Does Japan have good ski resorts? Where is the best place to ski in Japan? What is the best month to ski in Japan?

Japan has some wonderful ski resorts and places that are known for their beautiful snow and the activities that go along with this. Sometimes less well known than other ski resorts and destinations in the world, here we will look at some of the best places to ski in Japan, when you should go, and help you to book your next skiing adventure in an exciting new place.

Does Japan have good ski resorts?

There is no doubt that Japan has some amazing ski resorts, amongst the best in the world, with wonderful and deep snow unlike anywhere else. Hosting two Winter Olympic Games has helped to show the whole world what was already known to some – that Japan is home to fantastic snow, and has incredible resorts for you to visit and experience this yourself.

  • The Hokkaido Area – home to Japan’s most visited ski resort, this area is perfect for international travellers. Many of the resorts are English-speaking. Come with plenty of international eating options and entertainment, and also receive more snow than anywhere else in Japan. 
  • The Nagano Area – some call it ‘the Japanese Alps’, this region was made famous by the Olympic Games in 1998. Home to arguably some of the best ski resorts in Japan, including the largest, Shiga Kogen, made up of several smaller resorts and home to some of the best snow in all of Japan.

Ski Resort in Nagano

  • The Niigata Area – close to Nagano, this area is still wonderful for deep powdery snow and is a popular destination to go to from Tokyo as it is a quick and easy journey. Home to some fantastic resorts including Yuzawa, this region also has many sake brewers if you are looking for something to help you remember this place as if the skiing and views weren’t enough.
  • The Yamagata Area – is home to hot springs and picturesque views, there are more reasons than the serious amount of snow you find here to visit this area. Zao Onsen, for example, is a beautiful hot springs village that has easy access to the vast number of ski slopes while also being a wonderful place to visit or stay. 

Have you planned your winter yet?

Whatever it is that you are looking for in your skiing holiday, you will find a resort to suit you in Japan. It is worth considering your journey, where is easier or trickier to get to and the exact time of year you are going before selecting the right ski resort. 

You will also find that some are clearer about welcoming and encouraging beginners and families to come to visit, while others might accentuate the challenges they have to offer. Consider which is more you and your family, or find a mix of both. There are plenty of options to choose from, and incredible and stunning destinations to take into account.

Where is the best place to ski in Japan?

There are many wonderful ski resorts in different places in Japan, and finding the best can be tough. Many regions and areas are better for different criteria, whether you simply want to find the best snow, the most variety, or the greatest challenges. You may also find that you might prefer to go to an area with more nightlife, somewhere that is easily accessed, or that you want somewhere that is purely focused on winter sports. Japan offers all of this and more.

Madarao, for instance, located in Nagano and near Niigata, offers plenty of groomed and ungroomed runs, seemingly endless powder snow, and opportunities for kids as well as adults. There are many reasons why this area is becoming so popular, and now is a great time to discover this for yourself while it is still affordable and accessible. As a relatively new place for many foreign guests, it is still cheaper and better value than some of the other options while offering beautiful and challenging skiing. 

Ski Resort in Madarao

What is the best month to ski in Japan?

If you are a fan of the powder snow that makes Japan such an excellent country to go skiing in then you are best off booking your holiday and finding the right hotel and amazing ungroomed slopes in January through to mid-February. 

If you are looking to go skiing in May through to November then you may have to look elsewhere than Japan for your holiday. Snow doesn’t really start to fall until mid-November, and many resorts will only open towards the end of the month or even into December. 

The snowfall is at its deepest and best from later on in January through to February, and skiing is still possible through to April in most places. It can be worth going in these later months as you can often get a great deal since most people want to come in January or February.

If you are looking for more than simply skiing, there are some exciting and interesting festivals in this peak time as well. You can check out the Sapporo Ice Festival or one of the many other events occurring from late December through to February.

While the exact best time to go will vary depending on what you are hoping for on your holiday, from the deepest and best snow to amazing events and the best value for money, generally January and February are seen as the best.


Whichever of Japan’s amazing ski resorts and regions you are thinking of visiting, and whenever in the year, you won’t be disappointed. Japan arguably has some of the very best snow and skiing opportunities in the world, as well as incredible views and other activities to keep you entertained and happy.

From family holidays to beginner slopes and exciting adventures to challenge the most experienced skiers, check out all that Japan’s ski resorts have to offer and get planning your next holiday today.

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