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NinjaPowder https://ninjapowder.com Japan Powder Guides Hokkiado Thu, 20 Dec 2018 10:19:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0 Where to Find the Deepest Powder Snow in Hokkaido Japan https://ninjapowder.com/where-to-find-the-deepest-powder-snow-in-hokkaido-japan/ https://ninjapowder.com/where-to-find-the-deepest-powder-snow-in-hokkaido-japan/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 09:27:26 +0000 https://ninjapowder.com/?p=2490 The post Where to Find the Deepest Powder Snow in Hokkaido Japan appeared first on NinjaPowder.

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Hokkaido Japan has fast become the whistler of the East! With a yearly snow fall of 17 to 18 meters in some places it’s hard to resist for the powder seeking individuals with skis and snowboards coming to get there fix of the infamous Japow!!

So it has become the yearly pilgrimage for the powder poachers from all over the world with its fairly easy access, great food and friendly locals.   

Finding all the best spots is going to be a little difficult as some of it is hidden in the wilderness of Hokkaido and can only be accessed by hiking in with your skins and skis and or splitboards. The best and easiest way is to hire a local guide or guiding company like Ninjapowder.com. They can take you to places that might be on the main list for a lot of people. The easy powder to access is at end off the side of a lot of the now Famous Ski resorts like Niseko, Furano, Kiroro etc. Even with these it’s great to have a local show you around to some of the lift accessed powder that might not be easily seen.

Hokkaido is quiet unlike the mainland of Japan as it’s sparsely populated and also has Japan’s biggest by area national park the Daizetsu National Park, which can be driven around the perimeter in a real long day of driving. It also has Hokkaido’s highest mountain Asahidake that has a cable car to 1600 meters so you can use that to access the gems around and under the cable car or to hiking to the highest place on the Island. Again, this mountain is a hard read and is best to probably spend a day with a Ninja Powder guide to unlock the secrets it has, as terrain traps whiteouts are all part of the course up there.

“4 of the top 10 Cities by snowfall per year are in Japan”

So where is the deepest powder??

It’s almost everywhere any given day Niseko and Kiroro have become the big one on everybody’s hit list, but in doing that they have become more crowded and have to be in early to get all the fresh lines.

Although was lagging behind, Furano is now fast becoming the place to base to get fresh powder with less crowds. Being in the center of the island it gets quite cold, so the snow when it comes is a lot lighter than its coastal counter parts. It’s also easy access to Asahidake and some other places for the people who don’t mind earning their turns and hiking in the Daizetsu range with Tokachi Furano Dake being known to have some of the deepest amazing light powder snow.

So skiing or snowboarding the deepest powder around Hokkaido is just follow the snow, there are loads of small resorts dotted all around the Island and on any given day some of these could offer you exactly what you want: Japow.

 So get inventive and try other places, book a guide, get some local info!

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Best Time to Ski in Japan

Best Time to Ski in Japan

If you are a skiing enthusiast, for sure Japan is on your list. If not, add it! Japan is an amazing country with so many things to see and do. It offers four seasons and a wide variety of sights and activities for all kinds of travelers. And when it comes to skiing,...

132番地 Chisaka, Hidaka, Saru District, Hokkaido 055-2314

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Best Time to Ski in Japan https://ninjapowder.com/best-time-to-ski-in-japan/ https://ninjapowder.com/best-time-to-ski-in-japan/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 08:05:17 +0000 https://ninjapowder.com/?p=2482 The post Best Time to Ski in Japan appeared first on NinjaPowder.

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If you are a skiing enthusiast, for sure Japan is on your list. If not, add it!

Japan is an amazing country with so many things to see and do. It offers four seasons and a wide variety of sights and activities for all kinds of travelers. And when it comes to skiing, powder hounds will surely appreciate what Japan has to offer.

If you are now planning a ski adventure in Japan, knowing the best time to go will help you make the most of your visit.

Pre-Christmas Skiing in Japan – Early Snow Season

A few weeks before Christmas, the famous ski places in The Land of the Rising Sun will start getting snow. There will be fresh powder for you to enjoy but the volume may not be that much yet.

If you want to kick off your skiing holiday really early, go to Hokkaido. The area tends to get snow earlier than Honshu.

For best pre-Christmas skiing in Japan, head to resorts like Niseko and Kiroro. The on-piste snow in these resorts will usually have enough snow for beginner and intermediate skiers.

As for off-piste powder, there won’t be as much yet. Shrubs will still be poking out here and there. Conditions may not be that ideal but still, there will be enough snow to keep you occupied.

The great thing about pre-Christmas skiing in Japan is that tickets for lifts and resort room prices are still not that high. In fact, you are most likely to find discounted prices, perfect if budget is an issue.

Christmas Season to New Year Skiing in Japan

Most skiing hubs in Japan will be crazy full during the holidays. Tourists will be coming over from different parts of the world. Couples, large families, groups of friends – you name it.

The Japanese are avid skiers too so you don’t only have to contend with other tourists but the locals as well. Seeing as it is a popular time of the year to ski, prices will ratchet up.

Expect room prices to be higher than usual.

Since December is considered early in the skiing season, some off-piste areas are not yet adequately covered. This limits the areas that you can carve or ski downhill. For a full experience, wait until the holidays are over before you go on a ski trip.

“4 of the top 10 Cities by snowfall per year are in Japan”

Post-New-Year Skiing in Japan

If you want to experience awesomely cold temperatures, smooth runs, and cloud-like powder, January is the best time to go skiing. But you should choose your ski resort wisely.

While most of the big and foreigner-friendly resorts are busy during this month, it is busier at the Nozawa Onsen where the fire festival is held every January 15th. The crowd it draws, along with all the skiers, can be too much to handle for some.

Expect accommodation in popular resorts to sell out fast and at a high price. There are less popular options but those resorts may not have English-speaking staff.

Late January to Mid-February Skiing in Japan

With snow still covering most of the slopes, extend your skiing holiday from late January to the middle of February.

As long as you choose dates before or after the Chinese New Year, you can ski without elbowing your way through an influx of tourists. Should you wish to ski in Japan during these times, consult a lunar calendar.

March Skiing in Japan

If you plan to enjoy the slopes in Japan for backcountry skiing, piste skiing, and snowboarding, March is the best time to go. But book a resort in the northern parts of the country or those in high elevation to enjoy beautiful powder days.

What is great about this month is that you don’t need to compete with other skiers for fresh powder. But because temperatures can be warm in some days, snow quality may not be up to par.

April Skiing in Japan

If your skiing skills are at the beginner or intermediate level, April is the best time to test them. A decent amount of snow will cover the trails and in some resorts will serve as your playground. You can enjoy low-cost accommodation and lift tickets, fine weather, and no crowds.

Just note that because the skiing season is nearing the end, many resorts, ski schools, rental shops, restaurants, and tour operators are closing up shop.

Best Places to Go Skiing in Japan

Hokkaido

Known all over the world for its dry powder snow, Hokkaido is one of the best places for skiing in Japan. The cold Siberian winds that blow across the Sea of Japan bring moisture and fresh snow to the island’s many resorts–Furano, Kiroro, Niseko, Rusutsu, and Tomamu. In fact, the updraft of clouds and moisture help shape the well-formed Japanese Alps.

The best time to hit the slopes of Hokkaido starts in December until the end of February. Throughout March, snowfall will hit sporadically. Excess snowfall can also happen in Spring.

Honshu

With only 25 km between this island of Japan and the Sea of Japan, major ski resorts in the area receive exceptional snowfall. Take a pick from any of the renowned ones, especially those in the Nagano and Niigata prefectures.

In one ski season, dry powder can go as high as 16 meters as moisture is drawn up and then becomes snow as it condenses.

The best conditions of powder snow happen from January to the end of February. Early March, skiing conditions remain great, especially with low crowds. But airport transfer and services from some tour operators may be limited. December is usually hit and miss, so wait until January comes around.

Hakuba Valley

Located in the Northern Japan Alps, Hakuba is home to 11 different ski resorts, including the Hakuba ski resort that boasts more than 200 courses and 137 km of piste. Its main village, Happo, offers skiers and tourists excellent restaurants and izakayas.

The Best Ski Resorts in Japan

Here’s a list to help narrow down your options:

  • Appi Kogen Ski Resort in the Iwate Prefecture in the Appi Highlands
  • Asahidake Park in the Daisetsuzan National Park on Mount Asahi
  • Niseko Ski Resort, southwest of Sapporo
  • Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort, northern Nagano Prefecture
  • Furano Ski Resort in Hokkaido

Ready to go skiing in Japan?

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Best Time to Ski in Japan

Best Time to Ski in Japan

If you are a skiing enthusiast, for sure Japan is on your list. If not, add it! Japan is an amazing country with so many things to see and do. It offers four seasons and a wide variety of sights and activities for all kinds of travelers. And when it comes to skiing,...

132番地 Chisaka, Hidaka, Saru District, Hokkaido 055-2314

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Top Travel Tips for Making Your Japan Skiing Trip Easier https://ninjapowder.com/top-travel-tips-for-making-your-japan-skiing-trip-easier/ https://ninjapowder.com/top-travel-tips-for-making-your-japan-skiing-trip-easier/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 18:33:37 +0000 https://ninjapowder.com/?p=2464 The post Top Travel Tips for Making Your Japan Skiing Trip Easier appeared first on NinjaPowder.

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Top travel tips for making your Japan ski easier

Japan, and particularly the northern island Hokkaido, is probably one of the best powder skiing and snowboarding destination in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter season in some areas gets over 15 meters of deep, dry, blower snow – it’ll often dump 30+cm every other day during the peak months of January and February. And also gets great spring snow in march to April before slowing down.

But just chasing the deep untracked snow and playful natural features in beautiful silver beech trees is not the only thing on offer. Japan is steeped in culture and respect. It’s a world away from Europe, North America and Australia and can be a confusing place to travel around on your first trip. Here are a few tips to make things a little easier on your visit.

Bring Cash

Although Japan is world leader in electronics and all the new gadgets cash is still king. With a lot of places that still don’t take credit cards especially some ski grounds for lift tickets So always be prepared and carry enough cash for some situations. There are ATMs at most convenient stores and post offices

Food

Japan has an amazing range of food from the budget minded Ramen (noodles) to those who want to try some of the best seafood that Hokkaido has to offer including Hokkaido King Crab. So a few eating etiquette tips are: don’t go waving your chopsticks all around the place and sticking them in your food is not the done thing. Also walking and eating is not polite, and just be mindful of other people around the table while you are eating.

Tipping

Tipping is another thing that is not in the culture and can be embarrassing as it is not generally accepted.

Shoes off  

Be very wary of this as in most houses the will always be shoes of at the front door. Also, never walk on Tatami mats (Bamboo woven flooring) with shoes on

Language

Japanese is an incredibly difficult language to learn, and no-one expects you to be able to converse fluently! However, outside the main tourist traps like Niseko English isn’t always that widely-spoken, so it definitely helps to have a few words in your pocket!

Here are some starters:

  • Hello – Konnichiwa
  • Excuse me – Sumimasen
  • Please – Kudasai
  • Thank you – Arigato
  • Where is the toilet? – Toilet wa doca desu ka?
  • Cheers! – Kanpa!

Onsens

Hokkaido is full of onsens or hot springs and they are great way to soak away any muscles soreness from a hard days Skiing or Snowboarding. So onsen etiquette firstly it would be shoes off at the front then in the changing areas you get undress to nothing. Wearing clothing or swimmers into an onsen is frowned upon but you can always have your trusty tiny towel to cover if you feel the need. Before entering the hot spring always wash yourself. Generally they will have small plastic chairs with shower hoses, use these to wash your self then enter the hot pools. Drinking beer in an onsen is also frowned upon so refrain to after your finished.

Japan Tourist hot line

 The Japanese Tourism Office office operate and English language info/help line during office, so if you get really stuck and need some assistance give them a call on 0120 444800 or 0088 224800.

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Hokkaido’s 5 Best Ski Resorts Off The Beaten Path https://ninjapowder.com/hokkaidos-5-best-ski-resorts-off-the-beaten-path/ https://ninjapowder.com/hokkaidos-5-best-ski-resorts-off-the-beaten-path/#respond Sun, 21 Oct 2018 18:28:54 +0000 https://ninjapowder.com/?p=2106 The post Hokkaido’s 5 Best Ski Resorts Off The Beaten Path appeared first on NinjaPowder.

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Hokkaido. Deep Powder Faceshots, Onsens, Sushi, Beer and more

Tracked? Untracked?

When you think of skiing in Japan, the first images that comes to mind is clouds of endless billowing powder, as lucky skiers and boarders rampage between the perfectly spaced trees. And it’s true: it snows in Japan like nowhere else on Earth! The sheer amount of angel dust that can fall from the sky is completely and utterly mind-blowing. It’s like waking up in a dream or your own ski movie with the perfect powder snow. Considering how light and dry the snow is, the amount of it that can accumulate is truly insane. It just blankets everything. It needs to be seen to be believed.

The problem is, the secret is well and truly out now. While once Japan was only truly known to the Japanese it was only the dedicated travelling powder hound that had heard about, the powder through whispers  in hushed tones over late night beers in cheap  dimly-lit ski bars. But it seems like every pro skier and their Mum were filming in Hokkaido this season. It’s not just the pros either: Niseko’s Grand Hirafu now feels more like a slightly snowier outpost of Australia  and the ski area gets tracked almost as quickly as  quickly as the snow falls.

So in these times where over-enlightened ski bums seemingly chase the snowy dream halfway around the world to get their powder fix. So can you find enough untracked powder runs to keep the dream alive?

Of course you can you just have to venture a little away from the famed Niseko and get off to the hundred of other ski grounds that are scattered all over Hokkaido. So here are a few favoured by the Ninja Powder team .And of course to get the most you might want to book a guided tour with them to get the best

“4 of the top 10 Cities by snowfall per year are in Japan”

#5: Furano

Placed in the middle of the Hokkaido facing the Daisetsu Mountain range Furani is one of the spectacular places to ski snowboard. Although slow to catch on to the out of bounds skiing that other resorts were quick to set up Furano now has some great accessed backcountry with awesome tree runs and great bowls to put smiles on any skier With it being in the centre of the Island its colder than the other Grounds near Niseko so the powder is even lighter!  Despite being  the word slowly getting out crowds are not a concern and you can often ski deep, untracked powder all day long.

#4: Rusutsu

Rusutsu is only a 30-40 minute drive around Mt. Yotei from Niseko, but that’s just about far enough to escape most of the crowds. While the area is becoming more popular following Nimbus Independent and Salomon Freeski edits, you’ve still got a far greater chance of scoring first tracks here than in Niseko.

Head up Mt Isola for the best of the tree skiing, where you’ll find long fall line descents through the glades to the base of the resort. The lack of traverses from the lifts makes Rusutsu one of the better resorts on Hokkaido for boarders, but everyone can get their tree jib and pillow pop game on. If you want the freshest of fresh snow then consider earning your turns on Shiribetsu-dake, adjacent to West Mountain – you’ll be rewarded for your hike with 360° lines off the top (take the south facing slopes if you want to get back to the resort.

#3: Kiroro

Ah, Kiroro! The scene of my most obscenely deep ski day to date, Kiroro is one of my favourite resorts of all time. Around an hour’s drive north from Niseko, Kiroro benefits from slightly different weather patterns, which means it can be over the head deep and still dumping when Niseko is bone dry.

Kiroro isn’t exactly quiet, but most of the guests tend to be Japanese piste skiers, so you have very little competition for some fresh lines. Whilst not the steepest mountain on Hokkaido there’s some gorgeous and easily found tree skiing right next to the pistes, and if you look a little harder there are some awesome ‘mushrooms’ to be dropped, and a few steeper stashes tucked away out of sight. In theory you’re not allowed to leave the resort boundaries, but, ahem, if you should accidentally get lost and end up on the wrong side of the ropes, you’ll find a few treats skier’s left off the top of the Asari No.2 Express chairlift – just don’t miss the track traversing back to the lift at t.com)

#2: Asahi-dake

Asahi-dake is in the Daisetsuzan National Park, smack bang in the middle of Hokkaido and roughly 5 hours from Niseko, so is best accessed from somewhere like Furano (which also has some great skiing, especially if you make the 30 minute bootpack to the peak). It’s well worth the effort though – Asahi-dake is essentially a backcountry ski area on a live volcano, but with a tram up to mid-mountain. The upper mountain is ski tour only, and often storm-bound, but when it’s on it’s on: Asahi-dake is the highest mountain on Hokkaido, which when combined with the distance from the ocean often results in the driest powder found on the island.

There’s an abundance of terrain at Asahi-dake, both in the alpine and the trees. Though you won’t find any super steeps, there are some incredible bowls and chute-type lines, with more than enough mushrooms and cliffs to huck lower down. Be aware though, the whole area is uncontrolled and unpatrolled, so you need both backcountry experience and equipment. Watch out for cracks and fumaroles emitting volcanic gas too!

#1: Teine Highland

 Teine is the best kept secret  resort on Hokkaido. It’s just outside of Sapporo, but has by far the best lift-accessed terrain on the island. Being so close to Sapporo means that Teine can pick up quite a lot of crowds on weekends, but during the week there’s more than enough lines to go around. Another bonus is the view from the top, with the grid of the city juxtaposed against the snowy mountains and frigid ocean.

For the best of the goods take a short walk to skiers’ left of the quad chair, where you’ll find a selection of steep chutes and slopes leading down to some great tree skiing. If you traverse further along the ridge you’ll find another few bowls that tend to remain untracked for a good while, and the whole area is peppered with fun cliffs, mushrooms and trees to drop. The left side of the piste map generally holds mellower terrain, but a few short bootpacks access some really fun pillow fields. After a great day skiing it’s well worth heading into the city for authentic Japanese food, and a night out in Sapporo is likely to be one of the more memorable of your life!

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Best Time to Ski in Japan

Best Time to Ski in Japan

If you are a skiing enthusiast, for sure Japan is on your list. If not, add it! Japan is an amazing country with so many things to see and do. It offers four seasons and a wide variety of sights and activities for all kinds of travelers. And when it comes to skiing,...

132番地 Chisaka, Hidaka, Saru District, Hokkaido 055-2314

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Why does Hokkaido get so much snow? https://ninjapowder.com/why-does-hokkaido-get-so-much-snow/ https://ninjapowder.com/why-does-hokkaido-get-so-much-snow/#respond Fri, 08 Jun 2018 02:45:05 +0000 https://ninjapowder.com/?p=1176 The post Why does Hokkaido get so much snow? appeared first on NinjaPowder.

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In Hokkaido dotted through the landscape are literally hundreds of skiing resorts. Like many things in Japan, these skiing resorts are smaller compared to their European and North American counterparts. What they lack in size, they compensate for in incomprehensible amounts of snow. Meters of light Japanese powder.

Japan geographically sits in a premier location downwind of Asia and the Siberian continental shelf, where massive amounts of freezing cold air pump off Siberia and over the Sea of Japan. This freezing cold air picks up moisture from the Sea of Japan and then when it hits the mountains of Hokkaido it creates, large amounts of cold, super light snow that engulfs the mountainous terrain. Japan has large peaks which makes this moist air abruptly rise up and condense into snow. This is like the lake effect but over the Sea of Japan. So technically you do not need a storm to produce snow. All you need is strong winds coming off Asia dragging their way across the sea picking up millions of kgs of moisture and this alone will creates huge amounts of snow.

“4 of the top 10 Cities by snowfall per year are in Japan”

Japan has been can be described as a bottomless powder snow playground with many small resort with barely six lifts, but snowfalls which are of legend are the norm here in japan. The aforementioned lifts on a regular basis get totally buried under snow from just a single night of snow. You are immersed in nature when skiing in Japan. Skiing throughout the shimmering silver birch tree forests are nothing less than a totally magical and a quintessential Japanese adventure. Perfectly spaced trees and no tracks if you’re lucky enough, you may a native Japanese serow, that looks like a cross between a deer and a goat or a fox bouncing near the roadside. You are Immersed in raw nature and the quiet world of snow, as your own tracks fill in each lap, that the rest of that the world just seems to drift away

How much is a lot?

In the upper areas of the mountains in Hokkaido  there can be 15 to 25 meters of yearly wintertime snow falls, and around 6-10 meters in most of the resorts. The Snowfall is not endless but compared to other ski regions around the world you will have an exceptional amount of powder days

Snow Monster

In north Japan this massive amount of snow and wind lead to a rare phenomenon called snow monsters Juhyou (Japanese). This is where the Japanese fur trees get pounded and the snow does not have time to shed off before getting pounded with more snow creating these eerie slumped over trees that look like monsters

Get a Guide

With these harsh winter conditions and weather patterns that are unpredictable it is advisable to get a guide when going off lift. Make sure you come prepared when skiing in japan with all the necessary avalanche equipment and training.

Top Ten Cities by Snow Fall

1. Aomori City, Tōhoku , Japan
2. Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
3. Toyama, Hokuriku, Japan
4. St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
5. Quebec City – Canada
5. (Tie) Syracuse, N.Y., U.S., and Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
6. Saguenay, Quebec, Canada
7. Akita, Tōhoku, Japan
8. Rochester, N.Y., U.S.
9. Buffalo, N.Y., U.S.

(source:https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/top-10-snowiest-major-cities-a/23760437)

Recent Post

Best Time to Ski in Japan

Best Time to Ski in Japan

If you are a skiing enthusiast, for sure Japan is on your list. If not, add it! Japan is an amazing country with so many things to see and do. It offers four seasons and a wide variety of sights and activities for all kinds of travelers. And when it comes to skiing,...

132番地 Chisaka, Hidaka, Saru District, Hokkaido 055-2314

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