Going skiing or snowboarding for the first time can be daunting. For a safe and comfortable experience as a first-time skier or snowboarder, taking a lesson is highly recommended. Most Japanese ski resorts offer one-on-one, group and family plans from one or two hours to the whole day, and the major resorts in Japan provide instruction in English and Chinese.
Both sports require warm, waterproof clothing and a lot of specialized equipment. Almost every ski area has rental shops that will get you outfitted and on the slopes in no time. The gear and clothing available for rental differs by resort, so it's best to check ahead of time.