5 Best Ski & Snow Destinations In Japan For The Ultimate Winter Holiday, According To HotelPlanner

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Are you ready to book your next amazing ski and snow adventure? Look no further than Japan, which receives more snowfall than any other country. Japan is the perfect destination for those longing for breathtaking mountain landscapes, exotic food, and relaxation. The luxury ski resort scene in Japan is more enticing than ever, offering world-class amenities and experiences that cater to every skier, snowboarder, and ‘après-skier.’ From lavish accommodations to gourmet dining and spa treatments, these top five luxury snow and ski destinations offer the perfect mix of upscale offerings and breathtaking aesthetics for all ages.

Appi Kogen, Iwate

Awarded “Japan’s Best Ski Resort” at the 2022 World Ski Awards, Appi Kogen boasts some of the most consistent and abundant snowfall in the country, ensuring excellent skiing conditions throughout the season. A wide range of meticulously groomed slopes are offered for all ski levels, in addition to ungroomed runs and off-piste terrain. The sheer variety of slopes available is perfect for families and groups with differing levels of expertise. Beyond skiing, the resort provides a range of activities and entertainment options, such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hot springs, and bathing facilities called ‘onsen.’ For those looking to experience the natural beauty of Iwate Prefecture, Appi Kogen even offers a guided nature tour where they will show you the most picturesque mountain vistas in the area.

Hakuba, Nagano

Nestled just outside the city of Nagano, Hakuba has earned its reputation as the Japanese Alps’ premier luxury ski destination. Hakuba Valley, which also includes neighboring cities of Omachi and Otari, is home to 10 amazing resorts well suited for beginners and intermediates. The village boasts a rich history and stunning views, once being a part of the Salt Road in ancient Japan, which was used to transport salt from the ocean to central Honshu. For more advanced skiers, the Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium is the perfect place to challenge yourself with the 90-meter and 120-meter jumps, where the ski jumping combined events were hosted for the 1998 Winter Olympics. Scattered with a range of accommodations, restaurants, and nightlife, Hakuba is one of the most popular destinations for ski enthusiasts and international visitors.

Niseko, Hokkaido

Niseko is located on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, which is fed mostly by a Siberian weather front, which guarantees a high volume of snow typically falling from November to March. With its legendary powder snow, Niseko offers an exceptional skiing and snowboarding experience. Luxury resorts such as Annupuri, Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu, and Hanazono, make up the main ski area known as “Niseko United”. Long courses can be found all throughout the town including exclusive backcountry access. For visitors looking for more upscale accommodations, the area comprises ski-in and ski-out chalets where you can indulge in world-class dining and have a more intimate vacation with unique aprés-ski activities, all while enjoying Niseko’s bustling atmosphere.

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Zao Onsen, Yamagata

Zao Onsen Ski Resort is one of the top spots for acidic hot springs in Japan. Also called “Springs of Beauty,” the rejuvenating water is the ideal therapy for a long day in the snow. A variety of public hot springs and foot baths are available, as well as five facilities that offer private spa experiences for visitors wanting to escape the crowds. In addition to enjoying the onsen, tourists can explore stunning icy figures throughout the Zao mountain area. “Snow Monsters,” or snow-covered trees that create surreal and magical landscapes, make for an enchanting backdrop for winter sports enthusiasts. These towering monster-like figures come from the perfect combination of winter weather and Zao’s high altitude.

Furano, Hokkaido

Also located on Hokkaido, Furano is a beautiful town known for its serene landscape and quieter, more exclusive ski experiences. Boutique hotels and resorts with a focus on personalized service are great for couples or small groups seeking serenity and an intimate skiing experience. While famous for its lavender fields, poppies, lilies, and sunflowers, in recent years, Furano has become increasingly popular for nature lovers in the winter season. The Furano Ropeway is open all year round and offers a beautiful, panoramic view of the snow-filled valley. For luxury travelers, Furano is perfect for skiers who want to enjoy the tranquility of Hokkaido’s countryside and a more authentic Japanese skiing getaway.

Japan’s ski resorts and mountain villages have something for every luxury traveler this winter. Plenty of hotels ranging from opulent residences to boutique lodges can be found throughout the country, offering a variety of options that showcase the unparalleled comfort and breathtaking views of Japan’s pristine winter wonderland. Finding the perfect hotel that accommodates all your needs can be the most challenging part of travel planning. HotelPlanner, one of the top online booking agencies for individual and group travel, provides a useful guide to affordable, discounted hotels throughout Japan. If you are planning a trip this winter, use HotelPlanner to skip the hassle and enjoy everything Japan has to offer, stress-free, with friends and family. Whether you’re an avid skier, a snowboarder, or simply seeking a winter retreat, Japan’s luxury ski resorts and mountain villages are sure to provide an unforgettable vacation.

Written in partnership with Samantha Silveira