Ski Vacations in the Land of the rising Sun

The last word in powder. Exploited in recent years by throngs of tourists who discovered the seldom-advertised powder stashes out here, which locals didn't ski, several ski areas promise a wild ski adventure, and varying levels of English fluency.

Niseko is home to four resorts on the island of Hokkaido, not too far from Sapporo. The resorts are interlinked by ski lifts, and you will find a good dose of tree skiing in the area. For those trepidous about using the phrasebook, this is an area frequented by Aussies, and marketed as such: you can have your saki here and speak English too.

Also on Hokkaido, Shiga Kogen is site to 21 resorts on the one ticket, and the terrain split evenly for all in the family to find their niche. The site of the Nagano Olympics Giant Slalom and Paralympics events, there is the requisite pitch here, along with beautiful scenery. Also home to Japan's snow monkeys, this could be your one-stop shop for a ski holiday.

The Hakuba Valley, west of Tokyo, has 10 resorts competing for infamy under dramatic peaks. A destination by all means, this is a great place to sample the Japanese Alps.

Nozawa Onsen is the real country experience for those who want some culture with their powder, and balances the right amount of quaint - with cobbled streets and hot springs to sample - with old-time slopes.