Many people may not even consider Japan has a ski destination, but for us Japan is one of our favourite winter destinations! 2019 was our second year in a row visiting this incredible country during the winter, and most definitely won’t be our last.

If you are thinking of heading off on a ski trip, we are here to convince you why Japan is the place to go! Check out our YouTube video below for our Japan ski experience, and keep scrolling for more info!


First Things First: Why Choose Japan?

The Snow!

Japan is known for having some of the best snowfall in the world! It is so fluffy and powdery, and it seems to stay that way all day long. It is also well know for having amazing conditions – with winter days in Japan being very cold, crisp and receiving a lot of snow fall throughout the night. This means you can expect to be greeted to fresh snow pretty much every morning.

The Food

One of our most asked questions is which country do we think has the best food, and Japan is one of our favourites. If you were looking for an excuse to eat ramen and noodles for breakfast, lunch & dinner then heading to Japan in the winter is perfect for you. After a day on the slopes, there is nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of udon noodles!

The Onsens

Japan is home to a countless amount of natural hot springs, and if you ask us these are best experienced in the winter. Wherever you may be visiting, if you google ‘onsen’ we are sure there will be at least one that will pop up in your area. We suggest looking for one that is outdoors, so you can take in the fresh, chilly air as you enjoy soaking in the hot waters.

During our travels in Japan spent the night at YUMENOI Hot Spring Hotel where they had the option to book in your very own private onsen which we can’t recommend enough!

Guide to Planning your Japan Ski Holiday

Get Good Travel Insurance

We always recommend quality travel insurance when travelling overseas, but even more so when snow sports are involved. You never know what can happen on the slopes, and having the peace of mind that help can be there if we hurt ourselves is important to us. Yes, we’re pretty confident on our snowboards, but we’ve also had some pretty entertaining stacks in our time. Thankfully there were no broken bones – just bruised bums!

We choose to use Cover-More Travel Insurance whenever we travel, because we know its hard-working medical and emergency assistance team can help us if we need – even on the mountain top!

Choosing your Ski Park

We love hitting up areas that have a more authentic, local vibe – with one of our favourite spots being Kannabe. In this area there are a bunch of slopes with amazing scenic runs where a lot of the locals come to enjoy the winter sports.

Three ski resorts in the area we recommend you check out are:

Up Kannabe: The perfect ski resort for beginners with nearly 80% of the park’s terrain being wide and with a gentle incline.

Oku-Kannabe: This resort is located about a 10 minute drive from Up Kannabe Ski Resort and has slopes for beginners up to advanced. If you are looking for a challenge this resort has a 3.1km long course that features a 35 degree slope.

Manba:  This resort is perfect for families as it has a spacious family slope and a moderate incline, ideal for families with children and first-timers.

You can find a bunch of information on these 3 ski resorts and more in the Kannabe area here.

When to Go?

The peak snow season in Japan is from December to February, and continuing into May at some resorts. To avoid the crowds (and getting cheaper lift ticket prices), we suggest heading on a Japan ski holiday in March or November. If you don’t want to risk the dwindling snow however, the best time to hit the slopes are mid-January to late February.

Extra Winter Activities we Recommend

BBQ Dinner inside a Snow Dome: This is hands down the most unique dinner experience we have ever had! Traditionally in Japan, the Kamakura (aka snow domes with a cave dug into them) have been used during the winter months for celebrations. In Kannabe, and many other areas in Japan, they have started to build these snow domes large enough to seat a group of people to enjoy a BBQ dinner inside!

It was such a unique experience cooking our own meal on little bbq’s inside a room made of ice – something you can not miss when visiting Japan during the winter!

Go Snowshoeing: Snowshoeing is an amazing way to explore Japan’s great outdoors. One of our favourite mornings during our winter getaway to Japan was when we were running through the thick snow and taking in the absolutely breathtaking scenery. It may look tricky at first, but after a few minutes you easily get the hang of it… and even if you fall, you are surrounded by soft snow to protect you!

Read more: Snowshoeing Adventure in Japan


Thanks to Cover-More Travel Insurance for partnering with Flying the Nest on this post!