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Ski Experience in Japan for Beginners

Skiing in Japan is a typical winter activity. The ski season usually starts in mid-December, peaks from January to February, and lasts until the end of March. In Japan, there are many beautiful ski areas with fine-quality snow and if you are in Japan or visiting Japan in winter, don't miss the chance to experience this joyful activity with friends and family.

1. Choose a field and ski track

There are two types of ski areas: artificial snow fields (slopes near Tokyo) and natural snow fields (in prefectures such as Gunma, Niigata, Nagano, and Gifu). For those of you in the Tokyo area like me, the artificial slides have the advantage of being close, so it's convenient to travel during the day. However, since it is artificial snow, it is often harder and more slippery than natural snow, making it a bit more difficult to ski for beginners. The ski areas with natural snow are usually very wide, beautiful, fluffy, smooth, and easier to slide, even when falling, it doesn't hurt much. According to the experiences, new skiers should choose a ski area with natural snow, which will have a better experience.

Based on some research, we have found some suitable skiing spots for first-time skiers, which are the following ones.

Tambara Ski Park (たんばらスキーパーク) (Gunma Prefecture): This ski area is very family and child friendly. Up to 80% of the slides are for beginners and low levels. The slide is gentle and very long, and wide, the snow is smooth, so even beginners or children can easily practice.

Sugadaira snow resort (Nagano province): Lift tickets, rental fees, and ski lessons are all cheaper than in other places, and children under primary school age get free lift tickets. The site has a lot of slides for beginners, good quality snow, and is not too crowded so you don't have to queue for too long to get on the lift. The site has 3 ski areas and is quite huge, so if you want to go to all 3 areas, you need to plan to go in 3-4 days.

Nozawa onsen snow resort (野沢温泉スキー場) (Nagano Prefecture): This is an extremely large ski area, with up to 36 runs of which 40% are for beginners. It was also the site of the 1998 winter Olympics and is a popular onsen village, so you can combine skiing and onsen experiences in one trip. When taking the cable car to the top of the mountain, you will admire the wonderful scenery with white snow covering the branches and mountains. Especially, the slope at the top is up to 2km long with gentle slopes and fluffy snow, which is very suitable for first-time skiers.

2. Going on your own or on a tour?

If you have a car and have friends who have gone skiing, you can go by yourself. The train is also another good option but it will be limited access to the ski areas or it will take more time to take the bus since the ski location is usually far from the center city. If no one in the group knows how to skate/ski then going on a tour is a good option. The advantage of the tour is that you will be equipped with all clothes, tools, tickets to the lift and the hotel with 2 meals (if staying overnight). You can book a package tour using their bus (day or night) or choose my car (マイカー) and just buy a ski pass (with clothes rental and lift ticket) and book a hotel with their tour. Booking a tour like this is very convenient and more cost-effective, suitable for those who experience skiing for the first time and do not have any clothes and tools.

3. Prepare clothes and ski equipment.

Once you have chosen a ski area, you need to prepare your equipment for skiing. If you only want to experience it once, but do not intend to go many times, you should rent all your clothes and tools at the skiing spot but just be reminded that renting is quite expensive.

Necessary ski clothes:

Gloves (inside and out for protection and avoidance)


Ski mask

Inner clothes keep heat

Ski outerwear

Ski socks

Snow boots

The above are the most popular ski destinations in Japan and what you need to know before going on a skiing trip. Enjoy one of the most joyful moments and get yourself great memories here with your beloved ones.

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