Can you believe we’re already in February? The winter season has well and truly settled in, but for those of you wanting to get out and ski or snowboard, there is still some time left to take advantage of some impressively high snowfalls expected to continue for the rest of the season!
In case you didn’t already know, Japan has some of the best snowboarding and skiing conditions in the world. The season so far has brought above-average snowfall to many of the country’s popular ski resorts. This snow isn’t just the same as what you may experience in your home country, either. Japanese powder has very low water content compared with other impressive snowfall regions around the globe. This creates beautifully light, dry snow that is an entirely unique experience to ski or snowboard through.
So how should you go about making the most of these snow conditions?
Providing you with more than just language learning, Coto Academy has a snow trip organised in just a few weeks time. Join us on the weekend of February 18th to experience snow sports in Niigata prefecture, home to one of the heaviest snowfall regions in the country and the birthplace of skiing in Japan. If the limited places fill up, your next best option may be to book an all-inclusive mystery ski package through Blackbox
Blackbox is a Japanese company that provides you with some of the best-value ski trips in Japan. Their packages include accommodation and lift tickets for any selected number of nights/days… you can even select how many daily meals you’d like included in the package! While ski trips can sometimes easily break the bank once all these details are taken care of, Blackbox offers some great deals throughout the season. So what’s the catch? To afford you a super cost-effective price, once you’ve selected your dates and region, the ‘blackbox’ will decide your specific accommodation. You won’t know until the day as to exactly which hotel you’ll be staying in!
Blackbox has now been around for 14 years, providing no-fuss ski holidays for over 100,000 people. As to be expected, this Japanese website is in…Japanese. Your Japanese reading level may already be at the point of navigating through this online booking process seamlessly, but if you’re at an earlier level on your Japanese learning journey and need a bit more guidance to confidently book your first mystery snow package, read on!
Once you land on the Blackbox home page
you can scroll down to see the minimum prices you’d expect to pay.
This shows fancy extras you can opt-in for: staying in a hotel with an onsen, buffet dinner, higher-end hotel accommodation, accommodation with the closest access to the ski field, or the luxury of specifying the hotel you’d like to stay at. You can select these options when you book, however, it’s worth noting that it only allows for requests. So although something like an onsen option may be available for a particular area, if it happens to be booked out on the day you arrive it won’t be available to you, in which case you won’t be charged the extra fee for your request. It’s also worth mentioning that you can end up with these nice extras without requesting and paying the additional fee! But opting in will give you priority access.
The process of organising your snow trip through Blackbox is simple. Make your reservation online then pay your fee at the designated resort on the day where you’ll receive your lift passes and assigned accommodation.
With the basics out of the way, let’s look at the process of reserving your mystery ski package.
You can select any of the ski resort regions available to take a closer look at the accommodation/resort options. The region’s info page will have further information on the package prices (i.e children prices, 2-day lift passes, etc), as well as pdf files with information on the accommodation options that Blackbox will be selecting from, and a map of the region.
Below this, you’ll see the optional extras available for the destination as well as the rental options affiliated with the partners, if there are any.
Now, here’s the part you definitely need to keep an eye out for: near the bottom of the page you’ll see a calendar with peak-time surcharges. You should also keep in mind that these prices do not include tax, so be sure to add 8% to your calculations for whatever day/price you select.
Following this calendar, you’ll see a big scary exclamation mark followed by lots of cute icons. These are the terms and conditions you need to agree to before booking your accommodation. If you already use a browser like Google Chrome, the (sometimes strange) translations should be visible. If not, click here
to see English translations.
Once you’ve accepted the terms and conditions, click through to get to the online booking form.
The Final Steps
Before you get to the filling-out-your-details page, you’ll need to choose from a few options: select the deal which shows your chosen number of nights (one or two) as well as the number of days of lift tickets (1-, 2-, or 3-day). Select the square button of your choice.
And now… you just need to fill out the booking form! As already mentioned, this is made pretty easy for you if using Chrome as your browser, but if you need the translations, go ahead and click here
This is the final button you’ll see before your reservation is processed and a confirmation email is sent.
And that’s it! Now all you have to do is rock up to the designated ‘information centre’ on the day (as detailed in your confirmation email) and pay for your package in cash. Take maximum happiness from knowing you found yourself an awesome value snow package booked through an entirely Japanese website! Nice work.