Japan’s ski resorts are best known with its beautiful mountain scenery, unique ski tradition as well as culture. They are around 500 resorts across the country with varying size, exoticness which some of them are overlooked by the tourists. Due to its huge intention, so it is not a new thing if some ski resorts are pricey.
However, aside from those spotlights, there are many ways to get the cheap ski resorts in Japan with the best snow quality as well as its relaxing spots, activities and also festive. Here are ways how to find the hidden gem.
When Is The Ski Season In Japan?
The ski season in Japan begins from December until mid-April. These months are the best moment to come to find dry powder snow. What is like to visit these places during these months? Well, the snowpack is building and you need to check the latest condition on Japan daily snow forecast. Besides, going to Japan out of peak season is the best one! Just consider some ticket price that will skyrocket during December Until the New Year. Or, you can book the ticket months before the due date for saving some dollars.
You Need Konbini (Convenience Stores)
So, if you are a traveler on a budget, then the “konbini” will be your friend. This is the cultural icon of Japan or known as the convenience stores. You can find stocks you need here from “onigiri”, instant noodles, alcohol, stationery, ready-made meals until the cosmetics. Even, 500 yen lunch for two is possible. The “konbini” is a part of Japanese people that locals often use his for many things such as paying tickets, bills, withdraw cash until sending luggage.
Try Smaller Resorts
What makes ski resorts in Japan become expensive? It is due to its popularity and the services as well as facilities there. Overall, the best ski runs are spread all over the country that even can make your jaw drop.
Speaking about the cheap ski resorts in Japan, trying smaller resorts is still fun. Unlike Hakuba and Niseko which are popular across the globe, the following list can be the best alternatives:
The Hakkoda ski resort is located in Aomori at the north of Honshu. These areas receive the heaviest snowfall which means you could expect a challenging experience. However, be careful with the extreme weather! Only skillful skiers can tame the mountain here.
For the ski enthusiasts, Hakkoda is the playground with its deep powder around 12 meters annually. For you who wants to enjoy the challenging ski runs, this is the best area to try. What are the better ones compared to these fewer crowds during the weekdays, exploration of terrain, “onsen” and its huge trees?
However, this has very minimum facilities that have one hotel, lunch and restaurant. Besides, never go there alone, unless you are very skillful. If you are planning to use a guide, you will find them come for groups. No private guide and even they have minimal English proficiency. Also, look at the weather forecast regularly as this area will change quickly.
Madarao Mountain Resort
The Madarao Mountain Resort is located in Nozawa Onsen and Myoko Kogen with the mid-size 34.8 km in total or 31 runs and 440 m of verticals. For ski lovers who always crave for adventures, this area is a paradise with 60% of the runs ungroomed.
Compared to other ski runs, the area here is not overly policed. Besides, the ski patrol will not warn or punish you for venturing out of piste. Besides, going to this place is easier by catching the Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Liyama which is only 100 minutes. After that, you can continue with taxi, bus, or shuttle to Madarao for 30 minutes.
What makes this place becomes favorite ski runs in Japan is the affordable price at Y4500 with extra Y500 to explore the whole mountain. You even can access Tangram Ski Circus.
Kurodake is located right at the center of Hokkaido or 75 km from the east of Asahikawa. This ski resort is outside the Sounkyo which is best popular as the hot spring baths. You can access this ski area in through Kurodake Ropeway that means you need to catch them from Sounkyo. Things that make Kurodake unforgettable is its pleasure and pain experience. The best thing you can enjoy is the glorious sunshine, fresh snow, and it’s a magnificent view when taking the ropeway. However, skiing here is not for beginners because it has advanced terrain. This place also frequently cordoned because of avalanche concerns.
Kamui Ski Links
Kamui Ski Links is another beautiful ski resort located in Asahikawa. You can drive from the city center to this place in only 30 minutes. Or, opt to catch for a commute from Furano Ski Resort which is only 55 km. However, this area is pretty small that only have 100 hectares in size. Meanwhile, Mount Kamuiyama is 799 m that you can reach with the gondola. What makes this place unique is the driest and lightest powder. Even, for confident skiers are free to explore the mountain.
Lotte Arai Ski Resort
After being abandoned for more than 11 years, Lotte Arai Ski Resort has been opened. This is located in Myoko Kogen, around 20 km, which is also known as the best resort in Honshu. For everyone who is looking for skiing hot spots, this is the perfect place.
It is a fact that Japan is considered expensive when it comes to skiing (in some popular areas), but it can be considered affordable in some parts when you know how to dig the hidden gem.
When you explore further, Japan is more than a paradise. The tickets are reasonable, the food is certainly cheap especially when you buy it in “konbini”. Wherever you go, the thing is how you manage it. You still can do ski on budget with a premium view.