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Ready for a Japan ski holiday? Now it is possible

Group of snowboarders with instructors in Niseko

LATEST UPDATE (12 September 2022):  Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida is reportedly expected to announce soon the resumption of independent travellers to Japan.  For the latest updates, visit our latest news updates here.

Our ski holiday packages will still be available so head to our private ski package tours page for more information and to make a booking.

Will I be able to ski in Japan for winter 2022-2023? Yes, you will, but your trip must be arranged so that it meets the Japanese government’s regulations. The great news is that we are teamed up with the right people to arrange the approved ski trip for you. However, there are some things to keep in mind. Here are the rules currently in place that will affect the planning of your ski vacation and through the arrival stages.

Current entry requirements into Japan

Japan has changed the requirements for foreigners entering the country as of September 7th 2022. It has been gradually easing the strict border controls since the beginning of 2020. Foreign nationals from all nations are now permitted to enter Japan for various purposes, including short-term business travel, educational study and tourism. However, a visa and sponsor in Japan are required no matter the purpose for entry. 

Travel options to Japan for tourists

The recent changes provide two options for tourists travelling to Japan – a guided package tour with a chaperone, or a non-guided package tour where both flights and accommodation must be booked by a licensed Japanese travel agent. This means that individual travellers are not included yet.

Supervised group tours have been permitted to enter Japan as of June. This type of tour requires a licensed Japanese travel agency to set a trip itinerary in advance for tour participants, and for a tour conductor to accompany the group throughout the itinerary from arrival in Japan to departure. Non-supervised packages require both flights to Japan and accommodation to be booked by a licensed Japanese travel agency. This means that individually booked flights and accommodation are not allowed. 

There is no predetermined end date for these tours at this time. Many insiders in the travel industry claim that the tours will continue at least until the early spring of 2023. We caution you against assuming that individual travel will be available by December 2022 if you are considering making travel arrangements for a winter ski trip.

The travel agency is responsible for you

The travel agency acts as sponsor and guarantor while you are in Japan. So keep in mind that you will not be able to freely organise your days outside the pre-arranged itinerary. If you get infected while in Japan, the travel agency will transport you to medical facilities and support you until you leave the country. The travel agency will also request that tour members contact the appropriate authorities if any member becomes infected within a week of returning home.

Our ski guided package tours

Our tours are created in accordance with Japan’s strict travel regulations. Therefore, it is the secure way for those eager to ski in Japan this winter. Customers have reserved our personalised ski guided package tours to experience the empty powdery slopes of the past two seasons. The following infographic created by Japan National Tourism Organization summarises the process travellers will go through when visiting Japan on our tours.

Process map for tourists to visit Japan
The procedure for tourists visiting Japan for a holiday (Source: Japan National Tourist Organization)

There are specific requirements you will need to complete before travelling to Japan. You must abide by local customs once in Japan when travelling and skiing in the mountains. It includes washing your hands, checking the temperature indoors, and avoiding situations under Japan’s “three Cs” prevention measures – closed spaces, crowded areas, and close contact. The general rule is to follow the guide’s advice and not to cause a scene over regulations. That may seem out-of-date or make no sense to you, but such approaches are characteristic of Japanese culture. Tourists from all significant partner nations are welcome to enter Japan at this time. The list, however, is subject to modification if any significant changes occur. 

Book a tour for Hokkaido 2022-2023 winter season

The rules might seem strict, but the process is fast and efficient. Many of our guests who have travelled to Japan during these last few months have been blown away by the quiet streets, beautiful nature, and the locals’ hospitality. We have teamed up with the right group of people to assist you with arranging the ski trip so you can have a great time. If you want to to visit Niseko or other parts of Hokkaido this 2022-2023 winter season, get in touch with us now about our private ski guided package tours.

Picture of Miha Grilj

Miha Grilj

Miha is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hokkaido Ski Club. He loves teaching and sharing his knowledge and passion for skiing and nature.
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