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Ski Japan. Clever guide to keep costs down

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You’d love to feel the creak of snow and have wispy fresh powder flying from your skis. But, wait, Japan is so expensive!

Let’s be honest, a ski trip in Japan is never going to be cheap, but with a few clever tricks you can do it on a skinnier budget. Here’s how:


A big part of your holiday cost is the flight. Compare the cost of flights to Tokyo, with a bullet train transfer to your resort, with the cost of flying into Chitose International Airport in Sapporo, Hokkaido with a stop. (There are no direct flights from Singapore to Sapporo).

Bus transfers

Bus transfers from the main airport in Hokkaido are reliable and convenient but they are popular and can get busy. Book early online.


Bed and Breakfast places are big in Japan, as are hostels. They are cheap and a good standard. Many have an outdoor onsen where you can sit naked in a steaming tub and watch the snowflakes fall. OK then. Shop around, read the reviews and book early to get the best deal.

Food and drink

Instead of a beer after a hard day on the slopes, try a drink called Happoshu. Often referred to as fake beer, it has less malt so avoids government duty and, thus, is considerably cheaper than beer.

Japan is known for its single malt whiskey and you may want to treat yourself to a glass or two in the hotel room, considerably cheaper than drinking out.

Restaurants are plentiful and suit every taste, but if you’re aiming for a skinny budget then head for chains like Yummy’s, Yakitori Yamanchu or a takeaway at the local convenience store. The latter sells a large range of meals and snacks such as onigiri (rice balls), sandwiches, bread, chips, bento boxes, instant ramen, microwave meals and hot foods like fried chicken, nikuman and oden. The store staff can heat up some cold foods, such as onigiri. An Asahi beer might make it all go down better too!

Don’t waste money on coffees in cafes, grab yourself a hot drink from one of the many vending machines, you will soon get to know which is best, or ask the guy in front which one he likes!

Ski passes

Prices are pretty comparable to Europe and but much cheaper than North America. Resorts will differ so make sure you run through all the options before you buy - one day passes, week passes or even five-hour tickets. Look for discount cards on lift passes at your accommodation and around town.

Ski gear

This can be expensive in Singapore, although Decathlon offers good value for money. You could also shop on the internet, go to an outlet store, or pick up gear if you happen to be in Hong Kong or in China (think ahead!). Choose sizes carefully to minimise the need to send stuff back.

Cash is king

Take plenty of cash, Japan is more of a cash society than most countries. There are far less ATMs than in Singapore and many places prefer cash.

The best advice for budget travel is always to plan and book ahead, and that includes your Travel insurance. Best value - get a quick quote today from Budget Direct Insurance.

Travel insurance – am I covered for skiing?

We all know friends and colleagues who come back from the slopes sporting an injury - although sport safety experts argue skiing is no more dangerous than a game of football! Here’s what you need to know.

  • Research shows that the two major factors that cause injuries are speed and faulty equipment
  • Knee ligament tears and strains, broken limbs and cuts and bruises are the most common snow injuries.
  • Travel insurance is an absolute must. As part of your standard travel insurance with Budget Direct Insurance, leisure skiing and snowboarding on marked slopes with or without an instructor is covered by your policy.
  • Off-piste skiing is not covered by your travel insurance. Always check your policy.


Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember it’s vital to have good .
Get a quick quote today and see how much you can save.

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