend a few days in Toyko to make the most of being in Japan and do a city break and ski trip all in one.
What are the main ski destinations in Japan?
The most well known destination is Niseko which is in Hokkaido. Hokkaido is the coldest and most northern Japanese island and receives an average of over 17 meters of snowfall per year! With an impressive concentration of bars and entertainment, Niseko is very developed and tourist friendly.
The other big one is Hakuba which hosted the winter Olympics in 1998. Hakuba is about an hour’s drive from Nagano and arguably the most popular winter sports region in Honshu. With 10 ski resorts, over 200 runs/slopes and 139 chairlifts set against an impressive backdrop of a 30km stretch of mountains Hakuba makes a great and often more affordable alternative to Niseko.
Any local dishes you would recommend trying?
I personally love Japanese food as it’s so healthy and delicious (especially in Japan!). One of my favorites is ramen noodles. Interestingly, ramen is one of the many popular dishes that was originally introduced from China but that has become completely Japanese over time.
When is the best time to go?
The winter ski season in Japan continues for over five months, from late November until early May. The peak season is from the end of December till until the end of February. During this period you can enjoy excellent snow conditions, lots of dry powder plus awesome night skiing and nightlife with a great party atmosphere.
A well kept secret is that March is in fact one of the best times to go. There tend to be less tourists, more sunshine days and the snowpack is actually at its deepest! The other great thing about March is the accommodation is often discounted so you get to enjoy the best of the ski season in Japan at a cheaper price.
Any other tips when visiting Japan?
If you’re lucky enough to go drinking with some locals, be aware that an empty glass is a sign that it needs to be filled again. So, make sure once you’ve had enough to get one last re-fill! Also – on the subject of filling glasses, it’s not polite to fill your own glass so make sure you let someone else do it for you. When you are handed your drink, be ready to receive it with both hands and always lift your glass or cup when someone is pouring for you.
Want to talk to Vivian about your ski holiday? Contact her on 2211 1990 or [email protected]