There are heaps of amazing slopes all over Honshū and Hokkaidō (like Niseko), but in this article we’re focusing on ski and snowboard resorts in Japan near Tokyo — and we’re capping it at the “a few hours away” mark.
While skiing and snowboarding near the metropolis may not be cheap, with careful planning, a few days of winter adventure can be had without breaking the bank. Bonus: many ski resorts in Japan also have onsen nearby — perfect for a relaxing soak after a day of intense activity on the slopes.
Also you might like to watch our snow sports in Japan YouTube video, which covers ski resorts near Tokyo:
Dec. 9, 2022 until May 7, 2023 (Happo One)
4 hrs from Tokyo
Famous for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics, this ski town in Nagano prefecture is located in the Northern Alps and has good powder, plenty of resorts (around a dozen), and hot springs galore. The trip from Tokyo takes about 4 hours (by car, or by bullet train + bus).
A one-day lift ticket at Happo One, the area’s largest resort, goes for ¥6,500, or ¥6,300 if purchased online. Learn more about skiing options in Hakuba.
2. Shiga KōgenNagano
Dec 3, 2022 until May 7, 2023
3 hrs from Tokyo
We love Nagano, and this sprawling ski resort has a special place in our stingy hearts. Made up of 21 separate but interconnected resorts, Shiga Kōgen has a huge variety of options for snow riders of all capabilities. Some of the slopes were used in the 1998 Winter Olympics (those ones scare us).
A one-day lift pass, which gives you access to the whole area (and its network of shuttle buses), will set you back ¥6,500, while a week-long pass costs ¥42,500. Learn more about skiing and snowboarding in Shiga Kōgen, as well as how to get there from Tokyo.
There are plenty of hot springs to relax in, too. And Japan’s famous snow monkey onsen is not too far away either!
3. Nozawa OnsenNagano
Dec. 13, 2022 until May 7, 2023
3–4 hrs from Tokyo
Yet another Nagano favorite, this spot also helped host the 1998 Winter Olympics. True to its name, Nozawa Onsen has a multitude of hot springs where visitors can soak away the day’s aches and pains. Public onsen called soto-yu, which are housed in little shacks and sprinkled around town, can be used free of charge.
As for the slopes, Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort is a popular place for snow lovers, as it boasts a 297 hectare ski area. One-day lift tickets go for ¥6,000, while a season pass costs ¥77,500 and a half-day pass costs ¥5,100. Learn more about skiing at Nozawa Onsen.
The trip from Tokyo takes about 4 hours by car or 3 hours by the fastest combination of public transportation (the Hokuriku Shinkansen plus a bus).
4. BandaiAizu, Fukushima
Dec. 23, 2022 until Mar. 26, 2023 (Alts)
3–4 hrs from Tokyo
This beautiful resort area in Fukushima prefecture is home to Mt. Bandai, host of several ski resorts. In addition to skiing, nearby attractions include the lovely Lake Inawashiro and Goshiki-numa (five smalller volcanic lakes in the Bandai Highlands).
A one-day lift ticket at Alts Bandai, with 22 courses ensuring something for everyone, goes for ¥4,900. Other resorts include Nekoma, which is good for intermediate and advanced skiers, and Inawashiro.
Dec. 17 2022 until Apr. 4, 2023
2 hrs from Tokyo
Mt. Naeba in Niigata prefecture is tucked deep in the mountains and offers some really wonderful powder. The Naeba area includes nearby Kagura Ski Resort, linked by a 5.5 kilometer gondola. The best powder is to be had at Kagura, due to its higher elevation.
A one-day Naeba lift pass costs ¥6,000 while a joint ticket for Naeba and Kagura costs ¥7,000.
While we’re talking about Naeba, GALA Yuzawa is not even 20 km away — and makes for a super easy, affordable day trip from Tokyo.
Dec. 10, 2022 until Apr. 2, 2023 (Akakura Onsen)
3 hrs from Tokyo
Located in the southwest corner of Niigata Prefecture, just to the north of Nagano City, towering Mt. Myōkō has four resorts on its slopes: Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Suginohara Onsen, and Ikenotaira Onsen. There are also resorts on nearby mountains that lie within Myōkō City, most notably Lotte Arai Resort.
Compared to tourist-soaked Hakuba and Niseko, Myōkō is relatively undiscovered by foreign tourists. Given the massive amounts of powder for which the area is famous, this shouldn’t last forever. A one-day lift pass at Akakura Onsen — the biggest of the area’s resorts — is a relatively cheap ¥4,900. There are lots of good value rental shops in Akakura Onsen village as well.
Myōkō-kōgen Station, with easy access to the ski resorts in the area, is only 3 hours from Tokyo via the Hokuriku Shinkansen and the Kita-Shinano line.
7. Mount FujiYamanashi
Oct. 21, 2022 until Mar. 31, 2023
2–3 hrs from Tokyo
If ambiance is more important to you than powder, you can always try Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi prefecture. There are two resorts on the famous mountain, albeit with man-made snow for part of the year. The family-friendly and amusingly named Fujiyama Snow Resort Yeti has five small-ish slopes and a kiddie area, while Fujiten is a bit larger.
At about 2 to 3 hours from Tokyo, this is a good bet for a close-by beginner or intermediate day of fun.
Nov. 3, 2022 until Apr. 2, 2023
90 mins from Tokyo
Karuizawa is another option not far from Tokyo in southern Nagano prefecture. One of the Prince Snow Resorts, Karuizawa is geared towards beginner and intermediate boarders and skiers. There are 10 runs, with the longest being 1.2 km.
A one-day lift pass can be purchased online and costs ¥7,500 in peak season. When it comes to travel time, it’s one of the closest ski resorts near Tokyo, taking around 90 minutes on the bullet train (plus a 10-minute walk or a free shuttle ride to the resort).
Sorry, I’m still stuck on Niseko…
Possibly the most famous resort in Japan — especially among Australians — Niseko is located on the northern island of Hokkaidō. It’s home to meticulously maintained family-friendly ski fields, landscapes perfect for backcountry ski adventures, and plenty of powder snow. All of Niseko’s ski resorts are located on Mt. Niseko-Annupuri. The major resorts — Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, Niseko Hanazono, and Annupuri — take over the southeastern half of the mountain, making this side the best place to begin.
You can also pick up a Niseko All Mountain Pass, which will give you access to all four resorts for the day. The pass costs ¥8,500 per adult (¥5,100—¥6,800 for children depending on their age). Learn more about skiing in Niseko.
While it is not geographically close to Tokyo, you can get to Niseko from Tokyo in about five hours — so a half-day or so — if you fly (or a whole day by train).
Many thanks to Axel Lieber for his valuable input.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change at any time. First published in December 2014. Last updated in November 2022 by Maria Danuco.