Snowboarding in Japan? Here is a checklist of things to take

You are about to jump on a plane on your trip to Japan to get stuck into that famous Japan powder.  So what do you need to take?  Here is a basic checklist and tips to cover everything we can think of check it out, travel safe and have the best time.

Japan has 2 main islands Honshu and Hokkaido that host most of Japan's snow resorts.  Honshu is the largest island in the country, home to Tokyo as well as the  Hakuba Valley snow resort area. Hokkaido is Japan’s largest island, with it's biggest sity being Sapporo.  One of Japan’s most popular areas, Niseko, is in Hokkaido.  Japan is a big place and you can move around pretty easy but usually to get the max out of your time choose a spot.  Other areas to look into are Furano, Myoko and Nozawa Onsen

When you are packing less is more.  Get a good snowboard bag with wheels for pretty much everything you are taking then have a backpack for essentials and our big tip is carry your snowboard boots onboard with you.  If for some reason your snowboard bag goes missing at least you have boots and a backpack with essentials to get you buy until your bag catches up, you can rent everything else.

Here are the basics you need to know. First you need a good powder snowboard.  You can get away with your normal board but really to tackle Japan's famous pow you need something powder specific. Japan gets cold so a good jacket & pants, mitts/gloves and layers (base and mid layers) is a must including neckwear. We recommend a full balaclava o you are covered head to toe.  Make sure you have goggles and a helmet and ensure your goggles have good ventilation and low-light lens options so you can see.  My big tip is have a few pairs of snowboard socks to rotate through you will thank me later.

Off the snow you are going to hit the town or spend a few days exploring Tokyo so make sure you have some non-slip sole waterproof footwear, your favorite beanie to go with your favorite look.  You may want to layer as well to keep you toasty warm when you are on the hunt for vending machine beers.  Make sure you have a travel adapter, get international roaming on your mobile plan so you stay connected, lip balm and don't forget your passport.  Lastly if you are stuck 7-Eleven has ATM's that accept international cards.


  • Passport
  • ATM card/credit card (some way to extract/spend money)
  • Phone
  • Power adapter
  • Pow skis/snowboard*
  • Snowboard bag that fits your equipment. (Wheels are convenient) 
  • Goggles
  • Helmet
  • Warm and waterproof gloves/mitts
  • Good snowboard pants
  • Good snowboard jacket
  • Mid-layer such as micro-puff jacket (something to throw on for the extra cold days)
  • Socks you prefer to ski/ride in
  • A warm base layer (Ex: long johns and a fleece that are both NOT cotton)
  • At least one set of 'street clothes' (pants, t-shirt, and shoes to wear while not choking on powder)


  • Backcountry knowledge**
  • Avalanche beacon
  • Avalanche probe
  • Avalanche shovel
  • Proper backpack for the above items
  • Touring poles
  • Splitboard w/ bindings (with fitted skins) or snowshoes*
  • Map, guide, or knowledge of area (know before you go, highly recommend only heading out with qualified guides.)


  • Spare lenses for goggles
  • spare gloves
  • sunglasses
  • More than one pair of ski/snowboard socks
  • More than one pair of any kind of socks
  • More than one pair of underwear
  • A few shirts/ pairs of pants
  • Face-mask/gator 
  • Bathing suit (the onsen is customarily nude), but the wave pool at Rusutsu is not.
  • snow boots for trudging through snow around town
  • phone/internet device
  • Camera (with selfie-stick just to fit in) 
  • Head lamp
  • International driver's License/Permit
  • Power adapter (depending on where you are from). Same outlet as North America and sometimes with the 3rd grounding pin.

If you ever have any questions about what you need, how it all works make sure and contact one of our expert Team menmbers to answer anything you need.

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