Skiing in Japan seems to be getting more popular with each passing year. If we go back ten years, many people outside of Asia did not even realise that skiing in Japan was possible!
Fast forward to 2020 and Japan has become a hotspot for skiers from all over the world.
With Japan now appearing on so many bucket lists, it’s time to give you our list of why we think skiing in Japan definitely deserves the attention it’s now getting.
Skiing in Japan is well known for being some of the best powder skiing in the world. You should expect waist deep powder almost every day during January and February!
The freezing cold arctic air comes into Japan from Siberia, passing over the Sea of Japan on its way. As it passes over the Sea of Japan, it picks up moisture from the ocean before ascending up the mountain. Once at a certain height, the heavy snow begins.
The powder snow in Japan is well known for being especially ‘light’. With the snow in Japan containing only around 8% moisture – this makes it some of the lightest and driest snow around!
With the temperatures averaging around -5C to -10C, this is the perfect climate to preserve the light and fluffy condition of the snow.
The snowflakes in Japan have also shown to contain comparatively high amounts of trapped air, which is another contributing factor to the ultra light snow on offer.
It is not hard to see the quality of the snow with your own eyes. When observing an individual snowflake it will appear larger than snowflakes in many other mountain areas.
The description of floating through the powder has never been more accurate than when you’re in Japan.
If you like going off the map, then you will have a great time skiing in Japan.
When it comes to skiing in the trees, Japan is the ultimate. The quantity of powder snow to be found in the forest is astonishing.
With the amount of different routes you can take and the sheer amount of snowfall, it can seem like the snow is never ending!
When you’re skiing in the trees, you have the luxury of not needing to stick to any designated route, meaning you can carve your own path during every run. You will never need to ski the same path twice!
It almost feels like the Japanese mountain forests were purposely designed for skiing. The density of the trees is ideal for skiing unlike many other mountainous regions.
Skiing in Japan is not only for experts.
With soft snow, comes a soft landing. It’s certainly preferable to fall on Japan’s powder snow in comparison to the hard ice you might find elsewhere!
On top of this, the thick and soft snow is also great for helping to control your speed. When you ski in thicker snow, it acts like a natural buffer making it more difficult to pick up speed. Ice, on the other hand, is super slippery and is much more scary for the beginner!
You will also find that the lift attendants in Japan are some of the most helpful in the world.
Getting on a ski lift for the first time can be a difficult task, but any ‘lifty’ in Japan will always be happy to help you out…even if you don’t speak the same language!
You never really know what to expect on your first ski trip, but you can be sure to get the help you need for a great holiday if you choose skiing in Japan!
Night skiing is becoming a popular theme of many Japanese ski resorts. Gone are the days of taking your skis off at 4:30, wishing for ‘just one more run!’
It’s now common for ski resorts in Japan to have night skiing on offer – keeping slopes open into the dark hours and skiing under the lights.
It’s common to find night skiing slopes open until 9pm!
Skiing under the lights can be great fun and a great change from the normal daytime skiing.
Hint: maybe you can do your powder skiing during the day and save your piste skiing for the evening!
One word of warning, night skiing can be especially cold! With temperatures dipping below -10C (or more!) and no sun in sight – be sure to wear enough layers!
When you’re skiing in Japan, lunch and dinner breaks can be (almost!) as exciting as your time on the slope!
Japan is known for having some of the best food in the world and it’s exciting to try the many different options they have on offer.
Ramen (noodle soup) or Donburi (rice dish) are popular lunchtime choices for skiers among many others.
When it comes to evening meals, the menu is just as temping. From Gyoza (dumplings) to Sushi (and everything in between), you will always find something to satisfy your taste buds.
Good Skiing Etiquette
It’s a widely known fact that Japan is one of the safest and most well-mannered countries on earth. This common characteristic of Japanese people is not lost in the ski resorts either.
Most Japanese people at ski resorts are already competent skiers so you will not find them crowding the beginner area.
With the Japanese people not flocking to the beginner slope, this means that you can find beginner areas less crowded than in other resorts.
In the big resorts, you’re still sure to see plenty of tourists learning here though!
I have also previously mentioned that the life attendants in Japanese ski resorts are particularly polite and helpful.
The reduction of people on the beginner slope and the helpful attitude of the resort staff can be a real bonus to anyone trying to negotiate their first time on the slopes!
Onsen (Hot Springs)
There is no better way to relax after a day in the powder than a relaxing dip in the onsen.
An onsen is a natural hot spring that you can bathe in. It is sure to relax both your mind and your muscles.
Onsens are a traditional part of Japanese culture and something you should not miss on any ski trip to Japan.
There are thousands of onsens scattered around Japan and are usually not too far away from any Japanese ski resort.
They come in many different shapes and sizes these days, although if you can find a traditional outdoor onsen with a spectacular view – I’m sure you will want to go back at the end of every day!
Avoid The Crowds
When it comes to ski holidays, we are all used to the lines. Whether it’s ski boot hire, buying a lift pass or just waiting in the lift line – it seems to take far to long most of the time!
Japan has over 500 ski resorts, which is more than enough skiing for everyone to have their own space. With less ski tourists than many other countries and an abundance of ski areas – the queues here can be shorter than other countries!
Like most places, the bigger resorts will usually attract more people. However, the smaller resorts remain very quiet for much of the year – even during peak season.
If you want to spend more time skiing down and less time waiting to go up – Japan might just be the place for you!
It’s Not Just Skiing In Japan – It Can Also Be Sight Seeing
When it comes to planning a ski holiday to Japan, most people will factor in some additional holiday time to see some of the action Japan has to offer away from the slopes!
With most flights coming into Tokyo, it’s becoming almost customary for people to spend some time seeing what Tokyo has to offer before continuing on to the mountains.
Japan is a marvellous country to travel around and has excellent transport links.
Once you have your main flight to Tokyo booked, Japan is an easy place to see.
With an excellent subway system in Tokyo and a brilliant network of trains and buses elsewhere – you can easily fit in a mini break before your planned skiing adventure.
With all of these fantastic attributes, it’s obvious to see why Japan has become a clear favourite amongst so many skiers and tourists.
If it wasn’t on your bucket list before you starting reading this, I’m sure it is now.