here is what we bring to japan


  • Passport
  • ATM card/credit card (some way to extract/spend money)
  • Pow skis/snowboard*
  • Ski boots/snowboard boots* 
  • Correct size ski poles with powder baskets*
  • Ski/snowboard bag that fits your equipment. (Wheels are convenient) 
  • Goggles
  • Helmet/hat
  • Warm gloves
  • Functioning ski pants
  • Functioning ski 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 essentials

  • Backcountry knowledge**
  • Avalanche beacon
  • Avalanche probe
  • Avalanche shovel
  • Proper backpack for the above items
  • Touring skis/bindings with fitted skins*
  • Touring poles
  • Splitboard (with fitted skins) or snowshoes*
  • Map, guide, or knowledge of the area

Extra but useful

  • 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. 
Japan power outlet image. Same as North America

If you still have room

  • Boot dryer
  • Japan guide book/phrase book

leave behind

  • Skis/snowboard #3 
  • Your dusty and snow-starved home ski area
  • your own coffee, vending machines serve hot coffee cans everywhere. 
  • Water filter
  • Pad-locks (Japan has no theft)
  • Malaria pills
  • Go-Pro chest mount - this will never be a good POV
  • Your Hansi Hinterseer après CD

Acquired tricks & tips

  • Carry ski boots with you on the plane. If your bags are lost it is best to have your own boots because rentals are never as good
  • If you need to buy a ski bag for this trip, look for one with wheels. You might be dragging your stuff through sprawling subway stations
  • Seven-Eleven convenience stores in Japan seem to have the only ATMs that regularly accept foreign cards. If the ATMs aren't working, try a Seven-Eleven 
  • For international travel to many countries, a 4-digit PIN number is required to get money form an ATM. Be on the safe side and change your PIN to a 4-digit number before you leave
  • Tell your bank you will be traveling. Where to and for how long. This way they are less likely to assume your transaction in Japan is fraud and automatically cancel your card.
  • Inside temperatures in Japan are often uncomfortably warm, while it can be very cold outside. Do not dress to ski based on how warm you are in your room. Be ready to sweat it out until you get outside. 
  • Even in the dry Japanese powder, when you ski/ride deep snow for long enough, you get wet and soggy. This is where extra glove, socks, and goggles/lenses come in handy.  
  • Japan is known for efficiency. So, it is no surprise that you can ship your gear between most resorts for very cheap. Especially if you are traveling between Honshu and Hokkaido, look for shipping/delivery companies in hotel lobbies. The most popular company has a black cat on a yellow background and will deliver your oversize bags anywhere in Japan for under $30. The other common option is Japan Post and usually there will be a desk representing each company side-by-side.

The black cat logo can be seen all over Japan. Now you know what it means.
Japan Post Logo



*Can rent on arrival

**Even Japan suffers from gravity and avalanches can still occur on your vacation

More a visual learner? Jake shows you what to wear and how to waddle through a subway with our typical luggage.