In December 2000, we sent questionnaires to about 6346 people who were registered in the category of Japan of our pen pal service, and who indicated that they are willing to participate in surveys. We received 486 valid responses from Japanese people who live in Japan. However, 75 percent of the respondents were below the age of thirty.

Downhill skiing is the most popular winter sport in Japan. According to our survey, 80 percent of men and 74 percent of women have been skiing at least once. Among the respondents, 24 percent of men and 18 percent of women indicated to be regular skiers, i.e. that they go skiing at least once every year. The numbers suggest that skiing is slightly more popular among men than women, but the difference is very small.

According to our survey, the popularity of snowboarding is clearly lower than that of traditional skiing. Over three fourth of the survey participants indicated to never have tried snowboarding, and only 11 percent of men and 8 percent of women responded to do it once per year or more often. In other words, skiing is more than twice as common as snowboarding.

In our next question we asked the survey participants which other winter sports they are actively engaged in. Of the given four possible answers, skating was by far the most popular one. 42 percent of the women and 30 percent of the men indicated to actively skate. Ice hockey is played by 9 percent of men and 5 percent of women, and, similarly, cross country skiing is done by 8 percent of men and 5 percent of women. While the two above sports are more common among men than women, the opposite is true for curling which is enjoyed by three percent of women and one percent of men.

Finally we wanted to know which winter sports are most popular on television or among viewers in the stadium. Women clearly like skating best. A majority of 58 percent likes to watch skating events. The percentage of men who like to watch skating is with 28 percent just about half as high. Ski jumping is with 45 percent equally popular among men and women, and overall the most popular winter sport among the sports viewing Japanese according to our survey.

Other sports chosen by men are downhill skiing (35%), ice hockey (23%) and snowboarding (21%). Women, on the other hand, prefer snowboarding (25%) over downhill skiing (21%) and ice hockey (15%).

Most popular among viewers
1.Ski Jumping44.8%
3.Downhill Ski28.2%
5.Ice Hockey19.1%
6.Cross Country Ski5.2%