When many people think about Japan images of hot summers and temples spring to mind. Few people will think of Japan as a skier’s paradise. However Japan actually offers some really amazing skiing. Thanks to both the location of the Japanese archipelago and the mountainous nature of the islands Japan has consistent snow fall and a rugged terrain. The scenery in winter is reminiscent of the alps of France and Switzerland, and to some, more so. But where are the best places to go ski?
Before the leisure activity of skiing arrived in Japan the Japanese were already using this method to enjoy winter. Primitive skis were made from pine and bamboo poles to propel around. This was really helpful for people living in areas with snow over 6 meters deep! If you know that over 80% of Japan is mountainous, then it is no surprise that when Hannes Schneider came over he was impressed by the mountains and snow. The sport slowly gained activity over the years and then in 1956 Japan won their first medal at the Olympics for skiing.
There are many ski resorts for almost tip to tip in Japan. There are 98 resorts on the island of Hokkaido, where the ski season is usually longer. Honshu has a great number of resorts, even one almost as far south as Hiroshima!
If you are visiting Japan and want to get some powder, or if you live here and your Japanese isn’t great there are some resorts that offer lessons in English.
- Furano International Snowsports school
- Gondola Snowsports
- Hanazono Powder guides
- Niseko International Snowsports school
- Nozawa Onsen Ski school
- International Snowsports school Myoko
- Naeba International snow school
- NASPA Ski garden
- Snow Country Instructors
- Tenjin Lodge Ski school
It is great that these school offers their lessons in English so that visitors and Japanese alike can enjoy the powder.
If you are looking for a great thrill then finding the highest mountain or the steepest slope is a great bet. Senjojiki ski resort in Komagane City Nagano prefecture has the highest ski mountain in Japan. The Peak of the mountain is 2830m and offers a 38″ slope! This resort is predominantly used by snowboarders but does have skiers too. The mountain is only open for snow sports from mid-April until the end of May.
There are so many ski resorts in Japan that it would be impossible to write about them all. Here are some good website sites to find out more.