While Japan does not traditionally come to mind when you think of skiing, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of ski resorts, and many have become increasingly more well known and popular internationally. If powder, cold, and speed are what you seek, you can find it here!
Hokkaido is said to offer the best powder in the world, and with a winter that lasts from September until the official end of ski season in MAY, you have ample opportunity to make it there. Besides skiing, there are a variety of famous winter festivals that may be of interest as well. When you think Hokkaido, think winter paradise.
From mainland Japan you will generally need to fly to Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido to enjoy these ski areas. From Hokkaido, there will be additional distances to cover to reach the individual areas themselves. See this post on Japan Guide for more details on getting to Hokkaido.
Niseko United offers one mountain and four resorts.
Niigata is one of the main skiing and snowboarding destination areas of Japan, and features over 50 operational ski resorts which are located mostly in the Myoko area and the Yuzawa area of the region. Niigata itself is located about 200 km north of Tokyo on the Sea of Japan.
From Tokyo you will need to drive or take a bus (at least 3 hours), or ride the train (2 hours on the shinkansen, longer on JR) to enjoy these ski areas. The journey from Nagoya takes about five hours. From Nigata there will be additional distances to cover to reach the individual areas.
Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort is located in the town of Echigo Yuzawa, in an area famous for its impressive snowfalls. This resort offers skiing from 1,181m down to 358m in excellent snow conditions. They offer a variety of slopes, with some for kids. The coolest part about GALA Yuzawa is its own bullet train station; right at the base of the resort. Step off the train, pick up your pass and gear and you’re ready to go! It couldn’t be easier. You can wake up in Tokyo and be on the slopes by 8 am!
From Tokyo you will need to drive or take a bus (at least 3 hours), or ride the train (2 hours on the shinkansen, longer on JR) to enjoy these ski areas. From Nagano, there will be additional distances to cover to reach the individual areas. See this post on Japan Guide for more details on getting to Nagano.
Tateshina Tokyu Ski Resort is focused on fun on skis for kids. You will not find a lot, if any, advanced or dangerous ski runs here. 10% are supposed to be for absolute beginners, and 60% of the remaining for intermediate level. Click through and look at the advertising pictures; good spot to take your kids skiing.
Karuizawa Prince Hotel and Resort offers ten runs that break down as beginner 50% , intermediate 30%, advanced 20%. There is a little something here for the whole family, and the amenities as described seem nearly posh. One selling point; they claim to be “one of the few ski resorts in Japan to offer both hotel rooms and individual cottages,” so they have that going for them.
Nozawa Onsen is one of Japanʼs most superb and expansive winter sports areas. The resort ranks among the very top in Japan in terms of size, its history and snow quality; touting an “abundance” of 100% natural, high-quality powder snow and skiing well into early May
Tambara Ski Park is focused on fun on skis for everyone, especially kids. You will not find a lot, if any, advanced or dangerous ski runs here. 15% are supposed to be for absolute beginners, and 65% of the remaining are for intermediate level skiers.
A collection of articles and resources, including an app! Yes, you heard right. Skiing in Japan? There is an app for that!
The Japan Snow Guide contains all the info you need to get up to the mountain and enjoy winter in Japan. Enjoy reading the guide on your computer or tablet or mobile device with their easy, e-zine style on-line format.
The Japan Snow Guide has one simple goal, to help people get out and enjoy Japan’s amazing snow country, resorts and winter hospitality. Japan is blessed with a mountainous terrain that receives some of the heaviest snowfalls in the world and is dotted with natural hot springs. If you have chosen Japan for your winter holiday, you have countless ski resorts to choose from and one of the finest ski experiences in the world.
The key is to find the resorts right for you. Inside the free Japan Snow Guide iOS Mobile App, readers will find course info on some of the top resorts in Japan as well as information on featured resorts, resort services and destinations.
January and February are the peak snow months, but Japan’s ski season runs until early May. Don’t let another snow season pass you by. Regret can bury you like an avalanche. It can stop you in your tracks like a bad wax job. Know before you go because… “Knowledge means powder – think deep!”
And more … continually updated!
The best resorts and snow conditions are found in northern Japan (Hokkaido and Tohoku) and in the mountains along the Sea of Japan Coast (especially Niigata and Nagano).
SnowJapan is the resource for skiing and snowboarding in Japan. Updated daily throughout the year. Online since 1999.