For such a compact, densely populated nation, Japan offers multitudes for the adventurous traveler. The mighty Mt. Fuji beckons intrepid hikers, while the southern islands around Okinawa offer brilliant watersports and diving. Plus, there’s the food—washoku Japanese cuisine is so iconic, it’s been added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Now, you can add another must-do to your Japan itinerary: skiing in the Japanese Alps.

"A ski trip to Japan is a markedly different experience than just about anywhere else in the world,” says Dan Sherman, the CMO of Ski.com, North America’s largest supplier of mountain ski vacations. “It’s not just the epic amount of snowfall the region receives, although that’s a huge draw. Everything from the food and people to the ski culture is unique and out of the ordinary compared to typical North American ski trip experiences.”

Here are five reasons why Japan should be on any powder-hound’s list of winter destinations.