Skiing and Snowboarding in Japan

Skiing and Snowboarding in JapanWinter is the coldest season of the year and it is often characterized by freezing temperature, icy weather, and abundant snow. For ski and snowboard enthusiasts in Japan, winter is also  synonymous with the ski season. Japan’s ski season generally starts around mid December and lasts until early April with the best and high quality snow conditions from January to February.

The northern regions and mountain ranges of central Japan experience abundant snowfall and thus are popular ski destinations. The various ski and snowboard resorts in the country does not only have excellent snow and great terrain but also possess beautiful scenery and hot spring facilities. Enjoying a hot spring bath after a day in the slopes is a particular Japanese way of relaxing from the vigorous winter sports.

Skiing and Snowboarding in Japan - rental (photo by Diego Mejia)Ski resorts in Japan may vary from small to large ski areas. Typical one-day pass for large ski areas is between ¥4,000 to ¥5,000. Some resorts also offer multi-day, nighter, season pass, half-day and even per ride passes. Ski and snowboard wear and equipment rental are also available at almost all resorts with prices ranging from ¥3,000 to ¥5,000 per day for a complete gear or wear set (ski set includes ski, boots, and poles; snowboard set includes board, boots and bindings; wear set includes jacket, pants, gloves and goggles).

Some travel agencies and travel groups also offer ski and snowboard packages at competitive rates. The package covers transportation, lift pass, ski/snowboard wear and gear, and accommodation if the visitors opted for an overnight or multiple days trip.

Travel Agencies and Event Groups in Japan

Here are some of the tour companies and groups that provides ski and snowboard holiday packages in Japan.

Orion Tour Co. Ltd. 日本語
Provides a wide variety of domestic and pro-sports tours such as skiing, diving, golf, etc. Specializes in inter-city bus tour (Orion Bus) with the main goal of providing a quality journey and 100% satisfaction to customers.

Royal Holidays Ltd. 日本語
Provides high-speed bus and night bus (Royal Express) products for various national tour such as MT. Fuji climbing tour, ski tour, theme park tour, etc.

Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Ltd. 日本語
A practical guide to leisure travel, MICE and luxury travel to Japan. KNT offers expert planning for travelers visiting Japan from around the world and provide clients with the best Japan experience possible.

Tokyo Travel Pal ENGLISH
A one stop travel site catered for foreign visitors and a leading provider of travel related services and offer tour packages, arrange customized inbound tours covering flights, transfers, hotel booking, sightseeing and car rental arrangements.

SkiJapan ENGLISH
Specialised in Hokkaido’s best ski resorts for the past 16 years and continues to be Hokkaido’s longest serving and largest inbound ski and snowboard tour operator.

Tokyo Gaijins ENGLISH
An event club/company that regularly organize a wide variety of activities and events all over Japan. From the casual outdoor lovers to adrenaline junkies. For people who just wanted to break a sweat and for sports maniac. For people who just wanted to meet people and make new friends. And also for people who want to party.

Ski Resorts across Japan

Here are some of the notable ski resorts across Japan:

Hokkaido

Niseko
Niseko trail (www.niseko.ne.jp)The resort is located at Mt. Niseko-Annupuri and regarded as one of Japan’s Top 5 Ski Resort due to its quality and amount of powder snow. It is also frequently regarded as a ‘winter wonderland’ as the snow covers the ground for approximately four months. It attracts a lot of overseas attention and thus is very English friendly. The resort has wide open courses which is suitable for both pro & beginner riders. It is equipped with gondolas and covered chairlifts which provides comfort to riders even during extreme blizzard days.

Niseko is made up of different ski areas and covering most the southeastern half of the mountain are the Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, Niseko Hanazono, and Annupuri. The three ski areas are joined also joined together at the top of the mountain and hence is possible to ski between them.

Lift: The Niseko All Mountain Pass is a special combination ticket that gives access to the lifts and gondolas of the four ski resorts for ¥6,300 for 8 hours or ¥7,400 for 1-Day pass.

Other smaller resorts cover the perimeter of the mountain. Shuttle buses between the ski areas are also available at the base of the mountain.

Facilities:
Ski & Snowbaord school: All resorts
Equipment Rental: All resorts
Snow Park: Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Hanazono
Children’s Park: All resorts
Child Care: Niseko Grand Hirafu
Tel: +81-136-22-1105
Location: Hotel Niseko Alpen Main Building 2F
Hours: Dec 9, 2017 to Apr 8, 2018 | 9:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 16:00
Age: 6 months – 6 years old
Fee: 6mos to 2yrs: 2Hrs ¥4,500 | Half Day ¥6,000 | Full Day ¥10,500
Fee: 2 to 6 yrs: 2Hrs ¥3,000 | Half Day ¥4,000 | Full Day ¥7,000

Ski Area Operational Dates
Niseko Grand Hirafu November 23, 2017 – May 6, 2018
Niseko Village December 1, 2017 – April 8, 2018
Niseko Annupuri November 25, 2017 – May 6, 2018
Niseko Hanazono December 2, 2017 – April 8, 2018
Niseko Moiwa December 2, 2016 – early April 2018

*For more information you can visit the resorts’ websites:
www.niseko.ne.jp
, www.grand-hirafu.jp, www.niseko-village.comhttp://annupuri.infohttps://hanazononiseko.com, www.niseko-moiwa.jp

Rusutsu Trail (http://en.rusutsu.co.jp)Rusutsu Ski Resort
Ski Season: November 25, 2017 – April 8, 2018

Considered as one of the best ski resort in Hokkaido, Rusutsu Ski Resort is located close to Lake Toya and is just 30-40 minutes away from Niseko which is on the other side of Mt. Yotei. The resort has an amazing quality of powder snow that falls in equally enormous quantities with an annual snowfall of over 14 meters.

The resort has a total of 19 lifts with 4 gondolas and 7 hooded lifts which allows comfort even during snowy days. The fantastic fall line trees skiing which can easily be accessed straight off from the lifts with minimal traverse is one of the resort’s highlights. It also has other great and well groomed courses which is ideal for both beginners and even intermediate riders. The resort also offers ski and snowboard classes.

Rusutsu Ski Resort is generally uncrowded and is also ideal for family get-away. Other than skiing and snowboarding, it offers plenty of activities for kids and even adults. It offers a variety of other winter sports like snow mobile, rafting, dog sledding, air boarding, snow-shoeing, cross country skiing, and horse-back riding.

It also cater to those who are not a fan of winter activities as there are lots of indoor activities to choose from like bouldering, fitness gym, handy crafts which includes leather working and glass fusing, and as well as culinary arts like cheese making, potato cake making, fresh caramel making, and ice cream making.

A large hotel is also located at the center of the ski resort with several restaurants, shops, and hot spring baths. There are also few independent pension houses in the nearby town center.

The resort is popular for the ski slopes but it also has amusement park and golf course which are opened on non-winter seasons.

Lift: ¥5,900 (1-Day adult ticket) | ¥4,600 (half day adult ticket) | ¥5,200 (6-hrs adult ticket) | ¥2,600 (Night Ski)
Facilities: Ski & Snowboard school, Rental, Snow Park, Indoor Sports, Indoor Activities, Day Care
Childcare: Daniel House
Tel: +81-136-46-3111
Location: Highland Lodge 3F
Hours: Dec 9, 2017 to Apr 1, 2018 | 8:45 – 12:00 and 13:15 – 16:30
Age: 1 – 4 years old
Fee: 1 yr: Half Day ¥4,000 | Full Day ¥7,200
Fee: 2 to 4 yrs: Half Day ¥3,600 | Full Day ¥5,700

*For more information: en.rusutsu.co.jp

Furano trail (www.princehotels.com)Furano Ski Area
Ski Season: November 25, 2017 to May 6, 2018

The resort is one of the leading ski areas in Hokkaido which is owned and operated by Prince Hotels. It is also known as one of the best groomed ski areas in Japan and have hosted several FIS World Cup Ski and Snowboard events. It offers a panoramic view of Furano Valley and Tokachi peak mountain range.

Furano Ski Area has an average snow fall of 8 to 9 meters and it consists of 24 well-maintained courses, with the longest course running at 4 kilometers, which are suitable from beginners to advance riders.

The resort has a wide range of hotels, pension houses, holiday homes, and back packers. Other than skiing and snowboarding, other winter activities like snow snowmobiling, back country skiing, and ice hole fishing are also available.

Lift: 11 lifts, ¥5,500 (1-Day adult ticket) | ¥4,800 (5-hours adult ticket) | ¥4,000 (3-hours adult ticket) | ¥1,800 (Night Ski)
Facilities: Ski Lessons, Rental, Snow Park, Hot Spring, Cafe & Restaurants, Shopping, Day Care
Childcare: Kojima Academy
Tel: +81-167-23-2111
Location: Furano International Snowsports School
Hours: ski season | 9:00 – 16:00
Age: less than 1 year old – 5 years old
Fee: under 12 months: ¥10,000 (9:00-12pm) | ¥9,000 (13:30-16:00) | ¥20,000 (9:00-16:00)
Fee: 1 to 2 yrs: ¥7,500 (9:00-12pm)| ¥7,000 (13:30-16:00) | ¥15,000 (9:00-16:00)
Fee: 3 to 5 yrs: ¥6,500 (9:00-12pm) | ¥6,000 (13:30-16:00) | ¥13,000 (9:00-16:00)

*For more information: www.princehotels.com, http://daycare.fiss.jp/day-care/

Tomamu Ski Resort
Tomamu trail (www.snowtomamu.jp)Ski Season: December 1, 2017 to April 3, 2018

A high-class ski resort located in central Hokkaido which is marketed towards the affluent skiers. It has three hotel strategically located at the base of the slopes. The resort has a large 50 meters indoor wave pool, modern hot spring facilities, spa and massage services, several restaurants, and at night, the resort has an illuminated ice village with a collection of domes constructed from ice and snow and houses restaurants, bar shops, skating rink, and wedding chapel.

Alpha Resort Tomamu Ski Resort receives an average snowfall of 8 meters and the resort covers two mountains providing a large selection of courses to choose from, with the longest run of 4.5 kilometers. It includes beginner slopes and groomed trails as well as expert runs for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Other winter activities like snow rafting, snow mobiling, cross country skiing, paraskiing, heli and cat skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding are also available.

Lift: 11 lifts, ¥5,400 (1-Day adult ticket) | ¥4,700 (4-hours adult ticket) | ¥2,200 (Night Ski)
Facilities: Ski & Snowboard school, Rental, Snow Park, Day Care
Childcare
Tel: +81-167-38-2113
Location: The TowerⅡ 2F GAO Base
Hours: 01-Dec-2017 – 03-Apr-2018 | 8:00 – 19:00

*For more information: www.snowtomamu.jp

Sapporo Teine Ski Resort
Sapporo-teine trail (www.sapporo-teine.com)Ski Season: November 18, 2017 to May 6, 2018

Located in Mt. Teine, this resort is a smaller ski area close to Sapporo and are frequently visited by beginners as it offers attractive mellow slopes for novices and upper-end beginners.  The resort consists of 2 zones – the Highland Zone which offers a spectacular view of Sapporo and the ocean around it and the Olympic Zone which was used during the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics.

The resort has a total of 15 courses with the longest run, the rainbow course, at 5.4 kilometers. Other winter activities like snowshoeing is also possible.

Lift: 10 lifts, ¥5,200 (1-Day adult ticket) | ¥4,400 (6-hours adult ticket) | ¥4,000 (4-hours adult ticket) | ¥2,000 (Night Ski)
Facilities: Ski & Snowboard school, Rental, Snow Park, Cafeteria, Day Care
Childcare: Toy Tobacco
Tel: +81-116-82-6000
Location: Highlands Ski Center 2F
Hours: Dec 2, 2017 – Mar 18, 2018 | 9:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 16:30
Age: 1 year old – 6 years old
Fee: 1 yr: 1-Hr ¥1,200 | Full Day ¥4,000
Fee: 2 – 6 yrs: 1-Hr ¥900 | Full Day ¥3,300

For more information: www.sapporo-teine.com

Nagano

Hakuba
Hakuba Ski map (www.hakubatourism.jp)Is a valley located on the island of Honshu about 270 kilometers northwest of Tokyo. It is one of the largest and most popular alpine resorts located at the heart of the magnificent Japanese alps. The valley consists of several resorts with 7 main ski areas – Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba 47 and Happo-One on the southern end of the valley and Iwatake, Tsugaike, Norikura, and Cortina resorts on the northern end. The village is the main venue for the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Hakuba Otari Area Ski map (www.hakubatourism.jp)Hakuba offers good quality snow as it receives an average of over 10 meters of snow a season. The terrain also ranges from beginner slopes to expert terrain parks. The resorts have well groomed runs for beginners and intermediate as well as steep runs and moguls for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Most of the resorts however does not allow off-piste and tree skiing. The slopes are heavily policed and secured with surveillance cameras. The slopes in Hakuba are not interconnected except for Hakuba 47 and Hakuba Goryu but shuttle buses are available to get around the different ski areas.

Lift: The entire mountain is supported with a total of 138 lifts and 5 gondolas. The Hakuba Valley Pass allows riders access to most of the ski resorts including Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba 47, Happo-One, Iwatake, Tsugaike, Highland, Sanosaka, and Minegatta. The Valley Pass is available from one to seven days.

Number of Days Adult
1 Day Pass ¥6,000
2 Days Pass ¥10,800
3 Days Pass ¥16,000
4 Days Pass ¥21,300
5 Days Pass ¥26,600
6 Days Pass ¥31,900
7 Days Pass ¥37,200

There are also other other combination tickets available and some locals hotels offer further discounts to staying guests.

The accommodation in Hakuba are mostly scattered in Wadano Village, in Happo-One mountain. These accommodation varies from  hotels, lodges, pension houses, and family-run holiday houses and offers Japanese and western style beds as well as hot spring bath facilities.

Ski Area Operational Dates 
Hakuba Goryu November 21, 2017 – early May 2018
Hakuba 47 November 23, 2017 – May 6, 2018
Hakuba Happo-one November 23, 2017 – May 6, 2018
Hakuba Cortina Kokusai December 16, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Hakuba Iwatake December 15, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Hakuba Norikura December 17, 2016 – April 02, 2017
Tsugaike Kogen November 23, 2017 – May 6, 2018

*For more information: www.hakubatourism.jp, www.hakubagoryu.com, www.hakuba47.co.jp, www.happo-one.jp, hakubacortina.jp, iwatake.jp, www.hakubanorikura.jp, www.tsugaike.gr.jp

Madarao Kogen Ski Resort
Ski Season: December 16, 2017 – April 01, 2018

Madarao trail (www.madarao.jp)Located in the northeastern part of Nagano, between Myoko Kogen and Nozawa Onsen, Madarao Mountain Resort is a unique bowl-shaped resort that provides good quality of snow as it receives an average of 10 to 13 meters of snowfall a season. It has 28 different courses, with the longest run of 2.5 kilometers, which is suited for intermediate but also has terrains for beginners. The resort also has some fairly steep and off-pistes runs, ungroomed courses, and moguls for advance riders.

The resort is connected to Tangram Ski Circus Resort, which is a small resort with 14 courses and 6 lifts, at the top of the mountain. A joint lift ticket is also available to allow visitors to ski at both resorts.

The main accommodation in the area is the Madarao Kogen Hotel, which offers both western and Japanese styled-rooms as well as indoor and outdoor hot spring facilities. Other accommodation options include pension houses in the Madarao village.

Madarao Kogen Ski Resort also provides a park for kids where they could enjoy tubing, sledding, snow rafting, snowmobiling, and zip line course.

Lift: 15 lifts, ¥4,500 (1-Day adult ticket) | ¥3,900 (4-hour adult ticket) | ¥1,800 (Night Ski)
Facilities: Ski & Snowboard school, Rental, Snow Park, Cafeteria, Day Care
Childcare: Tsumiki no Heya
Tel: +81-269-64-3214
Location: Madarao Kogen Hotel
Hours: ski season | 9:00 – 12:00 and 13:30 – 16:30
Age: 1 year old and above
Fee: Half Day ¥3,000 | Full Day ¥5,000

*For more information: www.madarao.jp

Nozawa Onsen
Nozawa Onsen trail (www.snow-forecast.com)Ski Season: November 25, 2017 – May 6, 2018

The resort is located in the northern part of Nagano, approximately 249 kilometers northwest of Tokyo. It is one of Japan’s oldest ski resort that provides an average of more than 5 meters of snowfall a season and features 36 different courses suitable for all levels, from gentle and well-groomed slopes for beginners to half pipe, moguls, and 39 degree incline for expert riders. On a clear day, it offers an amazing view of the northern Japanese Alps and the Japan Sea.

Nozawa Onsen is a hot spring and ski resort village with 13 public hot baths which are free of charge and opens from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. Visitors, however, should bring their own soap and towels as it is not provided by the public hot spring facilities. A kids park is also available in front of the information center, where children can enjoy tubing and sledding.

Accommodations like ryokan, pension houses, and holiday homes are available in the village which is located at the foot of the ski resort.  The village provides traditional architecture which adds cultural experience to visitors.

Lift: 18 lifts, 2 gondolas, 1 moving walkway, ¥4,800 (1-Day adult ticket) | ¥3,700 (4-hour adult ticket) | ¥1,600 (Night Ski) | ¥450 (1-ride)
Facilities: Ski & Snowboard school, Rental, Snow Park, Cafeteria, Day Care
Childcare: Yun ~ Min
Tel: +81-80-2088-0932
Location: Hikage Information Center 2F
Hours: Dec 16, 2017 – April 1, 2018 | 9:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 16:00
Age: 1 – 6 years old
Fee: 1-Hr ¥1,000 | Half Day ¥2,500 | Full Day ¥4,000

For more information: www.nozawaski.com

Shiga Kogen
Shiga Kogen Trail (www.piste-maps.co.uk)Ski Season: December 2, 2017 – sometime May 2018

Located in Joshinetsu National Park in Nagano, about 250 kilometers northwest of Tokyo, Shiga Kogen or Shiga Highlands is one of the largest ski area in Japan which is made up of 19 different ski resorts spaced out along Shiga plateau. It covers 600 hectares of terrain and 80 kilometers trail.

The ski area provides skiers and snowboarders good snow condition as it is the highest ski resort in Japan and it receives an average snowfall of 12 meters a season. Shiga Kogen provides a large variety of ski and snowboard terrain with about 100 courses and with the longest run of 6 kilometers.

It is possible to get around most of the ski resorts as the resorts are interlinked via the slopes and a single lift ticket gives visitors access to all the 71 lifts. The ticket also allows visitors access to the shuttle bus system that travels around the area.

A large variety of hotels, pension houses and holiday homes that offers Western and Japanese style accommodation as well as hot bath facilities can also easily be accessed directly at the ski slopes.

Kids Park are also available in the Shiga Kogen, where children can enjoy tubing and sledding. Several ski and snowboarding schools also offers lesson to beginners at ¥7,000 for a 4-hour class.

Other than skiing and snowboarding, visitors can also take the chance to view Japan’s snow monkeys in their own outdoor hot bath in the the nearby Shiga National Park.

Lift: 71 lifts, ¥5,000 (1-Day adult ticket), ¥4,200 (4-hour adult ticket)
Facilities: Ski & Snowboard school, Rental, Snow Park, Restaurant

More information: www.shigakogen-ski.com/

Niigata

Myoko Kogen

Myoko Kogen trail (www.myokosnowsports.com)Myoko Kogen is located in the heart of Joshinetsu National Park in the Niigata Prefecture. It is a large ski area which is made up of different resorts that are largely connected together by shuttle bus.

It has fantastic snow, numerous ski runs, and efficient lift system including gondolas. The resorts also offer some of the best, longest, and deepest powder runs in Japan. It is famed for the abundant snow which results from its proximity to the Sea of Japan. It receives an average of 14 meters of soft deep powder snow a season.

The area is most well know for the off-piste riding, long vertical, and steep treed slopes, with the steepest at 38° found in Akakura Onsen Ski Resort. The longest ski run in the area is at 8.5 kilometers which is found in Myoko Suginohara. The ski area also has lots of back country opportunities and guided back country tours.

Lift: Tickets varies from ¥3,500 to ¥4,500 depending on the choice of resort. Myoko Ski Lift Tickets & Joint Passes that gives access to several resorts are also available. Some of these combined passes includes Myoko Super Big-4 Lift Pass, Mt. Myoko Pass, Mt. Myoko Super Pass, and Myoko Akakura Snow Area Pass.

Accommodation in Myoko Kogen varies from traditional pensions, ryokans, holiday homes, and lodges to European style hotels. Akakura Onsen is generally the most popular village to stay because it offers the easiest access to the best ski resorts and it also has the largest number of bars and restaurants.

Ski Area Operational Dates 
Akakura Kanko December 15, 2017 – May 6, 2018
Akakura Onsen December 9, 2017 – April 8, 2018
Ikenotaira Onsen December 16, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Suginohara Ski Resort December 23, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Seki Onsen December 22, 2017 – May 6, 2018
Myoko Ski Park December 17, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Tangram Ski Circus December 16, 2018 – April 1, 2018

*For more information: www.akr-ski.com, www.akakura-ski.com, www.ikenotaira.net, www.suginosawa.com, www.sekionsen.com, www.myoko-skipark.jp, www.tangram.jp,

Naeba Trail (www.princehotels.com/en/ski/mtnaeba)Mt. Naeba

Mt. Naeba ski area is located in the eastern outskirts of the mountain that lies at the border of Niigata and Nagano Prefectures. The area includes Naeba Ski Resort and Kagura Ski Resorts, which are interconnected by the 5.5 kilometers Naeba-Tashiro Gondola, also known as Dragondola, which is the world’s longest gondola.

Kagura Trail (www.princehotels.com/en/ski/mtnaeba)The ski area has an even spread terrain for beginners, intermediate, and even advance riders, with the longest run of 4 kilometers, which makes it popular among families and young people. It also has great terrain parks, snowcross course, kids’ indoor ski area, and family snow land.

Lift: The terrains are supported by a total of 37 lifts, including the dragondola. A 1-day lift pass costs, ¥4,700 for Kagura Ski Resort and ¥5,000 for Naeba Ski Resort. Mt. Naeba Joint Lift Ticket (includes Naeba & Kagura) is also available at ¥5,700.

Naeba Prince Hotel is the main accommodation in the area and it forms as Naeba Ski Resort’s centerpiece. The hotel also serves as the main hub for restaurants, facilities, and activities. Other than the Prince Hotel, visitors can also choose from various types of inns and ryokans, some of which provide hot spring bath facilities.

Ski Area Operational Dates
Naeba Ski Resort December 9, 2017 – May 6, 2018
Kagura Ski Resort November 23, 2017 – May 27, 2018

*For more information: www.princehotels.com/en/ski/mtnaeba

Yuzawa

Known as one of the largest ski and snowboard area in Japan, Yuzawa ski area is also considered as the most accessible resort area from Central Tokyo with only 80 minutes travel time by shinkansen or 120 minutes by bus. The city has numerous ski resorts within easy reach of the stations, expressway and Route 17. Most of the resorts have well-equipped facilities and offers a magnificent winter scenery overlooking Niigata’s expansive rice fields.

Yuzawa ski area is also known for its deep powder snow with an average of 5 meters a season. It offers a wide range of excellent terrain, ski slopes and facilities for all range and abilities – from advance riders to someone just trying to experience the fun in the snow.

A one-day lift pass ranges from ¥3,500 to ¥4,600 but some resorts team up to offer special combination tickets that give guests access to all participating resorts. They are typically connected to each other so that riders can ski or snowboard between them.

Various lodging options are available along the main JR line and most of the inns offer hot spring facilities.

A sakae museum is also available at the Echigo-Yuzawa Station.

Ski Area Operational Dates
GALA Yuzawa December 16, 2017 – May 6, 2018
Yuzawa Kogen December 16, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Ishiuchi Maruyama December 21, 2017 – April 8, 2018
Iwappara December 9, 2017 – April 8, 2018
Joetsu Kokusai December 9, 2017 – April 8, 2018
Ipponsugi December 23, 2017 – early April 2018
Maiko Snow Resort December 15, 2017 – April 8, 2018
Yuzawa Nakazato Ski Resort December 16, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Yuzawa Park Resort December 15, 2017 – April 1, 2018

 *For more information: www.galaresort.jpwww.yuzawakogen.com, www.iwa-ppara.com, www.ishiuchi.or.jp, www.jkokusai.co.jp, www.ipponsugi.net, www.maiko-resort.com, www.yuzawa-nakazato.com, www.park-resort.com

Yamagata

Zao Onsen
Ski Season: December 23, 2017 – early May 2018

Zao OnsenZao Onsen Ski Resort located about 18 kilometers away from Yamagata City is the largest ski resort in Tohoku Region and is well-known for excellent powder conditions. It is also very famous for its “ice trees” or “snow monsters”, which are trees that take on various shapes when they are clumped with ice and snow. The trees are lit-up at night during the snow festival and can be accessed through the ropeway or gondola.

The Onsen is around 305 hectares with a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of various levels, with the longest course providing about 10 kilometers of downhill riding. It  also has tree-lined terrains and an impressive vertical drop of roughly 800 meters.

The village at the base of the mountain offers accommodation that ranges from western style hotels to traditional Japanese inns. The Zao onsen is also famous for its sulfurous hot springs and most of the accommodations have their own onsens.

The resort also has easy to understand signs in English, Koreas, Chinese, as well as Japanese.

Lift: 38 lifts & 1 gondola, ¥5,000 (1-Day adult ticket) | ¥4,000 (4-hour adult ticket) | ¥1,500 (1-way gondola), ¥2,600 (round-trip gondola)
Facilities: Ski & Snowboard school, Rental, Snow Park, Restaurant

More information: www.zao-ski.or.jp