Our trip to the famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park in Japan.
See our videos of these fascinating Japanese macaques.
Read our tips on planning your own trip to see the snow monkeys in winter.
Without a doubt, Japan has been one of our favourite destinations in the world.
We were fortunate to spend two weeks in Japan during the winter to discover Tokyo and Niseko. It was unlike anything we had experienced in New Zealand ski fields.
But the journey there wasn’t exactly straight forward.
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We are super excited to be planning our first ski trip to Japan in early 2017!
Being in Fiji means we missed the ski season back home in New Zealand, so it only seemed right to plan a trip to ski Japan – or as every cliche-filled snow article says, JaPOW.
To help us in our planning, we’ve enlisted the brilliant Kana from travel blog Life in Wanderlust to teach us some essential Japanese ski phrases.
Growing up in Christchurch, New Zealand, I remember winter mornings on the radio.
“And Mt Hutt is…OPEN! But you’ll need chains…”
All the ski fields in the region would have a little message on the radio to say if they were open or closed for the day and how the road up the mountain was looking.
If it was a school trip, you’d eagerly await the morning announcement, fearing those dreaded words – POSTPONED.
There’s nothing better than sitting at the top of the mountain, playlist of my best songs for snowboarding ready to go, looking down at the slope and hitting play as soon as I launch down a drop.
I started snowboarding around 11 years ago but only in the last 5 years have taken to listening to music on the slopes.
In my opinion, the best songs for snowboarding range range from Hip-Hop to Progressive House, a little bit of Rock and some mainstream Pop.
Here’s my playlist.
“Wait for me to go first,” the snowboarder on the end of the chairlift instructed me.
It was my first time on a chairlift, my first time tackling a real slope rather than the wide open beginners’ area at Turoa ski field.
“So, I’ll just wait for you to get off first?” I clarified.
There was something disastrously wrong with this exchange which would only become apparent later, as I was taken off the slopes in the back of a First Aid sled.
“Come on Juliette! You can do it!”
My thighs felt as if they were being torched like the top of a crème brulee.
“Faster, try get up to the same speed as me,” Matt egged me on as he casually went about his business on the rowing machine next to me.
I was attempting to get fit for the snow season.
A river of sweat ran through every crevasse in my face, but I knew I had to keep going. Competitive by nature, I would not be defeated.