January 27, 2021

Skiing in Japan

Japan is famously known as the land of the rising sun, for its tea ceremonies, sushi, bonsai growing and skiing. Skiing? Yes, it was a revelation to me too. However, skiers and snowboarders from across the globe who want to experience something different, visit Japan. Some of the heaviest snowfalls in the world here are during the winter, when snow falls every day. 70% of Japan is mountainous, it’s one of the most snow assured locations in the world in the winter months.
There are two ski regions in Japan, one is Hakuba which is on the southern island and the other is Hokkaido which is on the northern island. The ski resorts of Niseko, Rusutsu and Furano are found on Hokkaido, with Niseko being Japans most popular ski resort. The ski season lasts from December until the end of March. Après ski is centered on dining in good restaurants and immersing oneself in Japanese culture.
Ski resorts of Japan
Hakuba
Is a leading ski resort set in the Japanese Alps. There are eleven ski resorts found here including Cortina, Norikura, Tsugaike Kogen, Iwatake, Happo-One, Hakuba 47, Goryu, Sanosaka, Kashimayari, Jigatake, and Minekata and all offer a different experience. Happo-One is family friendly.
Hakuba offers 45 runs for beginners, 60 for intermediates and 45 runs for advanced skiers. Snowboarders have excellent facilities and off piste is good too. The altitude is 760m with the highest lift being 1831m. There are 250km of total pistes with 120 lifts, its longest run is 8km and there are 7 snow parks. Other activities include a health spa, onsens, skidoo, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, heli-skiing and visiting Matsumoto Castle.
Niseko
Surprisingly, it’s the second snowiest ski resort in the world, averaging over 15m of snowfall during the winter season. There are spectacular vistas by way of Mount Youtei and Niseko is made up of 4 interlinked ski areas including Grand Hirafu (main resort), Hanazono, Niseko Village and Annapuri.
Niseko offers 12 runs for beginners, 19 for intermediates and 16 runs for advanced skiers. Snowboarders have good facilities and off piste is good too. The altitude is 280m with the highest lift being 1170m. There are 48km of total pistes with 38 lifts and its longest run is 5km. The terrain is ideal for skiers and snowboarders. Other activities include a health spa, onsens, skidoo, walking trails, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing/snow rafting, cross country skiing, plus mountain tours.
Rusutsu
Is Japans hidden snowy secret, here you have incredible skiing, a fun fair and it’s where you can sample Japanese culture to its fullest. It is surrounded by 3 skiable mountains and boasts panoramic views of Mount Youtei with 4,200 acres of perfect snow.
Rusutsu offers 11 runs for beginners, 15 for intermediates and 11 runs for advanced skiers. Snowboarders have good facilities and off piste is good too. The altitude is 400m with the highest lift being 994m. There are 42km of total pistes with 25 lifts and its longest run is 4km, plus it has 1 snow park. Other activities include a health spa, onsens, heated outdoor pool, indoor wave pool, snowmobiling, snow rafting, dog sledding and night skiing.
Furano
Is ideal for those who enjoy powder skiing, here is where there are huge amounts of snowfall. It has hosted the F.I.S. world cup skiing and snowboarding events. Beginners and intermediates are most suited to this skiing resort with a backdrop of the Ashidake Mountain, which offers un-groomed terrain.
Furano offers 5 runs for beginners, 9 for intermediates and 9 runs for advanced skiers. Snowboarders have good facilities and off piste is good too. The altitude is 230m with the highest lift being 1209m. There are 32km of total pistes with 11 lifts and its longest run is 4km. Other activities include natural hot springs, snowmobiling and lively and upbeat après ski most likened to Europe.
Is skiing in Japan spiking your curiosity yet?