Top 5 Under the Radar Japan Ski Resorts

Post by Carly
Zao_Snowfield

 

If you’re a keen skier or snowboarder, chances are you’ve either been to Japan to check out the amazing deep powder, or it’s on your bucket list. Now, Japan certainly is not short of ski resorts, there are over 500 of them throughout the country, and you’re probably well aware of the popular International ski resorts Niseko and Hakuba. While Niseko and Hakuba are amazing areas to ski, we’d like to introduce you to some of the lesser-known ski areas in Japan that are also worth your consideration!

 

Shiga Kogen

Shiga_Kogen_Prince_Hotels

 

Located in the highlands of Nagano Prefecture, Shiga Kogen is by far the largest ski area in Japan. Comprised of 21 interlinked ski resorts all covered by one ski pass, there is something for everyone with terrain suitable for all skiing abilities. Shiga Kogen is well known for being the closest ski resort to the snow monkey park – only around 30mins by bus, offering another attraction aside from hitting the slopes! 



Season: Mid December – Early May                                                                               
A number of Courses/Runs: 139 
Closest Airports: Haneda & Narita                                                                       
Access; 
1. Shuttles run from Haneda & Narita Airport and take approximately 4-5 hours.
2. Purchase the JR East Nagano/Niigata flex pass, and take a bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano Station in approximately 2 hours. From here there are frequent buses that will take you to the resort area within an hour.

 

Zao Onsen

Zao_Ski_resort

 

Located North of Tokyo in Tohoku, Yamagata Prefecture, Zao Onsen is best known for its surreal phenomena ‘Snow Monsters’, which are snow-covered fir trees. As the name suggests, Zao is also a beautiful onsen (hot spring) town, and there is nothing better than soaking away in the hot waters of mineral-rich springs after a big day on the slopes! The ski resort has a wide variety of different courses to suit different levels of both skiers and snowboarders. From beginner slopes to intermediate/advanced slopes where you can glide through the ‘Snow Monsters’, Zao Onsen can cater to all! 

 

Season: Early December – Early May                                                                                                                                     
A number of Courses/Runs: 26                                                                                                                                               
Closest Airports: Haneda & Narita (closer are the smaller Yamagata and Sendai airports)                     
Access: Purchase the JR East Tohoku flex pass, and take a bullet train from Tokyo to Yamagata Station in approximately 2.5 hours. From here there are frequent buses that will take you to the resort area within 45 minutes.

 

Furano

Furano_Ski_Resort

 

Located in central Hokkaido, Japan’s north island, Furano is famous for beautiful clear blue skies and some of the deepest powder in Japan! The town of Furano is particularly quaint, allowing you to enjoy authentic Japanese culture and cuisine. Aside from the wide range of different slopes for all levels of ability, you can also enjoy all kinds of snow sports, local arts and crafts, and illuminations throughout winter!

 

Season: Mid December – Early May                                                                                                                                         
A number of Courses/Runs: 23                                                                                                                                                 
Closest Airports: Asahikawa & New Chitose                                                                                                                           
Access: Coach transfer from New Chitose Airport or Sapporo city will take approximately 3 hours. From Asahikawa, it takes only 1 hour.

 

 

Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa_Onsen_Ski_resort

 

Located in the north of Nagano prefecture, Nozawa Onsen has gained more and more international visitors each year in the winter season due to it’s growing popularity as both a great ski destination and authentic Japanese vibe. Nozawa Onsen is the perfect destination to experience a traditional Japanese Inn (Ryokan) stay, as well as hot springs. The village holds the famed Nozawa Fire Festival on the 15th of January each year; one of the most unique and exciting Shinto celebrations in Japan!                                                                                                                                                   

Season: Mid December – Mid April                                                                                                                                           
A number of Courses/Runs: 20                                                                                                                                       
Closest Airports: Haneda and Narita                                                                                                                                       
Access;
1. Shuttles run from Haneda & Narita Airport and take approximately 5 hours.
2. Purchase the JR East Nagano/Niigata flex pass and take a bullet train from Tokyo to Iiyama Station in approximately 2 hours. From here there are frequent buses that will take you to the resort area within 25 minutes.                                                                             

 

Myoko Kogen

Myoko_Ski_Resort

 

Located in Niigata prefecture, just over from Nagano, Myoko Kogen is a classic mountain ski town comprised of 9 main ski resorts. The main ski area is Myoko Akakura where you can access the two resorts Akakura Kanko and Akakura Onsen with ease. The name of the game in Myoko is snow sports! While there’s plenty here for everyone, Myoko has some great options for those after tree skiing, off-piste slopes and backcountry skiing!                                                       

Season: Mid December – Mid April                                                                                                                                           
A number of Courses/Runs: 54                                                                                                                                                 
Closest Airports: Haneda and Narita                                                                                                                                         
Access;
1. Shuttles run from Haneda & Narita Airport and take approximately 5 hours.
2. Purchase the JR East Nagano/Niigata flex pass, and take a bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano Station in approximately 2 hours. From here there you can take a train or bus that will take you to the resort area within 40 minutes.

 

Why not consider one of these lesser-known ski resorts for your next ski trip?

For more information, pricing, and other ski resorts in Japan, check out our Japan ski website or get in touch with us to put together your Japan trip of a lifetime!

Go_To_Japan_Ski

Jul. 2020 Skiing and Snow Boarding Winter Carly


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