I’m not a skier. I by no means discovered as a baby; my experiences as an grownup have been humiliating, to place it mildly. But regardless of this, the phrase “japow” is firmly in my vocabulary—I do know precisely what it means.
That’s as a result of this well-known kind of snow—whose identify is an amalgam of “Japan” and “powder”—is so liked amongst skiers that even individuals with no expertise for or curiosity in snowboarding know of its magic. Furthermore, it’s instantly liable for the magical high quality of Japanese winter landscapes, whether or not you see them on a pair of skis or by yourself two toes.
Certainly, whereas I can’t declare from private snowboarding expertise that what follows are the perfect locations to ski in Japan, I can say that the magic of those locations—I’ve been to all of them many occasions—makes me want I had the abilities to hit the slopes.
Clearly, japow is the #1 motive Japan tops so many skiers’ bucket lists. The snow is directly dense and thick, and on the identical time gentle and impossibly fluffy. Most individuals I do know who’re superior and even skilled skiers say there’s actually no higher snow on the planet for snowboarding. That is to say nothing of how wonderful Japanese ski resorts are, in addition to Japan’s normal deserves as a journey vacation spot extra broadly.
So far as extra elements that separate Japan from the opposite hottest snowboarding locations on the earth, equivalent to these in Europe and North America? Effectively, given what a bodily sport snowboarding is, Japan’s popularity for security and nice medical care provides ski fanatics nice peace of thoughts. Furthermore, the omotenashi hospitality that governs Japan’s remedy of tourists solely heightens the additional you go up the ski raise.
Prime Japan Ski Locations
Surely, Niseko is thought to have the perfect japow in all of Japan. It’s additionally recognized, nevertheless, to have the costliest resorts (regardless of additionally being probably the most luxurious, for what it’s value). To succeed in Niseko, fly to Sapporo’s New Chitose Worldwide Airport, from which direct limousine buses to Niseko run (assuming you haven’t booked a personal switch, excessive curler).
People who find themselves looking for the place to ski in Japan however don’t need to get on a airplane typically head to Nagano prefecture, which is situated lower than two hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet practice. The preferred Nagano ski resort might be Hakuba, whose resorts provide an analogous ambiance to these in Niseko, albeit with fewer crowds and a a lot cheaper price level.
Like Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen is in Nagano prefecture. Not like Hakuba, nevertheless, Nozawa is a small mountain village, the place you actually really feel the magic of rural Japan whenever you’re not up on the ski slopes. If I had been a skier, Nozawa would most likely be my selection for that reason alone: You may spend the day on the slopes like a VIP, and luxuriate in evenings warming your physique, consuming oden and soaking in onsen among the many locals.
One other spot you would possibly select for a Japan ski journey is Zao Onsen, situated in Yamagata prefecture about an hour by bus from Yamagata Station. Zao Onsen, along with its benefit as a ski vacation spot, can also be the perfect place in Japan to identify the “snow monsters,” which is the identify given to the mountain timber once they grow to be so lined with snow they hunch over like, effectively, monsters.
Cut up between Akita and Iwate prefectures, Mt. Hachimantai is considerably much less crowded than any of the opposite locations on this record. Even higher? As soon as you might be completed snowboarding at Hachimantai, this a part of Japan—the northern Tohoku area—provides many different fascinating locations, together with Kakunodate Samurai village and Tsuru-no-yu, an onsen with milky, blue waters which can be mentioned to have as soon as healed a legendary crane.
The Finest Time to Ski in Japan
As a normal rule, the month of February is prime ski time in Japan. It’ll have been chilly for at the very least a pair months (at the very least), which ensures thick layers of base snow beneath the fresh-fallen japow. Against this, in case you are available December and even early January, you threat the slopes being partially barren, notably in case you determine to ski in Nagano or the Tohoku area as a substitute of Hokkaido.
On the flip-side, ready till March or April might imply that a few of the finest locations to ski in Japan have began to thaw out a bit an excessive amount of to benefit from the full winter ambiance. Compounding this truth is how busy Japan will get over the past week of March and the primary week of April. Whereas sakura gained’t be blooming at any ski locations round this time, your journey from Tokyo to the resort of your selection could also be too crowded for consolation.
The place do most individuals ski in Japan?
Whereas Hokkaido’s Niseko is unquestionably the highest ski vacation spot in Japan, it’s not the one place you possibly can go. Nagano ski resorts like Nozawa and Hakuba are well-known for his or her proximity to Tokyo, whereas spots within the Tohoku area like Yamagata’s Zao Onsen and Hachimantai (which straddles each Akita and Iwate prefectures) are good as a result of they’re merely much less busy.
hat metropolis or area is legendary for snowboarding in Japan?
Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, might be probably the most well-known ski vacation spot in Japan, notably the Niseko resort not removed from Sapporo and New Chitose Worldwide Airport. Different well-known ski areas in Japan embody Nagano prefecture and the Tohoku area, which occupies the “high” of Honshu island between Tokyo and Hokkaido.
Is Hakuba or Niseko higher?
When you’ve got the cash to remain in certainly one of Niseko’s nicest resorts and don’t thoughts the crowds (and even like them—many individuals ski in Niseko to see and be seen), then this may most likely be your first selection for snowboarding in Japan. Then again, Hakuba occupies a bigger land space and has a a lot wider number of ski slopes and lodging sorts, which additionally occur to occupy a much less extreme worth level than these in Niseko.