10 Best Ski Resorts in Japan

Japan is a land of long history, deep and rich culture and tradition and some of the best ski resorts in the world. As such, it has always attracted the imagination and footsteps of artists and explorers. Today it is a modern country and one of the world's largest economies. This exciting mix of old and new appeals to numerous tourists as well as companies.

Surrounded by the ocean, the Land of the Rising Sun is famous for its delicious cuisine, but it has a lot more to offer. If you enjoy the winter season and are in love with skiing and snowboarding, look no further! There are over 500 ski resorts in Japan to choose from, and you can decide on the one that will make your holiday extraordinary.

The ski season in Japan starts in late December and lasts till March and in some resorts even later. The best time to pack your bags and go will depend on the resort you decide on. However, mid-January and February are generally considered the best. Don't feel daunted by the distance - many cities offer direct flights to Tokyo, and once you are there, it's easy to get to any resort you choose!

snow fieldThe ski resorts in Japan are famous for high-quality snow

So whether you are going with friends or you're planning a solo trip, get ready to enjoy what the Japanese Alps have to offer.

1. Hakuba ski resorts

This beautiful mountain valley is a real heaven for all skiing enthusiasts. It gained international fame when the 1998 Winter Olympic Games took place there. Plentiful snowfall and beautiful scenery make it an ideal destination. Hakuba valley boasts 9 resorts you can choose from; here are some of our recommendations.

2. Happo-One

Happo-One is one of the largest ski resorts in Japan. While it provides ample opportunities for beginners, there is also everything intermediate and advanced skiers could wish for. Powder runs and steep runs, and high mountain drops will make your skiing holiday an adventure. If you want to experience the culture of this country, Happo-One is the right place for you.

After the day on the slopes, exquisite cuisine and hot spring baths are a perfect way to relax and enjoy.

3. Hakuba 47 and Goryu

This wonderful resort combines two mountains and is quieter and more family-friendly than Happo-One. There are pleasant play areas, outdoors and indoors, ideal for families with kids. It boasts the best terrain park in Nagano and offers night skiing for children and beginners.

4. Cortina and Norikura

Although Cortina is one of the smaller resorts, it gets more snow than many others. It's also renowned for its backcountry powder snow. The rules here are not so strict. You can go off-piste, navigate between the trees and explore, all the while enjoying the scenery.

5. Niseko United

It is situated on the Mountain Niseko Annupuri, and it consists of four separated but interlinked resorts. Niseko is known for its light and fluffy snow, ideal both for beginner and veteran skiers. It's easy to get to, and it's a very popular destination for international visitors. English is widely spoken, and you won't have any problems managing your way around.

After a busy and exciting day of skiing and walking, you can have a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants or go shopping. If you're looking for a dynamic nightlife, Niseko is the right place for you.

6. Rusutsu

Not far away from Niseko, Rusutsu is a family-friendly resort. Well known for its wonderful, high-quality snow, it offers incredible possibilities for beginners and expert skiers, too. It provides wide, tree-lined courses and off-piste skiing. Rusutsu hasn't much to offer in terms of nightlife. On the other hand, if you want a tranquil, not too crowded place to spend your winter holidays skiing and resting, Rusutsu is a perfect choice.

7. Naeba ski resort

In case you want to combine your skiing holiday with a visit to Tokyo, this ski resort is the right for you. By Shinkansen (the bullet train) you can get to Tokyo in a couple of hours. Situated on Mt. Naeba, this resort offers excellent powder snow and four skiing areas. It is connected to Kagura ski resort by the longest cable car in Japan, called Dragondola.

Whether you want to have fun skiing and snowboarding or enjoy the vibrant nightlife, the Naeba ski resort is an excellent choice.

8. Nozawa Onsen

If you are looking for the best traditional Japanese experience, Nozawa Onsen has everything you can ask for. It offers consistent powder suited for skiers of different skills and the longest course of impressive 10km. On the Uenotaira course, you can see juhyo or so-called snow monsters. It is a charming, traditional village with over ten public onsens and numerous restaurants for you to enjoy.

Onsens are very popular in Japan - they're natural hot spring baths that are free to use!

9. Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen consists of 18 interconnected resorts and is one of Japan's largest ski resorts. There are forty-seven ski lifts you can use, and ski slopes and courses are suited for skiers of various abilities. While it cannot boast lively nightlife, nature and scenery are breathtaking. Don't miss the opportunity to visit Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park during your stay there.

Since it's not too crowded and overrun with tourists, it is an ideal destination if you want to relax and fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture.

Whether you enjoy beautiful landscapes, sightseeing, or exploring different countries, Japan is a country you should visit. Japanese people are well known for their gracious hospitality and politeness, as well as for professionalism and hard-working mentality.

Every year, more and more people decide to spend their winter holidays in this amazing country. There are many ski resorts in Japan, and they offer various accommodations. Abundant snowfall and high-quality powder snow are common for all of them. Choose the location and options that best suit your wishes and style, and get ready for an unforgettable experience.

Kalyan Panja