For any of you travel bugs out there that have mastered the slopes in Australia or for those who have never seen snow, Japan is one of my top picks for international skiing. Ive visited a few different countries for skiing trips, and Japan has got to be my #1.
For you non-skiers out there, powder is everything. Australian slopes are known to be icy and unpredictable, as our ski resorts are at a fairly low altitude in comparison to the peaks of Switzerland or Colorado. This means that you clip your skis a lot easier, you can’t carve as much and you just stack it heaps if your not careful.
When I refer to powder, it means that fresh snow is essentially layering the slopes making it soft and fluffy, which means fast and easy skiing. Japan is known for this, often referred to as ‘JAPOW’.
Earlier this year, I went skiing in Hakuba, Japan. Flying into Tokyo airport, then catching a bullet train to Nagano.. The bullet train takes roughly 2 hours, in comparison to a 6 hour bus ride! Talk about 300km/hr…. From Nagano, there’s a bus, which takes you up the mountain to the snow, taking about 45 minutes.
Japan is seriously the coolest country ever, and I’d go back in a heart beat for winter or summer. Arriving at Hakuba, was a dream, like a wonderland of snow, and snowflakes landing on your clothes as soon as we got out of the car. We stayed at a place called The Ridge, which was super close to the slopes only about a 10 minutes walk to Happo one.
For anyone wanting to ski for the first time here’s a list of the slopes for the all levels:
- Best beginner: Tsugaike
- Best intermediate: Happo One
- Best advanced: Happo One, Goyru, Cortina.
The different slopes are so great, every slope is so unique and each one had its challenges! Some have too much powder, which makes you sink and fall! Some had bits of ice, some had super steep bits and some had nice little jumps along the side. Skiing past the 7 year old national ski squad training for the 2028 olympics is very riveting, and embarrassing that they are literally 7 and look like professionals.
Anyways we had an absolute ball!! Me and my boyfriend looooved the terrain park, even though we encountered many stacks, a lost glove and a massive trek back to home in a white out, safe to say japan skiing is the best i’ve encountered.
To get your energy up after a busy morning skiing, you’d be happy to know that all the cafeterias have ramen, miso soup everything Japanese and even a burger king (for picky eaters a.k.a me)
We skied all week and ate at some really cool places. From cute little Japanese pubs, to igloos and traditional restaurant’s, there’s no denying, the flavours of japan are just to die for.
Some recommendations for GF people….
- Ramen noodles HAVE GLUTEN
- Go for the egg noodles
- Miso soup is your GO TO à no gluten, and good for the tummy if its upset.
- Rice is another go to, just a good filler and lots of carbs for energy
- Edamame YUM
- Japan has a weird fetish with fried chicken which is ok to eat as well I suppose, im just not one to eat chicken in another country lol, call me picky.
- And of course, sushi is OK!
On our last night in Japan, we had dinner in an igloo! There was wine (yay) and rice and a hot pot of meat and veggies. So fantastic! Shame i forget the name of the place where we did this! But have a little research and theres a few hotels that have igloos.
We visited a small town about a 2 hour drive away from Hakuba, called Nowaza Onsen, in this town they have an annual festival where they create a huge bonfire and the younger men of the town sit on top of it, and the older men set it on fire. Seems stupid, but its a massive cultural ritual and was really interesting to watch! We also got to try sake’ while we were here, which is literal petrol. – seems to be an acquired taste!
After a loooong day of skiing, the BEST thing to do is go for an Onsen. An Onsen is a natural hot spring, which is fresh water warmed by the volcanic heat underground. It loosens all those sore muscles and makes you so relaxed. ONLY THIS IS THAT…. You have to go naked. Its custom to wear no clothes and go butt naked. Usually there’ll be other people in there, unless you book a private onsen where its just you alone or with your partner. The one we went to was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel called “Shirouma” cost about 45 yen. – Also such a good idea to do before you head back to the airport, nice and relaxed!
All in all, japan is definitely a place I will venture back to one day, maybe in the spring time to see the Japanese blossom festival or visit Mt Fuji, and for sure spend more time in Tokyo and Kyoto!
Till we meet again japan! ❤