• Maria Nightingale

Japan Winter Sports Destination, yes really!

Hey, I know what you are thinking; skiing, Maria it\’s summer.

It seems off topic I\’m sure, but its winter somewhere and if you are the type of person to spend money on winter sports holidays, it\’s coming up to the time to book now. And if not, it\’ll be interesting I guarantee.

So… lets begin.

What do I mean by winter sports, I mean the usual skiing and snowboarding but also things like snowshoeing and all sorts of other things. All sorts of things you don\’t think about when I say Japan.

             Let\’s play a little of the word association game – 

I say Japan  ………………You say: cherry blossom, monkeys in hot springs, matcha and Mount Fuji I say Skiing  …………… You say: The Alps, Canada, US

See! You don\’t think they match, but they do!

You know that Japan held the Olympics in 1998 so it is really not so far fetched thinking. As people become more interested in travelling further and experience more, why not explore Japan. (beautiful in both spring and winter).

This year after several very long years away from the fluffy white stuff because of family injuries it was time to hit the powdered white slopes once more. So I feel I have enough personal experience to inform you all. (I\’ll get on to my experiences soon too)

The first major bonus is that in the country there are several places for a fanatic to visit and it\’s not unreasonable to visit more than one mountain cluster in one holiday. It is relatively easy to travel between ski resorts, whether that be by plane, shinkansen or coach.

It\’s also really easy to go on impromptu trips, for as short as a day, on the slopes which would never be possible in the Alps. Its made even easier by the fact that you don\’t need to reserve anything usually. You can turn up on the day and hire the right equipment, even clothing which I think is really cool. Whether you live in Japan or your visiting it makes skiing very accessible.

My personal favourite is the Apres Ski. Nothing like the European version that spills over social media during the snowy months. Polar opposites actually. It\’s a lot more low key than raves at the bottom of the resort. As you may or may not know Japan is well known for its hot springs (onsens) and I can assure you that it is literally the best feeling after a day on the cold slopes to soak all the aching body parts, from the inevitable falling, in steaming natural water. When you\’re in the hot spring melting and relaxing after a packed day in the snow, I promise you that the nervousness/awkwardness of being naked is really not an issue that you think about. And I guarantee that you will have the best night\’s sleep whether your bed is western or futon.

Now for the technical stuff all you ski fanatics have been waiting for. The biggest questions when looking at winter holidays are about the conditions, slope difficulty, altitude and ski lift prices. Japan in generally quite mountainous, but they are not as high an altitude as the alps for example, which means skiing from the top to the bottom quite easily. That also means that you don\’t have to get a gondola up the slopes, it is more popular to get chair lifts. As we are talking ski lifts, I\’ll quickly mention the prices; which is comparison to others is rather in expensive, whether you buy a week pass or day passes. As with most resorts the difficulty is very varied, their colour scale is a little bit different than Europeans versions but it is easy to navigate. 

For more information check out: http:

Places I can personally recommend  for Winter Sports. 

^ 1) Hunter Mountain (Nikko)  ^

^ 2) Gran Deco (Bandai) ^

^ 3) Hakuba (Nagano) ^

I hope you enjoyed my little guide to skiing in Japan. comment down below if you want to know anymore.

See you soon, 

Maria xx

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