There are many different types of skiing in Japan. Most people enjoy skiing in the winter months, especially during the New Year period. Some resorts open earlier than others and close later. The most popular resorts tend to be those with the longest seasons.
So, what is the best time to ski in Japan?
In this guide, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about skiing in Japan. So, keep on reading to find out more.
Skiing In Japan
As we have said, most people enjoy skiing in the winter months in Japan. As a result, this is often when the prices for skiing holidays are at their most expensive.
During the Christmas/New Year period, right through to Chinese New Year, you will find high costs for skiing trips. Simply because this is when the conditions are at their best.
Most ski resorts (see also ‘Best Ski Resorts In Japan‘) open at a similar time, and this can restrict the time in which you can go on your trip. However there are some outliers to this rule.
This includes Okutamari Maruyama which has a very long ski season, running for most of the year, and only closing between mid-January and mid-March where the level of snow makes it too dangerous to open.
The Hokkaido skiing season generally starts earlier than the Honshu skiing season as Hokkaido tends to do much better for early-season snow, particularly at resorts like Kiroro Niseko, where there is usually enough snow on-pistes for beginners and intermediates.
There is generally enough powder on-piste for beginners and intermediates, and off-piste areas are often covered by sasa bamboo and shrubs, making egress easy.
But the downside is that there is typically very little competition for the new powder, and you’ll have to escape all those boring Christmas parties back home!
Skiing is great fun but you need to know what to do when you get there. You should check out the weather forecast before going skiing. Make sure you pack your skis and boots (see also, ‘How to Pack for Japan‘). Check if there are any discounts on lift tickets or accommodation.
Don’t forget to take warm clothes and waterproofs!
There are not many Japanese ski tour options before Christmas, especially those that involve chasing powder. But there are some beginner tours that include lessons. Skiing in Japan at Christmastime is absolutely crazy.
It’s the most popular time for Japanese people to go skiing or snowboarding, and then there are lots of international tourists as well. Availability for accommodations at the big ski resorts sells out fast and you have to pay a huge premium for being there at peak times.
Prices for flights are also humped up.
Snowboarding and skiing in Japan during January is awesome because there is lots of snow and the powder quality is great.
There are also plenty of slopes to choose from. However, the downside of this time of year is that you might get sick if you’re not used to the cold. Also, the weather can be really bad. But, it tends to be less busy.
Japanese skiing is popular during the Chinese New Year period. There are lots of Chinese people visiting Japan during this time, and ex-pat skiers are often competing with locals for snow conditions.
Japan in February is an excellent month for skiing. Powder conditions are usually good, but there isn’t as much traffic as during January. Crowds decrease after Chinese New Year. Early February is the best time for skiing in Hokkaido.
In March, there are more fine weather days, and you should go skiing in the mountains with a northerly location. High elevations and northerly aspects are ideal. Powder days are still present but mixed with warmer temperatures. Snow quality can vary greatly during this time.
There are fewer tour options than in February, but Japan tours are still available.
Powder skiing and snowboarding is great during springtime. There are fewer people than usual, but the conditions are still good. Beginners and intermediate skiers can enjoy the slopes without having to worry about getting lost or injured.
Best Time To Ski In Japan
Japan is famous for having amazing powder snow. Skiing in Japan during the winter months is very popular. Most people come from December until February. The snow typically starts to fall in November in Hokkaido. The first resort to open is Rusutsu Kiroro. Snow falls in Japan throughout the year.
In the winter, the mountains become covered in snow. The ice festival is held in the middle of January. A lot of people go skiing in Japan during this time. There are many deals available for those who wish to stay in resorts.
When is the best time to Ski in Japan? If you are looking for powder, the best time is January and February. If you are looking for events, the best time is late December and late January to mid-February.
Christmas Season To New Year Skiing In Japan
Skiing in Japan is very popular because there are many slopes and resorts. There are also lots of people who love skiing and snowboarding. Prices will go up during this period of the year.
Expect room prices to be higher. Off-piste areas aren’t fully covered yet. Skiing conditions are limited. Wait until the holiday season is over before going on a ski trip.
Post-New Year Skiing In Japan
Skiing in January is the best time because there are fewer people around. You can enjoy great snow conditions without being bothered by crowds. The Nozawa Onsen is the best place to ski because of the fire festival.
Popular resorts sell out quickly and at a high price, while other options may be less expensive but lack English-speaking staff.
Late January To Mid-February Skiing In Japan
Skiing is fun because it’s cold out there. You can go skiing when it snows. There are many different types of skiing. You can do downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, sledding, tobogganing, and more.
March Skiing In Japan
Snow conditions vary greatly throughout Japan during March. In the north, there are many resorts offering great powder days. In the south, the weather is warmer, but the snow is still good.
April Skiing In Japan
Skiing is fun when you’re young and inexperienced. When you get older, you’ll want to ski more difficult slopes.
Skiing is coming to an end. Many ski resorts, ski schools, rentals, and restaurants are closing down. Tourists are getting ready to leave.
The Best Places To Ski In Japan
A lot of skiers line up to go to Niseko, but there are other resorts too. You can get access to Rusutsu and Hakuba Valley by using the Epic Pass.
Furano is a popular ski resort in Japan. People who go there enjoy the scenery and the snow. Hokkaido is a peninsula located off the coast of Japan (see also ‘What Ocean Is Japan Located In?‘). It is known as the northernmost part of Japan.
Snow monkeys (see also, ‘Are There Monkeys in Japan?‘) are famous for their hot spring resorts. They are found in Japan in the mountains of Hakuba.
Best Ski Resorts Of Japan
There are more than 500 ski resorts in Japan, compared to about 100 in Canada. Skiing in Japan is much better than in Canada. Most of the best ski resorts are located in Hokkaido and in Nagano Prefecture.
Skiing in Hokkaido is great because you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery while enjoying the slopes. You can also take advantage of the many activities offered by the resorts.
Phrases To Learn Before You Go
It’s a good idea, before you go skiing in Japan, to pick up a few phrases that may be useful. You can get by in most touristy areas without learning much Japanese, but it’s always nice to know a few words.
Like arigatô gozaimasu (thanks), ohayou (hello) or nama bîro kudasai (please). When you ski the best powder of your lifetime, just shout, saikô! Translation? This is THE BEST!
Where To Stay When Skiing In Japan
Car danchi is a Japanese term for car camping. It’s hard to camp in a car because it’s cold in Japan. You’ll need to be prepared for the weather.
In Furano, the North County Inn has simple accommodations and shuttles to the ski hill. At Morino Lodge, there are a number of private, secluded chalets, as well as lodges in Myoko or Hakuba, walking distance to the lifts, and they can tell you about the hot springs beside snow monkeys.
What To Pack To Ski In Japan
Japan is colder than you think, but it’s not as cold as you think. You should bring a warm insulating layer and double long johns, and you might want to bring a pair of insulated pants or bib shorts.
As is often the case during the winter, the best way to tackle winter skiing in Japan is to wear lots of layers (see also our article on clothing in Japan). Due to the conditions that you ski in, you should also wear multiple layers into the winter months.
This snow-carrying wind blows consistently in January and February making them the best months to be there. Before January can be drier and after February can be warmer. March can be good hiking and corn but generally doesn’t have much powder.
If you have only one month to choose from, we highly recommend January as it is the best time to go.