Skiing in Japan
Japan has hundreds of ski resorts, most of them small with just a couple of lifts and fairly basic accommodation. Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island, is home to some of the country’s largest and best. Our ski resorts are located on Hokkaido and the main island Honshu in the Nagano prefecture.
is where storms blowing off Siberia ensure a vast supply of the lightest, driest powder there is. The season runs from mid-November to the end of March. It is a 1½ hour flight from either Tokyo or Osaka. You can fly to New Chitose airport for Niseko and Rusutsu, or to Asahikawa for Furano. The drive between Furano and Niseko/Rusutsu is approximately 4 hours. Although Hokkaido is home to Sapporo, one of Japan’s rapidly growing cities, it is predominantly rural with National Parks covering areas of mountains, lakes, forests and coastline – a real contrast to Japan’s large cities.
Our other destination is NAGANO on mainland Japan, home of the 1998 Winter Olympics and a much loved destination in the Japanese Alps. The season runs from December to mid-April. Resorts here are usually a 4 hour bus/car ride from Tokyo Narita Airport, or a 3.5 hour train ride, which includes a ride on the iconic Shinkansen bullet train.
Resorts here can get very busy on the weekends, with many day-trippers from Tokyo making their way here, however this often means that you have the slopes to yourself during the week. The resorts we feature here are Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen and Myoko which offer very different experiences - please view the individual resort pages for details.
The skiing/ snowboarding
Apart from the fine snow, a defining characteristic of the terrain in Japan is the tree-skiing. Snow accumulates between the well-spaced trunks of the deciduous trees lining the slopes, creating the best glade skiing imaginable.
Another is the volcanic scenery. The impressive Mt. Yotei, a dormant volcano, dominates the view from Niseko and can also be seen from Rusutsu.
Beyond the skiing
While you will be lured to Japan by the skiing, you should take the time to see what else this fascinating country has to offer. A stay in Tokyo is a must, and an easy add-on as all flights go through Tokyo Narita. A few things to see here are the Imperial Palace, the highly photographed Shibuya Crossing, the Tsukiji fish market, the Sumo wrestling if in season, and much more!
Kyoto is the temple mecca of Japan. There are literally hundreds of temples and sights in the inner city, including the famous Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), the Kiyomizu temple with views over the whole of Kyoto, the rock gardens and the geisha district of Gion.
Read more about the resorts and cities and how you can put them together to create the holiday of a lifetime.