From the Yotei Valley in Hokkaido, through the untapped snow paradises of Tohoku, and to the magestic Japanese Alps of Nagano and Niigata, we work with the myriad of ski resorts that dot Japan’s mountainous topography. Here are a few that we highlight.
Zao Onsen, located near the western border of Yamagata city is a top Japanese mountain tourist destinations. Standing about 800 meters above sea level and among splendid mountains, this traditional hot spring village brings skiers from near and far to enjoy the juhyo or ice monsters, trees that are covered from top to bottom by ice and frost and create a magnificent spectacle.
Just west of Morioka City in Iwate prefecture is Shizukuishi. The resort is relatively small but used to host the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships back in the 90s. The allure of the mountain is the old Woman’s Super G course that has been converted into a cat ski course. More often than not, you will be able to enjoy waste deep powder, 4,500m of elevation on open field just for you and your friends.
Hakkoda Ropeway is situated about 23 km south of Aomori City. The main lift connects the Hakkoda Resort to the top of Hakkoda Mountains. Serviced by this single gondola, your guide can take you on a number of different off-piste lines. Come down the through the famous Hakkoda Snow Monsters as Hakkoda is really a heaven for back country enthusiasts.
Smack in the middle of the Tohoku region, towards the north western section of Iwate Prefecture lies Hachimantai Resort. The main attraction for this 2-in-1 resort is the Shimokura tree run area which opened recently and the backcountry tour which a professional can guide you. The tracks will be pristine because you will find hardly any other people at this off the beaten track resort.
Just west of Kitakami in Iwate prefecture is Geto Kogen, a ski resort known for its massive amounts of snowfall and off piste tree runs that are sparsely tracked.