Even though the season has well and truly finished, I thought I should write a bit about the snow skiing in Japan. Rather than wait until the next ski season begins at the end of the year!
As an English teacher I get to take time off in Japan. I spent the 3 and a half months from mid-November to early-March living and working in the beautiful town of Hakuba. Located in Nagano prefecture at the foot of the Northern Alps, Hakuba played host to some of the downhill ski and ski jumping events during the 1998 Nagano winter Olympics.
As this was my first time seeing real snow or attempted to snowboard, I had nothing to compare the quality of the snow and slopes to. However I was told on numerous occasions that the snow and skiing in the area is just about the best you could find anywhere in the world. This was told to me by some very seasoned skiers, many of whom split their time each year between the Northern and Southern hemisphere winters.
Hakuba is also well known for the abundant number of onsen’s/natural heated springs scattered throughout the area. After a long day on the slopes, there is no better remedy than a nice soak in an onsen. Private or public, there are plenty to choose from.
Currently, it is hiking season in Hakuba. Due to the town’s ready location and easy access to the Alps, Hakuba is also a prime base for hiking. Whilst many people tend to travel abroad to the more obvious ski destinations such as Canada, New Zealand and Central Europe, as an English teacher living and working in Smith’s School of English Senriyama School Japan スミス英会話千里山 my advice for anyone with even a passing interest in skiing or snowboarding is…..ski Japan!
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