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Monday, 2nd September 2013

Another cool side to Japan

Another cool side to Japan

Japan enjoys an almost guaranteed supply of first-class powder that falls on the mountains of its main islands, Honshu and Hokkaido, offering exciting on-piste and back-country conditions for beginners and experts alike. As a result, the Winter Olympics have been to Japan twice - in 1972 and 1998. Couple these top-class skiing conditions with a fascinating culture, exquisite food, hot springs to soothe weary limbs, friendly people and efficient Bullet Train transport within Japan, and the whole experience adds up to a truly memorable winter sports holiday.

Five reasons to ski and board in Japan:

Perfect snow and plenty of mountains
Deep powder is more the norm than a snow-blind myth here. An abundance of the white stuff on Honshu and Hokkaido make Japan a skier and boarder's dream. Hokkaido's resort of Niseko and Hakuba on Honshu island are the snowy crown jewels but there are plenty of hidden gems throughout the country, with hundreds of smaller resorts to choose from.

Quiet slopes and night skiing  
Exchange the popular European Alps for the quieter Japanese Alps to get away from the crowds. Japan is 70% mountainous, with an abundance of snow-covered slopes in the winter, but there are no big lift queues or packed pistes here. If you want it even quieter, many resorts are open for night skiing with slopes lit up until late and the powder still deep.

Japanese culture and hospitality  
Although there's almost guaranteed excellent quality snow in winter, ultimately it's Japanese culture and the Japanese people that will propel your trip beyond any other ski experience according to InsideJapan Tours. Japan is unique, with an ultra-modern appearance blending with a strong sense of tradition wherever you go. Western visitors are welcome in Japan and the Japanese are eager to provide the very best hospitality whether you're staying in a Western-style hotel, private lodge or traditional ryokan (guest house).

Hot springs with good, inexpensive food & drink  
A benefit of skiing in one of the world's most volcanic countries is the hot spring baths (onsen). There's nothing like soaking aching muscles in an onsen after a day on the slopes, in readiness for the next day. After a soak, refuel with excellent quality, inexpensive food, whether in a traditional lodge or local izakaya (Japanese pub), and the night out is always fun, friendly and lively.

Places to ski and places to see
Winter in Japan is much more than perfect snow. If you want to take a powder break, you might also want to experience the culture and wildlife across the country. From the excitement and bright lights of the Tokyo metropolis to the shrines, temples and geisha of Kyoto, and bathing snow monkeys in the mountains, there is plenty to see. It's all easily accessible by Japan's outstanding transport network - including the famous Bullet Train.

With departures available to suit, the seven-night 'Skiing on a shoe-string' includes two nights' hotel accommodation in Tokyo and five nights' lodge accommodation in Nagano's Hakuba resort with breakfast, airport transfers, transport between destinations and InsideJapan Tours' invaluable information pack.

InsideJapan Tours also offers the popular 13-night ' Winter Sports and Culture ' Self-Guided Adventure allowing people to experience the deep snow in Niseko, Hokkaido, the culture of Kyoto, the ?snow monkeys' of Yudanaka as well as the city of Tokyo. This includes 13 night's hotel and guest house accommodation with breakfast, one evening meal, private guiding in Tokyo and Kyoto, lift passes and most transport in Japan. Excludes international flights which can be booked through InsideJapan Tours.