The ski season in Japan runs from December to early April and offers up some of the most astonishing views and fantastic skiing that you can find anywhere in the world. Enthusiasts and beginners alike flock to the slopes to make the most of all the fun that Japan’s numerous top-quality and family-friendly resorts promise.
With many excellent resorts all over the world, many skiers want to know why you should choose Japan over all the other excellent skiing destinations. Here we will look at skiing in Japan and when and why you should give it a go.
What is the best month to ski in Japan?
There are many excellent times to go skiing in Japan, from the busy season with its liveliness and energy, to the earlier and later periods where you can experience the tranquil beauty of the region you are in.
While you can ski in some areas and resorts from as early as the start of December, the peak season tends to run from the end of December to mid-February. During this period you will find every possible facility available and plenty of staff to make your visit as magical as can be, but you will also be sharing your holiday with the maximum amount of other people.
Some resorts may open prior to December, but often only for day trips and with the absolute bare minimum in terms of facilities and staff. Conversely, if you choose to go during the peak season you can enjoy a lively atmosphere, with bustling restaurants and bars to make the most of in the evenings and people to ski with during the days. Depending on where you go you will also find festivals and other entertainment to keep you happy in this energetic and exciting season.
If you prefer to have a more peaceful holiday, and save a little on your trip, you may find that the ideal month to go skiing is in March. There is still plenty of snow and most resorts will still have enough amenities to guarantee a luxurious stay, but without the crowds and congestion that plague the peak months.
It is really up to you which kind of trip you would prefer, and you can find amazing places to visit whichever month of the ski season you choose to go. Try looking at skiing resorts in Japan by Active Life to get you started.
How cold is skiing in Japan?
There is no real doubt that if you are heading on a skiing holiday, you are going to spend some time in the cold. Japan is no exception, though the temperature varies greatly depending on where you are.
At the coldest end, Mount Fuji reaches lows of -12 degrees Celsius in December, while other areas can stay as high as the late teens and even early twenties. Resorts in Hokkaido will tend towards the colder end of the spectrum, as the northernmost island in Japan. The cold can be a huge bonus though, bringing excellent skiing and events like the Sapporo Snow Festival.
When you get to Honshu, particularly the areas closer to the major cities, the temperature rises to around 5 degrees Celsius in the winter. This can be more pleasant to endure, but can impact the kind of snow that you find. The north of the island again brings colder weather and correspondingly more snow.
In places like Okinawa snow is a rarity no matter the month, and temperatures can get all the way up to 20 degrees. There are huge disparities in the weather from one island to another and from place to place in Japan, so if you wish to go skiing make sure you do your research and head for the more northern locations that are famous for incredible snow.
Make sure that you check the temperature in the area that you are planning to visit, and pack your gear accordingly. Layers are always a good idea when doing activities that can cause you to be cold one minute and hot the next. You should also make sure that your clothes, and especially any outer layers, are of high quality and designed to withstand both the weather and skiing itself.
Why does Japan have such good snow?
Japan is known the world over for its deep, powdery snow that makes it so perfect for skiing. Japan is one of the snowiest places on Earth, and particularly if you go to the Hokkaido area in the peak season through to the end of March, you will have no shortage of fresh snow to make your mark on.
The main reason for this is Japan’s location. There is drastically different weather and climate whether you are on the Pacific side, or the Sea of Japan. Where the mountains bisect the island, one half goes down to the Pacific and the other to the sea, so at the peak, there are two competing weather systems.
Frigid air blows from the northwest, from areas like China and Russia, bringing cold weather to the north of Japan. From the south flows warm currents, and when these meet water vapour rises and eventually falls back down as snow.
Hokkaido and other areas in Japan are uniquely situated to benefit from this meeting of hot and cold, and skiers get to make the most of the huge amounts of fresh snowfall each year. For this and so many other reasons, Japan is one of the best possible destinations for a skiing holiday this year.
To Sum Up:
- Japan is known to be an incredible choice for beginners and ski enthusiasts from around the world.
- The best time to go is in March if you prefer a bargain and quieter slopes, but peak time is lively and full of fun if you prefer a more energetic holiday.
- It can get very cold in Japan, and particularly in the northern areas, so make sure that you bring the right clothes and check the temperature where you are headed before you go.
- Japan has such amazing fresh snowfall due to the meeting of warm and cold fronts, as well as its mountainous nature which gives the snow somewhere to fall.
If you haven’t been to Japan yet, you really should go and see what all the fuss is about for yourself. Take a ski trip to one of Japan’s fabulous resorts for the stunning scenery, the captivating culture, and an experience that you will never forget.