25th August 2022
Independent travellers are set to be able to enter the country from next month. Currently people have to be part of a guided tour with flights included. Ski operators and resorts have welcomed the move. NEW
The country reopened to foreign holidaymakers in June with the easing of border controls.
However all tourists are still required to join guided tours and obtain a visa.
The tourists also have to comply with anti-infection measures, such as wearing masks, set by the Japanese government.
The removal of the needed to be part of a guided tour is likely to kick-start the winter ski season.
Any visit must be arranged through a travel agency.
We reported on concerns about the ski season in this earlier article on PlanetSKI:
“With measures expected to go into effect in September, Mabey Ski is looking forward to hosting guests in Japan again next season,” said Nicki Mabey from Mabey Ski, the specialist ski operator to Japan.
“The latest announcement means travellers will need to book their full itinerary through a travel agency who is also able to manage their full schedule on the ground.
“For both our hosted powder road trips and bespoke trips created for private clients, we meet the current requirements of the Japanese Government.
“Tour guides will no longer be required, however a Guest Services team needs to remain on hand for support whilst travellers are in the country, which we have on the ground in Hokkaido.”
Stopovers in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are now allowed.
If travellers are fully vaccinated they will not require a PCR test.
“We will get further information over the coming days and weeks and we continue to hope to see a further easing of all barriers to travel to Japan,” added Nickie Mabey.
“The main point, for now, is the winter season in Japan looks very much on.”
Covid-19 cases in Japan have risen recently.
Japan recorded the highest global number of new coronavirus cases last month.
Japan closed its borders in March 2020 but is now one of the last major countries to keep restrictions in place.
“We plan to gradually ease border controls to allow entry procedures to be as smooth as those of other countries,” said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
“We will speed up our efforts while balancing infection measures and social and economic activities.”
The changes will be introduced from September 7th.
Now here at PlanetSKI we have a confession to make.
We have never skied in Japan.
We have skied over 600 resorts across the globe, but sadly never in Japan.
Though we have been there in the summer:
These are the two trips Mabey Ski is offering for next season:
Hokkaido Off-Piste Powder Chaser (Hosted Road Trip)
Aimed at those looking to experience the traditional culture of Japan, whilst skiing some of the best powder on the planet.
This road trip will take you off the beaten track, chasing the best snow with local expert guides, staying in traditional locally-hosted accommodation, and experiencing rich culture and mouth-watering cuisine along the way.
Based out of the traditional towns of Furano and Otaru, you will have the opportunity to ski off-piste and sidecountry terrain across multiple smaller Japanese ski resorts.
Accessed via lifts, this road trip is perfect for those looking to ski powder away from the crowds without any uphill skinning.
Price: US$4,995 per person / £3,995 (based on 2 people sharing 1 room) – only £3,595 when you book before 31 August.
Includes: 10 nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast, welcome and farewell dinner, 8 days of ski guiding, 8 days of lift passes, ground transportation and airport transfers, onsen (natural hot spring) excursion and cultural day [excl. international flights] Date: 12 – 22 January 2023
Central Hokkaido Backcountry Ski Tour (Hosted Road Trip)
Ideal for backcountry skiers and boarders who are looking to maximise their powder skiing.
Using lifts to gain some fast elevation, you will spend the remaining part of your days touring into the backcountry in search of endless fresh tracks.
Explore hidden gem ski resorts, experience traditional Japanese culture and mouth-watering cuisine along the way.
Based out of the traditional towns of Furano and Asahikawa, you will have the opportunity to ski up to 7 different ski areas.
Discover a deeper side of Japan as you skin up dormant volcanoes in search of untouched powder, unwind in traditional onsens (natural hot springs) and chat to friendly locals along the way.
Price: US$3,995 / £3,295 per person (based on 2 people sharing 1 room) – only £2,995 when you book before 31 August.
Includes: 8 nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast, welcome and farewell dinner, 6 days of ski guiding, 6 days of lift passes, ground transportation and airport transfers, onsen (natural hot spring) excursion and cultural day.
Dates: 11 – 19 February 2023