Best skiing in Japan: Top 5 Japanese ski resorts

Nov 29, 2022 BY Luke Rees

The best skiing in Japan is all about experiencing the light fluffy powder, stunning food and interesting culture. But with more than 500 Japanese ski resorts how do you pick where to go? Well you won’t go wrong by visiting any of the resorts on this list.

Best skiing in Japan: Top 5 Japanese ski resorts Flickr image by Roderick Eime

While Japan is famed for its epic snow, which both in volume and fluffiness is the best on the planet, it offers so much more. From sushi to sashimi, karaoke to koi, whiskey to wrestling and onsens to origami there is so much to experience.

Best skiing in Japan

Top 5 Japanese ski resorts

In no particular order here are five of the best ski resorts in Japan. You could probably visit them all if you have a month to travel around. Alternatively tag some skiing onto private tours to Japan to experience many of the highlights of this fascinating country.

Niseko, Hokkaido

As the most famous Japanese ski resort we’ll begin with Niseko which is known for light, dry powder. Located on the northern island of Hokkaido, it is one of the most snow-sure places in the world. Check out this review of snowboarding in Niseko to find out more.

Niseko Skiing late availability adventure sports holidays Image Courtesy of HT Holidays

An influx of Australian businesses has made this the most westernised of ski resorts in Japan. The ski area is easy to get around with great lifts and infrastructure. If you want to dip your toes into skiing in Japan for a week or two Niseko skiing holiday is easy and less of a culture shock.

Naeba, Honshu

Almost as famous as Niseko, Naeba is one of the largest Japanese ski resorts with great facilities. For skiing in Japan with a European feel, Naeba is a top choice. That said, you can be pampered in a traditional Japanese ryokan if you wish or stay in a top western-style hotel. Naeba has plenty of options.

Take the 5.5km ‘Dragondola’ to the Tashiro area of Kagura Ski Resort for even more riding. Plus lifts are open until late in the evening so there’s plenty of time to to enjoy some of the best skiing in Japan.

Hakuba Valley, Honshu

Hakuba Valley is home to 10 ski areas of which Cortina Hakuba, Happo-One, Tsugaike and Hakuba 47 are the best. Located in the Nagano Prefecture, Hakuba Valley is in the northern Japanese Alps and is well linked. The trains in Japan are fast and take three to four hours from Tokyo.

Top 5 Japanese ski resorts. Photo by Sarah Mulholland from Japan Ski Experience

The resorts of Hakuba have plenty of excellent pistes and snowparks. If you like off-piste the best ski resorts in Hakuba Valley deliver everything from wide open faces to challenging tree runs. And the best thing is you can explore most of the resorts in the area on a single holiday.

Shiga Kogen 18, Honshu

A no-brainer when considering the best Japanese ski resorts! The combined 18 ski fields of Shiga Kogen make up Japan’s largest ski area, including 51 lifts, gondolas, ropeways and tows. The lifts are efficient due to the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic events being held here.

There is terrain to suit all styles and abilities in this huge area including snowparks, freeride areas and dedicated beginner slopes. Plus there are amazing views.

Myoko Kogen, Honshu

There are nine different ski areas in Myoko Kogen in the Niigata Prefecture. Steep tree runs and long verticals are found all over the region which is unspoilt by western or Australian influence.

The Best skiing in Japan can be found on Hokkaido and Honshu Photo of Seb Ramsey

One of the favourites with locals is Myoko Akakura which is charming and very Japanese. But there are still handy signs in English, and restaurants display pictures of food so you at least know what you are eating. Regarded as one of the best Japan snowboarding resorts bring your fat skis and hit the deep, light, fluffy powder.

We hope you found this guide to the top 5 Japanese ski resorts useful. Check out our Japan skiing holidays to book a trip of your own.

Asia, Cortina Hakuba, Hakuba, Hakuba 47, Happo-One, Hokkaido, Honshu, Japan, Myoko, Naeba, Nagano, Niseko, Shiga Kogen, Tsugaike
Backcountry, Beginner, Expert, Freeride, Freestyle, Intermediate, japow, Off Piste, Onsen Baths
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