Japan Ski Resorts: The Five Best Places to Check Out!

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A woman laughing at one of many Japan ski resorts.

Japan ski resorts offer an unforgettable winter wonderland experience. If you’re seeking a fantastic adventure on the slopes, look no further! From the picturesque Japanese Alps to the snowy landscapes of Hokkaido, here are the top five destinations promising unforgettable moments. Let your winter fun begin!

Hakuba (Japanese Alps)

Nestled in the stunning Japanese mountains, Hakuba is a delightful village surrounded by the majestic North peaks. Often compared to Niseko, Hakuba stands out with its larger ski area, towering mountains, onsen (hot springs), and the unique opportunity to see snow monkeys. Also, it used to host events during the 1998 Winter Olympics. 

The Hakuba Ski Resort.
This enchanting area is in the Japanese Alps. Image via Wikimedia

In addition, Hakuba is considered an excellent place for snow lovers since it’s less crowded than other global ski spots. Hakuba is a collection of ten unique Japanese ski resorts, each providing a distinctive mountainous experience. Even though slopes don’t connect the resorts, you can explore them all easily with only one ticket.

Most of Hakuba’s resorts are suitable and safe for everyone, especially children. There is even the Kashimayari Snow Resort Family Park with the super cute theme “Pokemon Snow Adventure,” perfect for little ones just getting acquainted with skiing. 

Rusutsu (Hokkaido)

Rusutsu Ski Resort is a giant playground in Hokkaido for people who love playing in the snow! It includes four gondolas and 14 lifts that smoothly take you around its three mountains, West Mountain, East Mountain, and Mount Isola. Together, they offer 37 different slopes for you to enjoy. Some are nice and easy for those just starting, while others are super thrilling for the pro players at skiing or snowboarding. Whether you’re a beginner or a snow superstar, Rusutsu has something just for you!

The Rusutsu ski resort.
The Rusutsu area is spread out across three mountains. Image via Samurai Snow

Notably, Rusutsu Resort earned the prestigious title of Japan’s Best Ski Resort at the World Ski Awards 2021. This resort is famous for its ski slopes and for being a place where you can have fun all year round. It has an amusement park and golf courses you can enjoy throughout the seasons. Moreover, there are countless exciting activities for you to try here, such as dog sledding, snowmobile rides, and horse riding. To enhance your survival skills, you’ll also experience unique activities like a snow tent sauna, outdoor snow diving, or ice fishing.

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Shiga Kogen (Nagano)

Shiga Kogen Ski Resort is a giant snowy wonderland with skiing areas from 1340 meters (4400 feet) up to 2307 meters (7570 feet) high. There are 48 lifts, gondolas, and skiing spots, all connected, making it easy for people to move around. A shuttle bus is also provided to help you get to different skiing spots effortlessly. Additionally, you can use a special ticket to use all the lifts in the mountain area.

Shiga Kogen in Nagano, one of many Japan ski resorts.
This resort is popular with many snowboarders! Image via Shutterstock

Shiga Kogen has 18 connected skiing areas, making it Japan’s biggest skiing space. With 980 meters (3215 feet) up and down, about 600 hectares wide, and over 80 kilometers (262 feet) of trails, it’s perfect for all skiers and snowboarders. The cool part is that you can ski through many villages with a European vibe. Thanks to its good location and weather, Shiga Kogen has excellent snow, and you can enjoy it for an extended period from November to May. This ski area also offers a peaceful escape with minimal human activity.

Myoko Kogen (Niigata)

People from around the world love Myoko Kogen Ski Resorts. The resorts provide various options with various slopes for winter sports enthusiasts. They also have ski schools offering English instruction. Furthermore, you can also get to explore the beautiful backcountry. 

Myoko Kogen in Niigata at night.
This resort is home to many onsen! Image via Myoko Ski Resort

Founded in the 1930s, Myoko Kogen is one of the oldest Japan ski resorts. You’ll indeed find many natural hot springs here. Like Hakuba, Myoko Kogen consists of multiple resorts spread across the region. It has five main ski resorts: Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Ikenotaira Onsen, Myoko Suginohara, and Seki Onsen. The central spot is Akakura, where you can find various places to stay and eat, and even a school to learn snow sports from people worldwide.

Myoko Kogen isn’t just for winter fun; various exciting things can happen here every season! You can hike, climb mountains, try fun water sports, admire cherry blossoms, or visit temples. There’s also a fantastic light show and a fancy train ride for visitors to enjoy!

Appi Kogen (Iwate)

Appi Kogen was built in the early 1980s and is a classic Japanese ski spot from the Japanese bubble era (1986-1991). It has a luxurious hotel tower with excellent facilities. People love Appi Kogen because it gives skiers and snowboarders a great experience with good services and well-kept trails.

This resort also provides diverse wide and long ski slopes, including well-maintained runs and challenging mogul areas. The ski season here always starts in December and lasts until May to allow visitors to enjoy the fantastic snow quality.

A hotel at Appi Kogen.
This resort even has snow tubes! Image via Loyalty Lobby

The resort offers numerous activities for every season. In the warm months, you can play golf and tennis. In the fall, you have an opportunity to take strolls in nature. There’s also a particular area for families in the park with fun stuff like sleds and mini-courses. And if you like relaxing, you can indulge in the great onsen here, too!

In short, Japan ski resorts promise an extraordinary winter escape. Each place offers its snowy magic. From the challenging slopes to relaxing onsen and delightful activities, these top five ski spots will guarantee lasting moments in the snow. Ready to experience the thrill of Japan’s winter paradise? Share your thoughts, and let us know your favorite ski spot!

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