Japan has become the most popular ski destination for Australian skiers and snowboarders by a long shot, and there is a good reason why. Waist deep powder, no jet lag, good dollar conversion and packages that make a week at most Australian resorts seem very expensive. Most Australians congregate in two ski areas in Japan even though hundreds of other resorts offer better value and much fewer crowds. The two most popular are Niseko and Hakuba. Both offer fantastic snow and excellent infrastructure but get tracked out very early in the day and have long lift queues at busy times. Other resorts gaining popularity are Nozawa Onsen, Myoko Kogen and Shiga Kogan. Don't get me wrong, these resorts all get amazing snow and have some of the best terrains in Japan, but skiing in Japan for me is not only about deep powder. It's about Japanese culture and riding waist deep powder last run of the day with no one but my wife in sight.
In my travels to Japan over the last ten years, I have found some excellent resorts that offer all this and more, usually at half the price of Niseko. Top of this list is Tomamu (Alpha Resort Tomamu). This large resort is relatively undiscovered by the Australian crowds yet offers an annual snowfall of over 8 metres of light and dry powder. Tomamu is like Disneyland in the snow, with a massive 50-meter indoor wave pool, fine dining restaurants, a huge ice village (that includes an ice chapel for weddings) and 145 hectares of incredible skiing terrain. The central accommodation is two high rise towers that would look more at home in Tokyo and offer a fantastic view of the resort and surrounding mountains. Tomamu also offers 'Risonare' with high-end deluxe suites for those wanting some extra luxury.