G'Day Japan! / Destinations
Imagine a frontier of unspoilt wilderness, where grizzly bears roam the forests and smoke wafts gently from the cones of volcanic peaks; a place in the subarctic north rich in fresh seafood and farm produce, where the locals relax in steaming hot springs surrounded by deep powder during extreme winters. Now add a host of snow resorts, filled with riders from around the world doing what they love best. Welcome to Hokkaido.
The North Japan Alps dominate Nagano and Niigata, two of Japan's famously powder-rich prefectures. Nagano is dotted with a series of 3,000-metre peaks known as 'The Roof of Japan', and hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics; Niigata is where skiing was first introduced to Japan in 1911, and also inspired the Nobel Prize-winning novel 'Snow Country'. Both are easier to reach than ever on the new Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train, and are one of Japan's most exciting and diverse snow holiday areas.
Ishikawa Prefecture offers a kaleidoscope of colour and flavour throughout the four seasons, showcased beautifully in its capital city of Kanazawa. A historic centre of gold leaf production home to some of Japan’s most highly skilled traditional artisans, its impeccably maintained samurai period architecture and gardens are renowned as some of the finest in the land.
Yamagata Prefecture is one of Japan’s heaviest snowfall areas, making it a naturally blessed snow holiday destination just 2.5 hours north of Tokyo by bullet train. Some 160,000 hectares of the prefecture is national park and other natural reserve area, with some stunning scenery that melts from the white of winter to a lush green in summer, flaring with vibrant red and gold in the autumn.
Yamagata / Zao
The Appi and Hachimantai ski area is comprised of rustic hot spring inn communities and glamourous resorts within the all-season outdoor playground of Towada-Hachimantai National Park. Plenty of great snow activities and day tours are on offer to enjoy in ddition to the varied, expansive courses for all riders at the resorts, which are thickly blanketed in super-light aspirin powder snow from December until early May. They are local to the old castle town of Morioka, which adds rich historical and cultural depth to a snow holiday in this welcoming region of northern Japan.
Iwate Appi / Hachimantai
Exploring Japan's iconic peak and local lakeside hot spring town. The instantly recognisable Mount Fuji presides over the Fuji Five Lakes area; step into its historic hot spring base town of Fujikawaguchiko in Yamanashi, and discover the many ways to enjoy this World Heritagelisted attraction.
Osaka is Japan’s western capital, and the underdog of Japanese travel destinations. Pioneers and built Osaka on niwinovative ideas; they were the ones who brought us instant noodles, and sushi train. An air of nostalgia complements the city’s modern, trail-blazing energy, which is just what makes it such a unique destination to visit. Whether you’re in the warm, retro atmosphere of the Kuromon Ichiba Market by day, where locals have been coming to enjoy good times and banter for a hundred years, or exploring the truly modern architectural design of the Floating Garden Observatory by night, you’ll notice you are constantly slipping in and out of old and new. Take the first step, and see for yourself what unique experiences await…