In Australia, we’re used to waiting for the snow to arrive before we can ski. In Japan, it’s sometimes a case of waiting for it to go. Take Tateyama, between Nagano and Toyama on the main island of Honshu. The road in is cut off until mid-April, when enough snow melts to allow heavy machinery to plough a path, known as Tateyama Snow Corridor, between 20m vertical walls of snow. It has to be seen to be believed.

This snow overkill is routine across Japan’s 400-plus ski resorts, and is thanks to constant storms rolling in from Siberia, picking up moisture as they cross the Sea of Japan and dumping it as snow on the western and northern mountains. It’s not just quantity but quality. Japan has the best powder in the world, so light it’s as if you’re floating. It’s also consistent. Book a 10-day ski trip to Hokkaido at the height of winter and it’s not a question of if you’ll get powder days, but how many. Known as “Japow”, it’s the pinnacle of powder.

But a Japanese ski trip is not all about snow. How often can you say the best meal of your trip came from a ski-field food court? I still remember the fresh sashimi with avocado on rice I had for lunch on the sun-kissed terrace of Escal Plaza in Hakuba Valley four years ago. Hot bowls of ramen, yakitori, okonomiyaki, sushi – ski resort food is as good as anything you’ll find in the backstreets of Tokyo.

Then there’s the convenience. A one-hour time difference means you can – in theory – fly out after work and be skiing in Japan the next day, without jetlag. And the price point of lift tickets and accommodation is undeniably appealing. Simply being in Japan is magic of its own, strolling the cobblestone streets, the smell of sandalwood incense drifting out of temples, visiting beguiling villages and bewildering vending machines. Nightlife? Not so much. It’s a place to partake rather than party. World class public transport makes getting around easy. The hard part is choosing your resort. Here’s a rundown of some you know, and maybe a few you don’t…

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