Japan |Multiple regions
When we think of classic winter activities, of course skiing and snowboarding come to mind.
There are approximately 500 ski resorts across Japan. Even amongst these, the Hokkaido Niseko Area, which is popular with foreigners, and the ski resorts in Japan’s northern prefectures such as Niigata and Nagano experience particularly bustling crowds of visitors during the ski season. This time we will introduce the very best of Japan’s ski resorts. Please come experience the Japanese winter and enjoy skiing and snowboarding.
Niseko Grand Hirafu is proud to be one of the largest ski resorts in Hokkaido, even among the four ski resorts in the Niseko area. With the view of Mt. Yotei, counted as one of Japan’s 100 famous mountains, spread out before you, you can fully enjoy the amazing scenery and the exquisite powder snow. If you include Niseko’s Hanazono Resort, there are an astonishing 30 courses as well as 16 lifts and gondolas (15 lifts, 1 gondola). Since skiers can choose a course to suit their own level, from beginner to veteran, this resort supports a wide range of needs. There is even a mountain lodge called 1000m Hut near the summit. Even if you’re a bit tired from skiing or snowboarding, taking a break while relaxing in the snowy mountains is luxurious isn’t it? Since there are plenty of facilities such as hotels, condominiums, hot springs and restaurants at the base of the mountain, once you’re tired from skiing there are also plenty of places to check out around town!
This is a leading ski resort in Hokkaido that is gathering attention both in Japan and overseas for its heavy snowfall and rich powder snow. Well-known not only for skiing, but also for offering a large variety of quintessentially winter-themed activities and attractions all in one place. At the sub-zero winter experience facility, Ice Star Resort Kiroro, where everything from the buildings to the tables and chairs is constructed from snow and ice, visitors can indulge in a rich Swiss cheese fondue made with local Hokkaido ingredients at the Ice Star Restaurant, and top it off with a signature cocktail served in an ice glass in the exclusive club atmosphere of the Ice Star Café & Bar. Then, add the new Ice Star Rink’s ice skating experience to fully take in the sub-zero by seeing, tasting, feeling and playing! This is a ski resort that even non-skiers and families will find incredibly satisfying.
The ski resorts in Niigata Prefecture that you can enjoy through late May are divided into three main areas. You can experience dynamic skiing in the powder snow and steep slopes of the Kagura area in addition to the views from an elevation of 1845 m. In the Tashiro area, you will also experience gentle skiing with beautiful natural views that evoke thoughts of Northern European resorts. Also, the Mitsumata area is gaining attention for its abundant offerings such as family courses. With a rich variety of attractions and a ropeway that can carry 121 people, anyone can enjoy this area. Each of these areas offers numerous remarkable facilities for having fun in the snow. At Kagura Ski Resort there is even a great park where you can try out your ski and snowboard tricks! This resort is also known for attracting many advanced snowboarders thanks to the long season, so you can even see diverse styles of high-level tricks here.
Next, we’ll introduce the ski resort on the opposite side of the mountains from Kagura Ski Resort, Naeba Ski Resort.
At Naeba Ski Resort, when you use your Mt. Naeba Joint Lift Ticket to ride the Dragondola, you can also access Kagura Ski Resort. When skiing down from the summit, there is a large fork where the mountainside branches off to the left and the right, and you can go either way to enjoy a variety of courses! Also, Roxy Snow Park, a course created in collaboration with Roxy, is located just on the opposite side of the Dragondola! We recommend this course to those who want to challenge themselves with jibbing or kickers! There are even areas such as a Beginner Slope Style area that even women can enter easily, and a collection of items just right for those from beginner to intermediate level. And what’s more, you’ll be thrilled to know that you can even enjoy the park at night! After snowing and skiing to your heart’s content, try relieving your fatigue at the Naeba no Yu and Hiuchi no Yu hot springs.
A ski resort where you can ski with Mt. Fuji, a word heritage site, in the background! At this ski resort, located at the second station of Mt. Fuji, you can start skiing right away without riding a lift up thanks to the structure of the courses. The season opens especially early from October of each year, and throughout the season you can enjoy the A slope, which stretches 1 km long and approximately 150m high, with skiers and snowboarders who even come from outside the Kanto area. Furthermore, overnight skiing from 3:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. is available for a limited time and is perfect for those who love snowy mountains. A new area, Pica Wild Base Fujisan, is a newly created outdoor entertainment facility inside the Yeti area. Enjoy snow rafting, a thrilling run through the slope on a dedicated rubber boat pulled around by a snowmobile, or riding on a mini snowmobile that even children can safely use.
Because this ski resort is rather close to Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture, we recommend it as a spot to stop by during your Tohoku sightseeing! Even more than the good location, convenient access, and staying open until 10 p.m., the best part is that this resort features a collection of courses from beginner to advanced levels. Beginners definitely tend to worry about getting tired from ski and snowboard courses that are too long, so the Sun Deck A and B courses are just right for them. These courses are also perfect for practicing, with just the right distance and a gentle slope. When skiing after dark, you can enjoy a magnificent ride overlooking the night view of Sendai! And since rental equipment is available, even people experiencing the snowy mountains for the first time can feel at ease. Plus, the resort’s snow games square, “Snow Adventure Kingdom,” is open on weekends. Even if you don’t ski, you can enjoy snow tubing or riding in a sled there.
*Please be aware that the departure time of the last bus of the day is a bit early.
For those who plan on using the bus, the last departure time on weekdays is 4:50 p.m. (4:55 p.m. on weekends and holidays). On weekdays you will need to transfer at “Izumigatake Shizenfureai Kan.”
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This information is current as of February 16, 2019, and may be subject to change without notice. For further details and the latest information, please inquire directly with the establishments.