Shibazakura festival

Ask anyone who has ever skied in Japan and you’ll be easily convinced that this country has some of the best ski resorts and quality of snow world-over. The deep, fluffy powder snow offers a new and exciting challenge for snow sport fans who have never tested their gear on powder.

The best thing about a ski holiday to Japan, however, has to be this: guaranteed snow. Between December and April the snowfall in Hokkaido, Niigata, Nagano and the surrounding prefectures offers visitors the promise of an excellent adventure on the slopes. (Something the Swiss Alps can’t always offer!)

Want off piste? Japan’s got it. Want long, wide slopes free of crowds? Tick (try Suginohara for Japan’s longest slope, at 5.2 miles). Want a cultural experience at the end of the day that’s unlike any other destination or resort? Check, again.

Winter is also the best time of year to visit Japan’s adorable snow monkeys, who bathe in the hot water springs in Nagano during the winter months, surrounded by snow. Or, once you’ve seen how much the monkeys enjoy it – why not take a dip yourself? There really is nothing like soaking outside in the open air, been in hand, with nothing but majestic, white mountains all around you after a long day of working out on the slopes.

For those of you not interested in snowsports, come in winter to marvel at Japan’s fabulous winter festivals. The Sapporo Snow Festival, where enormous sculptures of ice depicting creations such as the Taj Mahal are spread out in the city centre, is just one amongst many. The Kamakura festivals of Akita, where people dine inside small igloos, is a sight to behold, and not difficult for overseas visitors to get involved with!