If you’re looking for an unforgettable skiing experience, Japan should definitely be on your list. With world-renowned powder, stunning scenery, and a unique cultural experience, in terms of skiing Japan is unlike anything else in the world. But with so many resorts to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to skiing in Japan, including the best resorts, tips for planning your trip, and more.
Best Ski Resorts in Japan
Japan has quite a number of resorts which makes it all that more difficult to pick one that would suit you and your trip. Hopefully the few that we’ve selected as the best of the best will help you narrow your options down and allow you to more easily pick one, instead of having to go through dozens or hundreds of options.
Located on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, Niseko is one of the most popular ski resorts in Japan for good reason. Its world-renowned powder, combined with a large selection of accommodations, restaurants, and nightlife, make it a top choice for skiers and snowboarders alike. The resort also offers stunning views of nearby Mount Yotei and plenty of off-piste terrain for those seeking a challenge.
Another top choice for skiing in Japan is Hakuba, located in the Nagano prefecture on the main island of Honshu. With over 10 different ski resorts in the area, Hakuba offers a wide variety of terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. The area also hosted several events during the 1998 Winter Olympics, so you know the skiing is top-notch.
This massive resort located in Nagano prefecture is one of Japan’s largest and offers a staggering 19 different ski resorts in one area. With over 80 lifts and gondolas, there’s no shortage of terrain to explore. Shiga Kogen also offers a unique cultural experience with the opportunity to visit traditional Japanese onsens (hot springs) in the area.
Another Hokkaido resort, Rusutsu is a great option for families with its wide range of activities including skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and even an indoor amusement park. The resort also offers a variety of dining options and accommodations, including a luxury hotel with views of Mount Yotei.
Located in Nagano prefecture, Nozawa Onsen is a traditional Japanese village with a charming atmosphere and plenty of ski slopes to explore. The resort offers a mix of groomed runs and off-piste terrain, as well as a variety of hot springs to relax in after a long day on the mountain.
Tips for Skiing in Japan
Japan is special in many ways, which is why we think that knowing these handy tips will help you more easily enjoy your trip and hopefully help avoid needless issues that can be easily avoided. Of course it’s not all you’ll need but it’s a great starting point to help you out.
Timing is everything
If you’re looking for the best snow conditions, plan your trip for January or February when the powder is at its peak. However, keep in mind that this is also peak season and the resorts can be crowded, so book your accommodations and lift tickets well in advance.
Get travel insurance
While Japan is generally a safe country, accidents can happen on the mountain. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers skiing and snowboarding, just in case.
If you’re not bringing your own gear, it’s best to rent equipment at the resort. This will ensure that you have the right gear for the conditions and you won’t have to worry about transporting your own equipment.
Take a lesson
Even if you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder, taking a lesson can be beneficial in Japan. The ski schools in Japan are some of the best in the world and can teach you the techniques you need to tackle the deep powder.
Try the local cuisine
One of the best parts of skiing in Japan is the food. From ramen to sushi, there’s no shortage of delicious Japanese cuisine to try. Don’t be afraid to venture out of the resort and try some local restaurants.
There is a lot that goes into a trip such as this so we hope that our little guide has simplified things enough to make it less of a headache and allow you to more easily enjoy your time spent there, safe travels.