When you ski Japan, you will have the difficult task of choosing from a wide variety of attractive resorts spread throughout the country. Japan ski resorts have become increasingly popular in the last few decades, especially as international tourists have been turned on to the amazing mountains, predictable conditions, and unique features like natural hot springs. Despite the fact that there are resorts peppered throughout the country, two of the areas with the greatest concentration are Hokkaido and Nagano. Each of these has hosted Winter Olympics in the past 40 years. The best way to get the most out of your next trip to go skiing in Japan is to plan plenty in advance. This way you will have a general idea of all the amazing options at your disposal and a good sense for which are considered to be the finest Japan ski resorts.
Hakuba is considered by many to be one of the finest places to ski Japan. It is situated in the daunting northern Alps in the Nagano Prefecture. The amazing skiing in Japan was brought to light in 1998 when several events were held at Hakuba for the Nagano Games. As people watched the Downhill, Super G, and ski jump events, the world got a chance to see just how amazing the winter sports are. There are actually seven Japan ski resorts located at Hakuba in Nagano. All seven have gotten together to offer Japan ski packages, the most popular of which is the Hakuba Happy 7. This particular package gives you deals on lift tickets, ski passes, and area accommodations. Happo-one is the biggest and most popular ski resort in the Hakuba area. The top elevation is over 6,000 feet and there are thirteen extensive ski runs. Of these, 30 percent of the terrain is for snowboarders, 70 percent for skiers. Of the ski runs, 30 percent are for beginners, 50 percent for intermediate, and 20 percent for advanced. Hakuba Gorayu, Hakuba 47, and Hakuba Cortina Kokusai are several of the other notable resorts here.
Rusutsu is one of the best places for skiing in Japan in Hokkaido. It is located about 50 miles from the massive Mouny Yotei and less than an hour by car from Niseko Hirafu. This resort is spread out across three different mountains: West Mountain, East Mountain, and Mt. Isola. You can expect to find 42 ski runs that offer a nice range of challenges to suit people of all skill levels. Of the ski runs, 30 percent are for beginners, 40 percent for intermediates, and another 30 percent for experts. There are a couple of awesome terrain parks and every conceivable amenity, from a ski school and rental shop to dining and entertainment.
The Zao Onsen Ski Resort is located in the Yamagata Prefecture. The snow falls so heavily in this part of the country that the trees are referred to as “ice trees” or “snow monsters.” The terrain is split up 60/40, skiing to snowboarding terrain. Eighty percent of the ski runs on this 5,000 plus-foot hill are split evenly between beginners and intermediates, with the remaining 20 percent designated for advanced riders only.
Other major resorts where you can ski Japan include Furano in Hokkaido, Yuzawa in the Niigata Prefecture, Kusatsu Onsen in the Gunma Prefecture, and Niseko (also in Hokkaido). Onsens, if you are curious, are Japanese hot springs, often found in the mountains not far from ski resorts.