Skiing in Japan
Air New Zealand flies non-stop to Tokyo with daily services to Narita airport. If you're travelling between November and March, we can take you straight to Osaka, too. There are plenty of options that put the winter wonderland of Japan's ski fields right at your gloved fingertips. Ski season is December to April, so let's start planning your holiday. Here's a guide to the most popular ski resorts in Japan.
Go big in Niseko
Book a short internal flight with us to Sapporo and you're only a two-hour bus ride to internationally acclaimed Niseko. There are four connected ski resorts here and it's known as the world's "Powder Capital" for good reason. It snows constantly, stacking up fresh, fluffy powder perfect for you to carve up on your ski holiday. Bring the right gear and ideally your fattest skis - all easy to take with you on your flight. Those after nightlife will find it, along with surprisingly good Japanese whiskey that's sure to warm you up.
Ski with the locals
From Sapporo, you can also head to Rusutsu Ski Resort with its down to earth, local feel. If you have a family in tow, you'll enjoy the quiet, slower pace and a variety of activities for the kids. The terrain suits all abilities and ski lessons are on offer. If you're up for more adrenalin you can get your fix through the tall trees, valleys and double fall lines. Off-piste skiing is all on, too.
Soak in Nozawa Onsen
Skiing was introduced to this charming village in 1912 and is considered the birthplace of skiing in Japan. Take the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo and the Nozawa Onsen Bus to arrive in this historical place with its diverse ski terrain. Need a soak after all the slopes? Kiwis will be familiar with hot springs. But many of these follow the Japanese tradition. That means clothing isn't an option - it's forbidden. Go on. It's more relaxing than you think at first blush.
Have a go in Hakuba
In the Japanese Alps just a bullet train from Tokyo, Hakuba is another mecca for ski holidays that both families and adventurers can enjoy. Although Japan's already known for being very polite and accommodating for English visitors, Hakuba's especially known for its hospitality along with its unmistakable Japanese village vibe. There are 11 ski resorts here that can be accessed with a common lift ticket and shuttle buses. Perfect for finding variety, and particularly great for those newish to skiing in deep snow.
Go see some Japan
One of the best things about skiing in Japan is that you're in Japan. Leave the resort for a while and see more than snow. The Japanese are friendly and eager to help whenever they can. There's so much to discover or be delightfully puzzled by. Missing your flat white, for example? Head to the nearest convenience store and find the shelves labelled "hot". You'll find cans of hot coffee drinks, all a mystery until you try them. Find your favourite and warm up.
Shuttle buses and bullet trains make the best skiing in Japan so accessible. Whether it's the resorts you're heading to after you land in Tokyo or Osaka, or daytrips along the way, the ski holiday you want is easily within reach.