Why Ski Japan?
Up until the beginning of the 1998 Winter Olympics, many people were unaware that Japan has an abundance of skiable terrain and an active ski culture. Japan’s mountains receive snowfalls of some of the lightest, driest powder on earth. From central Hokkaido right down through to the southern alps of Honshu, Japan offers a ski experience unlike any other in the world. Service and hospitality in Japan is second to none. A genuine and heart-warming hospitality awaits you with a cultural experience to match.
As Hokkaido’s premier resort, Niseko is one of Japan’s most admired resorts due to its phenomenal amount of quality dry snow and an abundance of tree runs. Niseko prides itself as being the outdoor sports capital of Hokkaido. It is the biggest and most beautiful of Hokkaido’s ski areas, boasting breath-taking scenery. Niseko has four base areas – Hirafu (main base village of Niseko), Annupuri, Higashiyama (also known as Niseko Village but is not the main base) and Hanazono. The mountain offers spectacular skiing and snowboarding opportunities to the novice, intermediate or expert. Powder junkies are well looked after however you need to get in quick! This awesome mountain is complemented by a fun party town with a huge range of funky bars and restaurants.
The Hirafu Village at Niseko resort has about 150 properties within 500 metres of the lift. Even those properties that aren’t ski in ski out or walk to lift are no further than a couple of minutes from the free all day shuttle service. Many pension and lodge owners make it even easier by providing their own transfers to and from the lifts at specified times. There is a variety of pension, lodge and self-contained accommodation. Clean and comfortable Hotels provide good 3 star facilities, Pensions and lodges offer budget to moderate standards B&B style accommodation.
Furano is situated in Hokkaido’s beautiful Daisetsu-zan National Park. Furano boasts one of Japan’s largest verticals with 974 metres of terrain. Skiing Furano is spectacular, with virtually every run giving you great views of the peak of Mt Furano and the summits of Hokkaido’s highest mountains. On the slopes, Furano offers attractions for every level of skier, expert runs, long fast runs and wide, easy cruising runs for beginners. Furano regularly holds World Cup events with the mens downhill being the mountain’s specialty. Furano ski resort offers much more than just good skiing. The town’s culture alone is enough to attract travellers wishing to experience the authentic northern Japanese lifestyle.
You will discover traditional concerts in the township, weekly concerts at the New Prince Hotel, and firework displays on special occasions such as New Year’s Eve.
Each year the whole town comes alive as Furano ski resort hosts their Winter Festival. The ski area becomes a sea of activity with competitions, events, concerts, and food and drinks stalls selling Furano’s delicious local products. The festival takes place over the first weekend of February.
Hakuba is renown as Japan’s premier ski region due to a long winter, the largest vertical and the biggest terrain of any ski area in Japan. Host of the 1998 Winter Olympics, the Hakuba Valley is a huge expanse of 10 resorts offering a variety of outstanding facilities and massive snowfall. The Japanese alpine scenery which surrounds the resorts is truly spectacular with huge rugged peaks towering above the village below. Use Hakuba as your base and ski a different resort each day. Choose from Happo One, Hakuba 47, Iwatake, Tsugaike, Sun Alpina, Hakuba Minekata/Highland or Norikura/Cortina. In addition to the fantastic action to be had on the mountain, the Hakuba Valley offers a wide variety of activities including snowshoeing, tubing, snow rafting, Nagano’s Zenkoji Temple and the famous Jigokundani Wild Monkey Hot Springs and lots to experience with onsens, delicious local Japanese cuisine, fascinating culture and the gentle welcoming Japanese hospitality.
The area known as Ecoland is the centre for nightlife in Hakuba with a great choice of Japanese bars and retaurants. Aside from the apres action, Hakuba has 13 public hot springs to soothe weary muscles after a big day on the mountain.
Rusutsu Resort is one of the most famous ski resorts in Hokkaido. What you find here is a wonderful full-scale resort experience amidst the beauty of the vast highlands with winter being the most special season. The resort is generally uncrowded and therefore the powder is more plentiful! Visitors to Rusutsu are constantly overwhelmed with its spectacular views and scenery. The lift network is spread over 3 peaks East mountain, West mountain and Mt Isola offering a wide variety of terrain catering to all levels of skiers and snowboarders and the best tree-skiing in the area. The Resort Hotel or Rusutsu Towers offer excellent accommodation with spacious rooms and great views. The main Hotel and Towers are connected by a short monorail. The unassuming village of Rusutsu has a handful of smaller local restaurants and bars which are packed with character and charm!
The Rusutsu ski resort is a 4-star retreat and Hotel complex, so prices are typical of that rating. You will need to carry Yen Cash and we strongly suggest to bring some with you. Credit cards are readily accepted in the Hotel’s facilities but you can’t use them on the mountain to buy lunches.
Nozawa Onsen is one of the best classic ski resorts in Japan, with over 50 kilometres of trails to choose from. With an abundance of snow, Nozawa Onsen has wide open runs for beginners as well as steeper more challenging pitches. Experience breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding national parks and the Japan Alps. The bustling village has a great sense of tradition and Japanese spirit with beautiful old streets. Nozawa Onsen offers a great cultural experience and is also famous for having over 30 public hot springs or ‘soto-yu’.
Nozawa Onsen is also famous for the annual Dosojin Fire Festival which is held on the 15th January Every Year to pray for a plentiful harvest, good health and fortune.The village also played a significant role in the history of skiing in Japan.
The wonderful hospitality of the local villagers makes for a truly memorable ski holiday with a difference!