Japan is an island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, comprised of four large islands and many smaller ones – more than 6,850 in total throughout the archipelago. Its wide geographic range lends to a diverse climate, which means ice climbing can be found in a few different locations. In the northern island of Hokkaido, the long and cold winters provide perfect conditions for an ideal climb, while high-altitude spots on Honshu, the main island, also have great ice ascents. The main cities of the country are connected with trains, and even traveling between islands can be done with public transportation. Tokyo is the capital of the country, located on Honshu, and it provides a nice starting off point for trips to the Japanese Alps. To head north, take a train through the Seikan Tunnel or fly into Sapporo and you will be in the heart of Hokkaido.
The weather in Japan tends to be nice and cold throughout winter. It can be volatile at high altitudes, but the climate provides a high snow fall and low temperatures to keep the ice flowing and frozen throughout the season.
Getting to Japan requires flying into one of its islands. For the island of Honshu, Tokyo is the best choice. The Shinkansen and the train network can easily get you where you need to go. For trips to Hokkaido, the New Chitose Airport serves the Sapporo hub, and the northern island also has efficient bullet trains and public transportation. Rental cars are readily available at most major cities.
Ice climbing is best done in winter. January and February are the perfect months to take on the frozen walls of Japan, though early and late trips in winter can provide great conditions, too.
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