Winter holidays in Japan are bound to be a treat whether you’re an avid skier or simply just love the snow. Every year from December to March, Japan’s impressive mountain ranges are transformed into spectacular winter wonderlands, and Hokkaido in particular is renowned for its superior powder snow, pristine slopes and first class ski resorts which attract thousands of visitors.
If you’re still on the fence about where to go for the best snow this winter, here are five reasons to treat your family to an unforgettable snow holiday in Hokkaido, Japan.
#1: Top-notch powder snow
Thanks to its ideal location, the northern island of Hokkaido has amazing consistent weather with cold air coming across the Sea of Japan from Siberia. On average, this area of Japan receives 14-18 metres of snow each year and Hokkaido is famous for its top-level dry powder snow, which is excellent for skiing and snowboarding.
So if you’re looking for guaranteed deep fluffy powder snow and crisp weather, you couldn’t choose a better location for your family ski holiday than Hokkaido.
#2: Family-friendly skiing and snowboarding
Hokkaido’s ski resorts have a reputation for being less steep than others in Japan, which makes them a good choice for families with kids and less experienced skiers and snowboarders.
Most ski resorts also provide ski and snowboard lessons for skiers of all ages and skill levels, and booking a few group lessons as a family is sure to be a bonding experience. Aside from group lessons, you can also take advantage of the child care services and children’s clubs offered by many all-inclusive resorts in order to enjoy some well-deserved alone time.
#3: Family-friendly indoor and outdoor activities
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there are plenty of other fun activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family, both outdoors and indoors. Many ski resorts have dedicated slopes for non-ski activities like sledding, tubing, snowshoeing or snow trekking, which allows kids to play and enjoy the snow in a less structured way.
Indoor activities can also be a lot of fun if you don’t want to hit the slopes all day every day, and Hokkaido is home to Japan’s largest indoor wave pool. Other kids-friendly activities that can be enjoyed indoors include arts and crafts and group games.
#4: Delectable cuisine
Japan is famous the world over for its unique cuisine, so taking a snow holiday there can also be a great way to immerse yourself in traditional Japanese food culture.
Hokkaido is known for its high quality seafood, meat and produce, so you’ll be able to try classic dishes like hotpot with seafood and vegetables, Hokkaido ramen with scallops and corn, and Donburi, which is a rice bowl dish topped with a variety of fresh fish and vegetables.
Of course, most ski resorts have a varied menu that includes plenty of familiar foods too, so kids (or adults) who are picky eaters will still be able to find their favourite comfort foods from home.
#5: Thermal hot springs
Japan is famous for its natural hot springs or otherwise called “onsen”, and there’s really no better way to relax after a full day of skiing than taking a nice long soak in a natural hot spring surrounded by nature and snow.
Onsen bathing is very important in Japanese culture as the mineral-rich waters are thought to bring a range of health benefits from moisturising dry skin to relieving joint and muscle pain. Hokkaido in particular is known for its unspoiled nature, and many of the ski resorts in the area have their own onsen and spa facilities for guests to enjoy, so if you want to experience this unique Japanese tradition, soaking in one of them is a must.
In short, if you want to experience the snow holiday of a lifetime, the incredibly diverse island of Hokkaido should be at the top of your list!