Best Japan ski resorts for the 2019/2020 season

Chase some of the softest powder in the world at one of Japan's finest snow resorts.

While Australia might have some pretty good snowfields, they're nothing compared to the Japanese Alps, where the powder feels like a cloud. Not only is the snow delicate, the ski season is long. It runs for four months from mid-December to mid-April, with snowfall still likely at the end.

Two of the most popular resort areas in Japan are Niseko and Hakuba. Hakuba can be accessed by train and shuttle from Tokyo’s airports, while Niseko can be accessed by shuttle from Sapporo Chitose Airport.

Direct flights are available to Tokyo from Australia, with connections to Sapporo available via Tokyo or Osaka, so keep an eye out for those cheap Japan flights to make an affordable ski trip a reality.

Looking for Japan ski deals? Check out the latest offers on ski packages in Niseko, Hakuba and more


Best Japan ski resorts compared

A quick comparison of Niseko, Hakuba, Furano, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen ski resorts.

Location Annual snowfall Number of lifts Number of runs Terrain
Niseko 15m+ 30 lifts and 3 gondolas 61
  • Beginners: 30%
  • Intermediate: 40%
  • Advanced: 30%
Hakuba 11m+ 138 lifts and 5 gondolas 200+
  • Beginners: 30%
  • Intermediate: 40%
  • Advanced: 30%
Furano 9m 67 lifts 24
  • Beginners: 30%
  • Intermediate: 40%
  • Advanced: 30%
Nozawa Onsen 10m 32 lifts 36
  • Beginners: 40%
  • Intermediate: 30%
  • Advanced: 30%
Shiga Kogen 10m 67 lifts 310
  • Beginners: 30%
  • Intermediate: 40%
  • Advanced: 30%

Image: Niseko Tourism

1. Niseko

Heralded as Japan’s number one ski destination and often called Niseko United, the area comprises of four interlinked ski resorts. Each resort offers runs for various levels. Naturally, there is side country access for advanced riders seeking a challenge.

What really puts Niseko on the map is its high snow quality and quantity (15m+ on average) that often falls into late March and early April.

Fast facts about Niseko:

  • Location: 90km from Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Number of main resorts: 4
  • Number of runs: 61
  • Annual snowfall: 15m+

Get more information about Niseko

Niseko accommodation for any budget

Affordable: One Niseko Resort Towers
Affordable: One Niseko Resort Towers

Finder Hotels

Splurge: Niseko Konbu Onsen Tsuruga Moku no sho
Splurge: Niseko Konbu Onsen Tsuruga Moku no sho

Finder Hotels


Hakuba.BestJapanSkiResorts

2. Hakuba

You’ll be hard pressed to visit all of Hakuba's 11 resorts in the one trip. Two of the most popular spots are Happo One and the combined resort of Goryu and Hakuba 47.

Happo One is the area's largest and boasts 1,000m vertical and back country terrain. The combined resorts of Goryu and Hakuba 47 are more diverse and family-friendly. They offer wide-open runs for beginners and a superpipe for more advanced riders.

Fast facts about Hakuba:

  • Location: 275km from Tokyo, Honshu
  • Number of main resorts: 11
  • Number of runs: 200+
  • Annual snowfall: 11m+

Get more information about Hakuba

Hakuba accommodation for any budget

Splurge: Hotel Hakuba Onsen Ryokan Shirouma so
Splurge: Hotel Hakuba Onsen Ryokan Shirouma so

Finder Hotels


SnowFurano.Furano

Image: SnowFurano.com

3. Furano

Located on Hokkaido Island and accessed via shuttle from Sapporo Chitose Airport, Furano resort is renowned for having some of the lightest and driest snow in Japan. Its 40% beginners terrain makes it popular with families.

Fast facts about Furano:

  • Location: 145km from Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Number of main resorts: 2
  • Number of runs: 24
  • Annual snowfall: 9m
Splurge: Furano Fresh Powder Apartments
Splurge: Furano Fresh Powder Apartments

Finder Hotels


NozawaSki2

Image: NozawaSki.com

4. Nozawa Onsen

This historical onsen resort is a relaxing choice for the holiday skier or showboarder. It boasts 960ha of ski terrain, 40% of which is beginner, as well as 18 lifts.

Fast facts about Nozawa Onsen:

  • Location: 270km from Tokyo, Honshu
  • Number of main resorts: 1
  • Number of runs: 36
  • Annual snowfall: 10m

finder.shigakogenprincehotel

Image: Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel

5. Shiga Kogen

With 21 ski resorts (19 of which are interlinked), Shiga Kogen is one of Japan’s largest ski resort areas. It has over 50 lifts and 4 gondolas, and with a ski pass that gives you access to almost all the lifts, you could be carving it up for weeks.

Fast facts about Shiga Kogen:

  • Location: 280km from Tokyo, Honshu
  • Number of main resorts: 21
  • Number of runs: 310
  • Annual snowfall: 10m
Affordable: Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel
Affordable: Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel

Finder Hotels


Search for more ski accommodation in Japan here:


What other Japan ski resorts are there?

Niseko and Hakuba might be the most popular ski resorts in Japan, but they’re certainly not the only ones.

Throughout the country you can find resorts that offer a similar quality powder along with unique runs. Here’s a snapshot of them:

CableCar.BestJapanSkiResorts

  • Kiroro: Also on Hokkaido Island and close to Niseko, Kiroro averages an astounding 17m+ of snowfall annually. It’s quite a small resort with only 21 runs, the longest of which is 4km.
  • Naeba: Currently run by Prince Hotel, Naeba ski resort belongs to the Mount Naeba resort area. On its own, it has 20 runs which are serviced by an impressive 21 lifts.
  • Zao: Zao resort is perhaps most famous for its Juhyo “Ice Monsters” (pictured). This natural wonder makes for spectacular scenery when barrelling down the mountain. It occurs when strong winds and cool water droplets develop on the evergreen conifer and the snow depth reaches two or three metres.
  • Rusutsu: Just south of Niseko is this family-friendly resort. It’s the largest single resort in the region and features immaculately groomed wide trails across three mountains.
  • Tomamu: Take a 90-minute drive east of Chitose Airport and you’ll find yourself at this quaint, family-friendly resort. It has a mere 5 lifts but gets a good average of 14m+ of snowfall annually.
  • Yuzawa: Perhaps one of the most accessible ski resorts in Japan, Yuzawa is renowned for being the only resort to have its own shinkansen bullet train station. The gondola is in the train station itself, so you can head up the moment you arrive.
  • Myoko Kogen: This resort area comprises of three separate resorts (Myoko Akakura, Myoko Suginohara and Ikenotaira Onsen). Off piste riding is allowed and it claims to have some of the best vertical and longest runs in Japan.

Japan ski resorts map:

See how far the resorts are from each other with our map.


When is ski season in Japan?

The height of ski season in Japan is typically from December to March. Outside of this, early season is November and late season is April to May.

The official close of snow season in Japan is the end of March. Some runs and hotels may be open for late season, but this will be limited.

For the 2019-2020 snow season, Hokkaido's ski resorts (including Niseko) are open from 23 November 2019 to early April 2020. At select resorts, such as Niseko Grand Hirafu, the season may run as late as 6 May 2020. Hakuba Valley's snow season also runs from November to early May with peak season being from middle December until end March.


Compare ski travel insurance for Japan

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, snow trips come with an increased risk of injury – and being in Japan, you might not be covered for medical incidents should something occur.

Even if you're not injured, other situations may arise such as bad weather, ski lift closures and lost and damaged equipment, which can cause you to bear unexpected financial costs.

Snowsport insurance can be purchased as an additional extra to travel insurance or as a standalone policy to provide extra cover should you need emergency assistance or compensation for lost equipment or unused ski passes. This guide can help you compare your options for snowsport insurance in Japan.


Latest Japan ski deals:

STA Travel STA Travel

Japan flights from $589 return with Virgin Australia

Choose the $689 fare and enter the code upon checkout. Available on travel from 29 March – 30 November 2020. Sample fare is Brisbane–Haneda. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Groupon Groupon

Up to 47% off Hakuba ski getaway

Available until 8 May 2020. Package includes accommodation, meals, six-day lift ticket and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Rugby sale: Extra $5 off Japan activities and experiences with code

Valid for use on select dates until December 2019. Destinations include Tokyo, Yokohama, Sapporo, Oita, Shuzuoka, Toyota and more. Discount applies with a minimum spend of $100. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

My Cruises My Cruises

Up to $6,000 bonus value

Available on select travel dates in 2020 with Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises. Destinations include Japan, Alaska, Europe, China, Africa and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Singapore Airlines Singapore Airlines

Asia flights from $635 return

Available on travel until 1 September 2020. Sample fare is Perth-Ho Chi Minh City. Other destinations include Singapore, Phuket, Manila, Japan, Delhi and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Tokyo flights from $641 return

Available on select travel dates from April - November 2020. Sample fare is Sydney-Tokyo with Qantas. Other flights with Virgin Australia, Japan Airlines, Jetstar, Singapore Airlines and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Nexus Holidays Nexus Holidays

Japan: 14-day getaway with flights + free upgrade

Available on select travel dates from March - November 2020. Package includes accommodation, flight upgrade to All Nippon Airways upon availability, meals, transfers and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Nexus Holidays Nexus Holidays

Japan and South Korea: 15 day getaway with flights from $3,499

Available on select travel dates from March - November 2020. Package includes accommodation, flights, meals, transfers and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Contiki Contiki

20% off Asia and Southeast Asia tours

Available on select travels for 2020 and 2021. Destinations include Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, India, Cambodia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Tucan Travel Tucan Travel

Up to 45% off Asia tours

Available for travel on select dates in 2020 including Christmas season. Destinations include India, Japan, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, China, Singapore and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Flight Centre - International Flight Centre - International

Japan flights from $699 return

Available for travel on select dates between April - May 2020. Sample fare departs from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Canberra. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Trip.com Trip.com

Up to 40% off Japan hotels

Available for travel on select dates including Christmas and New Year's Eve. Destinations include Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Kagoshima, Nagoya and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Japan: Universal Crystal Christmas for $25

Available on select dates from 14 November 2019 - 13 January 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Wendy Wu Tours Wendy Wu Tours

Singapore stopover from $99

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020 flying with Singapore Airlines. Includes accommodation at the Peninsula Excelsior, daily breakfast, return airport transfers and more. Discount applies when you book a tour of Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, China or Japan. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Wendy Wu Tours Wendy Wu Tours

Japan free flights or get 50% off solo tours

Valid for travel between 2020-2021. Free airfare applies to bookings for two or get a discount with single supplement. Destinations include Tokyo, Hokkaido, Kyoto, Hiroshima and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Trafalgar Tours Trafalgar Tours

Extra 10% off Asia 2020 tours

Valid for travel between January - December 2020. Destinations include Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Free flights, upgrades and 2-for-1 deposits on Viking Cruises

Book a Viking ocean or river cruise in destinations like Italy, France, Norway, the UK, Germany, the USA, Japan and more between August 2019 and March 2021.

Last verified

Wendy Wu Tours Wendy Wu Tours

Up to $300 off last-minute Asia tours

Valid for travel on select dates between August - December 2019 until sold out. Destinations include Laos, Borneo, Indochina, Myanmar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Japan, China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Wendy Wu Tours Wendy Wu Tours

$100 off tours for senior card holders

Valid on 2018 dates depending on the destinations. Destinations include China, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Japan and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Design Hotels Design Hotels

Up to 30% off if you book in advance

Valid for bookings made at least 30 days in advance at hotels around the world. Destinations include France, USA, Bali, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, UK, Singapore, Japan and more.

Last verified

Popular Travel coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
13 Dec 2019 Up to 50% off experiences + extra 15% off sitwide FIN****
12 Dec 2019 Extra 8% off hotels worldwide CLP****
10 Dec 2019 Up to 50% off experiences + $40 off sitewide LAS****
10 Dec 2019 Up to 10% off dining with code DEC****
27 Nov 2019 Extra 10% off with code FIN****
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site