It is that time of the year where everyone starts planning their trip to Japan’s ski resort. Japan has some of the most amazing snow to ski/snowboard on and there are so many tourists that travel to Japan during the winter season specifically to ski/snowboard. Knowing this, for anyone who is planning to come to Japan to ski/snowboard, I thought it would be great to have a short guide to let you know
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Hakuba Ski Resort is an extremely popular ski resort for the Japanese and foreigners. Foreigners often visit the Hakuba Ski Resort as there are many English speaking staff that work here. There also many different types of accommodations here, from luxury accommodations to lodges. Another great thing is that it is great for families. They even have group lessons for children with English instructors. In all, there are 11 ski resorts in Hakuba. Although only Hakuba 47, Norikura, Cortina and Goryu are interconnected, there is a common lift ticket and also free shuttles busses that can take you from one area to another. Hakuba can very easily be accessed from Tokyo by bullet train or bus.
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Niseko Ski Resort is probably the most popular ski resort in Japan. Many Australians and other foreigners visit the Niseko Ski Resort every year as it is known to have tons and tons of snow as it is always snowing in this area. Niseko is great as there are many different routes that suit different level of abilities. There are routes that are suitable for families, routes that are suitable for beginners, intermediate, and advanced level skiers and boarders. This area is huge as it is interconnected with 4 different areas: the Niseko village, Annupuri, Hanazono and Hirafu. The Moiwa Ski resort is also a part of it, however, you will require a different lift ticket to access this ski resort.
3. Nozawa onsen
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Nozawa Onsen which is located near Nagano is famously known as an onsen and ski resort. There is lots of history behind the Nozawa Ski Resort as it is believed to be the birthplace of skiing in Japan as it is believed to be first introduced by an Austrian skier in 1912. If you are going from Narita Airport to Nozawa Onsen there is a shuttle bus that goes all the way to Nozawa Onsen. For accommodations, the Nozawa village is very traditional and therefore in has many ryokans, which are traditional Japanese inns.
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Kusatsu Kokusai, located in the Gunma prefecture, is a popular ski resort that dates back to 1914. There are two main areas which has a connecting area and also consists of an area that is as long as an 8km run. Throughout the year, Kusatsu is known to also be a very popular onsen resort. The main town of Kusatsu is also very close to the resort so you will have easy access to shops and restaurants in the Kusatsu town. Kusatsu Kokusai ski resort is also very close to another popular ski resort called Shiga Kogen, however, the route in which connects the two ski resorts is closed during the winter season and therefore it is not possible to go between the two areas. Kusatsu Kokusai also has a kids park that is open from 9am to 4pm at the base of the resort. In the children’s facility there is a snow escalator as well as a sledging area, a beginners run, snow racers and an area for children to play in the snow. There is also a child care service for children from the ages of one to six years old. There are also ski and snow lessons, ski/snowboard equipment and wear rentals available at this ski resort.
5. Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort
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Zao Onsen Ski Resort is well known as a ski resort with an amazing onsen resort. Their are many traditional Japanese inns that you can choose from that each have their own spectacular onsen. The main village which has many accommodations available is within walking distance from a lot of the base ski lifts and courses. The one other thing that Zao Onsen Ski Resort is most well known for is the ‘snow monsters’ that form on the trees in the mountains during the peak of the winter season. These so called ‘snow monsters’ can only be seen on a few mountains in Japan. The scenery of these ‘snow monsters’ is absolutely spectacular and is one of the many reasons why people visit this ski resort. There are approximately 76 accommodations in the area in which you can choose from so it is best to do your research to find a place that is most suited for you.
6. Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Resort
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Shiga Kogen is a ski resort located in Nagano prefecture. This ski resort quickly gained international recognition when it was decided that the 1998 Winter Olympics would be held at this ski resort. Since then, many skiers and snowboarders have flocked to this ski resort to get a taste of the great quality powder it has to offer. There is a large ski/snowboard terrain and lots of good quality snow as it is the second highest ski resort in all of Japan. There are 19 different ski resorts that are interlinked making it the largest ski area in Honshu and possible in all of Japan. There are many different activities to enjoy in the region as well. For example, the Jigokudani snow monkeys are located in the region, there are also many different hot springs you can enjoy, Zenkoji temple and Matsushiro Kaizu castle can also be enjoyed as they are very close to the ski resort as well.
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