Japan is a paradise for skiers who like to ski in deep powder snow. The most popular time to visit Japan for skiing is in January, as it is the snowiest time of the year. Japanese snow is not a regular snow, it is considered to be extremely light, super dry and incredibly fun to ski. There are around 600 ski resorts all over Japan, and it snows approximately as much as 600 inches per winter. For quieter slopes, we recommend visiting Japan in early December. We have selected a few best ski resorts in Japan.
Niseko Ski Resort is officially nominated as the best ski resort in Japan. The resort is located in Hokkaido and is around 2-3 hours from Chitose Airport. Niseko consists of 4 interlinked ski resorts:
- Grand Hirafu
Niseko is famous for its powder snow and tree runs, it snows around 15m of snow each season. You can purchase the Niseko All Mountain Pass and you will be able to use all 4 previously mentioned zones. Elevators work until 8.30 PM every day starting from mid-December till the end of March. You can get from the New Chitose Airport to Niseko ski resorts by public transport. It is advised to reserve a bus seat in advance or call a cab. While in Niseko you can choose to stay in a hotel, lodge, a resort home, self-contained apartment or family ran pensions, most of the accommodations give you easy access to the Niseko ski resort. At Niseko Ski resorts you will be able to hire experienced English speaking instructors and rent the equipment for skiing. If you are looking where to dine you should head to Hirafu Village, there you will find cafes, restaurants, and other nightlife attractions.
Hacuba is one of the most popular Japan’s skiing locations it attracts skiers for its nice snow and few large ski resorts. During the winter Olympics of 1998 Hacuba has been recognized worldwide as a supreme ski area. It Hosted several Olympic competitions such as alpine downhill, super g, and combination as well as nordic ski jump and cross country. Nowadays, some of the Olympic facilities are still being used, one of those is the Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium. There is also a small museum built in memory of the hosted Olympics.
It is not difficult to reach Hakuba from Tokyo as well as from Nagoya or Kansai. From Tokyo, you can catch the JR Azusa limited express train that will take you to Hakuba in more or less 4 hours. It is considered that Hakuba is experienced best overnight instead of making it a day trip. In addition to winter sports, you can find hot springs around the area.
One can purchase the Hakuba Valey Ticket which can be used for the major resorts in the are. A day pass can be purchased for 6100 yen, you can also get passes for longer periods of time. In addition, some local accommodations offer discounts to their guests.
Rusutsu is believed to be one of the largest ski resorts in Hokkaido. It covers a huge ski area and is laid out through three mountains. Thirty-seven courses split across the mountains invite winter sports lovers of all levels, from beginners to professional skiers and snowboarders. One of the courses is 2 kilometers long and gives skiers as well as snowboarders a great deal of amusement. It has long groomed trails with powder snow and tree runs. The snow, as well as the views, are extraordinary. The resort is located next to the Lake Toya and is across the Mount Yotei.
There are two large hotels built at the bottom of the slopes, as well as a few little pensions located in the area of town Rusutsu. Among winter sports Rusutsu offers various other attractions to make your time here even more memorable. You will find restaurants, shops pools and hot springs all over the area.
You can get to Rusutsu by car, regular buses, shuttle buses or even book a helicopter service that will fly you straight to the resort from any airport in Hokkaido.
Kiroro is famous for its powder snow in winter and alpine flower fields during the summer, the nature around here is unspoiled and makes it a perfect location for an unforgettable year-round vacation.
About 2 hours drive from Chitose Airport, this is where Kiroro Ski Resort is located. It is easy to get there by public transport or you can order a taxi. The resort consists of 22 courses with the longest course of 4 kilometers. On the top station, it snows more than 17m snow per year, sometimes snow builds up to more than 5 meters, the quality of the snow draws the attention of both, skiers as well as snowboarders.
Kiroro Ski Resort is a top destination for families as it is home to Annie Kids Ski Academy – a famous children’s ski school. The school has qualified English speaking ski and snowboard instructors for the little ones as well as adults. Instructors can also be hired for private lessons. There is a snow park located in Kiroro that is extremely fun, especially for kids.
You can rent the equipment for all kinds of levels, for skiers as well as snowboarders at the shop that is located on the first floor of the mountain center.
Appi Kogen Ski Resort is one of the best ski locations in the Tohoku area. This is a large and superior quality ski resort offering a high quality of facilities and services and is also known for its advanced lift infrastructure.
A big variety of long, wide ski courses, as well as groomed and ungroomed trails and mogul terrains, are available in Appi Kogen. The resort has 21 slopes and is famous for its long runs, 12 runs are longer than 2 kilometers, and the longest one is 5.5 km. The ski season here starts at the end of November and ends at the beginning of May.
The resort is also considered to be family-friendly as it has many slopes for the beginners, in Appi Kogen you will also find a specialized ski area for kids, playfield and more.
The Resort Centre is located at the bottom of the slopes, this is where you can rent the necessary equipment, enjoy the food and visit some shops. You can also visit a school there for some skiing or snowboarding lessons.
The easiest way to get to Appi Kogen is from Marioka station, which is located around 2,5 hours north of the capital. Tohoku Shinkansen will take you to Appi Kogen and Japan Rail Pass covers this trip, if you do not hold a JRP it will cost you around 15000 yen.