Planning to ski or snowboard Japan’s awesome powder this winter? Early bird discounts offer a way to save huge amounts on lift passes. Depending on the resort, the price of a whole season pass might come to only a few days of lift passes purchased during the peak of the season.

Check the conditions. Sometimes, season pass holders get extra discounts and benefits, but there can also be restrictions on things like night skiing.

Hakuba Area

The Hakuba Valley is Japan’s top ski and snowboarding destination outside of Niseko, with multiple ski resorts and terrain to entertain everyone from beginners to back-country powder hounds.

Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field, Nagano, Japan
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field, Nagano, Japan | Photo by iStock/Stockphoto52
ResortPass typeEarly-bird PriceNormal PriceDeadlineOnline purchase
Happo-oneSeason (under 39)¥36,000¥45,000Nov 10Official website
Happo-oneSeason (over 40)¥70,000¥88,000Nov 10Official website
Hakuba IwatakeSeason (Adult non local)¥34,000¥49,000Dec 10Official website
Hakuba Goryu + Hakuba 47Early Bird (Adult)¥55,000¥70,000Sep 30Official Website
Hakuba Goryu + Hakuba 47Season (Adult)¥65,000¥70,000Nov 30Official Website
Tsugaike Mountain ResortSeason (Adult)¥43,000¥64,000Nov 30Official Website

Nozawa Onsen

While Nozawa Onsen is only a single resort, it’s enormous, so warrants inclusion by itself.

skiers at nozawa onsen
Photo by iStock.com/Umarin Nakamura
ResortPass typeEarly-bird PriceNormal PriceDeadlineOnline purchase
Nozawa OnsenSeason (Adult)¥68,000¥78,000Oct 31Official Website

Yuzawa

Roughly in the center of Honshu, Yuzawa gets massive amounts of snow due to the rain effect with a huge quantity of condensation from the Sea of Japan. Most of the resorts are easily accessible from the Jōetsu Shinkansen, and you can even ski right out of the station at Gala Yuzawa.

Suggested Activity
National Japan Rail Pass
The JR Pass is a 1 week pass that allows unlimited travel on Japan Rail lines throughout the country. This ticket is extraordinarily good value for long distance and inter-city travel. *Restrictions: Can only be purchased by temporary visitor visa holders not already in Japan. ...
ResortPass typeEarly-bird PriceNormal PriceDeadlineOnline purchase
Yuzawa NakazatoEarly Bird Season Pass¥25,000N/ANov 30Official Website

Myōkō Area

With comparable snow to Yuzawa, and the recent arrival of the Shinkansen, Myōkō has been rediscovered in recent years. There is a wide choice of resorts, and it is home to some of the cheapest and the most expensive lift passes in Japan.

Mount Myoko in Niigata Prefecture
Mt. Myōkō–an active volcano in Niigata. | Photo by Gregory Lane
ResortPass typeEarly-bird PriceNormal PriceDeadlineOnline purchase
Akakura OnsenSeason Pass¥35,000¥55,000Sep 30Official Website
Akakura OnsenEarly Bird 1-day (Oct)*¥3,500¥5,500Oct 31Official Website
Akakura OnsenEarly Bird 1-day (Nov)*¥4,500¥5,500Nov 30Official Website
Lotte Arai ResortSeason Pass (Economy)¥70,000¥100,000Official Website
Alpen Blick Ikenotaira Onsen Snow ResortSeason Pass¥22,000¥34,000Oct 30Official Website

* – Must purchase at least three passes.

Niseko

Niseko is the original gangster of powder snow resorts in Japan. With a flight into New Chitose followed by a slow bus or train into Kutchan or Hirafu, it’s not as easy to reach as some of the Honshū resorts. So, you might as well stay for as long as you can!

Snowboarders at Niseko
Niseko is famous worldwide for its excellent powder snow | Photo by iStock.com/7maru
ResortPass typeEarly-bird PriceNormal PriceDeadlineOnline purchase
Niseko United (All mountain)3 Day Early-bird¥16,400¥25,500Oct 8 to Oct 10, 2022Official Website
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