Guest Post by Matt Sklar, evo
Do you like skiing? Do you like powder? Do you like skiing copious amounts of powder, waiting in nonexistent lift lines, and eating delicious food? If you answered yes to any of these questions, a ski trip to Japan is probably already on your bucket list. Thankfully, both the crews at evo and LINE Skis have a wealth of knowledge to help you on your powder pillaging pilgrimage to Japan. Read on and we’ll get you learned up for the trip of a lifetime.
Bring the Right Gear
Sorry, but your 80mm-underfoot carving skis aren’t going to cut it in the deep Japow. Gear up right to set yourself up for success. The right pair of powder skis is a first step in the right direction.
At evo, we’re big fans of the LINE Pescado for riding in Japan. Designed by Eric Pollard, who has been traveling to shred Japan for years, these bad boys will deliver you to powder skiing nirvana.
Because it snows so much, visibility is not always great in Japan, so a quality pair of ski goggles are certainly an essential. Packing an extra lens is a good idea, too, in case you take a digger; also, if you’re just eating endless faceshots, your goggles can quickly get foggy.
While the snow in Japan is known for being light, you’ll be swimming in it all trip long, so good waterproof outerwear, is a solid call. We like bib pants and ski jackets with powder skirts to help keep the pow away from your baselayers.
Don’t Try to Do Too Much
Japan is a country about the size of California; in other words, it’s pretty darn big. And while there are endless amazing areas to explore, you don’t want to spend your whole trip wheeling your ski bag through train stations–trust us, it’s no fun.
There are two main areas to ski in Japan: Honshu and Hokkaido. Honshu is the largest island in the country and home to Tokyo, and Hokkaido is Japan’s largest northern island anchored by the city of Sapporo. So we recommend that you stick to either one or the other unless your trip is at least two weeks long.
Learn more about where you want to go with evo’s guide to skiing in Japan.
Rent Some Wifi
The Internet is great (for more than just updating your social feed to make everyone back home jealous) and there are several shops in the Tokyo airport that rent portable wifi hotspots. These devices allow you to cheaply and easily stay connected.
In fact, the internet can be a lifesaver if you’re driving and need to hop on Google Maps. Downloading the Google Translate App is a great call, as well, which allows you type in your native language, translating the text into Japanese, then reading it out loud.
Spend Some Time in Tokyo
You’ll obviously want to maximize your time shredding the deep powder that Japan is known for, but this trip would not be complete without some time in the country’s capital. Tokyo is a huge and bustling city with endless attractions. Some of our favorite stops are the Tsukiji fish market, sumo competitions at the Ryogoku sumo hall, the Shibuya neighborhood, and the Shinjuku neighborhood.
Get adventurous, bring Google Translate, and explore!
Learn How to Onsen
Picture yourself skiing or snowboarding the deepest powder of your life, sounds pretty good, right? Onsen are one of the few things that can make those days even better. The traditional Japanese hot spring baths are the perfect end to any ski day, and they are also everywhere in the mountains of Japan. Onsen are nude baths and if this is uncomfortable, you can use a small “modesty towel” when not in the pools. In general Japanese culture highly values respect, so it’s important to know some general and basic rules of these onsens.
Here are some basic rules for onsen etiquette:
- Always Be Respectful: Onsen are not like the hot tubs at your hotel in Whistler; these baths are for relaxation, and even healing, not partying. Don’t bring alcohol into the onsen, save the Sapporo or Asahi beers for after your bath (there may even be vending machines full of them outside the baths!).
- Always Wash Yourself Before Entering: There will be showers at the onsen, often with a small stool. Sit down and wash prior to entering.
- You Can Rent a Towel or Bring Your Own: Most onsen have towel rentals available, but you can bring your own if you want to save a couple hundred Yen.
Want to travel to Japan, but don’t have a crew to go with? Check out evoTrip adventure travel trips, and shred with a rockin’ crew from evo in Hakuba, Niseko, or Myoko. These trips are a great option if logistics aren’t your thing.
If you’re looking for more ski destinations, check out other evoTrip destination, and our ski resort travel guides.