The rise of Japan as a popular destination for skiing has been foretold, with experts such as Sarah Plaskitt praising its immaculate powder, its exquisite cuisine, and its relaxing Onsen (Hot spring). Skiing in Japan is a relatively cheap expedition, as everything is cheaper here than in the Americas or Europe. Starting from rental gear and accommodation in Japanese ski resorts, all the way down to food and beverages, the average price of commodities in this developed nation is lower than the global average.
As a skiing destination, Japan is split both geographically and culturally into the Hokkaido and Honshu regions. The Hokkaido region in the North is considered much more westernized and has much better infrastructure. It has many more English speaking nationals than the Honshu region, exquisite international cuisine, and world-renowned restaurants such as the Park-Hyatt, Westin and the Hilton. On the topic of Japan ski resort however, Nieko, Rusutsu and Kiroro top the charts.
- Niseko is home to the most developed of ski resorts in the country, with numerous ski trails and a very international feel.
- Rusutsu is the largest of all the ski resorts in Japan, and with its year round snowfall, it continues to be a preferred destination for tourists.
- Kiroro is the best off-piste skiing destination, and individuals must be prepared with avalanche gear and radio transceivers to stay safe in this part of Hokkaido.
The Honshu region of the other hand has a much more traditional Japanese feel, as it houses two of the largest cities in the world, Tokyo and Osaka. Commute from Tokyo to the various ski resorts in Nagano is quite cheap, coming in at about $100 per head at the most. Most of the housing options in Nagano come in the form of ryokans (traditional Japanese lodges), and there is a definitive lack of English speaking individuals here. The popular ski resorts here include Madarao, Shiga Kogen and the NozawaOnsen.
- Madarao is home to some of the most exquisite gladed slopes in the world, and was a pioneer in this aspect. Most of the other Japan ski resort followed Madarao and began to glade their trails to attract new customers.
- Shiga Kogen is a popular destination for skiers as it has held multiple Olympic Winter Games’ events and receives ridiculously large amounts of snow.
- Nozawa comes in as the most popular destination in the Honshu region because of its Onsen. The NozawaOnsen has grown exponentially in popularity due to its hot springs and its tendency to retain authentic Japanese culture.