How to Prepare for a Ski Trip in Japan this Winter

From delicate and dry powder snow to excellent service, delicious cuisine, relaxing hot springs, and a beautiful landscape, a ski trip to Japan is a dream. But, if you want to make this dream come true, it will take some work. To properly prepare for a ski trip in Japan this winter, you’ll have to do a lot of research. We hope this guide will help you get started with that research. Spending the winter in Japan is a truly unique experience, so you should do what you can to get the most out of it.

The best places to go skiing in Japan

As it’s a predominantly mountainous country, you can find ski resorts all over Japan. Most are in Hokkaido, Nagano, Niigata, and Tohoku (the North-East region). As a foreign visitor, there are a few factors to consider before choosing where you’ll be going. Some of the essential things would be:

  1. The convenience of travel;
  2. The popularity of English in the region;
  3. The facilities offered;
  4. The scale of the resort area.

Aside from being on every hiker’s bucket list, during winter, Mount Fuji is one of the most popular choices for a ski trip in Japan. However, the fun isn’t limited to just this one mountain. Let’s go through a few equally (if not more) popular options for skiing in Japan.

Nagano

Nagano offers plenty of ski resorts suitable for all levels. The most popular ones would be Hakuba, Nozawa, and Shiga Kogen. Hakuba is an excellent choice for beginner and intermediate-level skiers. Nozawa is better suited for advanced skiers. Snowboarders can also enjoy Nagano. However, Shiga Kogen is better for skiing rather than snowboarding.

Hokkaido

Being one of the most popular choices for skiers, Hokkaido offers a lot of ski resorts. No matter what level of skier or snowboarder you are, there is a place for you in Hokkaido. The three most popular options are:

  1. Niseko – This is the largest ski resort area in Hokkaido. It’s easy to access. English is widely spoken here. There are great nightlife opportunities in neighboring Hirafu;
  2. Rusutsu – The second largest after Niseko, offers many hotels and facilities. It’s a very family-friendly area but with limited nightlife;
  3. Furano – A smaller resort. The nearby town of Furano is a great family-friendly location with lots to do off-piste.

The snow quality in Hokkaido is one of the best in Japan. And since the entire island is so well connected, it’s an attractive option for people who want to venture outside their resorts and explore the full range of what Japan offers. If you’re planning to move overseas to Japan with your family, this trip is a great chance to introduce the other members of it to the culture and beauty of Japan. It’s sure to help you get everyone on board for moving there.

Niigata

The two most popular resorts in this area are Naeba and Gala Yuzawa. Naeba is excellent for all levels. Gala Yuzawa might be boring for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Though it can not compare to Hokkaido, the snow quality is still amazing. While this place should be on your list if you want to prepare for a ski trip in Japan this winter properly, it’s better suited for travelers who wish to spend a few days skiing and the rest exploring Japanese culture.

When does ski season start in Japan?

The ski season in Japan typically lasts from early December to late April. However, it extends to early May in Hokkaido. However, if you prefer skiing during peak season when the snow is perfect and all facilities are active, you should plan to be here between mid-January and late February. To avoid large crowds and slopes full of skiers, you should take advantage of the shoulder season.

Choosing suitable accommodation is crucial

If your goal is to prepare for a ski trip in Japan this winter properly, you must choose a suitable accommodation for your needs. Here are a few things to consider while making this choice:

  1. Choose a hotel with beds if it’s your first time – Most homes and hotels in Japan have futons rather than beds. Remember that you’ll probably be exhausted after a day of skiing, and if you’re not used to futons, a mattress will probably be a lot more comfortable;
  2. Ski-in ski-out is the best choice, but not the only one – While there are a lot of options for ski-in ski-out resorts, they can be pretty expensive. Many hotels offer shuttle bus services, so don’t be exclusive.
  3. Choose a hotel with loads of facilities – The weather during ski season can get nasty from time to time. Having something to do without leaving the hotel can mean a lot during those days.

What equipment should you bring and what should you rent

Most resorts will have all the clothing and equipment you need for rent. You don’t have to worry if you don’t have any of your own. However, some resorts will only have the essentials like boards and skis. So, if you have your helmets and glasses, it’s better not to risk them. The most brilliant move is to call and check in advance.

Eating out in Japan

Japanese food is famous worldwide, and for a good reason. It’s fantastic, and if you plan well, dining out usually doesn’t have to be expensive. The cheapest meal option is to visit a ramen shop. Here you can get a warm bowl of delicious noodles for as low as ¥1000 ($9). Many restaurants offer meal sets at lunchtime. These usually go from ¥1000 to ¥2500 ($9-$20) per person. Tip culture isn’t widespread in Japan, so you shouldn’t leave one unless you see a sign saying the restaurant welcomes tips. There are so many foods to try in Japan that you should not skip. Information is your best tool, so make sure you’re smart about your choices.

Money-saving tips

Japan is relatively inexpensive compared to other popular destinations for skiing. Most all-inclusive ski passes cost around ¥4200 ($40) per day. And you can expect to pay around ¥4500 – ¥6500 ($40 – $60) for ski rentals. Remember that you’re not the only one excited about the affordability of ski trips in Japan. If you plan on visiting more popular sites, always book in advance.

Let’s go through a few tips that are sure to help you enjoy Japan without going broke:

  1. Early bird tickets – Booking early in Japan makes a real difference. You can save over 30% by getting an early bird ticket.
  2. Japan skiing packages – You can, for example, ask your accommodation or resort shuttle bus for a package discount.
  3. Make good use of the JR Rail Pass – This is an excellent way to go on day trips outside your accommodation area.
  4. Japanese-style family rooms are usually enough for four to five people; you probably don’t need more.
  5. If you are traveling with a larger group, it’s cheaper to drive – Public transport is paid per person. When you count it all up, it may be cheaper to rent a car.

Final thoughts

While this is old news to some people, it’s still common for travelers to be surprised that Japan is one of the world’s premier ski destinations. While Japan’s cities, culture, and food, are lovely on their own, their popularity usually leads people to neglect its beautiful nature and outdoor activities. If you take your time and adequately prepare for a ski trip in Japan this winter, you will find out just how many sides there are to this beautiful country.

Tech That’ll Make Your Road Trips Safer

Ah, technology, is there anything that it can’t do? From helping us to stay in touch with loved ones to keeping us entertained, it’s always there when we need it. And increasingly, that includes when we’re on a road trip, too. There’s a whole host of gadgets — some high-end, some primitive but effective–that we can use to keep ourselves and our families safe on the road.

In this blog, we’ll run through some of the best options, ones that you’ll want to invest in before you set off on your next adventure.

Looking out the front of a car
Pexels – CC0 Licence

Coverage Boosts

Most of the time, being without cell phone coverage is just a little inconvenient. When you’re on a road trip, it can be positively dangerous. If you’re far from civilization and break down, you’ll rely on your cell phone to call for help. If you’re without coverage, then what will you do? You can greatly enhance your coverage range by investing in a cell phone signal booster. This handy device works with many data providers across the world. Plus, it’s handy even when you’re not on a road trip. You’ll use it more than you think!

Staying Warm

One thing that people often forget about the great outdoors: it can get very cold. With minimal shelter, plus altitude changes, it can be freezing cold in nature areas even when it’s warm just an hour away in the city. If you break down, you could find that you’re battling the cold as well as other problems. The solution? A plug-in electric blanket. Just plug it into your care, and you’ll be warm within minutes. It’s much easier to wait for help to come to your rescue when you’re not shivering.

Driving down the road on a road trip

Looking Out The Back

There’s an uncomfortable truth about road trips: they can be dangerous. Rural areas are less regulated than cosmopolitan areas and also have more trucks, which are involved in more accidents. While you can never fully be safe, you can push yourself in the direction of safety by investing in a rearview camera. It could be the difference between a safe journey and having to get in touch with a truck accident attorney. Plus, this handy bit of kit will make you feel like you’re driving a new vehicle, which typically have a rearview camera as standard.

Jump Starts

If your battery dies when you’re in the city, then all you need to do is wave someone down and ask if they have jumper cables. But when you’re miles from society? There will be no passing cars, at least not quite as regularly. You can take the self-sufficient route by investing in a portable battery booster. With this by your side, you’ll be moving in no time.

Getting Out Of Emergencies

Finally, look at investing in an escape tool. With this, you’ll be able to cut your seatbelt loose and smash through your car window with ease. You never know what will happen on a road trip, and it’s best to be prepared.

Lifestyle Product Review – Born Tough Shorts/Elite Sports Gym Bag

AD. This post contains gifted items, but all views are my own.

We could all use a little (or a lot) self care, especially in these crazy times. Before the pandemic, workouts were pretty routine, be it gym based, fitness classes, running groups, etc. While we are not back to normal yet, a good workout is still golden. Working up a good sweat and clearing your mind of all things (including covid). As travel gets moving again, I’m looking forward to squeezing in a good workout as I discover new destinations on my travels. It’s time to get out of the old sweats and get some fresh gym gear. Born Tough is a clothing company with a great line of gym and active wear. And Elite Sports has martial arts gear, gym bags and accessories. Here are my thoughts:

Born Tough Air Pro 2 in 1 Shorts

I’m guilty of wearing any old pair of gym shorts. Obviously, if you are at home and doing a home workout, it doesn’t matter much. You are on your own and there’s no one to see you in your old well worn stuff. But if you want to be a bit more serious at home, or be seen outdoors or in a gym, then these are the shorts to get. Whatever it is that you do for exercise, these shorts will help get you over the finish line. They have an inner compression layer and a light outer Air pro layer. They stretch with you and have a towel/shirt loop, inner phone pocket and back zipped pocket. They fit great and look cool.

Elite Sports Boxing Gear Gym Bag

Elite Sports Bag

A gym bag is a gym bag. But this one is different. Although it’s labelled as a boxing gear gym bag, it can be used for anything, workout or otherwise. There are 2 small pockets on the side for key passes, wallet, etc. On either end are large pockets for post-work-out clothing (vented) and the other for shoes. The middle main compartment has plenty of room for whatever else you have. It’s the perfect spot for my Tesalate workout towel. This gym bag is well made with heavy duty stitching and zippers.

Summary

Let’s get back to the future and the new world that’s waiting out there. Your workout awaits. Both Born Tough and Elite Sports have high quality functional products for home, outside, travel, or gym. And they are great value. They rate a solid 9 out of 10 for functionality, appearance and price. It’s time to look the part again and get some new workout gear. Join the mailing list for Elite Sports and Born Tough and get a discount code to save on your shorts, gym bag and other purchases.