Japan’s Top Skiing Destinations • We Blog The World


I’m not a skier. I by no means discovered as a toddler; my experiences as an grownup have been humiliating, to place it mildly. Yet despite this, the phrase “japow” is firmly in my vocabulary—I do know precisely what it means.

That’s as a result of this well-known kind of snow—whose identify is an amalgam of “Japan” and “powder”—is so liked amongst skiers that even individuals with no expertise for or curiosity in snowboarding know of its magic. Moreover, it’s straight chargeable for the magical high quality of Japanese winter landscapes, whether or not you see them on a pair of skis or by yourself two toes.

Indeed, whereas I can’t declare from private snowboarding expertise that what follows are the most effective locations to ski in Japan, I can say that the magic of those locations—I’ve been to all of them many occasions—makes me want I had the talents to hit the slopes.

Obviously, japow is the #1 cause Japan tops so many skiers’ bucket lists. The snow is directly dense and thick, and on the identical time mild and impossibly fluffy. Most individuals I do know who’re superior and even skilled skiers say there’s actually no higher snow on the planet for snowboarding. This is to say nothing of how wonderful Japanese ski resorts are, in addition to Japan’s basic deserves as a journey vacation spot extra broadly.

As far as extra components that separate Japan from the opposite hottest snowboarding locations on the earth, similar to these in Europe and North America? Well, given what a bodily sport snowboarding is, Japan’s repute for security and nice medical care provides ski fanatics nice peace of thoughts. Moreover, the omotenashi hospitality that governs Japan’s therapy of holiday makers solely heightens the additional you go up the ski carry.

Top Japan Ski Destinations


Without a doubt, Niseko is understood to have the most effective japow in all of Japan. It’s additionally identified, nonetheless, to have the most costly resorts (despite additionally being probably the most luxurious, for what it’s value). To attain Niseko, fly to Sapporo’s New Chitose International Airport, from which direct limousine buses to Niseko run (assuming you haven’t booked a personal switch, excessive curler).


People who’re trying to find the place to ski in Japan however don’t need to get on a aircraft usually head to Nagano prefecture, which is situated lower than two hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet prepare. The hottest Nagano ski resort might be Hakuba, whose resorts supply the same ambiance to these in Niseko, albeit with fewer crowds and a a lot cheaper price level.


Like Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen is in Nagano prefecture. Unlike Hakuba, nonetheless, Nozawa is a small mountain village, the place you actually really feel the magic of rural Japan whenever you’re not up on the ski slopes. If I have been a skier, Nozawa would in all probability be my alternative because of this alone: You can spend the day on the slopes like a VIP, and luxuriate in evenings warming your physique, consuming oden and soaking in onsen among the many locals.


Another spot you would possibly select for a Japan ski journey is Zao Onsen, situated in Yamagata prefecture about an hour by bus from Yamagata Station. Zao Onsen, along with its advantage as a ski vacation spot, can also be the most effective place in Japan to identify the “snow monsters,” which is the identify given to the mountain bushes once they turn out to be so lined with snow they hunch over like, nicely, monsters.


Split between Akita and Iwate prefectures, Mt. Hachimantai is considerably much less crowded than any of the opposite locations on this listing. Even higher? Once you might be completed snowboarding at Hachimantai, this a part of Japan—the northern Tohoku area—provides many different fascinating locations, together with Kakunodate Samurai village and Tsuru-no-yu, an onsen with milky, blue waters which are mentioned to have as soon as healed a legendary crane.

The Best Time to Ski in Japan

As a basic rule, the month of February is prime ski time in Japan. It’ll have been chilly for a minimum of a pair months (a minimum of), which ensures thick layers of base snow beneath the fresh-fallen japow. By distinction, when you are available in December and even early January, you danger the slopes being partially barren, significantly when you resolve to ski in Nagano or the Tohoku area as an alternative of Hokkaido.

On the flip-side, ready till March or April might imply that a few of the finest locations to ski in Japan have began to thaw out a bit an excessive amount of to benefit from the full winter ambiance. Compounding this reality is how busy Japan will get over the last week of March and the primary week of April. While sakura received’t be blooming at any ski locations round this time, your journey from Tokyo to the resort of your alternative could also be too crowded for consolation.

Where do most individuals ski in Japan?

While Hokkaido’s Niseko is unquestionably the highest ski vacation spot in Japan, it’s not the one place you’ll be able to go. Nagano ski resorts like Nozawa and Hakuba are well-known for his or her proximity to Tokyo, whereas spots within the Tohoku area like Yamagata’s Zao Onsen and Hachimantai (which straddles each Akita and Iwate prefectures) are good as a result of they’re merely much less busy.

hat metropolis or area is legendary for snowboarding in Japan?

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, might be probably the most well-known ski vacation spot in Japan, significantly the Niseko resort not removed from Sapporo and New Chitose International Airport. Other well-known ski areas in Japan embody Nagano prefecture and the Tohoku area, which occupies the “top” of Honshu island between Tokyo and Hokkaido.

Is Hakuba or Niseko higher?

If you’ve gotten the cash to remain in one in all Niseko’s nicest resorts and don’t thoughts the crowds (and even like them—many individuals ski in Niseko to see and be seen), then it will in all probability be your first alternative for snowboarding in Japan. On the opposite hand, Hakuba occupies a bigger land space and has a a lot wider number of ski slopes and lodging varieties, which additionally occur to occupy a much less extreme worth level than these in Niseko.


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