George Gregan says he's not a great skier, but his family loves the snow and the former Wallabies captain joins them on Japan's slopes whenever he can.
I couldn't ski while playing international rugby, then I started playing rugby for Suntory in Tokyo and my family came to join me and we did a few trips to Niseko and Hakuba. I love Hakuba as it's easy to get to from Tokyo and good value for a family holiday.
It offers not just a ski holiday but also a cultural experience. I enjoy the onsen experience and go whenever I can. We had one at our training facility in Tokyo and the team would take to the onsen after every training session.
Japan has great powder, no lift lines, great food and is good value. We've all enjoyed taking a day trip to see snow monkeys in Nagano (see jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp). Hakuba is a good resort for kids as it's not so cold every day and you do get blue sky. In Hakuba we've stay at the Phoenix Hotel (see phoenixhotel.jp). When travelling with kids it's nice to get up and not have to make breakfast as it's hard enough getting three kids out the door in ski gear. In Niseko we hire a house and ski with friends.
It's hard to find a bad meal in Japan if you follow the locals. Niseko has great bars, including the Fridge (see gyubar.com). We've holidayed with Sam Neill in Niseko and Tokyo and loved the bars; George surprising us all with his karaoke skills. The Japan bar scene is what inspired us to open The Local Bar in Neutral Bay (see thelocalbar.com.au).
George and Erica Gregan own GG espresso.
This article produced with support from Japan National Tourism Organisation.