A guide to skiing in Japan

Japan’s outstanding success as a ski destination can be summed up in one simple word – snow. We ask our ski experts the lowdown on this powder paradise.

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All ski holidays are provided by our partner Ski Independence.


Japan is a vibrant and culturally-diverse country with iconic scenery, but for skiers looking for amazing powder snow conditions, then quality – and quantity – of snow is the main reason you’ll want to travel here. We offer one resort in Japan on the northern island of Hokkaido, called Niseko. It’s easy to get to via Tokyo and offers incredible value for money when you factor in the guaranteed mega snow.

Chair lift in Hokkaido

If you want premium powder conditions in January and February, Niseko is one of the very few resorts in the world with a high probability of the white stuff. In our opinion, it’s also one of Japan’s best resorts. There’s a great choice of accommodation to rival the best in North America and a dining and après-ski scene big enough and diverse enough to satisfy all tastes and budgets. This is an unrivalled world-class ski experience like no other.

Ski runs in Hokkaido

This vast ski mountain is accessed from two different resort bases - Niseko Hirafu and Niseko Village. Niseko offers terrain to suit all ski abilities, including lots of off-piste action. It boasts an average of over 50 feet of snow every winter, dumped down from massive Siberian low-pressure systems. Skiing waist-deep powder here is not a ski movie myth, it’s a way of life.

Skiing and hot springs

With a peak season that stretches from December into late February, the premium powder snow conditions can persist into early March. The resort is dominated by nearby Mount Youtei, an extinct volcano, and there are several beautiful and natural hot springs (Onsen) to visit nearby. Niseko Hirafu offers a fantastic ski resort experience with funky bars, shops and restaurants offering traditional Japanese and western-style options to suit every palate; whereas Niseko Village has a developing upmarket village and après-ski scene, plus fantastic ski in/ski-out lodges.

Natural hot springs

How to get to Niseko

British Airways offers daily flights from London Heathrow to Tokyo, with an onwards connection on Japan Airlines to Sapporo. From there, it’s a two-hour private transfer to Niseko. There’s an impressive choice of accommodation, including good quality 3.5* hotels, 4* apartments and town homes, plus 5* luxury slope-side hotels. We can also arrange lift tickets, snow school lessons and equipment hire to help create your perfect ski adventure. 


We are proud to partner with Ski Independence, the UK’s leading ski specialist, to offer you the very best ski holiday experience. Find out more about Niseko, search for one of our ski experts or book an appointment in your local Kuoni store to find out more.

This feature was published on 8 November 2018. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print.

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