10 Best Ski Resorts in Japan

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By Cher

With plentiful snowfall and varied terrain, Japan offers some of the world’s best skiing and snowboarding. Beyond fresh tracks, visitors can soak in relaxing hot springs, savor gourmet cuisine and immerse in Japanese culture.

From Niseko’s renowned powder to family-friendly spots near Tokyo, here are 10 of the top ski resorts to check out for your next Japan ski trip.

Niseko United

Credit: @nisekounited

Hokkaido

Niseko is widely regarded as BY FAR the most famous and best ski resort in Japan, and it is certainly one of the most upscale and popular. If you are looking for the best ski resort in Japan, Niseko is the one. All others are a distance number two.

Niseko United comprises four interconnected resorts: Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri and Hanazono.

Together they offer diverse terrain for all ability levels, including gentle groomed runs, tree skiing, moguls, steep chutes and off-piste powder fields. The consistent dry snow is legendary.

Base elevations range from 1,000 to 4,300+ feet. Après highlights include ramen shops, izakayas, and onsen bathing.

Where to Stay: For ski-in/ski-out access, check out The Green Leaf Niseko Village or Hilton Niseko Village. Budget stays like Pensione UNO are a quick shuttle ride away.

Where to Eat: Indulge in seafood and Wagyu beef at the upscale Kamimura Restaurant or grab noodles at the casual Bang Bang.

Getting There: Fly into New Chitose Airport near Sapporo, then take a train/bus or rent a car.

Rusutsu Resort

Rusutsu Ski Resort
Credit: IG @rusutsuresort_official

Hokkaido

Just over an hour drive from Niseko, Rusutsu offers amazing tree and backcountry skiing with smaller crowds.

The resort has over 42 runs and 18 lifts. Groomed cruisers, family-friendly areas, vertical chutes and sidecountry appeal to all skill sets.

Night skiing runs keep the snow adventure going after dark. Soak in the hot springs or explore nearby Mount Yotei.

Where to Stay: The Rusutsu Resort Hotel & Convention is a great place to stay, offering a golf course, an amusement park, public baths, and an indoor wave pool.

Where to Eat: For dining, Kazahana in The Westin Rusutsu Resort is a highly-rated upscale restaurant that offers a variety of Japanese and Asian cuisines.

Getting There: Fly to New Chitose Airport then take a bus or rent a car for the 75-minute drive.

Furano

Furano Ski Resort
Credit: IG @yukinoko_mari

Hokkaido

Not far from picturesque Furano city, this resort offers intermediate/advanced skiing across two interconnected mountains: Furano Zone and Furano Kogen. Budget travelers appreciate Furano Zone’s night skiing and bargain rates. Furano Kogen has more vertical and backcountry skiing. The region is also famous for its lavender fields and wine.

Where to Stay: The Furano Prince Hotel Ski Resort is a luxurious accommodation choice, boasting amenities such as a golf course, an amusement park, and an indoor wave pool.

Where to EatTorimatsu on Furano’s charming Nakafurano Street is a must-visit, known for its delicious yakitori and a wide selection of drinks.

Getting There: Fly to Asahikawa Airport then take a bus. Or use the direct Furano-Asahikawa Airport Liner bus from New Chitose.

Nozawa Onsen

Credit: IG @nozawaonsenjapan

Nagano

This charming onsen village with traditional inns and shops transforms into a ski resort come winter. Nozawa Onsen has runs for all levels across three areas, though best for intermediate and advanced. Skiers can also enjoy scenic views of the Northern Japan Alps. Après activities include visiting temples and soaking in hot spring baths.

Where to Stay: For an upscale stay in Nozawa Onsen, consider the Nozawa Central, which offers large, recently renovated apartments and a ski locker on the slopes.

Where to Eat: For a fine dining experience, visit Billiken Restaurant, a popular spot in Nozawa Onsen known for its Japanese cuisine.

Getting There: Take a bullet train to Iiyama then bus. Or there’s direct shuttle service from Narita Airport.

Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen

Nagano

Japan’s largest ski resort, Shiga Kogen offers 21 interconnected areas with runs for all abilities across Mount Yokote. It hosted ski jump events during the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Skiers get fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. Unique dining experiences range from slope-side BBQ to Michelin-rated fare.

Where to Stay: The Okushiga Kogen Hotel is a top-rated accommodation in Shiga Kogen, offering a comfortable stay with stunning mountain views and ski-to-door access.

Where to Eat: The Restaurant Family in Shiga Kogen is a popular choice, known for its diverse menu that includes Japanese, Pizza, International, Healthy, and Japanese Fusion cuisines.

Getting There: Take a train from Tokyo to Yudanaka Station via Nagano, then a bus.

Hakuba Valley

Hakuba
Credit: IG @hirojh2fky

Nagano

Home to 10 ski resorts, Hakuba Valley hosted events for the 1998 Winter Olympics. Ski areas like Hakuba 47 offer runs for all abilities, from gentle groomed trails to steep backcountry. Cultural experiences include visiting a sake brewery, soaking in alpine onsens or touring a local farm.

Where to Stay: The Hakuba Mominoki Hotel is a highly-rated accommodation in Hakuba Valley, offering a comfortable stay with free Wi-Fi and 3 restaurants.

Where to Eat: Sharaku is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Hakuba Valley, a must-visit for sushi enthusiasts.

Getting There: Bullet train to Nagano Station, then bus. Or direct shuttle from Narita Airport available.

Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Zao Onsen
Credit: IG @lodgescole1

Yamagata

Known for abundant snowfall, Zao Onsen has over 40 runs ranging from beginner to expert. Forest skiing adventures appeal to powder hounds. The ski area connects to the charming Zao Onsen hot spring village via a gondola. Enjoy soaking in the rejuvenating mineral baths after skiing.

Where to Stay: The Takamiya Hotel Rurikura Resort is a highly-rated accommodation in Zao Onsen Ski Resort, offering ski-to-door access from Yokukura ski slope, an outdoor hot spring bath, and karaoke rooms.

Where to Eat: Restaurant Sancho is one of the best restaurants in Zao Onsen Ski Resort, offering a variety of Japanese cuisine.

Getting There: Bullet train to Yamagata, then limited express bus. Or overnight bus from Tokyo.

Yuzawa

Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort

Niigata

Yuzawa offers easy access from Tokyo plus hot springs, restaurants and temples for a cultural ski experience. The interconnected resorts include family-friendly Yuzawa Kogen, high-speed quarry runs at Ishiuchi Maruyama and peaks like Yuzawa 29 with tree skiing. Soak at one of Yuzawa’s famous ryokan inns after a day on the slopes.

Where to Stay: The NASPA New Otani Hotel is a top-rated accommodation in Yuzawa, offering a comfortable stay with hot-spring baths, an indoor pool, and 7 food and beverage options.

Where to Eat: Nakanoya Soba Yuzawa shop is one of the best restaurants in Yuzawa, known for its delicious Soba noodles.

Getting There: Direct Joetsu Shinkansen bullet train service from Tokyo in under 2 hours.

Appi Kogen

Appi Kogen Ski Resort
Credit: IG @microcket76

Iwate

Located in northern Iwate Prefecture, Appi Kogen offers ski-in/out condo lodging and trails catering to kids and families. The resort has 21 runs, a snow park, and tree skiing. Views include the towering Hakkoda Mountains. Cultural experiences range from visiting Shinto shrines to sampling sake and seafood.

Where to Stay: The ANA Crowne Plaza Resort Appi Kogen is a highly-rated accommodation in Appi Kogen, offering direct access to Appi-Kogen Ski Field and featuring 9 dining options, ski-to-door access, and tennis courts.

Where to Eat: Nanashigure is one of the best restaurants in Appi Kogen, known for its great Japanese sukiyaki.

Getting There: Take the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train to Morioka, then express bus.

Izukogen Ski Resort

Kagura Ski Resort
Credit: IG @takaya_a_

Shimane

Off the mainland on Honshu’s Shimane Peninsula, Izukogen receives heavy lake-effect powder averaging nearly 30 feet per season. The resort has 16 runs ranging from beginner to expert. Rustic pensions, onsen baths and seafood complete a cultural ski experience. Spring offers gorgeous rhododendron viewing.

Where to Stay: The Hinodeya is a highly-rated accommodation in Izukogen Ski Resort, offering Japanese-style accommodations with a public bath.

Where to Eat: Le Feuillage is one of the best restaurants in Izukogen Ski Resort, known for its delightful café and deli cuisines.

Getting There: Fly into Izumo Airport nearby then take a taxi or bus.

From Hokkaido’s legendary powder to family-friendly resorts near Tokyo, Japan’s ski scene offers world-class terrain with hot springs, cuisine and cultural immersion. Whether you’re a powder hound, want groomed cruisers or seek a ski trip that’s equal parts adventure and relaxation, these resorts deliver memorable snow experiences matched with authentic Japanese hospitality.

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