Getting to Japan

Getting to Japan

Flying to Japan For advice on travelling to Japan, see our pages on getting to Honshu and travel to Hokkaido. From some countries it's quite difficult to get direct flights into Sapporo in Hokkaido, with flights generally going via Tokyo or another Asian city. Use one of our recommended flight aggregators to search and compare flights to Japan.

Particularly if you're flying with Singapore Airlines, you might want to consider a Singapore stopover. Or if you're flying into Tokyo, you might want to check out this frenetic city for a couple of days.

Travelling to the Japan Snow Resorts How you choose to travel around to get to the Japan snow resorts may depend upon your budget, your time availability, and the size of your luggage, and whether you need the convenience of being dropped at the hotel door.

For Hokkaido, check out our travelling around Hokkaido page which includes information on the Hokkaido ski buses.

Keep in mind that Japan has some great luggage courier systems if you don’t want to cart your baggage on trains, buses or in taxis. You can send your luggage between the airport and your ski resort hotel. It usually takes about 24 hours, so this service is particularly useful for travellers who are combining a ski holiday with a trip to Tokyo or Kyoto. Courier services cost about ¥1,500 to ¥3,000 per piece depending on the size and distance of travel. Kuroi Neko (the courier service with the cat logo) is one example of a reputable company. 

Using trains to get around
Trains are a fast, convenient and enjoyable way to travel around and to get to many of the Japan snow resorts. Train travel is also a great way to get into the culture of Japan. See our Japan rail travel page for more information. Use Hyperdia to search for train routes, schedules, and fares.

Using taxis to get around
Taxis are readily available in cities and large towns and are reasonably priced. Taxis are generally small sedans, so fitting in a large ski or snowboard bag may require some problem solving. Some taxis may have roof racks and they might only have small straps to affix skis, but not large ties to secure a big bag to the roof. It’s probably wise to pack your own octopus straps, or take your skis/snowboard out of the bag to fit them inside the taxi.

Uber in Japan has only got as far as Tokyo, and only in a limited fashion.

Using rental cars to get around
Japan is reasonably easy to navigate in a car considering that many of the road signs are in English or at least the roads are numbered. Road rules follow fairly typical international standards, and driving in Japan is nothing like the crazy driving in some other Asian countries such as Vietnam.

It's easy to get rental cars with a GPS in English and with recent advances in GPS technology it's made navigating to the Japan snow resorts very smooth. All you have to do is enter the telephone number of where you want to go.

Cars drive on the left side of the road in Japan. In order to drive and rent a car in Japan, you will require an international driving license which you’ll need to organise through an automobile association before you go to Japan. These licenses are only valid for 12 months.

The rental cars will have snow tyres on them so chains generally won’t be necessary, but usual caution when driving on snow-covered or icy roads will need to be exercised.

Japan Hosted & Guided Multi-Resort Ski Safaris  If you are a powder junkie, a multi-resort hosted and guided Japan ski safari could be the best way for you to get your powder fix. Once you have done one of these tours you will find it hard to ever go back to staying at one resort!

The high profile resorts get inundated with people chasing that elusive powder. Meanwhile there are hundreds of ski areas in Japan which most people don't visit as they are too small to visit for more than a day before getting bored; however they have some amazing powder skiing with little or no competition for the powder. A guide can get you to the good stashes quickly and safely and they can drive you from one location to another.

Various tours are designed to cater to different abilities of skiers and snowboarders. 

For an indication of dates and availability, check out the Japan Ski Tours schedule page.