jSnow, the ski magazine first published by Nichigo Press in 2017, has always placed importance on going to the source and selfreporting, which is why I would go on-site to take photos and gather the most current and relevant information. However, various factors from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the closing of national borders, has made leaving Australia to visit Japanese ski resorts virtually impossible over the last two years. As such, I was only able to visit Shiga Kogen in January of 2022 to take photos and gather information for two days for this edition. At the time, I was only able to fly into Japan as I am a Japanese citizen (as Japan’s borders were still closed to foreign residents), yet I found it mentally difficult to freely travel around the ski resort and report due to the sheer fact that I had come from overseas. This meant that what information and photos I could gather were very limited. In saying that, I am truly grateful to Shiga Kogen for openly accepting and allowing me to stay.

  I would also like to go out of my way to note, as this had nothing to do with current advertising arrangements, that I also made a personal trip to Madarao with some skiing friends while I was in Japan in January. The trip was not for work or business, but I chose Madarao because of its easy access to exciting side-country areas from the ski slope, as well as its close location to Shiga Kogen, where I had planned to visit for work. In any case, I am thrilled that I was able to visit both locations at the beginning of 2022 and introduce them to you. Madarao Kogen is an area with endless possibilities, and I highly recommend pairing it together with a trip to Shiga Kogen as one of your main destinations.

 At the time of writing, foreign residents are only able to enter Japan under certain conditions and I am a little perturbed by the Japanese government’s slow response to reopening. Japan has a culture of being cautious, which leads to a tendency to always be a little slow to respond. But in this post-COVID-19 era, I believe it’s about time to relax restrictions to allow for travel to Japan.

 The beautiful snow in Japan is not affected by the chaos created by COVID-19. Amongst the restricted environment of early 2022, the snowy mountains of Japan that I visited and the quality of the snow there were, as usual, magnificent. I hope I am able to offer even the smallest window into just how magnificent it was through the articles in this edition.

(Editor: Kazuya Baba)

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