Considering Japan for Your 2025 Ski Holiday? What You Need to Know

Japan has a rich history of successful skiers, but in recent years, it has also become a popular ski resort destination. In fact, Japanese ski resorts compete with other globally renowned locations when it comes to appeal, with two ranking among the top 15.

Whether you’re looking for a chalet for the entire season or a week away, there’s plenty that Japan can offer. Their distinctive rituals, routines, and conditions make Japan a must-do place for every level of skier.

Gary Clark, Academy Director at global ski instructor course provider: SIA Austria, says: “Japan doesn’t only have a lot to offer as a country with a rich history and amazing culture, but their skiing is like no other. Whether you’re an intermediate or expert, there’s something for everyone on a Japanese resort.”

A new skiing thrill you can’t get elsewhere

Due to Japan’s unique conditions, it is nothing like skiing in Canada, Austria, or France. If you’re looking for a new adrenaline-rushing ski experience, then trying out a Japanese ski course is something you need to do.

Gary Clark says: “If you’ve dominated your local slopes, then a Japanese resort is exactly what you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Japanese powder snow will be nothing like you’ve experienced before.

“Your speed skis won’t help you here. You’ll be embracing a totally different experience. So, if you’re looking for the next step in your adventure or wanting to try something new, a powder ski course in Japan could be just the one.”

Unlike European snow, which is drier and perfect for carving or racing, Japanese snow is softer and powdery. This high-quality snow takes a day or two to get used to, but it offers a completely unique experience to your trip.

There’s nothing like skiing on freshly laid snow, making your own tracks. Japan is known for its high snowfall, so you don’t need to rely on artificial snow as well.

Gary Clark continues: “Japanese slopes tend to be at lower altitudes too. This means you’re likely to encounter more trees, especially for those who like to go off-trail. If you’re looking to push your manoeuvrability beyond what you’ve done before, weaving between these areas can be the perfect skills push you need.”

Ditch the hot tubs for natural relaxation

You’re unlikely to find a hot tub at a Japanese resort. But don’t worry, Japan has something else to offer, so you’re not missing out on the same great relaxation. Instead of individual hot tubs, which are almost entirely culturally banned in Japan, you will likely find an onsen.

An onsen is essentially a hot spring available to everyone in the resort. Do away with the technical wiring of the hot tub and embrace the natural minerals these hot springs can offer you. Unlike a hot tub, where a bathing suit is required, you’ll be expected to enter an onsen unclothed. This gives you the ultimate relaxation and mineral benefits while respecting the culture. Remember to shower before you set foot in the onsen, too. These onsens are often surrounded by natural woods and stones for the ultimate relaxation retreat away from technology.

More relaxed atmosphere

Alongside these natural onsens that make it a more relaxed experience, Japanese ski resorts also rely on a very different culture than European and North American ones. The Japanese culture of hospitality, omotenashi, ensures that every visitor has a relaxing, welcoming time at the resorts.

From the sado tea ceremonies meant to welcome visitors to the polite and respectful attitude all employees and locals have towards visitors, you can expect to have a unique and calming experience at one of these resorts. But you should also be prepared to be respectful back. Remember to leave the slopes as you find them, avoid disrupting the local environment, and offer the same kindness back.

Attending a Japanese ski resort is nothing like you’ll experience in Europe or North America. From the respectful and kind welcoming to embracing completely different snow quality, you’ll be able to push your skiing abilities while also relaxing into the natural side of things.