Planning a ski trip in Japan is more challenging than your average holiday.
There’s more to organize, a language barrier, and a new culture and systems to navigate.
Plus you’ve only got a limited time on your holiday and you want to avoid wasting time, so you can get the most out of the incredible powder, culture and food.
We’ve compiled a few of the top mistakes we see travelers consistently make. Knowing what these mistakes are and how to avoid them yourself will have you travelling and skiing Japan with ease.
Don’t drag bags around Tokyo – use this amazing service instead…
The Travel Mistake: Navigating Tokyo with heavy luggage
The Solution: Send your luggage from the airport to your hotel with this easy service
Navigating Tokyo is difficult at the best of times. Throw all your heavy ski luggage into the mix, and you’ll be lucky to get out alive. I’ve learnt this the hard way, finding myself with broken luggage at the bottom of a stairwell.
How thankful I was when I found out about Japan’s fantastic courier services! You can send your luggage to anywhere in Japan. It’s easy, quick and reliable. There are many to choose from but our favourite is Yamato Luggage Courier (Black Cat). Find their service counter at the airport.
Ship your luggage straight to your hotel at the ski resort, and feel how light and free you can feel while travelling in Japan.
Click here be luggage free during your travels!
Pack the right clothing. It’s cold…
The Travel Mistake: Not packing the right gear, and being too cold in the snow.
The Solution: Pack quality base layers, mid layers, and gloves
It’s easy to forget how cold it can get at high altitudes and on top of mountains, especially if you’re coming from somewhere warm! The best solution is to layer up. Start with a good quality base layer – your thermals. You want these to be breathable and fit you well. They should keep you warm but also wick away sweat so you don’t end up wet.
Next are your mid layers. Down tops and fleece vests are a great option. There are both good quality natural fibers and synthetic fibers that will keep you warm. If you’ve nailed these 2 layers, then your outer layer is less important.
Plus being multilayered will give you the option to adjust as the weather warms up. Because don’t forget that you can get too hot while skiing, especially if the sun is out.
And finally, have some good ski gloves and some inner gloves to keep your hands extra toasty. Don’t forget some smaller more fitted gloves for walking around town.
Plan well – get the most out of your holiday
The Travel Mistake: Under-planning & wasting your holiday time. Or over-planning and being inflexible.
The Solution: Plan the right things. Be flexible with the rest.
Creating an adventure holiday is a balancing act. You need a combination of skiing as much as possible while having time to recover and experience the culture. Ski holidays logistically require more planning than a regular holiday but over-planning without flexibility can be a problem. You are at the whim of the weather and the mountains, so ensuring a bit of wriggle-room is a must to avoid disappointment.
We’ll explain with 2 common scenarios we see often:
- Each day ski 8.30 to 3.30 (by day 3 your body won’t let you ski)
- Ski every resort (wasted travel time)
- Eat out at pre-planned restaurants on specific days with a few drinks (blizzard, tired, hangovers)
- Do a day trip to see the snow monkeys 2.5 hours away one way – that’s a 5 hour round trip (just all too much alongside all of the above)
The Over-Planner gets very tired by not allowing time for recovery. They may also be prone to injury by overdoing it. After a full day skiing they really doesn’t want to leave the house. They find themselves trying to rigidly stick to their plan and not taking into account blizzards, weather conditions, transport availability etc. The over-planner winds up stressed out with the disappointment of things not going to plan.
- no ski rentals booked (queues or ill-fitting gear or even none left)
- no lift tickets booked (queues)
- no ski lessons booked (none available when you want)
- go with the flow attitude (miss out!)
- no restaurant reservations (walking around trying to find one)
- no earlier liaison with accommodation manager (can’t get picked up/taxis all busy)
The Under-Planner just arrives hoping to go with the flow and ends up wasting time and missing out on a fantastic experience
Avoid unnecessary injury. Stay healthy & don’t overdo it
The Travel Mistake: Over extending yourself and not fueling your body.
The Solution: Pace yourself, and make time for a little self-care.
Once you activate holiday-mode, health and wellness can get thrown out the window.
Skiing all day, followed by a few big nights on the beers can leave your body ripe for an injury. Often injuries on the mountain could have been avoided by a little self care. Take breaks, do your stretches in the mornings and evening, and stay hydrated.
Not only will your body thank you, you’ll feel better, ski better, and will get so much more out of your holiday.
Pace yourself so that your activities are not cut short.
Get a coin purse (even men need one of these)
To finish up I’ll share a useful tip that will make your life easier whilst traveling in Japan.
Get yourself a coin purse. As much as foreign money can feel like Monopoly money, your little collection of Japanese coins can be worth quite a bit. Some are valued up to $5 and are used extensively in coin-operated machines and in stores.
You might be surprised at how many coins you’ll collect while travelling around Japan. To avoid your return luggage being weighed down by an astounding collection of coins, get a coin purse and spend them as you go.
If you can avoid these five mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to an awesome holiday in Japan. What do you think the best piece of advice is? Which other mistakes are on your list to avoid when traveling?
If you are also looking for a great place to stay in Hakuba, Canopy Cortina is your best choice to stay for great access to different locations and amazing food.