If running around the Tokyo train station with large ski bags was a recognized sport, I could be its champion. Despite my successfully navigating to the right platform, we missed the train by only two minutes. I felt so defeated I could cry…until I realized another train was arriving 15 minutes later. That’s at least one of the charms of traveling in Japan: regular, reliable public transport, even with ski bags. (We did learn that you could ship your ski bags to your destination from the airport if you want to avoid the chaos of traveling with them.)
Louie and I knew that the journey to Japow would be worth it. After years of watching various ski movies full of endless, lightest, fluffiest snow, last year we jumped on a plane to Tokyo, on a bullet train to Nagano and on a bus to Hakuba. In less than 24 hours we found ourselves in an AirBnB in the town of Hakuba a mile away from Tsugaike Kogen Ski resort.
Japan has been on my list of ski destinations for a while. There’s something so alluring about skiing on an island, in a place where I wouldn’t expect to see tall snowy mountains, a place so different then the culture I am used to. The resulting experience from the trip itself is hard to describe in a single blog post but here’s a small taste of backcountry skiing in Japan to get you excited to start planning your next international adventure.