Skiing in Japan スキー
A country of winter sports
Japan is a mountainous archipelago, which experiences a real winter season throughout its northern part. Many ski resorts are accessible to practice different winter sports but also to enjoy the onsen.
It was at the end of the Meiji era (1868-1912) that the practice of skiing was transmitted by the army of Austria-Hungary to the imperial army of Japan. The development of skiing was favored by the post-war economic expansion, by the development of road and rail transport, then by the two Olympic Games that Japan organized in 1972 in Sapporo and in 1998 in Nagano.
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The magic recipe
Today, the winter sports industry is an important sector in the country with more than 500 ski resorts scattered over the northern half of the archipelago. The practices are very diverse, apart from skiing and snowboarding, there are snow festivals during which artists compete to build ice sculptures . There are also the juhyô , these incredible natural sculptures on frozen trees, night skiing very popular for its festive and magical side of hurtling down the illuminated slopes, or even these famous monkeys lounging in hot springs. Speaking of which, one of the great pleasures of the Japanese after an exhausting day of skiing is to relax in an onsen and have a good night's sleep in a ryokan . To be tested for a totally successful stay.
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All this explains why Japan has become the first tourist destination in Asia for the practice of winter sports, especially for the countries of the southern hemisphere which do not have snow.
Super Ski access
The Japanese, who do not have long periods of vacation, often go skiing just for the weekend, 3-4 days maximum and even only for the day. This became possible with quick access from Tokyo by shinkansen .
- In 1h15 by the Hokuriku Shinkansen , you have access to Karuizawa (Nagano prefecture) and in 1h30 with the Jôestu Shinkansen , you are in Gala Yuzawa (Niigata prefecture), a huge ski area very popular with young Tokyoites.
- At 1h30 by car you will find the Fujiten Snow Resort (Yamanashi prefecture), to do mogul skiing with the view of Mount Fuji and in 2h by road, you have access to the Tanbara Ski Park in Gunma.
Many destinations are also accessible by bus for 3,900 yen round trip, or about 30 euros, also including the day pass. The winter season starts early if you go to Hokkaido, from late November to early April. Note that the resorts offer larger spaces on the large northern island, and above all excellent snow quality all winter long.
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The very practical system of the TA-Q-Bin allows you, for 1,500 yen (11.50€), to send all your equipment the day before directly to the station of your choice . Otherwise you can always rent the necessary equipment, around 4,000 yen (30€) for the skis and 3,500 yen (26.50€) for the suit. The day pass for access to the cable cars or chairlifts is around 4,000 yen.
Thanks to all these techniques, the Japanese have the possibility of leaving directly on Friday evening after their working day to make the most of their weekend.
Some Japanese ski resorts: