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Winter sports With freezing temperatures and a surfeit of mountainous terrain, Japan provides an exhilarating platform for winter sports. From the vast, windswept island of Hokkaido to the Japanese Alps, superb powder conditions and a staggering 600 ski resorts mean that there’s no better place to hit the slopes. Thanks to the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano and several occasions of the Winter Asian Games, Japan’s top mountain resorts boast excellent infrastructure, buzzing nightlife and comprehensive tourist facilities. Not only this, but its snowfall is amongst the most reliable in the world, so you won’t be left fretting over that all-important weather forecast before your holiday.

Sapporo

Kokusai

Rusutsu Niseko

Skiing & snowboarding Bring your own equipment or rent on arrival. Both Niseko and Hakuba (our favourite Japan resorts) have a wide range of slopes for skiers and boarders of all abilities, with tons of fresh powder snow. Are you a complete beginner? Let us organise ski school lessons for you.

Don’t forget the snow monkeys! Japan’s most famous primates are the “snow monkeys” of the Jigokudani hot springs in Yudanaka Onsen near Hakuba. To escape the chill of winter, the monkeys love to play in the natural hot spring baths. You’ll see whole families of monkeys eat, wash, splash around and even have snowball fights.

Yudanaka Hakuba

Japan in the winter is also a wonderful place for sightseeing, and as the crowds die back you’ll have spectacular locations almost to yourself. Then, to cap it all off, the après-ski is gloriously Japanese: sit back in an outdoor hot spring bath surrounded by snow, with a cup of sake to ease away any aches and pains.

Backcountry guides Do you love the thrill of off-piste skiing? Let us book a backcountry guide to take you to the best spots in the safest, most enjoyable way to suit your ability as well as the weather conditions. Tackle the back bowls of Niseko, or try the gladed slopes of Rusutsu and Kokusai – also on Hokkaido Island.

Heli-skiing Take a helicopter to Mount Tsugiake’s ridgeline to reach virgin powder snow in Hakuba, some 7,300 ft (2,225 m) above sea level. A fantastic thrill-seeking experience for advanced skiers and boarders.

Snowshoeing Strap on some snowshoes and explore winter scenery at a tranquil pace. Instead of hurtling through busy ski resorts at speed, a guided snowshoe tour in the mountains around Sapporo will have you admiring frozen lakes and Hokkaido’s snowy wilderness.

Après-ski, Japan-style by Katharina Held Growing up in Germany, InsideJapan’s Katharina has been skiing since the age of three. She first hit Japan’s slopes with her classmates during her time at Utsunomiya University north of Tokyo. “ Après-ski is one of my favourite parts of any ski trip, but in Japan it really is something special. Knowing there would be a fantastic dinner waiting for me at my ryokan – followed by the chance to relax in a hot spring bath – was the perfect way to conclude a day out on the mountain. Outdoor

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onsen are even better, giving you the chance to soak your aching muscles with snowflakes falling all around you. “ If you’re not eating at your ryokan or hotel, I highly recommend heading out for a big bowl of nabe hotpot – the ultimate comfort food. You could also sample some excellent Japanese beers at one of the local craft beer bars – or even finish the night with a karaoke session before you hit the slopes again the next day.”

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Inspired by this talk of fresh powder snow? Do check out our website. We have a special section dedicated to winter sports holidays in Japan, including example itineraries and pricing, and information on lesser-known ski destinations across the country. Alternatively, talk to one of the winter sports enthusiasts on our team who can work time on the slopes into any tailor-made wintertime Self-Guided Adventure or Exclusive Private Journey.

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Inside Japan 2016 tailor made options  

Japan is brimming with exciting, inspiring hands-on activities whether you're interested in arts and crafts, history, sport, gardens, festiv...

Inside Japan 2016 tailor made options  

Japan is brimming with exciting, inspiring hands-on activities whether you're interested in arts and crafts, history, sport, gardens, festiv...

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