If you've come to Japan to experience some of the best powder snow in the world then these posts aims to be a basic introduction to vegan survival (and more) at the three locations I've been: Gala Yuzawa, Hakuba and Hokkaido. With the exception of Hakuba a typical "meal" on a ski slope in Japan (like New Zealand) consists of a small bowl of chips (called "fried potato" / furaido poteto) and a bowl of white rice, with all the soy sauce you want. And you'll probably need to ask especially for the bowl of rice (you won't find it on the vending machines which dispense tickets which are exchanged for meals). You might find a green salad if you can convince a flexible chef to leave off the dressing. This is all filling enough, but hardly satisfying after hours on the slopes. Simply put if you just want to try skiing in Japan, go to Hakuba.

A vegetarian (almost vegan) cafe right on the slopes serving vegan burgers, hummus & pita bread, and hearty curries should put Hakuba on map for any would-be vegan skier, and if you just want to try skiing in Japan, this is the place to go. It's also (relatively) easily accessible from Tokyo, and the former Olympic Happo One ski resort is a great place to ski or board. And the nearby Hakuba Highland Hotel is a charming, well-priced hotel with chefs willing to cook up the best Japanese meals I've had anywhere (if booked in advance).

Gala Yuzawa
Gala Yuzawa is where Tokyoites go for a day on the slopes. Owned by JR, the changing rooms and gondola lift are located right in the shinkansen station itself, and with a return shinkansesen and lift ticket package costing less than the shinkansen alone would otherwise, this is the best deal for a day on the slopes. Bring your own food though, as all you'll get is chips, rice and possibly a green salad.

With so much snow, for so long, and such great powder snow, Hokkaido is arguably the skiers (but not vegan's) Mecca. Here I report on the Australian-dominant Niseko (where you can order a soy flat white in the local cafes), the tiny inner-city Mt Moiwa ski field and the food scene in Sapporo itself.

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