Best Ski Resorts in Japan

Niseko is rated the #1 overall ski resort in Japan by
The Hakuba Valley is one of the largest ski areas in Japan with 11 resorts and is family friendly
Nozawa Onsen and its traditional village ranks #2 best overall ski resort in Japan by
Rusutsu is a great family resort and offers exceptional tree skiing
Madarao offers exceptional tree skiing & is great value & good for families
Sahoro is family friendly & with its new terrain now has some of the best tree skiing in Japan
Furano is a big ski area with amazing off-piste & is also good for families
Lotte Arai is Japan's 5-star ski resort; incredible facilities & uncrowded
Kiroro is fabulous for families, huge snowfalls & good backcountry options
Shiga Kogen is the largest ski area in Japan with 18 ski resorts. Good for families.
Myoko Kogen is popular for families and for those chasing the deep powder
Tomamu has some of the best backcoutry in Japan and is also very family friendly
Appi Kogen is good for families & has some nice sidecountry. Also a central base for other ski areas.
Asahidake in Central Hokkaido is a backcountry ski area with the best powder on earth!
Zao Onsen is a great cultural experience, lots of intermediate terrain & good for families ranks Tenjindaira as Japan's best powder destination
Aomori Spring gets loads of snow, is family friendly & has some nice side/backcountry
Shizukuishi has nice intermediate terrain & some great side-country & tree skiing
Inawashiro has some good groomers, nice tree skiing and fabulous backcountry
The Iwate region as one of Japan's last frontiers for foreign visitors

Best Ski Resorts in Japan

Powderhounds Awards for the Best Japan Ski Resorts

The Powderhounds offer awards for the best skiing in Japan in case you can't decide on where to go. Here are our picks for the top ski resorts in Japan (and you can also check out the best Japan ski resorts as rated by the readers of

Top Rated Japan Ski Resorts for Powder Hounds

Based on advanced/expert terrain + snow quality & quantity
+ lack of people riding off-piste
Tenjindiara, Honshu - #1 rated ski resort in Japan for Powderhounds Kurodake - #2 rated ski resort in Japan for Powderhounds Minowa - #3 rated ski resort in Japan for Powderhounds

Be mindful that some of the Japan ski resorts that are amazing for powder hounds are not necessarily “resorts”, and may include some lift accessed backcountry and full BC that requires expert riding ability, route-finding skills and backcountry proficiency (and/or a guide).

Other resorts that we've rated highly for powder hounds are Geto Kogen, Hakkaisan, Lotte Arai, Charmant HiuchiTazawako, Aomori Spring and Piyashiri. However the best way to go powder hunting is to think more in terms of the best Japan ski regions, not individual ski areas, because many are too small to capture the attention of a powder hound for long. On a multi-resort guided Japan ski tour or a DIY skiing in Japan road trip, a greedy powder hound can sample many of the best Japan ski resorts. See the Japan powder skiing regions page for more information.

Best Overall Ski Resorts

Based on all elements inc. overall terrain, snow & services
Niseko - rated #1 overall best resort in Japan Nozawa Onsen - rated #2 overall best resort in Japan Furano - rated #3 overall best resort in Japan

Other top overall rated resorts include Myoko Kogen, Appi KogenRusutsu, Aomori Spring, Tomamu and Lotte Arai.

Other Awards for the Best Skiing in Japan

Skiing and Snowboarding

Japan Snow

Lots of Japanese ski resorts score full marks for the snow quality/quantity and likelihood of scoring fresh tracks. See the Japanese ski resort ratings for more information.

Best Japan ski resort for first-timers and beginners: 
Kagura has excellent beginner terrain, but it doesn't cater particularly well to international visitors whilst Aomori Spring only has private lessons available. Niseko is an excellent ski resort for beginners who don't speak Japanese because there are group or private ski/snowboard lessons in English, and the staff at the equipment rental shops speak English. Sahoro is also ideal for beginners if you stay at Club Med Sahoro where lessons are included (and same for Club Med Tomamu).

Other Awards for the Best Japanese Ski Resorts & Towns

Best Japan ski resorts for kids: 
Naeba and Joetsu Kokusai are very family friendly, but these ski resorts don't cater particularly well to international visitors. See our top family ski resorts in Japan page for information on resorts for children that don’t speak Japanese, where there are group ski/snowboard lessons, good beginner slopes, child care and plenty of kids' activities.


Tours and Activities

Cost & Value for Money

See our ski resorts in Japan ratings to see how Japanese ski resorts compare on various factors including the terrain, powder, apres and family-friendliness. 

Best Japan Ski Resorts - Readers' Reviews

These awards for the "best ski resorts in Japan" are based on the public reviews on Come and have your say on the top Japan ski resorts by reviewing and rating a ski area. Navigate to the Japan ski resort you want to review and click on the "add review" link in the left-hand-column. Put your vote in!

NB only Japan ski resorts with a minimum of 4 reviews were considered in the awards. Where there are equal scores, the resort with more reviews is selected as the best. 1 The top overall Japan ski resort is based on an average of the other above factors. 2 The best Japan powder skiing is the average of the scores for snow, uncrowded and off-piste.

Japan Hosted & Guided Multi-Resort Ski Safaris

If you are a powder junkie, a multi-resort and guided Japan ski safari could be the best way for you to get your powder fix. Once you have done one of these tours you will find it hard to ever go back to staying at one resort!

The larger resorts like Niseko get inundated with people all chasing that elusive powder. Meanwhile there are hundreds of smaller Japan ski areas which most people don't visit as they are too little to visit for more than a day or two before getting bored; however they have some amazing powder skiing with little or no competition to get to the Japow. A guide can get you to the good stuff fast and safely, and another bonus is that they can drive you from one location to another. 

Various tours are designed to cater to different abilities of skiers and snowboarders. 

For an indication of dates and availability, check out the Japan Ski Tours Schedule page.

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