Recently returned from a tour of some of Japan’s emerging ski resorts, Emily Warbrick, General Manager, Snowscene, is a full bottle on skiing in the country, and gave us the low down on why the cool climes of Japan continues to be so hot among Aussie skiiers.
Why does Japan continue to lure Aussie skiers?
Japan is extremely accessible for Australia skiers, with direct flights from Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. From Tokyo airports the ski resorts on the main island are easily accessible by the very reliable bullet train or bus transfers. With the same time zone, and no jet leg, you have more time to enjoy your snow holiday.
Where are the most popular resorts and what market is each resort best suited to?
The best known ski resorts in Japan are Hakuba and Niseko. Japan is well known for its powder, and these resorts boast some of the best in the country. If the customer is looking for a more traditional experience then Nozawa Onsen or Zao Onsen have traditional Ryokans, restaurants and wonderful villages to explore.
What destinations within Japan are emerging as great ski destinations and why?
After just returning from the wonderland that is the Tohoku region in Japan, I’d say that many of the emerging ski resorts would have to be those in the Tohoku region – they are largely less discovered by the Aussie traveller. Places such as Naeba, Zao Onsen and Appi are all very accessible from Tokyo via bullet train with on snow options and traditional Ryokans to explore. With Snowscene’s planning, advice and professional service we organise all-inclusive packages and can highly recommend these amazing ski resorts.
When’s the best time to ski in Japan and why?
The best time to ski in Japan to avoid the crowds and get fresh tracks is February and March. Selected resorts in Japan open as early as November and run right through until end of April. The most popular time for Australian travellers is over Christmas, New Year and school holiday period.
And the most affordable time and why?
For spring specials and packages February and March are an affordable time to ski in Japan with ‘Stay Pay’ and ‘Kids Ski Free’ deals on offer, discounted airfares and travel.
Can you share any great insider tips for people heading to Japan to ski?
A city tour is essential in Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka pre- or post-snow trip to explore the big cities and experience even more of what Japan has to offer. If you’re travelling between major cities and the ski resorts on the main island, travelling on the bullet train is a must. And why not experience two ski resorts in your travels so you get to experience two different mountains – perhaps a larger more popular ski resort like Hakuba packaged with a lesser-known ski resort like Appi?
Do you believe Japan will retain its popularity going forward?
Due to the ease of access from Australia to Japan and the rich cultural experiences visitors have, not forgetting the snow quality Japan has to offer, Snowscene does see the popularity continuing strongly for the 2016/2017 snow season.
Due to this popularity there are sometimes occupancy issues in major ski resorts so travellers are advised to book early to secure good airfares and preferred availability. To avoid the crowds, consider somewhere new for your next ski trip, like the resorts in the Tohoku region. They’re just as good.
Canada will also be hot to trot for next season, with Air Canada bringing in direct services from Brisbane. The new route will open up access to Canada – with less than a 14-hour flight we forecast more Aussies will want to explore Canada. This year, Canada is also having a record breaking snow season, so no matter where you go, it’s bound to be an exciting snow holiday. Every snow story is unique.
Snowscene's 2016 brochure is now out featuring ski resorts & packages to Japan, New Zealand & Australia. For early bird deals and more call 1300766911 or email [email protected]
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