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The Many Ski Resorts of Japan

Updated on June 20, 2013

Japan is dotted with ski resorts – from the island of Hokkaido to the southern main island of Kyushu. Though generally varying in size, guests are welcomed with such options as large resorts with sprawling runs and small yet fun one-lift slopes. To experience the best snow conditions, people often go all the way to Northern Japan, specifically in Hokkaido and Tohoku, and to the mountains bordering the Sea of Japan Coast, especially Nagano and Niigata.

If you’re a city person, worry not. While there are no ski resorts within the bounds of metropolitan Tokyo, it is best to go on a 90-minute daytrip to the most popular and easily accessible resorts in Niigata. If you are not interested in snow activities, however, most of these resorts are replete with play zones that are designed specifically for families with bouncy little kids. They don’t usually charge, except maybe for such activities as snow tubing and sledding.

Are you keen to go? If so, then your best bet is to check out the following:

Hokkaido

When in Hokkaido, the best resort to visit is Niseko. Among all the resorts in Japan, it is this one, in particular, which pulls massive overseas attention in. Popular among Australians, Niseko has been ranked as the most visited and English-friendly ski resort. Why? It highlights guaranteed powder snow, the majestic views of Mt. Yotei, and an accomodating English-speaking staff.

Nagano

When in Nagano, do not miss out on the beauty that is Hakuba. Another very popular spot, this ski resort is located northwest of Nagano Perfecture. This resort is known for having hosted downhill events in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. On top of that, people from all stretches of the globe perpetually swing by for its impressive overall scale.

Niigata

When in Niigata, make sure to drop by Yuzawa. If you’re up for same daytrip from Tokyo, then this is the most convenient choice for you. Besides being only an 80-minute train ride from the city, it also happens to be directly connected to a shinkansen station. 20 other ski resorts within the area await guests.

The best time to do some snow sports in Japan ranges from December to April – with the best snow conditions, falling between mid-January through February. The typical cost a full day pass for large ski areas is around 4,000 to 5,000 yen. Packages are also available, which usually include lift pass, accommodation, and transportation. If you are interested in getting competitive rates, then you will have to check with travel agencies. Regardless your choice, you are in for a great treat – with most of these ski areas, doubling as hot spring resorts.

Be it skiing, snowboarding, snow bikes and scooter rides, Japan sure guarantees to give you your well-deserved break. Equipped with the perfect weather and gears, guests will get to leave with a bunch of cool memories.

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    • CelebrateUSA profile image

      Ken Kline 

      5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      I want to visit Japan someday. Enjoyed the information. I have allot to learn - look forward to reading more. Excellent!

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