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.

Jetiquette – The Dos and Don’ts When Flying on a Private Jet

For many people, a lavish air travel experience often means flying first or business class. Compared to economy, you have better beverage and food options, more legroom, and seats you can even turn into beds. However, there’s a more extravagant option if you are willing to pay the price—private jet charter.

If it’s your first time traveling on a private jet, feeling intimidated is normal. However, traveling private can be as easy as searching for the best hotel deals once you have figured out its many ins and outs. Thankfully, traveling on a private jet offers one of the most stress-free travel experiences there is.

Below are some of the dos and don’ts to keep in mind when flying private:

Be on time.

While you are expected to arrive at least an hour (or two) early for commercial flights for baggage check, security, and check-in, you don’t have to be that early when you travel private. However, it’s not an excuse to be late. You must be there at least 30 minutes before your scheduled flight.

Don’t overpack.

Flying private does not mean you can pack as many bags as you like. While weight limitations and luggage capacity will depend on the jet you are flying on, packing lightly is the best way to go. Ideally, it would be best to ask for weight restrictions before flying.

Choose the appropriate outfit.

When flying private, it is recommended that you dress appropriately. For instance, opt for business casual if you are going on a business trip. When going on a trip with family and friends, pick something comfortable but not too casual, like shorts and flip-flops.

Ensure to bring your ID with you.

While you won’t need to go through the TSA checkpoint, you will still be required to provide identification. If you are flying internationally, ensure you bring your passport with you and other travel essentials. Check out our infographic below for other dos and don’ts to remember when traveling private.

jet etiquette infographic

About the Author:

Melissa Hull is the Content Marketing Strategist for Aviation Charters, a West Trenton, New Jersey-based private aviation company that provides on-demand aircraft charter, aircraft management, and aircraft acquisition services. Aside from her passion for writing, she loves to travel and read espionage books.

Most Underrated Destinations in South America

Girls from South America

South America has some of the most beautiful places on Earth. It is no surprise that it attracts so many tourists worldwide every year. It consists of only twelve countries, but each of them is equally charming and interesting in its own way. Some tourist locations on this continent are very well known, such as the Inca citadel Machu Picchu in Peru, the statue of Christ “Christ the Redeemer” in Brazil, Iguazu waterfalls in Argentina, and so much more. But besides all these famous places, there are so much less familiar destinations that are as gorgeous but not talked about enough. We are here to show you the most underrated destinations in South America that you should check out if you love traveling.

Los Roques Archipelago

Los Roques Archipelago is one of South America’s more expensive and lavish destinations. It is perfect for various activities. If you are looking for sandy beaches, crystal clear water with lots of coral riffs for diving and snorkeling, then this is a place to go. This place is truly Heaven on Earth; It is located in the Caribbean Sea, not far away from the coast of Venezuela, and it has around 350 islands and numerous animal and plant species, some of them which are endangered. The main occupations for visitors are, of course, swimming and exploring marine life. Some people are fond of fishing, which is very rewarding here since there are at least 270 species of fish. Kitesurfing and windsurfing are options as well.

There are only two ways to travel here. By plane, which is the way most people do it, or by boat. We should warn you that hotel accommodation is costly here, but don’t worry. You could also camp here, which can be a fun experience, and it will ultimately cost cheaper. You just need to pack everything you may need and enjoy!

Paraguay and Asuncion

Paraguay is a relatively small country located in the central part of the continent. However, it is a fantastic option to check out some unique destinations in South America. Not to mention that this country could be a good choice if you ever try to move internationally. We know that moving to another continent can be very stressful and filled with anxiety, but try to keep a positive mindset. There is no need to worry if you have made the right choice since Paraguay is well known for its safety and mild and pleasant climate. Have that in mind if you ever plan to move there.

As for its capital, Asuncion, located on the banks of the Paraguay River, is filled with exciting content. Here are some examples. The seat of the government of Paraguay, “Palacio de Lopez” is a beautiful construction that is even more extravagant at night when all the lights come on. And if you are an art lover, Asuncion’s Art Museums are must-visit places. There are various: Museo del Barro, Museo de Bellas Artes, Museo de Arte Sacro, Fundacion Texo, etc. And if you love animals and nature, we suggest visiting the Botanical Garden and Zoo of Asuncion or the delightful Crystal Fall, located in the jungle area.

The city of Valparaíso, one of the most underrated destinations in South America.
The colorful city of Valparaíso should be a must-visit place.

City of Valparaíso

The colorful city of Valparaíso is a must-see if you are visiting Chile. It is located about 80 miles northwest of the much more known country capital Santiago. It is the country’s cultural center, famous for its street art, brightly colored houses, and seaside views resembling some European cities. In 2003 the town was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Poet Pablo Neruda, one of its most famous inhabitants, often described it as beautiful chaos, partly because of its specific geography. Between a mountain range and the ocean, the city is a maze of steep inclines, narrow streets, and staircases, making some cities landmarks reachable only by foot or funicular. So be prepared for a lot of walking that will finally pay off because this is one of those places where, if you like photography, you will not put your camera down for a second.

The Chan Chan Adobe City in Trujillo, Peru.
Peru has a rich culture and wild nature.

Trujillo, Peru

Peru has rich pre-hispanic culture, wild nature, and world-famous gastronomy. That is why it is one of the favorite destinations in South America for tourists. But there is much more than Machu Picchu and Cuzco. Although it gets only ten percent of overall international tourist visits in Peru, the city of Trujillo is an excellent example of an unjustly underrated destination in South America. At least for those interested in pre-Columbian culture and heritage and not fond of high altitudes and problems it brings. Near the city lies Chan Chan, the largest mud city in the ancient world and the capital of Chimu culture. The site is a world heritage site. Some 2.5 miles south of Trujillo is another important archeological site, Las Huacas del Sol y de la Luna, which is very interesting to visit. Huanchaco spa is another place you should not miss.

Black monkey walking on rocks.
Amazon forests are full of wildlife.

Iquitos, Peru

Another location in Peru that deserves your attention is Iquitos. It is the capital of the Mayan province. People also know it as the capital of the Peruvian Amazon. Iquitos is the largest city in the world that isn’t connected to any other by road. The only way to access it is either by boat or plane. And that is part of its charm. Lush nature and the multitude of animals that live in a nearby jungle draw in the tourists that visit Iquitos. Choose one of the boat tours that can take you to one of the protected natural areas in the Amazon. Visit the local community of indigenous people or take a night-time hike in the jungle. These will be fun adventures that you’ll remember fondly. Be sure to try local or international dishes in the Iron house constructed by Gustav Eiffel.

Final Words

There is a reason why popular places are popular, but it doesn’t mean that those less known are not beautiful. If you love traveling, we urge you to consider visiting these underrated destinations in South America. See some other cultures, try new food, and enjoy your visit to the fullest!