Best Ski Resorts in Japan

Written: editor | July 13, 2023


Hokkaido Ski Resorts

When it comes to skiing in Japan, Hokkaido is the place to be. With its breathtaking landscapes and abundant snowfall, this northernmost island offers some of the best ski resorts in the country. If you're planning a ski trip to Japan, here are three must-visit resorts in Hokkaido:

1. Niseko

Located near the base of Mount Yotei, Niseko is a world-class ski resort that attracts skiers and snowboarders from all over the globe. With its consistent powder snow, Niseko offers fantastic skiing and snowboarding conditions for all levels, from beginners to experts. The resort is also known for its vibrant après-ski scene, with plenty of restaurants, bars, and hot springs to relax in after a day on the slopes.

2. Rusutsu

Rusutsu Resort is another popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. This sprawling resort boasts a wide variety of ski and snowboard terrain, including groomed trails, tree runs, and off-piste areas. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can enjoy other winter activities like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. The resort also features a theme park with rides and attractions, making it a great option for families.

3. Furano

Known for its picturesque scenery and uncrowded slopes, Furano is a tranquil ski resort that offers a more relaxed skiing experience. The resort has a diverse range of terrain suitable for all levels, as well as a snow park for freestyle enthusiasts. Furano is also famous for its stunning lavender fields, which bloom during the summer months, attracting visitors from all over the world.

Whether you're a seasoned skier or a beginner looking to try out a new winter sport, Hokkaido's ski resorts have something for everyone. From the powdery slopes of Niseko to the scenic beauty of Rusutsu and Furano, these resorts promise an unforgettable ski vacation in Japan. So grab your gear and get ready to hit the slopes!


Tohoku Ski Resorts

When it comes to skiing in Japan, Tohoku region offers some of the best ski resorts that will leave you with unforgettable experiences. Here are three incredible resorts in Tohoku that you must visit for your next ski adventure.

1. Appi Kogen

Located in Iwate Prefecture, Appi Kogen is known for its picturesque slopes and consistent snowfall. With a variety of ski runs catering to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced skiers, there's something for everyone. The resort also offers excellent facilities, including top-quality accommodation, restaurants, and hot springs to relax in after a day on the slopes. Whether you're a seasoned skier or a first-timer, Appi Kogen won't disappoint.

2. Zao Onsen

Zao Onsen, situated in Yamagata Prefecture, is famous for its stunning snow monsters, known as “juhyo,” which are formed when strong winds blow snow onto trees, creating beautiful frozen formations. This unique natural wonder attracts skiers and tourists from around the world. Aside from the snow monsters, Zao Onsen offers a variety of ski trails, powder snow, and natural hot springs, making it a perfect destination for winter enthusiasts.

3. Geto Kogen

Geto Kogen, located in Iwate Prefecture, is renowned for its exceptional powder snow, often referred to as “Japow.” The resort features challenging terrains suitable for advanced skiers and snowboarders, as well as beginner-friendly slopes. With an average of over 12 meters of snowfall each season, Geto Kogen offers the perfect conditions for thrilling powder rides. The resort also provides comfortable accommodations and delicious local cuisine to complete your skiing experience.

Whichever Tohoku ski resort you choose, you're guaranteed to have an incredible time on the slopes, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and enjoying the world-class facilities they offer. Start planning your ski trip to Tohoku and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Nagano Ski Resorts

Looking for a memorable ski adventure in Japan? Look no further than Nagano! With its stunning snow-capped mountains and world-class skiing facilities, Nagano offers some of the best ski resorts in the country. Here are three resorts you definitely shouldn't miss:

1. Hakuba

Known for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics, Hakuba is a paradise for skiing enthusiasts. Boasting over 200 runs and excellent off-piste opportunities, Hakuba offers something for skiers of all levels. From wide beginner slopes to challenging black diamond runs, there's no shortage of excitement here. The breathtaking views of the Northern Alps make skiing in Hakuba a truly unforgettable experience.

2. Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa Onsen is a small village with a big reputation. Not only does it offer excellent skiing conditions, but it also provides a unique cultural experience. After a day on the slopes, you can relax and rejuvenate in the village's famous hot springs or explore the traditional streets lined with charming wooden buildings. Nozawa Onsen's combination of great skiing and traditional Japanese ambiance makes it a favorite among locals and foreigners alike.

3. Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen is Japan's largest ski resort and offers an extensive network of interconnected slopes. With over 600 hectares of skiable terrain, you'll never run out of new trails to explore. Shiga Kogen also boasts a long ski season, usually starting in November and running through May. In addition to its fantastic skiing opportunities, the resort offers stunning views of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park.

Visiting any of these ski resorts in Nagano will undoubtedly provide you with an unforgettable winter adventure. So grab your gear and hit the slopes for an amazing skiing experience in Japan!


Niigata Ski Resorts

If you're an avid skier or snowboarder planning a trip to Japan, Niigata is the place to be. With its heavy snowfall and incredible mountain ranges, Niigata offers some of the best ski resorts in the country. Here are three must-visit resorts in Niigata:

1. Yuzawa

Yuzawa is often referred to as the gateway to Niigata's ski resorts. It boasts numerous ski areas, making it a popular destination for both beginners and experienced skiers. The town is easily accessible from Tokyo, with a direct bullet train service taking only 80 minutes. Yuzawa offers a range of ski slopes, beautiful landscapes, and relaxing hot springs to unwind after a day on the slopes.

2. Myoko Kogen

Myoko Kogen is a hidden gem known for its deep powder snow and breathtaking scenery. It's a favorite among powder hounds and backcountry skiers. With over ten ski resorts in the area, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. The resorts here cater to all skill levels and offer various activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

3. Naeba

Naeba is a modern ski resort with something for everyone. It offers a wide range of slopes for all levels, from gentle beginner runs to challenging advanced terrain. Naeba is also known for its state-of-the-art facilities, including the famous Dragondola, Japan's longest gondola. With its impressive snowfall and vibrant ski village, Naeba is a must-visit destination for ski enthusiasts.

So, if you're looking for an unforgettable ski experience in Japan, make sure to check out these incredible resorts in Niigata. From the easily accessible Yuzawa to the powder paradise of Myoko Kogen and the diverse slopes of Naeba, there's something for every skier and snowboarder in Niigata. Start planning your trip and get ready for an amazing winter adventure!


Gunma Ski Resorts

1. Shiga Kogen (part of Shiga Kogen in Nagano)

If you're looking for a ski resort that offers a wide range of slopes and breathtaking mountain views, Shiga Kogen is the perfect choice. With 19 ski areas connected by over 51 kilometers of slopes, this resort is one of the largest in Japan. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, there are slopes suitable for every skill level. Don't forget to take a break and enjoy the beautiful scenery from the top of Yokoteyama, the highest ski area in Japan.

2. Kusatsu

If you're a powder enthusiast, Kusatsu is the place to be. This ski resort is known for its heavy snowfall and excellent powder conditions. With a variety of slopes and wide open areas, Kusatsu offers plenty of space to carve your way down the mountain. After a day of skiing, relax in one of the hot springs that Kusatsu is famous for, and rejuvenate your tired muscles.

3. Minakami

Located just a short drive from Tokyo, Minakami is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. With its close proximity and stunning scenery, this ski resort is a favorite among city dwellers looking for a quick getaway. Minakami offers a variety of slopes, from gentle beginner slopes to challenging black diamond runs. After a day on the slopes, unwind in one of the many traditional Japanese inns and indulge in some delicious local cuisine.

So, if you're planning a ski trip to Japan, be sure to check out these amazing ski resorts in Gunma. Get ready to hit the slopes, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and create unforgettable memories.



If you're planning a ski trip and looking for an unforgettable experience, Japan has some of the best ski resorts in the world. With their stunning mountain ranges, deep powder snow, and top-notch facilities, these resorts attract ski enthusiasts from all over the globe.

Summary of the best ski resorts in Japan and why they are worth visiting

  1. Niseko: Located in Hokkaido, Niseko is famous for its abundant snowfall, powder snow, and excellent off-piste terrain. It offers a great mix of challenging runs, stunning views, and a vibrant après-ski scene.

  2. Hakuba: Situated in the Japanese Alps, Hakuba boasts a variety of ski resorts with diverse terrains for all skill levels. It hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998 and offers beautiful scenery, hot springs, and exciting backcountry skiing opportunities.

  3. Furano: Known for its picturesque landscape, Furano offers well-groomed slopes, tree skiing, and a relaxed atmosphere. It's a great choice for families and intermediate skiers.

  4. Nozawa Onsen: This traditional hot spring village combines fantastic skiing opportunities with authentic Japanese culture. With over 50 kilometers of slopes, Nozawa Onsen provides a mix of groomed runs and challenging tree skiing.

Recommendations for first-time visitors and ski enthusiasts alike

  • Try the local cuisine: Japan is known for its delicious food, so don't miss the chance to indulge in ramen, sushi, and hot pot dishes during your ski trip.

  • Take a dip in the hot springs: After a long day on the slopes, relax and rejuvenate in one of Japan's many onsens (hot springs). It's the perfect way to unwind and soothe your tired muscles.

  • Explore beyond the slopes: While the skiing is fantastic, Japan has much more to offer. Take some time to discover the rich culture, visit historic temples, and explore vibrant cities like Tokyo and Kyoto.

Frequently Asked Questions about skiing in Japan

  • Q: When is the best time to ski in Japan? A: The ski season in Japan typically runs from December to April, with January and February offering the best snow conditions.

  • Q: Do I need to speak Japanese to ski in Japan? A: While it helps to know some basic Japanese phrases, most ski resorts in Japan have English-speaking staff and signage.

  • Q: Are there ski rental shops and ski schools available? A: Yes, ski rental shops and ski schools are readily available at the resorts, making it convenient for both beginners and experienced skiers.

Experience the thrill of skiing in Japan and enjoy unforgettable moments on the slopes of these incredible resorts. Whether you're a first-time skier or a seasoned pro, Japan has something for everyone.