Condé Nast Traveller Middle East - - Tastemaker -


Ski gear here is de­signed for smaller feet and slim­mer builds (the rental shops in Zao Onsen and

Gran­deco did not have ski boots larger than men’s Euro­pean 44), so

you may want to bring your own.


Saikan shukubo ( prices on re­quest; 0081-235-68 4727, hagurokanko.jp), a quiet tem­ple lodge atop woodsy Mount Haguro, has pri­vate rooms and ve­gan sho­jin-ry­ori din­ners. The ski-in/

ski-out Gran­deco Re­sort ( price on re­quest; 0081-241-32 2532,

gran­deco.com) has a full-ser­vice ski shop. It might look dated, but the food is ex­cel­lent, the onsen is good and rooms have views of the piste. The hum­ble ryokan

Harataki ( dou­bles from AED 638; 0081-242-26 4126, yume­guri.co.jp)

has sim­ple tatami- lined rooms,

but its open-air onsen over­look­ing

a wa­ter­fall is sub­lime. For a de­sign up­grade, there’s Gin­zan

Hot Spring Fu­jiya Inn ( price on re­quest; 0081-237-28 2141, fu­jiya

gin­zan.com), a 350-year-old ryokan 47km north of Ya­madera tem­ple, re­designed by Kengo Kuma with bam­boo screens and

five tran­quil onsen.

WHEN TO GO Ski sea­son at Gran­deco and Zao runs from De­cem­ber to April. In nearby Gas­san, the snow is so heavy the sea­son only starts in April but runs through July. Ho­tels fill up dur­ing Ja­panese New Year ( Jan­uary 1) and Chi­nese New Year (Fe­bru­ary). Sin­gle oc­cu­pancy can be hard to score as rooms are priced per per­son and ho­tels prefer to book cou­ples or fam­i­lies. If you ski on a week­day, you might

have the slopes to your­self.

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