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Top eight tips for travellers going on ski and onsen trips in Japan by

December 10, 2016 OTA News No Comments Email Email

hotels-com_wintersaleWhile it’s true that the winter this year hasn’t been all that wintery yet, the merry holidays are on their way! It’s one of the best times of the year to just leave it all behind (albeit temporarily) and spend some quality hours with your loved ones somewhere else.

The winter weather overseas makes experiences that warm the body more attractive than ever. Who doesn’t like a good onsen (hot spring) bath to warm up the body and mind? Another activity that is closely associated to the season is skiing. Japan, being one of the destinations near Hong Kong that has both experiences on offer, is naturally an exceptionally popular choice of destination. Made plans to go skiing and soaking with your family? Here’s some tips that may help you get maximum enjoyment out of your trip!

Start with full energy

So, you’ve booked and checked into an onsen ryokan (hot spring resort) near a ski park with family – on the day before you ski, make sure you’ve had plenty rest so that you’ll start awake and full of energy.

Zip up!

With enough rest, your body should be ready to ski, but not your electronic gadgets! Wrap your wallets, purses keys and phones in a towel and stuff it in a pocket with a zipper – that way, they’re protected from the icy water and they won’t hurt you when you accidentally fall and tumble down the slope.

Not asking you to be a fashionista, but…

keep your wardrobe choices functional. Wear clothing that are light, warm and are water-resistant. Most skiers wear three layers on top. The first layer usually consists of tight, body-fitting thermal shirts that keep the body warm by preventing heat loss from convection. The second layer is less form-fitting, usually made of fleece or wool, to provide additional protection against the cold weather. It is also important to make sure that the clothing is not restricting your movements. On the outmost layer is the ski jacket. When shopping for or renting a ski jacket, try to look for one that has closable cuffs and hems. These prevent snow from creeping into your inner, less water-resistant layers of clothing. As for pants, most skiers just go for two layers – thermal leggings and ski pants – as the base layer nowadays usually provide adequate warming.

Ski lift etiquette

The ski lifts almost always come with a long queue, but don’t worry, as lines usually move quickly. When the lift arrives at the destination, alight with the same swiftness as you boarded the lift to avoid blocking the passengers behind you. If you fall as you jump from the lift, quickly roll away and pick yourself up once you’re away from the crowd.

Practice makes perfect

Finally, we move on to the exciting part – skiing! If you’re new to the sport, stick to the beginners’ tracks. It is safer and usually staffed with instructors that are willing to teach you, sometimes for a fee. Only move onwards to the ski lifts once you’re confident. Know your limits when picking your run. Start easy and move towards harder tracks after you have ample practice.

Bottoms up!

Many beginner skiers don’t drink enough water before and after skiing, as they thought they weren’t sweating in the cold mountains. However, skiers still lose water via breathing. Try to stay away from coffee or chocolate, or any diuretic beverages for that matter. Washrooms are usually not in high supply in the high mountains, and undressing multiple layers under the cold weather isn’t exactly the definition of fun.

The long-awaited post-ski onsen soak

After a day’s worth of exercise, you may be tempted to head straight into the onsen pool. Contain your excitement! Take a half-hour break and shower before heading into the onsen pool. And be sure to drink some water before getting into the pool so that your body fluids are replenished before you start.

For those who have mini-mes tagging along

Kids and babies are welcome in an onsen ryokan, but if you’re bringing a baby on your trip, please be reminded to take the used nappy with you and dispose of it outside the hotel. And if your child happens to have wet the bed, it is common for parents to notify the hotel staff and apologise. If you bring the children with you to onsen, it is generally advised to have the kids relief themselves prior to going into the pool, as the change of temperature may trigger their bathroom urges and doing their business in the pool is not acceptable.

Haven’t started to plan yet? is having its Winter Sale now, offering up to 40% off for hotels in popular destinations around the world. Whether you plan on going solo or with family, be sure to check out the deals on offer and book the rooms of your choice before they’re taken!

Winter Sale

–       Booking period: today until 17 December 2016

–       Travel Period: today until 5 February 2017

Hotel Recommendations

Destination: Hachimantai

Hotel APPI Grand Main & Tower


Featuring 21 runs in the snow resort, the hotel has something for everyone. Veteran skiers can challenge bumpy, ungroomed runs, while families and first-timers can have fun at the Shirakaba Run, which is designed for newbies. The Matsukawa Onsen area is nearby, offering onsen options for guests to recharge after skiing.

Rooms start at HK$1,259# per room per night.

Destination: Minakami

Minakami Kogen Hotel 200


Located in one of Japan’s leading resort areas, the hotel allows for easy access to onsen and a full breadth of winter outdoor activities. The Minakami hot springs nearby is said to be founded over 400 years ago, and the high annual snowfall volume makes skiing in the area an absolute pleasure.

Rooms start at HK$795# per room per night.

Destination: Minamiuonuma

Hotel Green Plaza Joetsu


Located close to a ski park and the Kabansawa Hot Spring, this hotel is a great option for the winters. The beautiful scenery and the European-style architecture contribute to its exceptional experience. Shuttle service is also available from a train station for families that prefer not to drive.

Rooms start at HK$826# per room per night.

Destination: Omachi

Kurobe Kanko Hotel – Genuine Guest Review Score: 4.1/5


The hotel features two types of onsen baths, one with pools made of serpentine and another made of Japanese cypress. Guests are free to choose to rejuvenate while being surrounded by the woods, or recharge indoors in the baths that are the largest in the Omachi onsen area.

Rooms start at HK$712# per room per night.

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