Skiing and Snowboarding

If you love to do skiing & snowboarding, surely you have ever been to one of the ski resorts in Japan, one of the best countries to enjoy skiing and snowboarding.

Japan ranks consistently as one of the best world-class ski and snowboard destinations. The reason why is because of the natural and beautiful scenery and high-quality snow. From the northern island to the southern island, Japan has over 500 ski resorts. And the best snow conditions are found in northern Japan (Hokkaido & Tohoku).

All of the ski resort itself has a lot of attractive things to offer. They offer ski courses which are great not only for advanced skiers but also for beginners and intermediates too. Besides skiing and snowboarding, other winter activities are also available. 

Where to ski in Japan

The best places to ski and snowboard in Japan are in Hokkaido , the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago, and the main island of Honshu. Niseko is the largest, most developed, and popular of all the ski resorts in Japan, and Hakuba, located in the Japan Alps  in Nagano Prefecture attracts winter sports lovers for its accessibility from Tokyo, variety of resorts and terrain.

There also plenty of skiing and snowboarding destinations to choose from throughout the country; Tohoku in northeastern Japan offers family-friendly resorts with beginner and intermediate terrain, while central Honshu—in particular, Niigata, Nagano and Gunma—offer many great options, with some close enough to Tokyo to make a day trip. 

Go to JNTO official website for more information.

When to ski in Japan

The ski season in Japan generally begins in mid-December and lasts until April but the actual dates depend on each resort and their location. Hokkaido, due to its location in the north, and the mountains of Nagano, located in higher altitudes, tend to get more snow earlier in the season that other places.

The peak season is in January and February, the months that get the most consistent snowfall. There can also be significant dumps of snow in March, though the weather begins to be more unpredictable with a higher chance of warm spells. The Christmas and New Year’s holidays, as well as the week of the Chinese New Year in February, draw the highest number of crowds on the slopes.

Other winter activity

Besides of skiing and snowboarding in Japan. There are some activities you can try on the winter season. 

snowmobile is an open motor vehicle for moving across snow. No license is required as long as the vehicle is inside a certain area, making this an activity all travelers can enjoy. The driver can run around the mountain by using the accelerator and shifting his/her weight.

Ice skating is another popular major winter sport in Japan, along with skiing. The Olympics feature events such as figure skating with spins and jumps, and fast-paced speed skating. However, just gliding on the ice can be entertaining.

Snowshoeing is a trek on a fresh field of snow using special footwear designed for walking with ease on top of snow. A trip through the landscape mantled in snow offer sights completely different from our everyday lives.

Ice flow walking – Ryuhyo walk®, a trek on an ice floe, is a popular activity in Shiretoko, Hokkaido. Come winter, the Sea of Okhotsk off of Hokkaido’s northern coast receives ice floe. Participants in this special activity will experience the world of ice up close, and rare sights of marine animals such as sea angels.

Dog sledding is a very athletic activity in which the sled is a tool that binds human and dog. This isn’t simply a sleigh ride: You can think of the dogs as partners in this snowy amusement.

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