10 Best Ski Resorts in Hokkaido Japan: Feel The Thrill

Japan is a beautiful country with a vibrant culture. Multiple seasonal festivals and events are held here throughout the year, attracting visitors worldwide.

Winter is not an exception to this.

While visiting Japan in winter (December to February), don’t miss visiting at least one ski resort during your stay for an exciting and exceptional experience.

And for that, I will suggest you go to Hokkaido.

As the Hokkaido powder snow is renowned as the best quality snow in the world, you will find a number of ski resorts here.

Right now, I am here to introduce you to some famous ski resorts in Hokkaido, Japan.

Hokkaido’s Best Ski Resorts: Chill with Thrill

Hokkaido, the largest prefecture in Japan, naturally receives heavy snowfall in winter due to its location. As a result, many ski resorts have sprung up in its mountains and valleys.

Besides this, winter is longer in Hokkaido. So, you will get more time to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other snow activities.

Anyway, now let’s check out some well-known Hokkaido snow resorts without any further delay.

1. Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort

Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski resort is the biggest one among the four interconnected Niseko United ski areas.

Niseko Grand Hirafu Sunrise

It is popular not only among the Japanese but also among foreign visitors, especially Australians, due to its 5,600 m long-run slope and fine quality powder snow.

With more than a dozen chairlifts and a gondola, this resort will offer you access to extensive terrain, off-piste, side-country skiing, and snowboarding.

The adventure or thrill you will feel here will make you imagine yourself as the hero of a ski movie.

Hirafu, Niseko and Mount Yotei

Here you will find a unique international atmosphere with English-speaking instructors and staff and vibrant nightlife, packed with a massive range of restaurants, shops, cafes, and onsen.

Besides, Hirafu has multiple options to accommodate the needs of all types of travelers.

And if you are confused about whether to visit or not because of your naughty little kiddo, then this resort can make a way out for you.

Skiing at Niseko Grand Hirafu, Hokkaido, Japan

It is very family-friendly with child care, babysitting, kids’ lessons, and a play park.

There are not many Japanese ski resorts with a village where you can wander around and explore lots of restaurants and shops.

But exceptionally, this place is giving you that opportunity.

Niseko Grand Hirafu Resort

Another outstanding thing is that this world-class ski resort can bring a smile to your face if you are a food lover featuring cuisine from around the world.

Though the Grand Hirafu Ski Resort gets quite busy and crowded during peak holidays, it is definitely worth visiting once in your lifetime.

Information
Area: Niseko, Hokkaido.
Number of Courses: 30.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 40°.
Longest run: 5,600m.
Ticket: JPY3,600-4,300 (1day).
Equipment Rental: Available.
Player ratio : Ski (60%), Snowboard (40%).
English speaking instructor available.
Language: English.
Website: https://www.grand-hirafu.jp/winter/en/

2. Rusutsu Resort

Rusutsu Resort, one of the best ski resorts in Hokkaido, is the true paradise for Skiers and Snowboarders.

If you drive for two hours from Chitose airport, the main airport of Sapporo, you will get there easily.

Every season, its three mountains (East, West, and Isola) obtain around 12 to 14 meters of snow.

No matter whether you are a master or beginner, a wide array of ski trails varying in difficulty are available here to choose from.

They have 19 lifts, and you will be offered both ski rentals and snowboards.

Don’t worry about the language either. Of course, English-speaking instructors are there to assist you.

Ski Resort

So, pick your preferred option and enjoy the untouched powder snow in enormous snowfields with a magnificent landscape of mountains.

If you don’t want to go skiing, go for other available options, such as snow rafting, dog sledding, and snowmobiling.

See also  7 Most Popular Hot Spring Resorts In Japan

Besides the snow activities, the resort offers loads of facilities like restaurants, shops, hot spring baths, etc., to ensure a comfortable stay for its visitors.

You can dine in its two main hotels where different options are available for you.

With this plenty of amenities and an adventurous feel, you won’t feel like returning home from here.

Additionally, the Rusutsu Resort will allow you to access other tourist areas in Hokkaido, including Otaru, Sapporo, Lake Toya, etc.

So, visit nearby must-see places while staying at this resort to bring a little change to your vacation.

Information
Area: Rusutsu, Hokkaido.
Number of Courses: 37.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 40°.
Longest Run: 3,500m.
Tickets: JPY3,700-6,200 (1day).
Equipment rentals: Available.
Player ratio : Ski (50%), Snowboard (50%).
Instructions available in English, Chinese, and Korean.
Website: https://rusutsu.com/en/

3. Niseko Village Ski Resort

Don’t like to be in a crowd? Want a peaceful, serene escape from the restless daily life?

Then don’t hesitate and go skiing at Niseko Village Ski Resort, where it is a little quieter and less crowded.

Niseko ski village

Though it is being called Niseko Village, it is not like a village actually where you can wander around and explore plenty of shops and restaurants like you would do in Hirafu.

The second-largest ski resort in Niseko, Niseko Village is popularly known for having dynamic and entertaining courses with many steep slopes and wild courses for skilled skiers.

Niseko

However, don’t worry if you are a beginner. The resort has now opened a ski area for beginners also.

So while being popular with the pro, now it is equally famous among the beginners due to the varied beginner slopes, predominance of ski-in ski-out accommodation, and English speaking instructors for both children and adults.

Snowboarder at a Ski Resort in Niseko

Like the other Niseko ski areas, its snow is also exceptionally fine and fantastic, and around 18 meters of powder falls here per season.

One thing I want to mention here is that if vibrant nightlife is your high priority, this is probably not the area for you.

Information
Number of Courses: 27.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 35°.
Longest run: 5,100m.
Ticket: JPY5,500 (1 day).
Equipment Rental: Available.
Player ratio : Ski (65%), Snowboard (35%).
Website: https://www.niseko-village.com/en/

4. Niseko Annupuri Ski Resort

Like the rest of the ski resorts in Niseko, the snow quality and quantity of Annupuri are impressive as well.

Skiers and snowboarders all around the country consider Niseko as the place to go for powder snow. It is perfect and allows skiers to drift easily along the slopes.

Mount Yotei, Niseko Hokkaido

If you are not a pro and want some smooth skiing experiences, this is the place where you should head to.

Here you will find mostly wide and gentle slopes, which makes it suitable for beginners and intermediate guests.

Moreover, riding its quad chair lift will seem dreamlike to a newbie like you as it accesses some excellent mellow slopes.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t travel here with your friend who has an immense proficiency in skiing.

It also has off-piste areas for experts to enjoy.

Anyway, total 13 ski runs are available in Annupuri, ranging from 6-degree slopes for kids to 24-degree slopes in deeper snow areas with woods.

Niseko Annupuri

The convenient thing about this ski resort is that it is cheaper than other parts of Niseko while offering access to what is arguably the best Niseko side-country terrain.

You can even enjoy the view of Mt. Yotei on a clear day with its long-cruise courses.

Best experience at a lower cost! What a great combo!

In addition to the above, visitors always praise this resort’s high-quality services and facilities.

What more you can get here is plenty of hot spring hotel facilities. So, don’t forget to soak in a hot spring bath after the tiresome skiing.

Information
Area: Niseko, Hokkaido.
Number of Courses: 13.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 34°.
Longest run: 5,600m.
Ticket: JPY4,100 to 8,100 (1 day).
Equipment Rental: Available.
Player ratio : Ski (65%), Snowboard (35%).
Website: https://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/map/annupuri/

5. Furano Prince Snow Resorts

Furano Prince is another excellent ski resort in Hokkaido, where you can have a pleasant time with your family or loved one.

See also  10 Best Beach Resorts & Hotels in Japan

If I compare this resort to the most popular resorts like Rusutsu or Niseko, I have to admit that the facilities here are a bit limited.

Night view in Furano

However, you cannot question the quality of snow powder as it has the same delicate characteristics as the other places.

Also, the stunning scenery of the vast land of Furano and the mountain range of Daisetsu are something so exceptional that others can’t compete.

This snow resort consists of 2 zones, Furano and Kitanomine, with 23 trails in total. At the bottom of each area, there are two ski-in ski-out Prince Hotels.

Furano snow mountain in Hokkaido

With the 101 passengers Furano Ropeway of this resort, you can reach the crest directly to enjoy the great view of the Daisetsu Mountain Range, which I mentioned earlier.

Besides, you will find hot springs near the ski areas for relaxation after a hectic day.

Apart from that, Furano is an amazing place to explore, and the weather here is also more mild and moderate, which is a bonus.

Furano, Hokkaido, Japan

So, while being in this resort, I recommend you visit the neighboring town Biei, one of the must-see places in Japan, to enjoy the best sightseeing experience.

Information
Area: Furano, Hokkaido.
Number of Courses: 24.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 34°.
Longest run: 4,000m.
Ticket: JPY5,500 (1day).
Equipment Rental: Available.
Player ratio : Ski (70%), Snowboard (30%).
Instruction in English is available.
Website: https://www.princehotels.com/en/ski/furano/

6. Furano Ski Resort

Are you interested in the driest and lightest snow powder in Japan?

Furano Ski Resort is one of the renowned snow resorts in Hokkaido, where you can make this wish come true.

It receives an average of 9 meters of seasonal snowfall.

Located in a town well-known for its flowers and television dramas, this resort offers exciting activities for the cold winter months.

Furano in Japan

The experience you will have here is a bit quieter but even more family-friendly than many other Hokkaido ski resorts.

If you are planning for a multi-day snow trip with your family, this resort will be your dream destination as there are lots of varied runs and other family-oriented snow attractions.

furano,Japan

In addition to snowboarding and skiing, it will offer a Family Snowland where you can try other snow activities, such as snowmobiling, snow rafting, parasailing, and dog sledding.

To experience something different, you can also go cat skiing and heli-skiing.

The ski resort consists of two linked peaks, each offering long, fast runs that have been used for World Cup races.

Furano, Japan Winter

You will also find a number of wider and gentler slopes that are suitable for beginners.

In case you want a more advanced or adventurous experience, terrain parks, downhill courses, and a half-pipe are also here for you to serve that purpose.

Besides, backcountry trails are also available for visitors.

Skiing here will be so much fun for you as this resort is very much well-known for its stable weather.

Information
Area: Furano, Hokkaido.
Number of Courses: 23.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 34°.
Longest run: 4,000m.
Ticket: JPY3,500 to 6,000 (1 day).
Equipment Rental: Available.
Website: http://www.snowfurano.com/resort.htm

7. Tomamu Ski Resort

Located in the south of Sapporo, Tomamu is a high-class, modern ski resort in central Hokkaido.

Like the previous one, this Hoshino ski resort is also very family-friendly and self-contained, which makes this place ideal for a family vacation.

This picturesque ski resort receives an average of 14 meters of annual snowfall.

Tomamu Resort In Winter

You will get a wide range of trails to choose from as this resort comprises a large area, including two mountains.

There are slopes, groomed trails for beginners.

However, don’t get upset if you are a pro.

Expert runs, a well-maintained terrain park, and sanctioned tree skiing are also available within resort boundaries for enthusiasts skiers.

Wait! Don’t want to limit your enjoyment only with skiing?

Okay! Keep it aside for now and see what more it is offering you!

Visitors here can also go night snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, snow rafting, backcountry tours, paraskiing, dog sledding, banana boating, enjoy the indoor beach, or visit the Tomamu’s illuminated Ice Village.

See also  10 Best Beach Resorts & Hotels in Japan

Do you need more? Well, luckily, this is not the end.

Here you will also get multiple accommodation options, a large indoor wave pool, upgraded hot spring facilities, good spa and massage services, and a few nice restaurants.

Since there are lots of things to do, it can be a perfect destination for a multi-day ski trip.

Anyway, be noted that there are a minimal number of English-speaking instructors available.

Information
Area: Central Hokkaido.
Number of Courses: 29.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 35°.
Longest run: 3,300m.
Ticket: JPY5,400 (1 day).
Equipment Rental: Available.
Website: https://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/

8. Sapporo Teine Ski Resort

If you are looking for Hokkaido ski resorts near Sapporo, you can consider visiting Sapporo Teine Ski Resort.

It is the most accessible ski resort from Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido.

It is situated only 40 minutes away from downtown Sapporo, which was built in 1972 for the Sapporo Winter Olympics.

Surprisingly, you will still find the platform for the Olympic flame on the site.

skiing at Sapporo

Rentals and lessons are both available at this resort. It offers various courses for different levels with two separate zones.

Some of the pro-level ski courses were even used for events at the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics.

Here you will see a large number of trails for skiers of all skill levels.

If you have skiers and snowboarders of many different skill levels in your family, Sapporo Teine will be a great choice for you.

Besides skiing, you can also enjoy snow sledding and the kids’ park.

Different dining options are also there for you as well.

So, altogether, this resort can be a perfect place for your day trip from the city to have an unforgettable experience on the sacred land of the Olympics!

Information
Area: Sapporo, Hokkaido.
Number of Courses: 15.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 38°.
Longest run: 6,000m.
Ticket: Around JPY5,200 (1day).
Equipment Rental: Available.
Player ratio : Ski (60%), Snowboard (40%).
English instruction is available.
Website: https://sapporo-teine.com/snow/lang/en/

9. Kiroro Ski Resort

Kiroro is a medium-sized ski resort spreading over two mountain peaks. Here you will find 23 runs in total, with an equal spread of green, blue, and black piste.

Even though a third of the slopes are marked as black, the on-piste terrain is not particularly challenging. Instead, it is well-suited to beginners and intermediates.

Mountain snow at hokkaido

Anyway, backcountry gates have also been introduced to Kiroro to let the visitors reach off-piste terrain for a truly exceptional and challenging experience.

Just like other Hokkaido ski resorts, the quality of the powder is outstanding.

The Kiroro backcountry offers phenomenal powder rewards if you are willing to skin.

With a fantastic lift infrastructure, the Kiroro Ski Resort is a good choice if you prefer to go in the early season with your family.

Lots of kids’ activities are available here, with kids’ group ski and snowboard lessons in English.

And for accommodation, Kiroro has two hotels that provide a high standard of ski-in ski-out lodging and an array of facilities.

Mountain snow at hokkaido With Tree

Don’t think that the activities here are only limited to skiing and snowboarding!

This resort has many winter activities to offer its visitors.

Those activities include snowshoe tours, snowcat sightseeing tours, snow tubing, and sledding.

Otherwise, you can spend time in the games arcade, play billiards or get in touch with some Japanese culture by karaoke.

And if you wish for some relaxation after a busy day, Kirora has a lot more to provide you.

There are a few onsens with indoor and open-air hot spring baths, a swimming pool, and a day spa for that.

Information
Area: Akaigawa Village, Hokkaido.
Number of Courses: 23.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 36°.
Longest run: 4,050m.
Ticket: JPY2,500 to 4,000 (1day).
Equipment Rental: Available.
Instruction is available in English.
Website: https://www.kiroro.co.jp/

10. Sahoro Ski Resort

Sahoro is a relatively calmer ski resort, where you can reach within two and a half hours from Chitose airport.

It is well-known for its sunny days and is considered a top family-friendly ski resort like some others on our list.

No matter what type of trail you want – beginner, intermediate, and expert level, all types are available here at this resort.

Rentals and lessons facilities are also available, but a downside is there are no English-speaking instructors.

Hokkaido Ski Resort

It has seven lifts and one gondola.

Vertical drop is limited at Sahoro Ski Resort, though you will find a lot of terrains.

The rental equipment you will get here is fairly standard. They are not particularly diverse but very well kept.

And to dine in, there are three restaurants to choose from in the resort area: French, Japanese, and Izakaya, including one cafe.

Even Japanese fast food is also found at the Sahoro Gondola Station.

Along with snowboarding and skiing, you can also enjoy air boarding, ice fishing, and snowshoeing.

Information
Area: Hokkaido.
Number of Courses: 21.
Maximum Slope Gradient: 39°.
Longest run: 3,000m.
Ticket: JPY4,600 to 5,800 (1day).
Equipment Rental: Available.
Website: https://sahoro.co.jp/winter/ski?lang=en

Well, here are some of the best ski resorts that can provide top-class experience to make your skiing in Hokkaido unique and special.

Hopefully, you don’t have any questions regarding this topic.

Then, let’s end it here.

Conclusion

By this time, you have a broad idea about the 10 best ski resorts in Hokkaido Japan.

At least you should visit one of them to make your Japan winter trip a blissful and exciting one.

So, choose as per your preference and add them to your bucket list.

Have a good time.

Frequently Asked Question:

Due to heavy snowfall and great snow quality, a few ski resorts have sprung up in Sapporo. These ski resorts are easily accessible by bus or train within just 30 minutes to a maximum of 1 hour.

Some nearby ski resorts are Sapporo Teine Ski Resort, Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort, Snow Cruise Onze, Sapporo Bankei Ski Area, and Sapporo Moiwayama Ski Resort.