Japanese winter is amazing! Areas like Nagano and Yuzawa are known for their excellent powder snow and gain popularity with each season, drawing in not only Japanese winter sport fans but more and more visitors from abroad.
But when is the best time to ski and where to go? Let’s take a look at the different areas close to Tokyo and other need-to-know things about skiing and snowboarding in Japan.

When is the best time for skiing in Japan?

November to late March and early April is generally the ski season for Japan’s pistes. While the first snow varies by region, especially comparing East, West, and North, the opening times of resorts are roughly the same. Only those with abundant snowfall tend to be open longer, mostly throughout April.
When is Peak Season?
Ski resorts' peak season is mid-January to early February. The snowfall is particularly abundant during these months and the quality of the powder snow is also outstandingly good. However, a lot of snow also brings harsh coldness.
Stable Climate from March
March marks the end of harsh winter days and the temperatures get milder. It’s the most popular time for students and families to hit the pistes, so it may get crowded. In Western Japan and Kanto, the snow already starts to melt but areas like Tohoku, Hokkaido, and Nagano still offer a stable amount and quality of snow.

5 Ski Resorts Close to Tokyo

A lot of Japan's ski resorts can be reached fairly easily and conveniently from Tokyo, some in under two hours. Take a look at the main winter sports areas around the Japanese capital, their key features, and how to get to them.

1. Yuzawa Ski Resorts

Nicknamed “snow country,” Niigata Prefecture’s Yuzawa is northwest of Tokyo, nestled in the Japanese Alps. Its closeness to Tokyo makes it one of Japan’s largest and most popular winter sports areas in Japan, offering a large amount of snow and over a dozen resorts.
Key Features:
・Interconnected resorts and lifts
・Especially recommended for beginners
・Advanced pistes available at certain resorts
・Marvelous scenery
Early December to early April
Access to Yuzawa Ski Resorts from Tokyo:
1) Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Echigo-Yuzawa Station (about 80 minutes, ~6,500 yen one-way)
*Covered by the Japan Rail Pass, JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass, and JR Tokyo Wide Pass.

Yuzawa Ski Resorts: Winter Snow Paradise Close to Tokyo!

2. Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort

Nozawa Onsen is a charming, traditional hot spring village in Nagano Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo. Well-equipped for international tourists, it is one of Japan’s most popular winter sports choices and offers diverse terrain for every level…

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