Top 5 ski resorts in Japan

Hakuba, photo by triplefivechina

Some of the best natural advantages of Japan are its hot springs (onsen), and moderately tall mountains with slopes that are just perfect for winter sports. Add this to the fact that Japan also has some of the most dramatic scenery in Asia, and you’ve just got yourself one perfect holiday destination for the cold season. Winter sports like skiing or snowboarding are quite popular in Japan, and many people go to one of the many ski resorts for weekend trips or longer holidays. One of the best things about Japanese ski resorts is the fact that  they are located near hot springs, so after a day of tumbling or sliding on the snow you can unwind in the hot, restorative waters of an onsen spring. If this sounds like the dream holiday to you, then here are the top 5 ski resorts in Japan.

Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture

Hakuba ski resort is one of the most popular ski resorts in Japan, and supposedly got its name (white horse) from the shape that the melting snow takes on the mountain in Spring. While in the warmer months Hakuka is a green paradise for walkers and hikers, in winter is turns into a dream come true for skiers and snowboarders. There are several great runs in the area for every skill levels, as well as hot springs where you can soak afterwards.

Chisenupuri, Hokkaido

photo by tsuda on Flickr

Chisenupuri is probably the stinkiest ski resorts in all of Japan, literally! The area is riddled with sulfurous hot springs, which have a distinctive smell, but you get used to it in a short while. Chisenupuri is a gem of a ski resorts where the snow stays fresh for longer, because it tends to be quite deserted most of the time. If for you the quality of the slopes and the snow is the main factor when choosing a resort, then there’s no reason to avoid Chisenupuri!

Furano, Hokkaido

In summer, Furano is knows for its brilliant, striped flower fields and great hiking paths, but in winter is turns into a one of the top 5 ski resorts in Japan. Although Furano is not the most popular resort in the country, this works in its advantage, as the crowds are not too heavy and there is plenty of space on the slopes for everyone. Adventurous skiers will find lots of vertical slopes to have fun with.

Naeba, Nakano/Niigata

photo by Kikuko Nakayama

Naeba ski resort was built in the times of the bubble economy, so it lacks the historical charm of older ski resorts, but if you are not interested in architecture and all you want are good slopes and good facilities, then Naeba will not disappoint you. This resort has glitzy accommodation, lots of restaurants and places where you can go out.

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