Where is the best place to ski in Japan? How many ski resorts are there in Japan? What is the best month to ski in Japan?

If you are thinking about booking a skiing holiday for your next adventure, Japan is the place to go. With its vibrant culture, welcoming locals, and incredible food, there is so much to recommend the country any time of year, but in the winter it is the abundant deep powdery snow that is the real draw.

Japan is known as the powder capital of the world, and millions of people travel there each year and experience the stunning views and amazing slopes on offer. Here we will take a look at some of the top spots to head to and help you decide if skiing in Japan is indeed your dream come true.

Where is the best place to ski in Japan?

There is no shortage of ski slopes and resorts in Japan, with some just a short train ride from Tokyo, and many others up in the mountains on Hokkaido and elsewhere. You can head to Nagano to Nozawa and indulge in a truly authentic Japanese experience, or try Niseko which is much more international, and one of the top places to go on Hokkaido.

The best place to ski for you will vary depending on the kind of skiing you are looking for. Madarao is perfect for experienced skiers looking for a challenge. With its untouched and rugged terrain, you will never be bored skiing here.

There are many options in Hokkaido, including Rusutsu, the largest resort in Japan. Hokkaido is full of incredible resorts, but not all of them boast their own amusement park and movie theatre, so again think about what you would like to see and do on your holiday and find the resort to match that dream.

Niseko is undoubtedly one of the best places to ski in Japan, home to around 30 ski lifts, numerous fantastic dining options, and great variety in both its skiing and après ski pursuits. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it and more at the incredible ski resorts in Japan.

How many ski resorts are there in Japan?

Japan has over 500 ski resorts in total, a slight reduction from the number available at its peak but still an impressive number nonetheless. It boasts about as many as Austria and France combined, and is roughly on par with Germany, the European country with the highest number of skiers

All these ski resorts can make it tricky to choose where to go, so first take a look at the above-mentioned best places, and consider the time of year you are looking to go, and that should help narrow down your options.

There are also certain resorts that are better for tree skiing, that are more family-friendly, that have the best hot springs, and so on to again help you get the most out of your holiday. There really is something for everyone at the ski resorts in Japan, so get searching and find the perfect one for you.

What is the best month to ski in Japan?

The best month to ski depends largely on what you wish to get out of your trip. If you are looking to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s in one of the most beautiful locations imaginable, then you have your answer already. Many visitors choose to go for the holidays and take part in the festivals and party atmosphere that prevails at this time.

The ski season begins in December, with some resorts opening slightly earlier than others depending on location and snowfall. If you are looking for a cheaper trip, the start of the month can be a good time to book. You can keep your eyes open for bargains and get in before the crowds arrive later in the month.

January and February are also peak times, with plenty of deep powdery snow to enjoy and all of the amenities you could wish for to help make your trip even better. Chinese New Year is another huge event that is well worth lining up your dates to enjoy out in Japan, with all kinds of celebrations taking place depending on where you are staying.

The Nozawa Onsen fire festival

The Nozawa Onsen fire festival takes place on January 15th and is another huge draw for visitors. If you are considering booking your trip for January, don’t miss this unforgettable event where you will see a makeshift shrine, men doing battle and – of course – lots of fire.

February is often regarded as the best month for skiing, bringing plenty of snow for even the keenest of skiers, and lots of dry days to get out on the slopes and enjoy it. It can be a little cheaper than late December and January, though you may have to shop around and check places like Be Active Life ski resorts in Japan to find the best deals.

Once March rolls around, many of the tourists will begin to pack up and leave giving an even greater chance for good prices. There can be a risk in some areas that the weather will change and some slopes may not be open or keep all of their amenities open, but if you go north there are still a huge number of resorts to choose from. 

April has even more of a risk of closed resorts and a lack of snow, and with the ski season at an end, you may well miss out if you aim to visit Japan at this time. 

Overall, if you are looking to see Japan’s top resorts at their best, brimming with life and activity, then the end of December is a thrilling and fun time to go skiing. If you prefer quieter slopes, more space, and a cheaper trip, March is the month for you.


Japan has a huge number and variety of ski resorts, with some catering more towards experienced skiers, some aimed more at beginners, and many that have the slopes and resources to suit everyone. 

Check out some of the beautiful and amazing resorts that Japan has to offer and get booking your dream ski holiday today.