Kanto Travel Guide Winter

11 Best Ski Resorts near Tokyo

When it comes to skiing, Japan has a lot to offer. Most travelers will fly into Japan through Tokyo, but then where to? As it turns out, some of the best skiing in Japan is located near Tokyo.

The excellent snow and wonderful resorts played home to the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, and all of it was accessible from Tokyo in a matter of hours. This wonderful ski area offers a lot for all ages and skill levels, making it a great winter destination for families and athletes alike.

If you are not heading to Niseko for the best ski experience in Japan, here are eleven of the best places to ski near Tokyo:

1. Shiga Kogen in Nagano Prefecture

Shiga Kogen. Photo Credit: 一般社団法人志賀高原索道協会

Host of 1998 Winter Olympics, Shiga Kogen is a skiing dream. It has some genuinely great terrain for all skills levels, especially for those of intermediate ability.

Shiga Kogen is considered one of the largest ski areas in Japan. It comprises 18 different ski resorts with over 70 ski lifts!

There are English-language group classes available, which is uncommon in Japan. This is definitely a resort for those looking to hit the slopes, so many of the villages are built around hotels and there are few standalone restaurants.

Shiga Kogen is about 280 kilometers northwest of Tokyo. To get to Shiga Kogen from Tokyo, you can take a bus right from Tokyo Haneda Airport or take a bullet train to Nagano (1.5 hours) and then a direct bus to Shiga Kogen (70 minutes).

2. Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture

A stunning view of mountains and the ski resort. Photo Credit: Tetsuji Sakakibara at Wikimedia Commons.

Naeba is one of the most famous ski resorts in Japan. Many events are held here in both summer and winter every year.

The snowfall is excellent in this area and there are many lifts in the resort, as well as a connecting gondola to the nearby Kagura resort. There is also a snow park and childcare options available for families.

Stay your night at this hotel, which offers great restaurants, shops, and bars.

Naeba Ski Resort is located north of Tokyo. You can get there by taking a train to Echigo-Yuzawa Station along the Joetsu line.

3. ABLE Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort in Nagano Prefecture

Photo Credit: Goryu.

Winter in Hakuba offers plenty of outdoor activities for adventure lovers. Please note that the Hakuba Valley area comprises 10 ski resorts! 

Located in Hakuba village, this resort offers spectacular views during good weather. It hosted several events during the 1998 Winter Olympics.

The area has grown increasingly popular with overseas visitors, which means English is more common here than it is at many other Japanese ski resorts. There are a few snow parks here that are fun for kids, as well as childcare available at the main resort.

Located north of Tokyo, you can get to ABLE HakubaGoryu Snow Resort via the Hokuriku Shinkansen line through Nagano Station.

Hotel to stay: Pension Bonnard

4. Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort in Nagano Prefecture

Photo Credit: NOZAWA ONSEN.

Nozawa Onsen is located near a very charming traditional Japanese village. While there are excellent skiing and snowboarding trails here, especially with steep terrain that is rare in Japan, the highlight is the quiet village and its many hot spring baths.

Visitors might receive a bit of a culture shock, as the rooms and food are all quite traditionally Japanese. Be sure to book early, as this resort has become more popular in recent years.

Nozawa Onsen is about 249 kilometers northwest of Tokyo. You can get to the resort via a shuttle bus from Haneda or Narita Airport to Nozawa Onsen with Nagano Snow Shuttle, or take a train to Iiyama and then take a bus to the resort.

Hotel to stay: Residence Yasushi

5. Fujiyama Snow Resort Yeti in Shizuoka Prefecture

Photo Credit: Yeti.

Want to experience skiing in autumn near Mount Fuji?

This resort is unusual in that all of its snow is artificial. This allows the resort to be the first one in Japan to open almost every year (between mid-October and late October). You can often get an excellent view of Mt. Fuji from here.

The main part of the resort is actually located at the top of the hill and skiers and snowboarders go downhill from there. There are lots of other activities to be found for the whole family here, and the park is known for staying open late.

To get to Snow Town Yeti, take a JR Central train to Gotemba Station, then take a shuttle bus to the resort.

6. Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Area in Nagano Prefecture

Photo Credit: SEIBU PRINCE HOTELS WORLDWIDE INC.

Located near the famous Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza, this ski resort is a good fit for beginner skiers and snowboarders, making it a good option for families trying to teach their children the ins and outs of the sport for the first time.

The elevation is relatively low and the snowfall is unpredictable, so snow machines are often used.

The town of Karuizawa is very popular with Tokyo residents. You can take a bullet train to Karuizawa Station from Tokyo station. The ski area is located about ten minutes away from the station on foot.

If you have to stay a night near the ski resort, you should make a reservation at this hotel.

7. Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort in Niigata Prefecture

Photo Credit: GALA Yuzawa Corporation.

Unique among Japanese ski resorts, Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort has its own bullet train station, making it very easy to get to. Its high altitude means that this resort has a long season and excellent snow conditions, with several different areas for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.

You can find ungroomed courses in the Southern and Northern Area, while the Central Area and downhill course are groomed. The resort is lift connected to Yuzawa Kogen resort (via the Southern Area) and the Ishiuchi Maruyama ski resort (via the Northern Area). A snow play area was recently added.

To get to Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort, take the Joetsu Shinkansen line from Tokyo Station to the resort’s own station, Gala Yuzawa Station. This resort is a very popular day trip from Tokyo during the ski season.

Hotel to stay: Takahan

8. Fujiten Snow Resort in Yamanashi Prefecture

Skiing at the base of Mount Fuji would a great experience. Photo Credit: Fuji Kanko Kaihatsu Co.,Ltd.

This small ski resort can be found at the base of Mount Fuji. It is the larger of the two resorts found there (the other being Snow Park Yeti). There are ski trails here for every skill level of skier and snowboarder.

This is not the snowiest region in Japan, so snow cannons are occasionally used to coat the slopes in artificial snow. There is a snow park for kids, as well, where they can jump on trampolines, sled, snow-tube, and do fun things just playing in the snow.

You can get to Fujiten Ski Resort by taking a train to Kawaguchiko Station. The fastest train from Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko Station is the Fuji Excursion Limited Express train.

It takes about 30 minutes to get from the station to the resort by taxi.

Official website: Fujiten.net

9. Fujimi Panorama Resort in Nagano Prefecture

Photo Credit: 富士見パノラマリゾート

Also called Fujipara, this ski resort is found in the Fujimi town in Nagano. The weather here is very clear, meaning that sometimes the slopes need some help from artificial snow machines.

Interestingly, snowshoe trekking is a popular activity here, offering a break from doing runs downhill. There is also a fun children’s snow park with plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

To get there, take the JR Azusa Line from Shinjuku station to Fujimi Station (less than 2.5 hour ride), then take a shuttle bus for around 10 minutes to get to the resort.

Check their official website for ski opening date and more!

10. Lotte Arai Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture

Photo Credit: LOTTE ARAI RESORT.

This premium resort offers many off-piste ‘Free Riding Zones’ for more experienced skiers and snowboarders. Snow tubing and other family-friendly activities are available in the base area of the resort.

There are both Western and Japanese dining options available, as well as some beautiful hotel rooms. Lotte Arai Resort was voted Japan’s Best Ski Resort in 2020.

To get to the resort, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen train from Tokyo Station to Joetsu-Myoko Station, a short ride of 120 minutes.

From the west exit of the station, find the free Lotte Arai Resort shuttle bus to the hotel. The trip lasts about 30 minutes and the shuttle is only available only for hotel guests.

Hotel to stay: Lotte Arai Resort, Myoko

11. Norn Minakami Ski Resort in Gunma Prefecture

Photo Credit: Norn Minakami Ski Resort.

This compact park is a great afternoon winter getaway from the big city of Tokyo. With four lifts, a snow park, and late-night hours, it is a fun place to enjoy the snow for the whole family.

For a break from the slopes, try the Norn Minakami restaurants. Before you go, please make sure to check out its official website.

Norn Minakami is located only two hours from JR Tokyo Station. You can get there quickly on the Joetsu Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen Station, then taking a shuttle bus to the resort.

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