4 reasons why you should visit Japan this winter
Japan is home to roughly 600 ski and snowboard resort and some of the world's heaviest snowfalls, making it an increasingly popular spot for winter enthusiasts.
Japan's atypical ski experiences are helping the country get on more travelers' lists, but there's still time to plan a trip to beat the rush. Here's why Japan could be the best destination for your next ski trip.
Prime Snow Conditions
This consistent moisture, in combination with cold temperatures, creates heavy snowfall when the wind hits mountainous terrain, according to Gratz. January is a popular time to visit for high amounts of snow, and the month is sometimes playfully referred to as “Japanuary.”
At Rusutsu, in Hokkaido, which is famous for its deep powder, several runs for tree skiing are spread out making for fewer people and varied terrain.
One of the most remarkable natural displays to witness in the country though during your ski getaway are the famed ice trees in the Zao Onsen ski resort, trees that begin to take on stunningly unusual shapes thanks to heavy coatings of ice and snow. The resort even has a winter night cruising vehicle to take guests to the trees at night, when they become illuminated in colorful lights to offer a magnificent display.
In Furano, travelers can enjoy night skiing until late March before making their way over to the Kan Kan Murasnow village, located in an illuminated forest, where you'll find an ice cafe and snow sculptures to enjoy. Those who night ski on the Kitanomine side of the resort will also find stunning panoramic views of Furano glistening in night lights.
Off the Slopes
Try an onsen, a Japanese hot spring, for a great end to a day in the snow. The Nozawa-onsen hot spring village sits at the foot of the Kenashi-yama Mountain, on top of which is the Nozawa-onsen ski resort.
Fans of ice hotels should check out the Shikaribetsu Ko Kotan from January 28 through March 20. An entire ice village is created on Lake Shikaribetsu, with everything from an ice bar and an open-air bath made of snow and ice to an ice chapel. The Saporro Snow Festival,which takes place in Odori and Susukino in February, has soaring ice sculptures and carvings. There's also Ogimachi Village, in Shirakawa-go, where farmhouses light up on select nights in January and February, flooding the entire village in light.
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