Japan boasts some of the most stunning skiing resorts in the world. The regular snowfall, well-groomed trails, and magnificent mountain vistas make this part of the universe the Holy Grail for snow hobbyists who love to adventure the slopes.
A ski trip to Japan will give you a chance to taste the freshest sushi too. Not forgetting a soothing après ski soak in an incredible variety of hot springs. You will also have some of the most memorable cultural experiences.
But with more than 500 ski resorts, where exactly should you go? To help you answer this question, we have listed 10 resorts that offer the best ski in Japan. Let’s get started!
If you are looking for a luxurious ski vacay, with hot lavish spring baths, then Rusutsu is the place to be.
But over-the-top life experienced is not the only thing that Rusutsu got to offer; the resort is home to the deepest snow you are ever likely to ski on in your life. It is not so crowded too, something you may not find in the rest of the resorts.
The spot’s serenity and its ability to accommodate both beginner and pro skiers are probably one of the reasons it ranks among the best Japanese ski resorts. There is plenty of gentle terrain for newbies and terrific inclines for those who fancy skiing steeps.
What’s more, Rusutsu is equipped with high-end ski lift systems to keep you comfortably warm. Think of gondolas and impressively fast hooded chairlifts; moving up or down the slopes can’t get any easier and more fun.
The only downside is that this place doesn’t have much nightlife. So if you are a party animal, Rusutsu might not be the best choice for you. But honestly, after a long day of powder skiing, you will probably be too fatigued to dress up for a party.
Why We Love Rusutsu
- Less crowded slopes
- Accommodates skiers of all levels
- Insanely deep powder
- Modern lift system
- Lavish accommodation
Niseko is yet another great destination for skiers planning a ski getaway in Japan. Of all Japanese ski resorts, this one is the snowiest.
With an abundance of terrain and access to picturesque backcountry, Niseko is an awesome choice for first-timers in the country. It attracts more visitors than Rusutsu because it has an abundance of bars, restaurants, and nightlife for after ski entertainment.
English speakers are well catered for here. Some restaurants even serve up western cuisines so foreigners won’t feel like they are out of their comfort zone.
It is also very easy to get to the resort because there are multiple transport connections. And if you are worried about accommodation prices, don’t be, as there are hotels to suit every budget.
The Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Annupuri, and Niseko Village are amazing areas to explore. But if you are looking to escape the crowds or try some off-piste skiing, head to Moiwa. Life is a little laid back here but you will have an unforgettable ski day. The powder sometimes gets extremely deep too and can create memorable moments for those who love skiing in deep powder.
Why We Love Niseko
- English is widely spoken
- Lively nightlife
- Beautiful backcountry
- The abundance of transport options
- Massive terrain
Located in Hokkaido, Furano ski resort is a gem when it comes to providing stunning terrains for skiing and snowboarding. You will love its top quality powder snow and the breathtaking views of Mt. Tokachi.
Furano offers great experiences for both ski beginners and experts. The lift system includes cable cars and gondolas.
This place is great for family getaways, so it would be perfect if you are looking to teach your kids to ski or if you need a family-friendly resort.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors in Furano can enjoy snowmobiling, snowshoe hiking, snow rafting, or riding in a hot air balloon. The resort offers equipment rental and ski classes too.
Why We Love Furano
- Beautiful view of the snow-capped Mt. Tokachi
- Accommodates beginner and advanced skiers
- Wide variety of lift systems
4. Happo One
Looking for challenging terrain? Then Hippo One could be your best bet. Well, Japan may not be so popular for steeps but this one will undoubtedly satisfy you. With bountiful bustling bars and first-rate restaurants, you will stay entertained even when you are out of the slopes.
The backcountry offers plenty of deep powder with beautiful trees covering the area. You can easily access it from a groomed terrain, which is always close to when you need to take a break from skiing. After a long day of skiing, grab a good meal, and enjoy a beer with friends.
If you are looking for a place where you can ditch your winter boots and relax around a fire with a plate of street food, head to Sakka. Here, you will find plenty of food trucks serving fares from different parts of the world, with the fire roaring, music pumping, and beer flowing. This is an experience you don’t want to miss.
Why We Love Happo One
- Wide range of terrain
- Plenty of nightlife
- Offers both off-piste and groomed piste skiing
- Experts friendly
Yet another destination for the best ski in Japan. With over 10 different ski resorts, Hakuba remains a favorite of many international tourists.
It is situated in the northern Japan Alps, 27 miles (44 km) west of Nagano. This amazing ski resort became a center of interest in 1998 after hosting the Winter Olympic Games.
Hakuba boasts 85 miles (137 km) of piste and over 200 courses, making it suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all experience levels. Happy is the main village in Hakuba and offers excellent restaurants and izakayas. There are also plenty of quieter villages for snow hobbyists who wish to adventure far from the crowds.
Why We Love Hakuba
- Over 10 ski resorts to choose from
- Allows for both piste and off-piste skiing
- Suitable for all levels of skiing
- Availability of quieter villages with fewer crowds
If you are an advanced skier, Asahidake would be a great spot for you. With plenty of tree skiing and alpine skiing, it is one of the best places to show off your advanced ski maneuvers.
Those who would like to try some off-piste fun can head to the backcountry slopes set in the Daisetsuzan national park near Mt. Asahi, approximately 60 minutes east of Asahikawa. Skiers visiting Asahidake resort have access to 4 groomed trails and 1640 ft. (500 vertical meters) of terrain.
Since Asahidake is more of a national park than it is a resort, ski facilities are not as plenty or improved as in other ski resorts. While this can be a deal-breaker for beginner skiers or those learning to snowboard, advanced snow sports fans looking to take on a challenge or escape the crowds will find it appealing.
Asahidake also features a couple of cross-country trails. So if taking long treks is your thing, then this resort should be a top item on the list of your preferred Japanese ski resorts. Most hotels have hot springs too, to relax you up after a long day of cross-country skiing.
Why We Love Asahidake
- Cross-country trails
- Great for advanced skiers and boarders
- Hot springs
- Tree skiing and alpine skiing
7. Nozawa Onsen
Located 28 miles (46km) northeast of Nagano, Nozawa is a great place for family getaways. Both adults and kids can enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the well-groomed trails.
It was opened in 1924 and has remained one of the best and largest Japanese ski resorts. Featuring over 31 miles (50 km) of groomed pistes, the resort is ideal for both new and skilled skiers. You can ski on moguls, on inclines of up to 40 degrees, or flat slopes if you are a beginner.
If you are not a skier and would like to take some training, you can do it here. There are plenty of English speaking instructors for those who wish to take ski lessons.
And if you are looking to learn a thing or two about Japanese tradition, head to Nozawa Onsen town. It is particularly charming and rich in Japanese culture.
Why We Love Nozawa Onsen
- A large area of piste terrain
- Ideal for all levels of skiing
- Rich culture
8. Sapporo Teine
Sapporo Teine is located 12 miles (20km) northwest of Sapporo. It is one of the best destinations for beginner skiers.
The resort’s Olympia Zone boasts wide, gentle slopes for first-time skiers and night skiing. The Highland Zone features medium and advanced courses, which makes it suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers.
Sapporo Teine can be an amazing spot for family ski trips. It features a family park with sledding and tubing equipment and a snow park with rails, jumps, and boxes.
Why We Love Sapporo Teine
- Perfect for all levels of skiing
- Night skiing
Situated in Niiga Prefecture, 124 (miles) 200 km from the city, Yuzawa is an awesome place for anyone looking for convenience in transport. It is only 2 hours from Tokyo by train.
There are about 20 more resorts in this area, all of which can be accessed by bus and other public transportation. Beginner slopes are found near the town center while the more challenging slopes are found around Mt. Naeba resorts. Yuzawa is also home to excellent hot spring baths.
Why We Love Yuzawa
- Easy to access
- Ideal for both beginner and advanced skiing
- Hot springs
In central Hokkaido, 93 miles (150km) east of Sapporo lies Tomamu, a top-end ski resort. This ritzy facility features sleek hot springs, sophisticated restaurants, and a wave pool.
Tomamu offers 13 miles (21km) of slopes with a wide variety of trails for newbies and intermediate level skiers. There are also sanctioned areas for off-piste skiing and courses for expert-level skiing.
Apart from offering the best ski-in Japan, Tomamu also provides abundant opportunities for snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, heli skiers, and snow rafters. There are bountiful of stuff for kids to do too. For instance, there are snow boat rides and a snow playground.
In the evenings, visit the Ice Village of the resort for dinner, to grab a beer, or do some shopping. You can also explore the wedding chapel housed in ice and snow domes.
Why We Love Tomamu
- Posh facilities
- Ideal for all levels of skiing
- Plenty of things to do for kids and adults
Globo Surf Overview
Japan houses some of the most amazing ski resorts in the world. With great snowy slopes, a welcoming culture, and incredible food cuisines, this part of the planet will pamper you with a ski vacation that you probably won’t get anywhere else. Whether you are just beginning to ski or have been in the game for a while, the above picks will help you get the most out of the land of the Rising Sun!
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- Best Ski Resorts In Japan, powderhounds.com