Personal travel manager, Janice Lee, shares the must see sights and activities outside of the ski slopes in Japan.
It’s hard to think of a destination that offers so much culture, activity and fun – as Japan during ski season. With ample slopes for ski fanatics and plenty of activities for the rookies, Japan is the perfect ski escape.
The ski fields of Niseko are a fantastic option for fellow amateurs while also offering runs that are challenging enough for the seasoned skier. There are a number of private skiing lesson options available for the uninitiated or for those who need a quick refresher. If you’re looking to visit Japan’s ski fields during the busy season it’s best to pre-book any lessons and ski equipment in advance as demand can outreach supply.
After a hard day of skiing a visit to one of the traditional hot spring baths prove to be just what the body needs after several falls and vigorous skiing. The hot springs, called Onsens, are typically split into male and female sections and are heated by the geothermal activity rumbling deep underground. One of the best bath house locations is the Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei. Access to the Onsen is free for guests staying in the hotel but is 800 Yen for entry and 200 Yen for a towel. The Onsen faces the ski slopes and has fantastic views of the surrounding mountainside.
If you’re looking for a break from the ski slopes then a train trip out to Otaru is worth the two-hour journey. Otaru is a coastal town, rich in history and wonderful sights for fans of scenic environments. While in the region a visit to the Nikka Whisky Distillery in Yoichi is a must. The castle like distillery is free to enter and includes a map which guides you through the whisky making process before leading you to the tasting rooms. There are video presentations in English in each area explaining the process and history of Taketsura Masataka’s journey to being one of the finest whisky makers in Japan. If whisky isn’t to your liking and you’re seeking a more traditional approach then the sake tasting rooms at Kutchan are sensational. While a language barrier can exist, the whole process is extremely authentic and highlights the process undertaken to create Japan’s national liquor.
If you’re seeking a reprieve from the skiing, a trip to see the snow monkeys in Yamanouchi Town is a unique experience not to be missed. The park, called Jigokudani Yaen-Koen, costs 500 yen per person for entry to see the hilarious snow monkeys at play. It’s definitely an option to entertain the kids after days of skiing!
Plan your own trip to Japan with your personal travel manager http://www.travelmanagers.com.au/ptm-search/