Thinking of a Ski Holiday in Japan? Got the family in tow? You’ve come to the right place. Japan serves up a fantastic holiday experience that will entertain, delight and charm even the fussiest of your troupe.
Japan is a super safe country for travellers hence the appeal to families. There’s also a tonne of things to see and explore, the country itself is steeped in tradition and offers a cultural buffet that is well beyond the usual encounters for the wandering Aussie.
WHERE TO SKI IN JAPAN WITH YOUNGER KIDS?
HAPPO ONE SKI RESORT offers beginner slopes but specifically of interest may be:
- Sakka Ski Slopes (Bottom of Sakka area)
Sakka Ski Slopes are essentially beginners slopes. They are perfect for those who want to get used to skis and snowboard before heading up on other parts of the mountain.
- Sakka Kids Park (Bottom of Sakka area)
The Sakka snow theme park has been created for families with a focus on kids’ enjoyment in a safe and fun area on the ski slopes. 'Power Up' let's get excited, get lively and enjoy the variety of items within the park boundaries such as tubing, sledding & ski scooters. From 600yen per person
- Ma'am Club (In Sakka Snow Plaza)
Ma'am Club is the regions ‘daycare’ facility and can cater to children from 3 months - 9 years old. It’s perfect for adults wanting to get out on the slopes with peace of mind. Bookings in advance are essential.
- Usagidaira Kids Park (Top station of Adam Gondola)
Open throughout off-peak and into Spring Season with free entry. Usagidaira offers ‘first-time’ snow experiences. It’s a great place to play in the snow with your younger family and offers amazing views of some of Hakuba’s peaks.
- Usagidaira Kids Space (Top station of Adam Gondola)
Usagidaira Kids Space is upstairs from Adam Gondola lift (Top station). Kids can rest, take a nap and/or play quietly here. This space best suits young children under 6 years old. There is also a great choice of restaurants to enjoy a snack, lunch or break time in between skiing and riding.
Run by an English-Japanese bilingual, who provides tailored service and personalized care.
They offer flexible child care service, available at your accommodation. Their babysitters are Hakuba locals and mums. They know how fun it is for kids to play in the snow when the weather is nice.
- Kid’s Room (Toomi Gondola base station)
- Woodland Playground (This indoor playground is in Escal Plaza).
- Kid’s Slope and Kid’s Room
Both kid’s slope and room are located next to the base lodge Euclid at the bottom of Hakuba 47. There is also a restaurant Alice that serves Kid’s menu (Homemade curry, chicken, hamburger steak, rice and Ramen noodles). This perfect environment helps parents have a stress free holiday.
A popular destination on a powder day, however it is also a family friendly ski resort.
- Cortina Wonder Village
The kid’s snowmobiles are a popular attraction as well as sledding, tubing, and the jumping castle. Day Pass from 1,500 yen
- Kid’s House is a daycare facility for 3-6 years old.
HAKUBA - KIDS SKI & SNOWBOARD LESSONS
- Hakuba Snowsports (Iimori slope, Hakuba Goryu)
The kids group full day lesson provides supervised lunch time and lunch included. They are located in the Iimori area of Hakuba Goryu, with the beginners slope. Shuttle buses to Iimori drop you off right at where you need to check in. Their English speaking instructors show how fun it is to ski and snowboard, and provide a great experience on snow.
- Evergreen International Ski School (Kokusai slope of Happo One)
They have a program to suite your aspirations. They aim to provide high quality instruction with plenty of fun whilst developing your ski or snowboard skills. Ski school shuttle service is available in town.
- Kid’s Park
Located at the Hikage Ski Area, accessible from the Yu-Road moving walkway. The park has Kid’s magic carpet, tubing area, sled course, as well as kid’s ski area. Items are free of charge. If you need a break, Naski-Room, a rest and play room with nursing room is available in the Hikage information centre.
The day care is located in the Hikage Information Centre. The licensed staff ensure a safe and fun time for your kids while you are on the slopes. (1-6 years old)
The Kid’s Park and the Day Care are located in the Hikage Ski Area, but if you are staying near the main Nagasaka Gondola... its no worries... you can hop on Naski-Go (Snowmobile transfer) to get to the Hikage Ski Area. Free of charge!
- Nozawa Onsen Ski/Snowboard School
Kid’s full-day group lessons include supervised lunch time and lunch. Excellent English speaking instructors.
Myoko also offers a few specialized services that will be of interest for younger families. Childcare facilities and English speaking instructors make the trip a lot easier. For families that want a more genuine Japanese experience without too many barriers, Myoko will strike the perfect balance. There is however not a whole lot to do outside of skiing and snowboarding though, so bear that in mind.
- Myoko Snowsports
Many of their instructors come from Australia. Learning for 3-6 year olds is made easy with a dedicated children’s ski area, an indoor children’s center and easy lift access to excellent terrain. Enchanted forests to explore, adventures to pursue and games to play create a fun learning environment, leaving your child with a real love of skiing.
- North Nagano Outdoor Sports / Aki’s Pub & Café
They have all types of snow-school lessons, from private lessons to group lessons for both adults and kids. All their instructors speak English and are dedicated to providing the best assistance for you, no matter what ski level you are. Full-day lessons includes lunch. Please note, we do not recommend Madarao Mountain to absolute beginners.
HEADING OVER WITH TEENS & OLDER CHILDREN?
Japan will amaze and dazzle most teens and young adults. There have been various surges of interest in Japanese pop-culture across Australia and most teens and young adults have certainly been influenced by it - think everything from Pokemon through to video games like Sekiro. In any event, teens will love Japan and if they are snow enthusiasts then any of our regions on offer will impress!
It also depends on how willing you are to embrace an ‘authentic Japanese’ foreign experience. For example - Hakuba is loads of fun and could be considered very westernised. So, if you’re looking for great snow, plenty of activities and a destination that’ll be more ‘comfortable’ Hakuba will be the paragon. At the opposite end of the scale but still, a fantastic getaway is Madarao. A little more sleepy, a hell of a lot more ungroomed runs and it’s only a stone's throw away from Nozawa Onsen (iiyama station) and the train line to Nagano.