Are you a winter person? Is skiing a thing your family loves to do? Why limit yourself to your home slopes when you can visit Japan one of the world premier skiing destinations for singles, couples and families. A snow holiday in the Japan snow season will provide you with great skiing and immerse you in a unique and ancient culture.
Japan Snow Season
Located in the northern hemisphere winter in Japan runs December through February. The Japan ski season runs from mid-to-late December and goes through until late March or early April. Obviously, with different resorts and regions, the time and length of the Japan Ski season can vary. To be safe and catch the best conditions for skiing January – February is recommended.
Skiing and snowboarding in Japan
This close Asian neighbour makes the land of the rising sun a prime destination for families who love skiing. The Japan snow season is known for some of the best powder skiing in the world. Someone recently asked us ‘does it snow in Japan?’ The winter snowfall is renowned for its great skiing qualities. The ski resorts receive an average of 10 to 18 metres of snow per season. There is no better activity than skiing for a family holiday in Japan.
Cost of Skiing in Japan
I think there is a misconception that Japan Ski holidays are an expensive activity to undertake. Skiing in Japan today can be considered to be very inexpensive compared to Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.
Features and facilities such as lift tickets are significantly cheaper. There are even family-friendly resorts have good budget accommodation options and well priced affordable meal options during the skiing season.
Getting to the Japan Snow Season
These days flying to Japan from Australia is a simple thing. There are many carriers, full service and budget, that will fly you daily to your japan family holiday destination. You will find Japan Airlines, ANA (All Nippon Airways), Qantas and Jetstar fly directly. You can fly from Melbourne to Tokyo in around 9 hours and 50 minutes for your Ski Holiday.
The average flying time from the United States of America to Japan is 13 hours. ANA ( All Nippon Airways ) Japan Airlines, United Airlines and American airlines fly directly to Japan from choice destinations in the USA.
Flights from the United Kingdom, London to Japan take around 12 hours and 25 minutes to reach Toyko. ANA, Japan Airlines and British Airlines fly direct from London to Tokyo. From other UK destination, you will need to transit through London for a Japan ski season holiday.
Do I need travel insurance in Japan?
We always say if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. Get your travel insurance now to protect your epic holiday in Japan from any small hiccup.
For Australian travellers, we recommend Fast Cover Travel Insurance
For worldwide travellers, we recommend AXA Travel Insurance
Travel tips for Japan
We have some basic tips for travelling to Japan. The Japanese are known worldwide as an incredibly polite race of people. It is always important to embrace this culture whilst skiing in Japan. Politeness needs to extend to appropriate behaviour in the streets, restaurants and bars.
“Please” and “Thank You” are essentials words to learn in Japanese. We have always found that if you make the effort to speak even just the basic few words it will be appreciated. A few things to avoid at all costs that will offend the Japanese are as follows.
- Please never walk on a tatami mat wearing shoes or even slippers. Japanese houses, apartments and Japanese style hotel rooms will have a genkan, a changing area. In this room, you take your shoes off while standing in the genkan,
- Never leave your chopsticks standing upright in a bowl of rice. This can be insulting as in Japanese culture this is how rice is offered to the dead.
- Never enter a bathtub without washing up first.
- Avoid physical contact in public. You will not see Japanese people kissing or hugging. The Japanese are not known for public affection.
Culture in Japan is especially important if you have kids. Exposing your kids to different cultures and lifestyles is great for there growth educationally. When kids observe different cultures it makes them learn that things are different all around the world. This helps kids grow as people and become more accepting adults. A family holiday in Japan will certainly expose them to an old-world culture.
Travel safety in Japan
Japan is one of the safest countries to travel in. Theft or violent crime is very rare and extremely low by international standards. As with anywhere it always pays to be aware of your surroundings and careful with your personal belongings.
You will find petty crimes like pickpocketing high in areas where there are lots of Westerners. Street crime is extremely rare, even late at night. Women travelling alone should take care as they would in their home countries and should never hitchhike alone.
Money in Japan
The Yen is the Japanese currency. Strangely enough for a society on the cutting edge of electronics and technology Japan is very reliant upon cash. Credit cards are not widely accepted for many things, yet access to cash is not always easy to access.
There are lots of ATMs, but not all accept foreign cards. You will need to mindful of your forward planning and have cash readily available to you. You may find you have to pay cash for lift tickets and ski hire. The good old Post Offices in Japan have extremely efficient ATMs. When the Post Office is closed look for a 7-11 store.
These multinational have their own bank which accepts foreign cards in their ATMs. Let your kids look at the money and even pay for things with it. It’s a great learning experience and will help with their maths while you are on holiday.
Ski gear for winter in Japan
Ski Gear to take for winter in Japan is not much different to many other parts of the northern hemisphere. The Hokkaido region can be bitterly cold at times. For Australian and New Zealand travellers, the winter in Japan temperatures is much colder than skiing back home.
Top-quality thermals will be required. We found woollen thermals to be the warmest. We also found fleece-lined leggings for our kids were excellent in keeping them warm. A good quality ski/outdoor jacket by companies like Columbia, North Face, Jack Wolfskin will keep you dry and warm. A well-insulted beanie, neck warmer will keep the chilly winds at bay during the Japan snow season.
Waterproof shoes and boots are imperative to keep your feet warm. Shoes with good grip are highly recommended for winter in Japan. It’s easy to be standing upright one minute and one the ground the next in the icy conditions of the Japan snow season. You can pick up your snow gear in Australia cheaper at the end of the Australian winter.
Children learning to ski
A lot of the Japanese ski resorts cater for children with kids skiing and boarding programs. Most of these ski schools have a policy of kids must wear a helmet as safety is a priority. Your children will be taught the basic skills in the Japanese snow season that will give them a great platform to build on in the coming years.
As well as skiing many resorts include other activities for kids including a snow park playground, snow bubble ball, snowmobile and snow rafting. This makes a family holiday in Japan amazing for the whole family, especially if you are also travelling with teenagers.
We hope our practical information and tips help you and your family ski Japan with kids. There are many holiday packages available for your family. We hope you have a great time in the Japan ski fields.
We hope you enjoyed this article by Wyld Family Travel and that it has inspired you to consider a ski holiday in Japan for your family. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Japan click through to our Japan Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.
Some more travel inspiration for your trip to Japan
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband, traveler, and chief destination marketing manager at Wyld Family Travel. Having been to over 35 countries worldwide he knows a thing or 2 about traveling with kids and now traveling with teenagers. He has been writing first-hand, expert travel guides on this website for over 6 years and has featured on numerous other popular well-known websites. When he is not talking, dreaming, or planning travel he can be found working in disability support.