If you’re looking for a packing list for you Japanese ski trip, this is not it. We aren’t here to tell you to pack your helmet and goggles and 2 pairs of underwear. We figure you know enough that you can figure out the basic necessities on your own. This list is here to help you add the last things to your bag before you leave to make sure you enjoy your trip to Japan. This is the list that everyone wishes they had read halfway through their trip when they can’t find what they need.
11 – Sunscreen
Snow is highly reflective and although it may seem counter-intuitive to put sunscreen on during the winter. Sunscreen is key on those bluebird days. Keep your skin healthy and safe from the sun, pack high-quality sunscreen for your trip.
10 – Power Adaptor
In Japan, plugs don’t usually have a grounding pin. Which can cause problems for laptops and anything with AC adaptors.
Whether you need an adaptor depends on what country you are from. In Japan, the standard voltage is 100 V and the frequency is 50 / 60 Hz.
North America and most of South America: You can use your electric appliances in Japan if the standard voltage in your country is in between 110V – 127V
Europe, Africa & Australia: If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 220 – 240 V you will need a voltage converter in Japan.
9 – Ski Pass Holder
Most lift passes in Japan require a lift pass holder. If your jacket doesn’t have a dedicated pass pocket make sure you pick one up before you leave.
8 – Ski/Snowboard Bag with Wheels
A good ski/snowboard travel bag with wheels is a must for international ski/snowboard travel. When looking for a bag make sure that it’s long enough and has additional space for all of your gear.
7 – An Action Camera
What’s the point in coming to Japan if you don’t have a record of it when you get home? Taking good videos starts with a good camera and for action sports that means stabilization. The GoPro Hero 5 or later has built-in stabilization and a gimbal helps as well.
A video camera by itself does not make a good video. The key is storytelling. For a guide on how to make your videos more interesting and entertaining take a look at this HubSpot article.
6 – International Driving Permit
An international driving permit is a must for anyone looking to go off the beaten path. An IDP allows you to drive a car in Japan using your license from your home country. Most of the best ski resorts in Japan are not easily accessible by train like the rest of the country. Those that are accessible by train are packed with Japanese skiers. A car lets you travel where you want when you want. Each Countries rules are different for IDP’s, search IDP and your home country on google to find out how to apply.
5 – Insulated Waterproof Boots
Number 5 on our list is waterproof boots. Japan’s temperatures in the winter are usually more temperate than those of North America and Europe. In Hakuba where temperature is heavily dependant on elevation, its not uncommon for it to get quite slushy in the village. A pair of insulated waterproof boots will keep your feet happy when you head out for some apres.
4 – Face Mask
Although temperatures at most ski resort destinations in Japan don’t usually reach frigid temperatures a good facemask is still highly recommended. On your search for powder, chances are you will be skiing while it’s snowing in Japan. A face mask will save your face from the biting chill and cold snow. A light face mask can also be worn to protect your face from the sun on bluebird days.
3 – Anti-Fog Goggles
Anti-Fog Goggles are a must-have when skiing in Japan. I can’t count the number of times I have thanked my lucky stars I have good goggles. If you can’t see, it’s pretty hard to enjoy the mountain. Make sure you have vented goggles with at least a dual-lens. Interchangeable lenses are also a good bonus so you can adapt to changing light conditions.
Pro Tip: Put your goggles on in the chalet and don’t take them off until you get back inside. If you take them off and put them on your hat or helmet they get wet and then fog up. When you go back inside take them fully off your hat or helmet and let them air out and dry. Humidity is the enemy of clear goggles.
2 – Water-Proof Gloves
Warm hands, warm body. Don’t mess around with non-waterproof gloves! With the Japanese climate, your gloves are going to get wet when you are on the hill. Don’t set yourself up to have a bad day by having wet hands. I have also found in Japan that over insulated gloves is a problem (this is not a comment for those prone to cold hands). I was used to skiing in North America at -20 temperatures for most of the season and found most of my gloves were too warm which meant I was sweating for most of the day.
Pro-Tip: If you are going to be skiing in especially wet weather think about stopping at the local Japanese hardware store. Japan has insulated rubber gloves that work wonders on a rainy day. (If your coat is rainproof but your hands are wet, it’s still a bad day).
1 – Layered Ski Wear
When I first came to Japan, I was used to skiing in much colder temperatures. I had to do a full re-think on all of my winter gear to accommodate the warmer climate. I have several fully insulated coats that I haven’t worn since coming to Japan because they are simply too hot. The solution is layers and vents. High quality waterproof outer layers with proper inner-layers are what makes for a good time in the mountains.
Below we have added what we think are some of the best pro-tips that will help you have a better ski trip to Japan. Did we miss anything in our list above, what other pro-tips should we add? Comment and let us know.
Pro Travel Tips
Carry ski boots with you on the plane.
If your bags are lost it is best to have your own boots because rentals are never as good
Seven-Eleven convenience store ATM’s
Seven-Eleven ATM’s accept foreign credit cards. If the ATMs aren’t working, try a Seven-Eleven.
Tell your bank you will be travelling
Your bank is less likely to assume your transaction in Japan are fraudulent and won’t put a hold on your card.
Make sure to download and set up google translate on your phone before you leave.
Email your itinerary to yourself in case you lose it
Have a copy of your itinerary on your phone so you can access it at any time.