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


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 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


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!


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.