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Monday, April 12, 2021
Good and bad news for foreign passport holders in Japan for JR East Tohoku and JR East Nagano/Niigata area Passes. First the good news. From April 1st JR East Rail Passes will be available to all foreign passport holders you regardless of your visa type. Previously the popular JR East pass varieties were only available to those with 'Temporary Visitor'...
Niseko is Japan's #1 international ski destination, but with no international skiers this year they have launched a new 'Glamourous Snow' campaign to attract the local market who love to shop. Especially upmarket shoppers looking for a luxury winter experience. So gnarly pow dogs don't have to worry, not much competition even if the campaign takes off. We have often asked Japanese...
Hachimantai Cat Skiing (aka Hachimantai Cat Tours) is a recent and still largely undiscovered Japanese powder stash gem on Mount Chausu in Iwate Prefecture. Owner/guides father and son team Ikuo 'Boss' Kuragane and Junya Kuragane are both back country ski legends. Iwate is the second most sparsely populated prefecture in Japan, after Hokkaido. They have one of the best records for...
For those lucky enough to be there, it's a pandemic powder frenzy at Niseko with skier numbers up to 90% down on normal. But it's a disaster for local businesses. For example, GoSnow, the official International Snowsports School for Niseko-Hirafu Resort, are down to one instructor most days - from 300 plus in previous years!  We talked to business owners and...
Bad news for Japanese skiing as the COVID surge closes Naeba, one of the the country's biggest ski resorts and jewel in the Prince Snow Resort crown. Prince announced the temporary closure from yesterday Sunday January 17 to earl-February after 31 positive COVID-19 cases among their Naeba staff. Naeba is one of the most easily accessed major resorts from Tokyo too,...
Great Japan ski side trips? Wow, where to start! We all need an occasional downday after all. Japan offers so many great experiences either close to or on the way to the main ski areas that you are totally spoilt for choice. The Snow Monkeys at Jigokudani would likely be the #1 non-ski site anyone going anywhere near Nagano visits. They...

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