Photo:Enjoy Snow Sports! Hokkaido’s 15 Best Snow Resorts: Access and Features
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Enjoy Snow Sports! Hokkaido’s 15 Best Snow Resorts: Access and Features

2022-03-31

As Japan's northernmost region, Hokkaido is without question home to some of the best skiing in Japan, if not the world. Niseko has become a global brand on the snow sports stage, with many others following close behind. Whether it's Sapporo-side snow resorts you're after or something more remote, luxury or budget, Hokkaido has a snow destination for you.

We introduce 15 of the best places to enjoy snow sports, especially skiing and snowboarding in Hokkaido.

Niseko Area

1. Niseko Hanazono Resort

Hanazono308.jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Hanazono Resort

What makes Niseko Hanazono Resort one of Hokkaido's premier ski destinations is its prime location. Positioned on the northeast of Niseko Annupuri, visitors can enjoy great snow conditions for a longer season (typically early December to early April).

The resort has twelve courses, one for advanced skiers, eight intermediate, and three for beginners.

Hanazono_EDGE_restaurant (1).jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Hanazono Resort

The resort is also home to luxury accommodation and stylish eateries. A must-try Niseko specialty is HANAZONO EDGE's crab ramen!

20220331152149-b5975e098f543343def0580ee6353a88a2133c2f.jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Hanazono Resort

In addition to English-speaking staff, Niseko Hanazono Resort has plenty of additional online information in English.

Website: https://hanazononiseko.com/en
Especially recommended to: intermediate skiers and snowboarders
Activities: skiing, snowboarding
2021 - 2022 Season: December 4, 2021 - April 4, 2022
Access: https://hanazononiseko.com/en/winter/resort/access
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

2. Niseko Village Ski Resort

51304859792_a1b4092164_c.jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Village Ski Resort

Niseko Village Ski Resort is one of Niseko’s prominent ski resorts located in Higashiyama Onsen, a hot spring area. The village has 30 courses from beginner to advanced levels, with the longest course running five and a half kilometers. With such a variety of options, it's a well-suited resort for all levels of skiers.

50508593857_e39f31a19f_c.jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Village Ski Resort

If you're serious about going to the next level with your skills on the slopes, the Niseko Village Snow School (NVSS) offers lessons for all levels, from beginner to advanced. Skiing lessons are also available for children.

20220331152342-4469e665709f429d6cce6dfdd69ad9eff43b9f22.jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Village Ski Resort

If skiing or boarding isn't quite your style, other winter sports like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and snow rafting are also available.

51306614430_460c2df5fa_c.jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Village Ski Resort

Niseko Village Ski Resort is open from December until April. With plenty of powder snow, hot springs, and four ski-in/ski-out hotels as well as several restaurants, it's the perfect retreat where you can enjoy the authentic Hokkaido winter escape.

Website: https://www.niseko-village.com/en/
Especially recommended to: all levels of skiers and snowboarders from beginner to advanced level
Activities: skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snow rafting
2021-2022 Season: December 3, 2021 - April 3, 2022
Access information: https://www.niseko-village.com/en/getting-here.html
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

3. Niseko Annupuri International Ski Resort

Annupuri - panorama photo-3 (3).jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Annupuri International Ski Resort

Open from early December to early May, Niseko Annupuri International Ski Resort is a go-to Hokkadio destination for skiers, snowboarders, splitboarders, and snow scooting enthusiasts.

The resort boasts such abundant dumps of snow that it's not rare for neatly pressed slopes in the morning to become carpeted in a generous layer of powdery fresh snow by lunch.

_R2A9118 (1).jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Annupuri International Ski Resort

The resort has 13 courses in total, with a maximum length of about four kilometres. The difficulty level of the course levels is divided into the following: 30% advanced courses, 40% intermediate courses, and 30% beginner courses.

20220331152600-3dac9660e4cfb957b2ea2f8757e28b0c46640a03.jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Annupuri International Ski Resort

There are lodging facilities and restaurants nearby, and the staff (many English speaking) recommend the local specialty Youtei pork curry, which is ideal when you want to warm up before or after a ride on the slopes.

Website: https://annupuri.info/winter/english/
Especially recommended to: all levels of skiers and snowboarders from beginner to advanced (beginner level courses 30%, intermediate level courses 40%, advanced level courses 30%)
Activities: skiing, snowboarding, splitboarding, snow scooting, and others.
2021-2022 Season: December 4, 2021 - May 5, 2022
Access information: https://annupuri.info/winter/
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

4. Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu

NisekoGrandHirafu (1).jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu

At Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding, snow scooting, chair skiing, chair snowboarding, splitboarding, and others. It is the largest ski resort in Niseko, an area famous for its powder snow. All the facilities within this ski resort have English-speaking staff.

There are 22 courses in total at Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu. Nine of them are beginner level courses, six are intermediate level, and seven courses are advanced level ones.

AYA Niseko.jpg AYA Niseko. Picture courtesy of Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu

There are several accommodation facilities with direct access to the slopes. Hotel Niseko Alpen is a well-established resort hotel where you can relax with a bath in natural hot springs or stone sauna after a day on the slopes. At the hotel restaurant, guests can enjoy exquisite dinner menus made with excellent ingredients from all around Hokkaido. AYA Niseko is a luxury condominium facility; every apartment is equipped with a kitchen and washing machine, making this facility ideal for longer stays.

MisoRamen.jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu

As for recommended cuisine to try at Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu, the Premium White Miso Ramen Special offered at King Bell Hut, which is located by the skiing area, is a must-try! Its rich and absolutely delicious topping consists of chashu pork, corn, and butter.

FrenchToast.jpg Picture courtesy of Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu

The French toast menu offered at Restaurant Slalom, which is located within Hotel Niseko alpen on the second floor, is also very popular. Only 10 sets are offered per day!

Website: https://www.grand-hirafu.jp/winter/en/gelande/
Especially recommended to: all levels from beginner to advanced
Activities: skiing, snowboarding, telemark skiing, monoskiing, chair skiing, chair snowboarding, dual skiing, snow scooting, splitboarding, and others.
2021-2022 Season: December 4, 2021 - May 5, 2022
Access: https://www.grand-hirafu.jp/winter/en/access/#map
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

Rusutsu Area

5. Rusutsu Resort

2020-21main.jpg Picture courtesy of Rusutsu Resort

Known by off-piste lovers as one of the best resorts in the area, the Rusutsu Ski Resort is a must-visit for those who like to go a little wild. The site has around 13 meters of annual snowfall, making it one of the most well-covered resorts you can find.

It's an easy day trip from Niseko if you're looking for a change of scenery, but with 37 courses that range from the white-knuckle black runs to wide, gentle, open plains for beginners, it's a great place to set up home base.

The scenery visible from the slopes in Rusutsu is breathtaking. Besides Mt. Yotei, which can also be viewed from Niseko, you can also see Lake Toya. We especially recommend this ski resort to everyone who wishes to enjoy the rich and diverse nature of Hokkaido. The Rusutsu Resort is easily accessible on a day trip from Niseko.

Moreover, the Rusutsu Resort has several accommodation and restaurant facilities, so it’s an excellent choice for a stay over two or several days.

Website: https://rusutsu.com/en/
Especially recommended to: all levels from beginner to advanced
Activities: skiing, snowboarding
Access information: https://rusutsu.com/en/shuttle-bus-winter/
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

Kiroro Area

6. Kiroro Snow World

7OLpiegZMyR8dUq1p97xWs9Gw--FjXEVTGN4JKfkFUqR5BY5ZX67KzkP_0CwVnO8ibBMRdAqUJYxh78Fezqy_EkGrCjuFNGaL1o9nDfQwm_Oan6iz9ky8APrW_ztWKb_OestNfKb.jpg Picture courtesy of Kiroro Resort

If you're the type of skier who cares as much about the off-slope lifestyle as you do getting on the chairlifts, then Kiroro Snow World could be the pick for you. This upscale destination resort offers luxury facilities and infrastructure, as well as, of course, excellent powder snow.

1.jpg Picture courtesy of Kiroro Resort

The Snow Village usually operates between late December and late March (*The Snow Park is open only until January.) Its ideal location makes it a great day trip spot from Niseko, Otaru or Sapporo. But if you want to take it slow and easy, it's best enjoyed over about three to four days, so you can try all the 23 runs, which are an equal spread of green, blue and black piste. Gear and wear rental are available on site.

nJeyrj59rHZ0Pn5KLSDQKkwnzjc576kwTUiUe9zJuSptNIB-IT01bgTby0ViJbpCxf8AcNtvVlGZp2Nm8dkN6HlsWCoPBfHyo7PBYvKHBVP_cQF_URieoh9XG_xP_30C6FU_lNBH.jpg Picture courtesy of Kiroro Resort

Kiroro Snow World boasts excellent dining options, including an Italian restaurant offering freshly baked pizza and dishes made with Hokkaido seafood and meat products, a sushi restaurant, and the Asian Kitchen, which offers Thai and Chinese cuisine.

Website: https://www.kiroro.co.jp/snowworld/
Especially recommended to: all levels from beginner to intermediate
Activities: skiing, snowboarding
Access: https://www.kiroro.co.jp/access-winter/
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

Otaru Area

7. Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort

noname.jpg Picture courtesy of Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort

Located on the outskirts of Otaru, the Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort is a great day trip spot for those who are more casual about skiing. Located on Mt. Tengu, the resort has six runs spanning a vertical of 410 meters, and the difficulty of the slopes is divided into the following: 50% beginner, 20% intermediate, and 30% advanced.

DSC_0010_BURST20220116094524646.jpg Picture courtesy of Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort

One of the biggest appeals of this resort is that the sea is visible from the ski slopes, offering a stunning panoramic view.

20220331153334-f283ea451d02d18403262ba5cf704d8cdfb5add1.jpg Picture courtesy of Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort

There are some lodging options within walking distance of the resort. The Tenguyama Ski Resort can be reached in about 15 minutes from Otaru Station by car, or by using the Tenguyama Ropeway (20 minutes from Otaru Station).

Website: https://tenguyama.ckk.chuo-bus.co.jp/tenguyama/en/summer/
Especially recommended to: all levels from beginner to advanced (beginner courses 50%, intermediate courses 20%, advanced courses 30%)
Activities: skiing, snowboarding
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

Chitose Area

8. North Snow Land in Chitose

20220331153409-28050592179036d1635fb7e56c13e93accf8cf72.jpg Picture courtesy of North Snow Land Chitose

At just 15 minutes from New Chitose Airport by car, North Snow Land IN Chitose is an ideally positioned resort with something different to the typical ski and board options.

20220331153441-e030d75b0369b9cf62f09c372f3122ab965c0de2.jpg Picture courtesy of North Snow Land Chitose

This park is dedicated to the non-skiers, offering tube sledding snow play all you can ride options for a bargain price. If you'd like to branch out, they also have Mini Snowmobile rental, four-wheeled buggy and snow rafting rental.

To fuel up, the locals recommend the jingisukan (lamb barbecue) set meal at the on-site restaurant.

North Snow Land in Chitose will be one of the venues of the Chitose - Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival between January 29 and February 23, 2022 (*1). The site will transform in a dreamlike scenery of icicles and ice sculptures that are colorfully lit up at night!

*1 The schedule may change or the festival may be canceled in the case a state of emergency is declared in Hokkaido.

Website: https://www.northsnowland.com/
Especially recommended to: families with children
Activities: tube sliding, mini snowmobiling, snow rafting
Access information: https://www.northsnowland.com/access/ (Japanese)
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

Sapporo Area

9. Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

DSC09990 2.jpg Picture courtesy of Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort, also known as Sapporo International Ski Resort, sits just on the outskirts of Sapporo City, making it an easy day trip destination for beginner and intermediate riders.

Of the site's seven courses, six of them are for beginner and intermediate level skiers and snowboarders and one course is for the advanced level. This ski resort may be on the more casual side, but while they may not be competition level slopes, the snow here is world-class and great for off-piste skiers.

9.jpg Picture courtesy of Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

The resort is open from late November to early May, and there's no on-site accommodation, but there are plenty of great restaurants available, serving up local and international fare.

Jozankei Onsen, one of Hokkaido’s famous hot spring resorts, is located close to this ski resort. Staying at a hot spring ryokan after a day on the slopes is one of the appeals of coming to Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort.

20220331153604-1d5d69bff7cd97fab9e529153d647ec20f6ba09f.jpg Picture courtesy of Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

Some of the recommended local specialties are the Kokusai Curry Ramen, the freshly baked pizza, or the soft-serve ice cream offered at the SKS International Cafe located on the summit.

Website: https://www.sapporo-kokusai.jp/en/
Especially recommended to: beginner level and intermediate level skiers and snowboarders
Activities: skiing, snowboarding
Access information: https://www.sapporo-kokusai.jp/en/access/
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

10. SAPOORO TEINE Ski Resort

20220331153631-7367835d07b348a3c02f81c6cab65b9e5112377f.jpg Picture courtesy of SAPPORO TEINE

SAPPORO TEINE, located on Mt. Teine on the outskirts of Sapporo, is especially famous for having served as the venue of the 1972 Winter Olympic Games. The cityscape of Sapporo and the Sea of Japan are visible from the summit, making this ski resort a favorite of those who wish to enjoy splendid scenery from the slopes.

There are 15 courses within SAPPORO TEINE. The Highland Zone is for intermediate and advanced level skiers, while the Olympia Zone is for beginners and can also be enjoyed by very young skiers.

19-123037.jpg Picture courtesy of SAPPORO TEINE

On three courses within the Olympia Zone, visitors can enjy night skiing. Hitting the slopes with the brilliant night city view of Sapporo is an amazing experience!

With SAPPORO TEINE being located right near the city, we suggest staying overnight at a hotel in Sapporo after a fun day of skiing and snowboarding. One of the appeals of this ski resort is that it gives visitors a chance to fully enjoy the food culture and nightlife of Hokkaido’s capital city.

Website: https://sapporo-teine.com/snow/lang/en/
Especially recommended to :beginner level and intermediate level skiers and snowboarders
Activities: skiing, snowboarding
Access: https://sapporo-teine.com/snow/lang/en/access/
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

11. Moiwayama Ski Resort

19-123038.jpg Picture courtesy of Sapporo Moiwayama Ski Resort

Moiwayama Ski Resort is the closest ski resort to Sapporo City, located on Mt. Moiwa. This facility is exclusively for skiers (*snowboarding is not allowed), which means that beginners can enjoy here safe and leisurely skiing.

08-123628.jpg Picture courtesy of Sapporo Moiwayama Ski Resort

There are 10 courses at Moiwayama Ski Resort, ranging from beginner level to advanced level off-piste courses. This facility is a popular choice for families with children because there are plenty of courses available for those who come to enjoy skiing for the first time. Besides the ski courses, there are also areas for sledding.

This ski resort is also popular among those who wish to enjoy the magnificent view of Sapporo at night. More than half of the courses are available for night skiing from mid-December until late March the next year.

20220331153925-4c9d558b601f1e31d8f2305234c39262c73c62b4.jpg Picture courtesy of Sapporo Moiwayama Ski Resort

The restaurants withing Moiwayama Ski Resort offer staple dishes commonly enjoyed in Japan’s ski resorts such as ramen noodles and curry rice. A very popular menu is the Katsu-curry (pork cutlet curry rice).

It’s very convenient to stay overnight at a hotel in Sapporo while enjoying the slopes at Moiwayama Ski Resort.

Website: https://www.rinyu.co.jp/moiwa/
Especially recommended to: beginner and intermediate level skiers
Activities: skiing, sledding
2021-2022 Season: December 23, 2021 - March 21, 2022
Access: https://www.rinyu.co.jp/moiwa/
Nearest airport: New chitose Airport

12. Sapporo Satoland

20220331154003-845dfc6bfefa684c594e7c4bc7927d24ec2c6e3c.jpg Picture courtesy of Sapporo Satoland

More of a snow park than a resort, Sapporo Satoland is an agricultural themed amusement park located in Okadama, Sapporo. It becomes a snow playground for families and day-trippers looking to enjoy Hokkaido's crisp winter days and family-friendly outdoor attractions in winter.

In January and February, Satoland becomes a snow park. The highlights include the tube-slider, banana-boat pulled by snowmobile and sightseeing vehicle by a farm tractor.

20220331154029-90295eb6c6c3faf827ee43da65dc62e9ce951c9e.jpg Butter making workshop. Picture courtesy of Sapporo Satoland

Visitors can also take part in fun workshops to make butter, miso paste, or tofu. These workshops are a great way to learn more about the local lifestyle and cuisine.

Website: https://www.satoland.com/
Especially recommended for: family outings
Activities: sledding, banana boat
Access: https://www.satoland.com/publics/index/298/
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport

13. Takino Suzuran World

20220331154059-83cc63cc096c21443acb95241e978c4ea111e534.jpg Picture courtesy of Takino Suzuran World

Situated just 50 minutes from Sapporo city, Takino Suzuran World is an easy option for those who just want to try a fun little snow-day trip when exploring Hokkaido's capital.

The park is open from April 20 until November 10 in the green season when its beautiful flower fields attract many visitors, and operates as a winter resort between December 23 and March 31. (*The park is closed from April 1 to April 19, and from November 11 to December 22 during the transit from the green season to winter and back.)

20220331154129-75ce97cf38527a33a269971ce977a09070ed9860.jpg Picture courtesy of Takino Suzuran World

The facility is compact, there's only one ski slope (snowboarding is also allowed) on-site, but for those just starting out, it's the perfect beginner option, as it's designed for first-time skiers and snowboarders. Nearby there's a sledding slope for non-skiers to enjoy too.

20220331154205-fb3eafd960d0de6649fb762483ef6876a2be0a72.jpg Picture courtesy of Takino Suzuran World

The Snow World has a snack corner, and you'll find a restaurant in the country house at the top of the ski slope, serving up comforting favorites like ramen, curry, and pizza. If you want to eat like a local, the most popular menu item in winter is Nabeyaki Udon, a hot pot noodle dish available at the Country House Restaurant.

Website: https://www.takinopark.com/
Especially recommended to: beginner level skiers, families with children
Activities: skiing, sledding, snowshoeing
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport (50 minutes by car)

Tomamu Area

14. Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU Ski Resort

20220331154232-cd67aa7745621b85ef6c50da6eaad651fec51296.jpg Picture courtesy of Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU

Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU Ski Area is a luxury countryside resort that is ideal for a leisurely winter trip.

20220331154253-bbadbd717f3dc067391ff325f4c8525d287b1404.jpg Picture courtesy of Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU

The facility features an impressive range of snow terrain for all levels of skiers from the beginner to the adrenaline junkie. There are 29 courses in total for boarders and skiers of all levels, including the powder area for expert skiers who like terrain that is more challenging.

20220331154312-a3af16084fd96bab6f5975b6ccc5bd507af0e76a.jpg Picture courtesy of Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU

There's also plenty of family areas, such as the sled parks and the Adventure Mountain. Between December to March, the site is home to the Ice Village, a mini ice city complete with an ice bar, an ice sweets shop, the Ice Chapel, a skate rink, and an ice slide, perfect for snow fun on and off the slopes.

Website: https://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/
Especially recommended to: all levels from beginner to advanced, as well as families with children
Activities: skiing, snowboarding, backcountry skiing, sledding
2021-2022 Season: December 1, 2021 - April 4, 2022
Access: https://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/access/
Nearest airport: New Chitose Airport (about 75 minutes by train), Obihiro Airport (about 100 minutes by bus and train)

Asahikawa Area

15. Kamui Ski Links

20220331154351-fe5e57d92e4663e20960bc6acf0ee7ddc7e2db7b.jpg Picture courtesy of Kamui Ski Links

Kamui Ski Links is an excellent resort option that sits on the western part of Asahikawa City and operates from mid-December to late March. Given its location in the inland area of Hokkaido, the snow is dry and has a much lower moisture content than the rest of Hokkaido, making for powdery snow, and perfect for both skiing and snowboarding.

20220331154433-3736b8eba10cef9bba0a7bd76473a0bf45a8cec3.jpg Picture courtesy of Kamui Ski Links

The resort is home to 25 courses: 32% beginner, 36% intermediate, and 32% advanced, and the longest course is about 4,000 m long.

20220331154505-a1b33ec314133670ce79ecb5686afcc86e3e7611.jpg Picture courtesy of Kamui Ski Links

There are restaurant and rest options on the summit and the mountain base. Some of the dishes that shouldn’t be missed here are Asahikawa ramen, Italian cuisine such as pizza and spaghetti, as well as a popular cafe menu. While there aren't any lodging facilities within the ski resort, you can stay at a hotel in Asahikawa and enjoy sightseeing in this exciting city famous for its local cuisine.

Website: https://www.kamui-skilinks.com/en/
Especially recommended to: all levels from beginner to advanced (beginner level courses 25%, intermediate level courses 36%, advanced level courses 32%)
Activities: skiing, snowboarding
Nearest airport: Asahikawa International Airport (about 30 minutes by car)

Enjoy Winter Sports in Hokkaido!

Hokkaido truly is a winter sports heaven! How about enjoying skiing, snowboarding, and other activities at some of the resorts introduced above? Each one offers different scenery, as well as delicious local cuisine that will make your experience unforgettable. Do come to fully enjoy the charm of Hokkaido in winter!

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