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Nukabira Ski Resort

The Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski Resort is a little Hokkaido ski area that’s worthy of at least a day trip, but probably not a multi-day trip. Nukabira Ski Resort is well and truly off the beaten path of international ski tourists and there are no crowds. It’s sooooo quiet it sort of feels like the ski area is on the brink of closure – you’d better head there to buy one of the super cheap lift tickets to help them out!

The Nukabira Onsen village at the base of the ski area has beautiful hot springs that are renowned for having a continuous flow from the source, so it’s the very purest onsen experience.

Nukabira Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Nukabira ski area is long and skinny with 660 metres of vertical (570 - 1,230m) and only 9 trails (mostly beginner and intermediate) and 4 lifts. Unfortunately the size of the resort sometimes shrinks further because like too many Japan ski resorts that are struggling post the bubble era, they sometimes close the top lift to save money, which of course puts people off from wanting to come. And then to add to the insult, they sometimes also close the 2nd top lift as well!

The real attraction of Nukabira is the tree skiing and thankfully the ski patrollers seem to be pretty relaxed and sensible about it. There can be a bit of traversing to get to the goods, but the tree skiing can be a lot of fun.

Nukabira doesn’t get the massive snow volumes of the coastal resorts such as Niseko and Sapporo Kokusai, but the quality of the snow is often superb. Along with the other central Hokkaido ski resorts, the temps are cold and the powder is light and dry. The top elevation is pretty high for a Hokkaido ski area, and the slopes are mostly north facing which further improves the snow quality.

Where is Nukabira?

Nukabira Onsen is located on the eastern side of Daisetsuzan National Park (on the other side from Asahidake) as part of the town of Kamishihoro. Nukabira Gensenkyo is just southwest of Lake Nukabira. Nukabira is 63km north of Obihiro and other nearby ski areas include Kurodake (63km northwest) and Sahoro (80km southwest).

The easiest way to visit Nukabira is if you have your own wheels or you’re on a multi-resort tour with a guide to drive you.


If you really want to get away from it all, you can stay in the little village of Nukabira Onsen. As the name suggests, it’s a hot spring village, and it has a few pensions and inns at the base of the ski area. Other Nukabira accommodation options include a hostel.

Nukabira Accommodation Listings

Summary of Pros and Cons


  • This is a good spot to get away from the gaijin and have all the freshies to yourself. It’s so uncrowded that you might not see many locals either!
  • The lift ticket prices won’t drain your cash reserves.
  • The snow quality is often super oishii!


  • If the top lift is closed, it takes away much of the fun and if the 2nd top lift is closed too it's a complete joke. Don't go to Nukabira without checking if lifts will be open.

Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective

  • Nukabira is not well linked into public transport, which is why it’s such a good destination for powder hounds!
  • Nukabira is a pretty quiet place with not much to do other than ski or snowboard. To completely get into relaxation mode, a soak in one of the onsens is a must, and you can go ice fishing on Lake Nukabira and check out the striking Taushubetsu- Bridge.

Tours That May Include Nukabira

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