Looking for places to ski and snowboard in Japan? Know that in the country there are more than 500 resorts for those who want to enjoy the Japanese winter by descending mountains on boards. In this article we are going to talk a little about Snowboarding and Skiing in Japan.
Not only the Swiss Alps live snow sports adventurers. Japan has proven to be a destination of impeccable beauty and quality for those who like to enjoy the cold skiing or surfing in icy mountains.
The land of the rising sun is recognized worldwide for having powdery snow. This characteristic may be related to the cold winds that blow during the winter, but that do not freeze the Japanese sea and constantly supply the surroundings with high levels of humidity.
The fact is that the perfect, tiny, soft and fresh snowflakes, quite different from the granulation common in blizzards in other parts of the world, make the skiing and snowboarding experience even more attractive. For this reason, these two sports gain strength among the tourist activities of the Japanese winter, which comprises the months of December to March, sometimes extending to April. During this period, the accumulated snow hovers at an average of 760 to 1,520 cm in thickness.
With the favorable environment, Japan invested in the extreme snow sports segment. Currently, there are more than 500 resorts that offer accommodation and access to mountains and slopes, for practitioners to have contact with nature and enjoy the ride in front of movie-worthy scenarios. Among the options in these destinations, there are stations aimed at children, young beginners and also for people with more skills and/or professionals in these modalities.
Most popular ski and snowboard spots
Although winter tourism in Japan is recognized among travelers and adventurers, there are still those who are completely unaware of the charms of snow activities in this country.
First of all, it is important to know the difference between skiing and snowboarding. Generally speaking, skiing tends to be more popular with practitioners and tourists of all ages. The sport consists of descending the snowy mountains using a board on each foot, with the help of poles to push or brake.
Snowboarding, on the other hand, has a slightly higher degree of difficulty and can be compared with skateboarding. Like surfing in the snow, the practitioner must balance himself on a single board and control the speed with his own body. Therefore, there is nothing better than getting to know the most popular regions among the public to start organizing a future trip and planning which of the two sports you will practice.
To get to this paradise island, there are two options: plane or train. The flight from Tokyo takes an average of 1 hour and 30 minutes. The train, in turn, takes 8 hours of travel, covering the 65 km of the 2nd longest railway tunnel in the world.
Upon arrival in Hokkaido, there are 450 km of slopes in the regions of Furano, Niseko, Rusutsu and Sahoro, where children and adults can experience skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding and snowshoeing.
The high season takes place in December and February, and surprises both amateur and experienced athletes. In Furano, for example, there is a vertical drop of about 950 m, very frequented by more skilled adventurers. The region even hosted important national and international ski and snowboard events, such as the FIS Downhill World Cup.
Whether to learn to ski/surf in the snow or to practice extreme sports with mastery, the Mount Zao, located in Yamagata Prefecture, is also known as the “snowboarding paradise”. This is because, in addition to the steep slopes, it has a unique view, with “snow monsters” formed by trees, which welcome the freezing snowfalls and assume unique shapes. At night, these “monsters” gain special lighting and ensure entertainment on both shifts.
Close to the coast of the Japanese sea, Niigata has one of the oldest ski resorts: Myoko Kogen, founded in 1930. For this reason, it sustains the atmosphere of old traditional villages, a factor that makes the tour even more special and compensates for the smaller amount of ski resorts. But in the same region is Yuzawa, which, in turn, is nicknamed the “land of snow”.
200 km from Tokyo and accessible by bullet train, Yuzawa guarantees fun for beginners with the slopes that lead to the city center and adrenaline for experienced skiers and snowboarders on the slopes that surround Mount Neba. Its location makes it a good day trip option for travelers who are short on time. Also because it is possible to go to the stations, have fun and return to the Japanese capital on the same day, as it takes about 2 hours to travel.
Visiting the Japanese Alps can be one of the best decisions when creating an itinerary for adventurers in the snow sports. Nagano undoubtedly deserves to be included, as it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998 and is just 2 hours away from Tokyo by train. In this location, there is no lack of stations that cover all skill and investment levels. In all, there are more than 800 km of varied trails.
It is evident that the popularity of this province is not limited to the historical event that it was the scene of. The altitude of 1,500 to 2,300 m and the extensive and diversified stations are irresistible attractions, especially for those who enjoy strong emotions. Among the most popular for visitors are Hakuba 47, Sanosaka, Goryu, Jigatake, Nozawa Onsen, Cortina, Tsugaike Kogen, Minekata, Norikura, and Kashimayari.
Tourism in Japan can go far beyond visiting temples and cosmopolitan centers. In addition to a lot of adventure, the ideal destinations for skiing and snowboarding also guarantee a considerable immersion in the culture and history of this country.