Taking your kids skiing in Japan is one of the best family holidays you will ever have. Skiing and snowboarding are perfect activities for all age groups and levels of ability. Plus, Japan provides a unique cultural experience that your kids will love telling all their friends about. Keep reading for tips on how to make sure your trip to Japan is fun, safe and unforgettable…
Find Great Deals on Ski Rental and Passes
Search around and you’re sure to come across some bargains for families with young kids. For example in Niseko and Hakuba, Rhythm offers a ‘Kids Ski Free’ program in Spring, which means for every adult renting a premium or standard rental package, a child can rent a corresponding kids’ package for FREE! Spring is actually a great time to ski as a family in Japan as lift passes are also discounted. At Grand Hirafu Resort in Niseko, with every purchase of an adult All Mountain lift pass, children (7-12) receive an equivalent All Mountain ticket for free. At most resorts in Niseko and Hakuba children five and under ski for free all season long.
Rent the Right Gear!
Just like adults, it’s important kids are skiing and snowboarding on safe and suitable equipment. It also needs to fit correctly. By renting from Rhythm, you’ll achieve all this, plus you’ll save money by not purchasing expensive gear that your kids will grow out of quickly. When you arrive in Niseko, bring your young ones into the store and our expert staff will have them fitted out super quick (no time for tantrums!) and will answer any questions you have about keeping kids happy on the slopes.
Spend Some of Your Holiday Time Off the Mountains
Skiing can exhausting. For both kids and adults! Which is why you should schedule ‘rest days’ where you spend some time off the mountain. Don’t worry though, this doesn’t mean the kids will get bored. Besides snowman building, there are plenty of non – skiing activities on offer, especially in Niseko where kids can try reindeer sledding, snowmobiling, snow shoeing or, if the weather is bad, you can go swimming at the Alpen Hotel or check out the indoor adventure playground at JoJo’s restaurant. In Hakuba there are plenty of day trips available that will keep the kids entertained and give them a cultural experience. Make sure you book in for a snow monkey tour or a trip to Matsumoto Castle.
Kids Love Japanese Food!
Surprisingly, skiing with kids in Japan isn’t all about the skiing! Japanese food goes way beyond sushi and sashimi. While plenty of kids love both of these, there are many more dishes to try. For example there’s ramen, a Japanese noodle dish in a thick broth. You’re even allowed to make slurping noises while you eat! Yakitori (barbecued food served on skewers) is also popular with kids, especially with little ones as the sticks are easy to grip. Older kids will love the Korean BBQs where you get to cook your own meat, or Japanese soup curry where you choose your own level of spice. Majority of Japanese restaurants are kid friendly, offering plastic tableware along with high chairs. Some even have in-built play areas.
Enjoy the Onsens
Visiting a Japanese outdoor hot spring is one of the best things you can do as a family in Japan. Most onsens are segregated, however there is a mixed onsen close to Annupuri in the Niseko Grand Hotel where families can bathe together. For the most part, kids aged six and under can bathe for free
Keep Them Warm On and Off the Niseko and Hakuba Ski Slopes
If you want your time skiing with kids in Japan to be successful, the best thing you can do is keep them warm. You’ll want to layer them up in high quality fabrics like wool thermals, fleece midlayers and waterproof / windproof outerlayers. For more details, check out this recent blog. Dress your little ones in a similar way if you’re wandering around town. Especially as most of them will want to play and roll in the snow! Children’s outerwear is available to rent at Rhythm Main, Rhythm Base and Rhythm Hakuba, plus you’ll find plenty of accessories to purchase at all Rhythm’s stores.
Footwear is Important
The only place you want your kids sliding around is on the slopes! The streets around Niseko and Hakuba can be icy and slippery, so you want your kids in grippy footwear that’s also waterproof. Après boots in small sizes can be purchased at Rhythm Main, Rhythm Base, Rhythm Summit in Niseko, and also at our Hakuba store.
Book the Kids into a Niseko or Hakuba Ski School
Ski schools in Niseko and Hakuba are up there with the best in the world. They offer lessons for all ages and abilities with highly qualified instructors. Lessons are by far the best option for getting kids comfortable on the slopes, and they also give parents a chance to explore the mountains on their own! In Niseko you can check out NISS or Evergreen in Hakuba.