Want to experience the softest, deepest powder in the world? Then you must plan a ski trip to Japan. A ski trip to a new country can be daunting. But with some preparation, travel insurance when you go skiing in Japan, and a local tour guide, you will have the most magical skiing experience in your life.
Tip 1: Pre-Plan Your Trip
Traveling to any foreign country involves much more preparation than visiting the local slopes. Check the country for visa requirements, banking information, insurance, and other important information for out-of-country visitors. Check your bank and credit card ahead of time. And always carry cash. You can order Yen from your bank ahead of time to save on the exchanges.
Tip 2: Check Electronics
Check for Wi-Fi access and connectivity from your lodging, the airport, and resort. Japanese electrical outlets are 110 voltages. Bring an adapter.
Tip 3: Visit in January
Japan enjoys lots of snow at the beginning of the year. Hardcore skiers brag about skiing during “Japanuary”, when the slopes have the most snow. Many Australian visitors come around December. Avoid this time, if possible, for quieter slopes and less expensive lodging. Visit before late March. Find affordable ski vacation packages.
Tip 4: Enlist a Local
Contact a local guide service. They can help you with booking lodging and finding the best places to ski. Not all Japanese guides speak English. You may need a translator.
Tip 5: Don’t Drive
Unless you have an international driver’s license, you will need to use bus travel. Book your tickets ahead of time. Hokkaido, the most popular snow paradise, can get very busy. Book early online.
Tip 6: Pack for a Blizzard
Some favorite ski spots get several feet of snow on a regular basis. Be sure to have extra goggles, gloves, and layers just in case. Expect insane amounts of snow. You might want to bring an avalanche beacon.
Tip 7: Enjoy the Hot Springs
Yes, you are in Japan to ski, but you haven’t lived if you skip the hot springs, called Onsens. Clothing is prohibited in the hot springs. Leave your modesty behind but enjoy these incredible waters. Wash thoroughly before going into the onsen.
Tip 8: Watch for the “Creep Cracks”
The huge snowfall sometimes results in what is called a “creep crack”. The snowpack slumps downhill causing a fifteen-foot crack. People can fall easily into these cracks, though most are marked.
Tip 9: Use Fat Skis
Rent or bring fat skis when you go to Japan. They work well in deep powdery snow. Renting may not be an option. Call ahead to find out.
Tip 10: Enjoy the Cuisine
After a day on the slopes you can enjoy the delicious repast of international fusion cuisine. Enjoy miso ramen and Sapproro Classic beer. Also enjoy sushi that is the most incredible on the planet. Furano and Nikeko’s Gran Hirafu Village both have delicious options available.
Enjoy your trip to Japan. Take in the snow and the culture. Enjoy quiet contemplation in the onsen and magical snow, delicious food, and friendly locals.