Ultimate Guide to Skiing and Snowboarding in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot
Skiing and snowboarding in Japan

The months of freezing temperatures, kerosene poisoning and way too much Netflix, otherwise known as Japanese winter, have an upside: affordable, accessible and often outstanding skiing and snowboarding throughout the country. A spine of mountain peaks runs almost the length of Japan, covering more than 70 percent of the landmass and offering about 600 ski resorts that average up to 14 meters of snowfall per year.

From December right through to April/May, you can find great conditions and friendly crowds across a diverse range of resorts – many within reachable distance of major cities. Add a generous helping of spectacular luxury resort accommodations to the mix, soak it with the country’s famous relaxing and rejuvenating natural onsen (hot springs), flavor it with a dash of sensational seasonal food then sprinkle liberally with copious amounts of off-piste entertainment and local culture — and you have the recipe for an epic winter adventure you won’t soon forget.

When to Go

Most ski resorts in Japan generally open around mid-December depending on snowfall and can last up until late May when some resorts offer discounted lift prices for spring skiing. Peak conditions are usually found in mid-January until the end of February, though some higher resorts can have incredible snow outside of these times – online communities like SnowJapan provide regularly updated information on where the best snowfall is happening.

The peak season is obviously when the resorts will be most crowded, especially on weekends or national holidays. The best time to head to the mountains is on a weekday if you can – you might find you’ll have the slopes almost entirely to yourself.

Where to Go

Ski resorts in Japan span right from the north of the country in Hokkaido all the way down to the southern island of Kyushu. The most well-known …continue reading