Ski Resorts in Japan

The land of the Rising Sun offers some of the best powder skiing in the world thanks to its colossal amounts of light and dry snow that falls every year.

Pros

  • Famous light, dry and deep powder
  • Freshies in the off-piste and backcountry areas tend to last longer, locals prefer groomed slopes
  • Cheaper lift tickets compared to the US and Europe

Cons

  • Language barriers can be an issue, especially at smaller resorts
  • Mountains are not as high and the terrain is small compared to resorts in the US and Europe
  • Some resorts prohibit off-piste skiing

Getting there

  • Fly into Chitose International Airport in Sapporo for ski resorts on the island of Hokkaido. Being further up north, this island receives a lot more snowfall than other regions. Fly into Narita or Haneda Airport in Tokyo for ski resorts across the main island of Honshu including the Nagano Prefecture (which covers famous Hakuba Valley).  
  • Best way to resorts is by shuttle bus, train, bullet trains, or even by car depending on which resort you visit. Top tip: Trains in Japan, especially bullet trains, are very efficient and reliable. Don’t be afraid to hop on one! If you prefer the flexibility of driving, remember to get your International Driving Permit beforehand.

Japan is home to over 500 ski resorts but we’ve teamed up with the locals to find the ones that sit above the rest. The best ski resorts in Japan all offer loads of Japow, although each have their own little perks. You can find some of these top resorts in the Nagano Prefecture or the northern island of Hokkaido.

If you’ve never skied Japan, then you’ll want to ski these resorts. The terrain might seem rather small compared to household names in the US, but it’s all quality over quantity here. Here you can expect everything from exceptional skiing to excellent villages complete with full amenities and facilities. The chances of finding English speaking staff here is also higher which makes thing much more convenient.

Put these resorts on the list if you’re after a more authentic Japanese ski vacation. These resorts are lesser known in the international community (although the word is getting out) and offer the same top quality powder as more popular resorts but without the crowds! The only thing is the facilities and après ski can be limited here.

When it comes to finding a family-friendly ski resort, these are the resorts you’ll want to visit. They are known for their family-friendly skiing as well as their facilities and activities to suit kids. Overall, skiing in Japan is more affordable than you think with lift tickets across the country being cheaper than household names in the US.

StatResorts
Best for BeginnersNozawa Onsen
Best for IntermediatesKiroro
Best for Advanced and ExpertsRusutsu,Asahidake Ropeway, Sapporo Teine
Best for All-rounderFurano, Niseko
Highest Summit ElevationShiga Kogen
Highest number of runsShiga Kogen
Largest ski areaShiga Kogen
Highest number of liftsShiga Kogen
Resort Areas in

Japan

Ski resorts in

Japan

Akakura Kanko
40% 30% 30%
Akakura Onsen
50% 30% 20%
Appi Kogen
30% 40% 30%
Asahidake Ropeway
20% 50% 30%
Cortina
40% 30% 30%
Furano
40% 40% 20%
Gala Yuzawa
35% 45% 20%
Hakkoda
20% 60% 20%
Hakuba 47 & Goryu
30% 40% 30%
Happo One
30% 50% 20%
Ikenotaira Onsen
35% 45% 20%
Iwatake
30% 50% 20%
Kagura
35% 35% 30%
Kiroro
31% 34% 35%
Madarao Kogen
35% 40% 25%
Moiwa
30% 40% 30%
Myoko Suginohara
40% 40% 20%
Naeba
30% 40% 30%
Niseko
38% 32% 30%
Nozawa Onsen
40% 30% 30%
Rusutsu
30% 40% 30%
Sahoro
35% 45% 20%
Sapporo Kokusai
30% 50% 20%
Sapporo Teine
35% 40% 25%
Seki Onsen
20% 50% 30%
Shiga Kogen
45% 40% 15%
Tomamu
30% 40% 30%
Tsugaike
50% 30% 20%
Yamagata Zao Onsen
40% 40% 20%