The vibe: The mountains have a European feel but the snow is oh so Japanese – with powder aplenty. The skiing/snowboarding: Each resort is different with Iwatake best for families, Hakuba 47 is the pick for park action, Cortina is excellent for advanced skiers and those who love tree skiing, while Happo One has a bit of everything and is the largest resort. Village life: The Happo-Wadano area is where most accommodation is based with everything from backpackers to ryokan and five-star Japan Airlines flies from Australian capital cities to Tokyo Narita and Tokyo Haneda and has onward flights to Hokkaido’s New Chitose Airport. hotels. Best for dining – Uncle Stevens and Maeda in Happo, and Wagyu Kobeya in Wadano. Tracks bar in Goryu village is usually rocking. Also: Visit Matsumoto Castle, Zenkoji temple or Togakushi Shrine. Learn origami or learn to make soba noodles.
VIEWS APLENTY: (from top left) Snowshoeing up Mt Annupuri at Grand Hirafu; the soothing waters of Sakaya, in Nozawa Onsen; and snow monkeys at Shiga Kogen. Pictures: Skijapan.com