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11 best ski resorts in Hokkaido

One of the main reasons why people love to ski in Hokkaido is because of “Japow.”

Niseko is one of Hokkaido's most popular ski resorts. (Photo: Gettyimages)
Niseko is one of Hokkaido's most popular ski resorts. (Photo: Gettyimages)

Hokkaido, Japan, is renowned for its excellent ski resorts, thanks to their abundant snowfall and beautiful landscapes. The ski season in Hokkaido typically runs from late November to early May, although exact dates can vary from year to year, depending on snowfall patterns.

The prime time for skiing in Hokkaido is from late December to early February. While you definitely can’t go wrong during this peak season, it will also be extremely crowded. Alternatively, you can consider going sometime between mid-February and early March for spring skiing.

One of the main reasons why people love to ski in Hokkaido is because of “Japow,” a portmanteau of “Japanese powder.” It is a colloquial term used by skiers and snowboarders to describe the incredible powder snow conditions found in Japan.

This exceptionally dry powder snow, which is often light and fluffy, is highly sought after by winter sports enthusiasts because it provides a smooth and enjoyable experience for skiing and snowboarding.

If you haven’t finalised your winter plans, here are some of the best ski resorts in Hokkaido that you may want to visit. And if you are touring the Hokkaido region, don’t forget to get your JR Hokkaido Sapporo-Furano Area Pass.

1. Niseko United

Aerial view at dusk of night skiing in Niseko Village. (Photo: Gettyimages)
Aerial view at dusk of night skiing in Niseko Village. (Photo: Gettyimages)

Niseko is arguably the most famous ski destination in Hokkaido and is made up of four interconnected resorts—Grand Hirafu (Aya Niseko), Hanazono, Niseko Village, and Annupuri. It offers fantastic powder skiing and a vibrant international atmosphere. You can easily get there with the direct shuttle bus from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport.

Find out when is the best time to visit Niseko and the things to do.

2. Rusutsu Resort

Two skiers on the slope of Rusutsu Ski Resort skiing towards Mount Yotei. Mount Yotei is an active stratovolcano also known as Ezo Fuji because it resembles Mount Fuji. (Photo: Gettyimages)
Two skiers on the slope of Rusutsu Ski Resort skiing towards Mount Yotei. Mount Yotei is an active stratovolcano also known as Ezo Fuji because it resembles Mount Fuji. (Photo: Gettyimages)

Rusutsu is known for its extensive terrain and abundant powder snow. The resort also features a charming amusement park, making it a great family-friendly destination. You need not worry about transport as well since they have a direct shuttle bus from New Chitose Airport.

Book your stay at The Westin Rusutsu Resort: Booking.com | Trip.com | Agoda | HotelsCombined | Luxury Escapes

3. Furano Ski Resort

The Tokachidake mountain range seen from Furano Ski Resort on a sunny day. (Photo: Gettyimages)
The Tokachidake mountain range seen from Furano Ski Resort on a sunny day. (Photo: Gettyimages)

Furano is famous for its well-groomed slopes and beautiful tree skiing. It is a great option for both beginners and advanced skiers. Plus, you can get there effortlessly with the direct shuttle bus from New Chitose Airport.

Book your stay at Shin Furano Prince Hotel: Booking.com | Trip.com | Agoda | HotelsCombined | Luxury Escapes

4. Kiroro Ski Resort

Kiroro Ski Resort. (Photo: Gettyimages)
Kiroro Ski Resort. (Photo: Gettyimages)

Kiroro is known for its deep powder and uncrowded slopes. It is a bit off the beaten path, making it a peaceful destination for skiing and snowboarding.

Book your stay at Club Med Kiroro Peak: Trip.com | Agoda

5. Sapporo Teine

Located just outside Sapporo, Teine offers a convenient option for skiers and snowboarders staying in the city. It features a variety of runs for all skill levels.

Book your stay at Choine Hotel Sapporo Teine: Booking.com | Trip.com | Agoda | HotelsCombined

6. Tomamu Ski Resort

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu the Tower. (Photo: Trip.com)
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu the Tower. (Photo: Trip.com)

Tomamu is known for its modern facilities and excellent powder skiing. It is a great destination for families and couples.

Book your stay at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu The Tower: Trip.com | Agoda | HotelsCombined | Luxury Escapes

7. Asahidake Ski Resort

Asahidake is a mountain located in the town of Higashikawa, Hokkaido. (Photo: Gettyimages)
Asahidake is a mountain located in the town of Higashikawa, Hokkaido. (Photo: Gettyimages)

Asahidake is a backcountry paradise, with ungroomed slopes and abundant opportunities for off-piste skiing and snowboarding. It is ideal for advanced riders and those seeking a more adventurous experience.

Book your stay at La Vista Daisetsuzan: Booking.com | Trip.com | Agoda | HotelsCombined

8. Kurodake Ski Resort

Located in the Daisetsuzan range near the onsen resort town of Sounkyo gorge, Kurodake offers scenic skiing in the Daisetsuzan National Park. It may be a small resort but it offers beautiful surroundings and relaxing hot springs.

Book your stay at Sounkyo Kankou Hotel: Booking.com | Trip.com | Agoda | HotelsCombined | Luxury Escapes

9. Sahoro Resort

Sahoro is a family-friendly resort with a charming blend of well-groomed ski slopes and soothing hot springs. It is an ideal destination for relaxation and offers a tranquil winter retreat.

Book your stay at Club Med Sahoro Hokkaido: Trip.com | Agoda | HotelsCombined

10. Kokusai Ski Resort

People enjoying ski at Kokusai Ski Resort. (Photo: Gettyimages)
People enjoying ski at Kokusai Ski Resort. (Photo: Gettyimages)

Known for its breathtaking alpine scenery, excellent powder snow, and well-groomed slopes, Kokusai, which is a convenient one-hour drive from Sapporo City or Otaru City, offers a thrilling and picturesque winter sports experience for visitors of all skill levels.

Book your ski resort lift pass and equipment rental here.

11. Asari Ski Resort

A small ski resort located in the spa resort village of Asarigawa Onsen, Asari has a variety of ski and snowboard slopes, stunning mountain vistas, and a welcoming atmosphere. It is a perfect destination for both beginners and experienced riders seeking a memorable alpine adventure.

Book your stay at Otaru Asari Classe Hotel: Booking.com | Trip.com | Agoda | HotelsCombined | Luxury Escapes

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