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This one time I went to Japan and fell in love. These are my favorite things in no particular order.


In Japan, hot tubs are pretty much non-existent. Instead you have the glorious Onsens – aka Japanese word for hot springs. There are many hot springs all over Hokkaido, there is even a public one just for your feet in a small mountain town. I pictured these magical things to be in the middle of a snow covered mountain where men and women would sit together… naked. I was sort of wrong hahah.

Things you should know about going to an onsen:

  • The onsen’s I went to were separated by men and women
  • There are usually a few pools inside with different temperatures and another one outside
  • You DO have to get fully nude – (it feels amazing on your skin!)
  • Before you can actually get into the onsen, you have to completely wash yourself including your hair
  • There are shower heads in the onsen area where you sit on a bucket and rinse off with soap provided
  • Tattoos are frowned upon and sometimes not allowed, especially in the more public onsens (at a ski resort)
  • Ladies – if you have long hair, make sure you put it up so it doesn’t touch the water!
  • It is the most peaceful and rejuvenating experience – it probably results in longer life
  • Your skin will look and feel so fresh
  • Your first time might be a little awkward… but now you know so embrace it!


2.   7/11’s and SEICO MART 
Okay, if you live in America you have most likely at one point in time been to a 7/11. No big deal, right?
Japan is very different! I survived off of these places, and so will you! You can literally get everything you want, including porn!… if you’re into that. The food is made fresh: fresh beef bowls, rice bowls, other meals. These places are on almost any block in Sapporo. They are everywhere! My favorite thing, besides the fresh rice bowls, were these mini pancakes that came in a package of 4. They were actually pancake sandwiches, so when you bit into it the butter and syrup spread out. Yup, I could live off of those for 100¥ (basically $1). The stores also have hot bottled drinks. America – get with it! Perfect place to stop before heading up to film on the slopes. You can also buy beers out of vending machines throughout the streets, so that is pretty neat.


Let me just say you will be pleasantly surprised by the toilets in Japan. After a 10 hour flight from LAX->Tokyo and going through customs, the first place I headed for was the bathroom. I thought I was in a hotel for a minute, maybe due to lack of sleep or maybe just sheer insane excitement. As I walked in, a robot voice talked to me and I found that each toilet station was like it’s own little room where it had high walls and two doors you shut together. If you hate going to the bathroom (you know which one) in public, you have found your heaven. First off, everything is so clean. There are wipes you can clean the toilet seat with before and after. When you sit down on these modern toilets, you realize the seat is HEATED! And then the unthinkable happens, music or a flushing noise comes from the toilet. You guessed it, no one can hear you. Sometimes I wish these existed in America.

Alright, well I already talked about 7/11, but we all know that Japan is known for its food. This is true, I never had a bad meal there. Obviously sushi is a must while you are in Japan. There are some sushi places where they make it in front of you and put it out on a conveyor belt, so you can pick whatever looks good to you! Don’t get me started on soup curry. Soup curry is my favorite food ever and I try not to think about it while I’m here in the States. Then of course you can’t forget about the famous ramen.  I felt so healthy and my skin was very clear because the food there is pretty good for you! I’ll be writing another piece solely on great places to eat in Hokkaido – mainly in Sapporo, so look out for that.



5. YUKI aka SNOW!!!
Last but not least…. SNOW! Holy shit. That is all I can say about skiing in Japan. Let’s face it, we all grew up watching Warren Miller and TGR films where they go film powder skiing in Japan and we all dreamed of doing the same thing. When I was 16 I was sitting in a golf course at work watching an old Warren Miller flick and decided that one day I would live in Hokkaido for 6 months. Well, 7 years later I went for 5 weeks and it was enough to fall in love with Japan. It snows all the time, the access to backcountry riding is incredible, the people are friendly, and you will love it.  If you ever get the chance to go to this magical land, please go… and don’t forget your boots.



Hope you found this useful and I hope you will visit Japan one day! Enjoy my continuation of stories on Japan in the near future.

Always stay stoked – Dani.


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  1. Thanks for sharing Dani! I’m headed on a ski trip to Japan in January and this got me that much more excited.

    1. Tori Sowul says:

      Can I come Harrison?

  2. Tori Sowul says:

    I’M GOING!!!! I mean.. I don’t have a ticket or plans yet, but I know deep down in my heart.. I must go! Thanks for sharing, I seriously had a huge FOMO attack sitting at my desk reading this!

    1. Tori you should come hahaha!

  3. You’re welcome, look out for more stories of Japan from me! That’s great – I am planning a trip back as well around that time!

  4. Kevin Smith says:

    Can’t wait for the next installment of your Japan trip report. Keep it coming!

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