I recently wrote about the best ski resorts in Japan.  And while I still think those are the top options, there are unique needs that families have when traveling, especially when trying to do an activity like skiing.  Families need facilities to ensure their kids are safe, have fun, and the entire family actually has an exciting, stress-free time.  And some of the resorts on my top list didn’t do those jobs or at least didn’t do them as well as others do.  So I’ve decided to put together a list of family-friendly ski resorts to make sure everyone can have the best ski vacation in Japan.  The top family-friendly ski resorts in Japan include Tomamu, Sahoro, Niseko, Furano, Myoko Kogen, and Hakuba. Particularly if you’re a family that wants to ski Japan with young kids, you probably want your snow holiday to be as easy as possible and know that the kids will have the best time! 

Factors I’ve taken into consideration when picking the top family ski holidays in Japan include the availability of ski and snowboard lessons for kids in English (group lessons and private lessons), childcare (ideally with English speaking staff), ease of getting to ski school, and the slopes, a range of kids’ activities and family activities, and good beginner slopes. You can also check out the ski school tables at the bottom for a quick reference to see which resorts offer kids group snowsports lessons in English and childcare, and the minimum age for ski school and child care.

And for more ideas of how to spend your time in Japan off the slopes see our list.

THIS ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. PLEASE READ THE DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO

Top Ski Resorts in Japan

Scroll to Bottom for Interactive Map
ski resort Sapporo
Courtesy of Niseko.ne.jp

Niseko

The top spot goes to Niseko, the largest and most famous ski resort in Japan. Located just southwest of Sapporo, it features 47 kilometers of well-groomed terrain with seven ski areas that boast one of the highest average snowfalls in Japan (at over 15 meters). The resort is renowned for its deep, high-quality, and consistent soft powder snow and long runs, which are ideal for families, beginners, and intermediates. Since it is so popular, it can get quite busy during peak season—but with the fun, international vibe you’re guaranteed to make friends. It is consistently ranked as the best ski resort in Japan. But don’t let that dissuade you from reading the rest of our list and getting a feel for the various ski resorts Japan has to offer.

Niseko has good options for kids’ ski and snowboard lessons in English and child care, and evening babysitting is readily available. Hanazono has a range of kids’ activities and lessons on offer, but accommodation is limited (unless you stay at the Park Hyatt). Niseko Village is very family-friendly and has ski-in ski-out hotels. The main village, Hirafu has several options for luxury apartments and hotels that are on or near the slopes Niseko is mostly targeted to high-end families, but moderately priced ski holidays are also possible if you stay in villages that aren’t slopeside and require a shuttle bus to get to the slopes. Some parents find it a little difficult to get small children onto a bus, but it’s a good way to save some yen.

Niseko Trail Map
Courtesy of Niseko.ne.jp
  • Location: Hokkaido
  • How to Get There: 2 Hour Bus/ Drive from Sapporo
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 35%
  • Child Care: from 6 weeks.
  • Kid’s Facilities: Tubing, indoor play areas, magic carpets, kids’ onsens.
  • Best For: Families with varied skill levels. And powder enthusiasts.
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 3, 21- May 6, 22* estimate
  • So go check it out for yourself!

rustusu ski area, ski Japan
Courtesy of Rusutsu.com

Rusutsu

Rusutsu is an all-in-one ski resort with deep, light powder snow and a wide range of activities. It’s the largest single ski resort in Hokkaido, offering 42 kilometers of immaculately-groomed slopes covered in a variety of trails to suit experienced ski and snowboarders, as well as complete beginners. There are tons of things kids can enjoy at the Crayon Shin-chan Plaza, named after a popular Japanese animation character, as well as sledding and snow tubing. Parents and guardians can also relax and get out on the slopes thanks to fully-equipped nursery room. Outside of the resort and its attached amusement park, the walkable vicinity is dotted with cozy pensions, so it is possible to enjoy your stay according to your style.

Rusutsu trail map
Courtesy of Rusutsu.com
  • Location: Hokkaido
  • How to Get There: 1.5 Hour Bus/ Drive from Sapporo
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 30%
  • Child Care: 1 year old and up.
  • Kid’s Facilities: snow escalator (surface lift), kids park, kids school (for children 3 years and up)
  • Best For: For those with older or more advanced skier and snowboarding kids.
  • 21/22 Season: Nov. 27, 21- Apr. 7, 22* estimate
  • Learn More
Japan skiing
Courtesy of snowfurano.com

Furano

Furano with its tree-lined runs, light powder snow, and friendly atmosphere is a fantastic all-rounder to suit any level of skier and snowboarder. The popular resort is spread over two main areas, offering 25 kilometers of well-groomed runs, plus well-developed amenities and services. Furano offers some great powder skiing, but it can also act as a great base to visit nearby ski areas that are consistently highly rated as powder skiing destinations. Furano ticks plenty of boxes for families including group lessons, child care (that is easily accessible from the Kitanomine village), and a good range of activities for the kids. Beginner runs and an attraction called “Family Snowland,” which provides fun winter activities for kids, make this relaxed resort ideal for families.

Courtesy of snowfurano.com
  • Location: Hokkaido
  • How to Get There: 2 Hour Bus/ Drive from Sapporo
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 39%
  • Child Care: From 1 year old.
  • Kid’s Facilities: snow rafting, hot air balloons, snow trekking, snowmobiles.
  • Best For: Families with varied skill levels. And powder enthusiasts.
  • 21/22 Season: Nov. 20, 21- May 8, 22* estimate
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Nozawa Onsen, skiing Japan
Courtesy of nozawaski.com

Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa Onsen is a charming hot spring village and ski resort located near Nagano City that offers abundant snow, diverse terrain, and an authentic onsen experience. The historic town is one of Japan’s oldest ski resorts and is considered by some to be the birthplace of skiing in Japan (introduced by an Austrian in 1912). The resort features over 50 kilometers of terrain ideal for skiers and boarders of all levels. Nozawa Onsen is very popular as a Japan family ski holiday destination because the charming onsen village is still hanging onto its traditional roots, yet it has enough westernization to provide an easy holiday for English-speaking guests. 
Nozawa has group ski and snowboard lessons, childcare, and a kids snow park. The only potential limitation of Nozawa is the ease of access to the slopes where ski school is located (despite the Yu Road travellator and the snowmobile shuttles from the Nagasaka gondola), and/or ease of access to restaurants in town. It’s a rather hilly town, so the kids are likely to have to walk up and down hills which might be a pain after a long day on tired little legs.

Make sure you also check out the nearby Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, where you can watch wild snow monkeys bathing in the local hot springs.

See also our Packing List for Winter in Japan.

Nozawa Onsen Trail Map
Courtesy of Nozawa Onsen
  • Location: Nagano
  • How to Get There: 4 Hour drive or 2.5 hour train from Tokyo
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 39%
  • Child Care: from 1 year old.
  • Kid’s Facilities: Kids’ Park, sledding, and tubing, magic carpet, kids play room.
  • Best For: Off-piste skiers, those wanting a traditional Japanese experience, and families.
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 3, 21- May 6, 22* estimate
  • Learn More
Japan ski resorts

Hakuba Valley

Host to the 1998 Winter Olympic Games, Hakuba Valley is one of Japan’s largest and most renowned alpine resorts. Considered the heart and soul of snow sports in Japan, it offers amazing powder snow, snow-laden peaks and valleys, and great conditions. The best part? It’s all within easy reach of Tokyo via the bullet train. Look into the JR Pass if you’re going to be using a lot of trains around Japan. Located deep within the Northern Japan Alps—famous for their natural beauty and 3,000-meter peaks—it features a total of 11 different ski resorts with over 200 runs. Hakuba Valley has a real European feel to it while still remaining very much Japanese.
There isn’t a lot of slope-side accommodation, but the Evergreen ski school (which also provides child care) offers a transport service to/from your accommodation. Each ski area has its own child care and ski school ages and ranges, but we found Hakuba 47 in particular great for our 3-year-old.

Some of the most popular ski areas are Happo OneShiga Kogen, Hakuba 47, Goryu, Tsugaike Kogen. You can find the trail maps here.

Also Read: The Complete Guide to Ski Resorts in Hakuba Valley

Courtesy of Seventh Heaven Hakuba
  • Location: Nagano
  • How to Get There: 4 Hour Drive or 2 hour train from Tokyo.
  • Beginner Course Ratio: Varies. Hakuba Goryu is the most beginner-friendly.
  • Child Care: From 1.5 years old. (double check with each ski area)
  • Kid’s Facilities: Magic Carpet, tubing.
  • Best For: Families with kids of all ages who want to hop from one ski area to the next for a variety.
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 3, 21- May 6, 22* estimate Each ski area differs.
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Free Custom Google Map of Tokyo
Myoko Kogen Ski Area, Japan snowboarding
Courtesy of myokokogen.net

Myoko Kogen

Myoko Kogen is rich in history, culture, and onsen, offering much more than just your typical skiing and snowboarding experience. The traditional Japanese town is the perfect place for those looking for a real Japanese cultural experience away from the nightclub and party scene. It’s less crowded and more laid back than many of the other popular resorts in Japan with nine main mountain resorts, including Myoko Suginohara, which hosts the longest run in Japan at eight and a half kilometers.
The Akakura Onsen village of Myoko Kogen offers English group snowsports lessons and childcare. There aren’t a lot of activities on offer in Myoko besides skiing and snowboarding, but it’s popular with some families because there are lots of ryokans and other Japanese-style hotels with onsens, so it provides a nice balance between westernized family convenience and a Japanese experience. It’s also reasonably priced.

Myoko Kogen trail map
Courtesy of myokokogen.net
  • Location: Nagano
  • How to Get There: 4 hour drive or 2 hour train from Tokyo
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 45%
  • Child Care: From 6 months old.
  • Kid’s Facilities: Indoor skiing for kids, inexpensive lessons.
  • Best For: Those wanting a “real” Japanese ski resort experience that doesn’t cater to western tourists.
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 25, 21- Mar. 27, 22* estimate
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Naeba Ski Area, Best ski resort Japan
Courtesy of enjoyniigata.com

Naeba

Naeba in Yuzawa is extremely popular due to its long snow season which lasts until May, plus the fact it’s only an 80-minute train ride from central Tokyo. Naeba Ski Resort boasts 27 courses of varying skill levels with high-quality powder snow, great facilities, rotenburo (outdoor hot springs), and amazing-tasting sake. You can enjoy various kinds of snow activities, like snow trains and snow tubing, at the exciting Family Resort Land or N Plaza. The resort is also equipped with a kids slope and a nursery. There are many other services to support families with small children–sled rental, ski wear rental, ski and snowboard lessons, and so on–highly recommended for families who want to ski together.

Naeba Trail Map
Courtesy of enjoyniigata.com
  • Location: Niigata
  • How to Get There: 3 drive or 2 hour train from Tokyo
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 30%
  • Child Care: for 6 months and up
  • Kid’s Facilities: snow escalator (surface lift), kids park, kids school (for children 3 years and up)
  • Best For: “Quick” trips from Tokyo, those wanting well-groomed runs, and many apres-ski facilities.
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 18, 21- Apr. 10, 22* estimate
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Kiroro
Courtesy of Kiroro.co.jp

Kiroro

Kiroro is located very close to Hokkaido’s main city of Sapporo and is a very modern family-oriented facility with lots of fun activities. It offers plenty of pristine, soft powder snow surrounded by the majestic nature that characterizes Japan’s northernmost island. There are 21 courses with the longest run being four kilometers. The area receives a lot of snow, with an annual snowfall of more than 17 meters—even more than popular Niseko.
Play in the snow or go sledding or tubing–you can leave and enter freely as much as you want during business hours. Snow rafting and mini snowmobiles are also available for adults, so everyone in the family can enjoy. The resort also has hot spring facilities and plenty of indoor activities available.

Kororo Trail Map
Courtesy of kororo.co.jp
  • Location: Hokkaido
  • How to Get There: 1.5 Hour Bus/ Drive from Sapporo
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 37%
  • Child Care: for 1 year and up.
  • Kid’s Facilities: kids park, kids school (for children 3 years and up)
  • Best For: Back country enthusiasts that want no crowds and tons of powder.
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 4, 21- May 7, 22* estimate
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Appi Kogen
Courtesy of www.appi-japan.com

Appi Kogen

Nicknamed the St. Moritz of Japan for its glitzy hotel and rather swanky facilities and services, Appi Kogen is one of the country’s most popular resorts. It’s a little more pricey than most but offers a high-quality experience that justifies its price tag. The resort encompasses 45.1 kilometers of terrain with 21 different trails (so there’s a lot of variety) but it’s well-known for its wide, long pistes including groomed and ungroomed, as well as mogul terrains.
With its gentle slopes, spacious private area, and its 72-meter long snow escalator (surface lift), the resort is nice and comfortable. You can go sledding or snow tubing as much as you want within the park grounds and enjoy the feel of the snow as you have fun challenging yourself. Besides the hotel connected to the ski slope, apartment-style lodgings and pensions make it possible to have a rich and varied stay.

Appi Kogen Trail Map
Courtesy of www.appi-japan.com
  • Location: Iwate
  • How to Get There:7 hour drive or 5 hour train from Tokyo or 1.5 hour bus/drive from Iwate Hanamaki Airport.
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 30%
  • Child Care: for 1 year and up.
  • Kid’s Facilities: snow escalator (surface lift), kids park, kids school (for children 4 years and up)
  • Best For: Families (child specific ski area), and those that like that like a more international destination-type resort.
  • 21/22 Season: Nov. 27, 21- May 2, 22* estimate
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Sahoro Ski Resort
Courtesy of Sahoro.co.jp

Sahoro

Sahoro Resort in Hokkaido Japan is a destination resort that provides two distinct experiences depending on your choice of hotel. Sahoro Japan features the Club Med Sahoro that is very international and popular with families due to the convenience of the amenities and services such as ski and snowboard lessons and kids club. Club Med Sahoro offers a very fuss-free ski holiday. 

The other face of Sahoro is the Sahoro Resort Hotel where the Japanese folks stay, as well as a few gaijin looking for a Japanese experience.

Heading to Sahoro in Hokkaido to stay at the ski-in ski-out Club Med Sahoro is also the ultimate family ski holiday, where parents will have a completely stress-free time. As with Tomamu, the Sahoro Club Med packages include ski lessons for the kids and kids club (ages 4+) and Petit Club can be provided for ages 2-3. In addition to kids’ entertainment and activities, there is a swimming pool and table tennis. The all-inclusive Club Med Sahoro packages are not ideal for those wanting a ski Japan family holiday on the cheap.

Sahoro Resort has great novice slopes and very few powder hounds head into the trees (which is somewhat rare for a family-friendly ski resort in Japan).

Sahoro Course Map
  • Location: Hokkaido
  • How to Get There: 1 train, then 15 min. bus from Sapporo.
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 38%
  • Child Care: For 1 year old and up.
  • Kid’s Facilities: Tubing, sledding, snowmobiling, horseback riding, snowshoeing.
  • Best For: Lovers of the All-Inclusive that has a feel for traditional Japanese culture
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 1, 21- Mar. 31, 22* estimate
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Shirakabako

Shirakabako Royal Hills

Shirakabako Royal Hill is located on the south side of Shirakaba Lake in Chino city, in the central-eastern region of Nagano Prefecture. This ski area has an upper and lower area. The main car park and ski center is actually located between the two areas. The upper area has the gentler slopes. Shirakabako Royal Hill uses snow-making machines in times of need! This ski area has been operating since 1961.

Several ski areas are scattered around the mountainous region that stretches from Kirigamine highland and Kurumayama to the north, Lake Shirakaba and Mt Tateshina a little further to the east, and then Mt Yokodake and the Yatsugatake mountain range further south. This region usually gets a relatively large amount of clear weather conditions. It does not usually receive as much snow as other highland areas. The region is part of the Yatsugatake Chushin Kogen Quasi-National Park. It is a popular tourist destination throughout the year.

Shirakabako Course Map
Couresty of Royalhill.co.jp
  • Location: Nagano
  • How to Get There: 3 hour drive from Tokyo.
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 40%
  • Child Care: Available at the Hotel.
  • Kid’s Facilities: snow escalator (surface lift), kids park, kids school (for children 4 years and up)
  • Best For: Those wanting a real Japanese experience.
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 17, 21- Apr. 1, 22* estimate
  • So go check it out for yourself!

Tomamu
Courtesy of snowtomamu.jp

Tomamu

The Tomamu Ski Resort in Hokkaido Japan has lots of bells and whistles that make it incredibly family-friendly, and the Hoshino Resort Tomamu is also a treasure trove for powder hounds. Tomamu is very upmarket for a Japanese ski area and the resort includes a 50-meter wave pool, glamorous restaurants, and peculiar-looking sky-scraper hotel towers. One could be mistaken for thinking that Tomamu is a glitzy and busy ski area that powder hounds should avoid. Think again! At Tomamu there aren’t that many people to share the famous Hokkaido powder with, especially when it comes to side country and off-piste skiing and riding.

Tomamu is the best family-friendly ski resort in Japan, particularly if you stay at Club Med Tomamu where the kids are well taken care of and slope access is very easy. Packages include group lessons for kids (and adults), kids club, entertainment and child care for ages 4 and up, and child care for ages 2-3 can be added. As Club Med is an all-inclusive snow holiday (including meals and alcohol), it’s not for those on a budget.

Club Med Tomamu is directly opposite the ridiculously big wave pool and spa complex, and Tomamu has an ice village, ice skating, snow rafting, dog sledding, and various other family activities. The Tomamu ski resort also has very good beginner slopes. And it’s not as busy as some of the other family-oriented Japan ski resorts, so combined with the amazing Central Hokkaido powder, it’s great for powder hounds as well. See the Tomamu Japan page for reviews and pros and cons of Tomamu.

Tomamu Trail Map
Courtesy of Snowtomamu.jp
  • Location: Hokkaido
  • How to Get There: 1.5 hour train from Sapporo
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 40%
  • Child Care: From 8 months old.
  • Kid’s Facilities: Tubing, kids’ parks, fishing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, wave pool, and ice hotel.
  • Best For: Those who want an all-inclusive resort vacation.
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 1, 21- Apr. 4, 22* estimate
  • Learn More
Fujiten Snow Resort
Courtesy of Fujiten.net

Fujiten

Mount Fuji is one of the most well-known travel destinations in Japan and many tourists visit the highest mountain for climbing in the summer or taking pictures all year round. It may be less known that there are some ski resorts near Mt.Fuji where you can enjoy skiing with amazing views of the picturesque volcano. Everyone including skilled skiers and the less inexperienced can enjoy Fujiten Snow Resort and Fujimi Panorama Resort. In my opinion, if you’re just trying to get some snow under your skis, but you’re short on time, take a day trip to Fujiten from Tokyo.

Fujiten trail map
Courtesy of Fujiten.net
  • Location: Yamanashi
  • How to Get There: 1 hour 45 min. drive from Tokyo
  • Beginner Course Ratio: 50%
  • Child Care: From 1 month old and up
  • Kid’s Facilities: Sledding and snow park, dedicated children’s slope
  • Best For: Those based in Tokyo and for families with varying skill levels. Includes a sledding area.
  • 21/22 Season: Dec. 23, 21- Mar. 23, 22* estimate
  • Find out More.
best ski resorts in japan

Child Care Tables

family-friendly ski resorts in japan
family-friendly ski resorts in japan

Ski Season in Japan

As I said above, winter generally consists of 3 months in Japan: December, January, and February. However, you can enjoy skiing in Japan other than those 3 months. The skiing season depends on the area, but many ski resorts are available from December to March. Some, like those in Hokkaido, could be open during November to the beginning of May. To enjoy skiing in Japan under the best condition of the snow, the coldest months January and February are the best bet.

How much does it cost to ski in Japan?

It’s great to say that skiing is pretty reasonable in Japan. Lift tickets are cheaper compared to other ski destinations which might surprise some people because Japan has become one of the top ski destinations in the world. Lift tickets for 1-day unlimited rides can cost about 4,000-6,000 yen on average. That’s about $40-60 USD. You can compare this to the average cost for ski areas in the U.S. at $94 per day.

How many days should you plan to ski in Japan?

I should first say that I wouldn’t spend less than 7 days in Japan for your whole trip no matter what time of the year you’re coming. But, that doesn’t mean you have to spend 7 days skiing. There is so much to do in Japan, especially in winter, that you might want to pad your trip with some extra days to fit everything in. If you enjoy skiing but it’s not the main point of your trip, 2-3 ski days would be great. But if you’re coming to Japan specifically to ski, it’s recommended to stay for 7-14 days so you can experience ski areas on the main island of Honshu and Hokkaido while giving yourself time to travel and time to rest in between.

Klook.com

Other Things to Consider

Instead of staying in a hotel some families, like my own, like to stay in self-contained accommodation such as an apartment or house, in part so that they can have evening meals at home and have all of the conveniences that are lacking in a hotel (like a washing machine, refrigerator, and multiple rooms so parents don’t have to go to sleep when the kids do.

The first thing to consider is the availability of each option.  Airbnb is becoming extremely popular in Japan and unlike other countries, Airbnb hosts must be registered and follow specific health and safety guidelines just as hotels do which makes it much safer and less of a gamble like it can be in other countries. (You’ve read the stories of people getting catfished by AirBNB.)

But ski areas might be a different story.  On the one hand, Airbnbs are very touristy, so you’d expect them to be in touristy ski resort towns.  But, large corporations want to market to the ski travelers so will build condos and hotels around in the resorts, pushing out the homes.  

I’ve had great luck with AirBNBs in Hakuba, while places like Nozawa Onsen don’t seem to have as many, or at least as many within my budget. So it’s good to look around for what type of housing you want and what’s available at each location.

The type of airport transfers you choose may also determine how relaxed you’ll feel when you arrive at your ski resort of choice. For the Honshu ski resorts, there is the option of initially catching the bullet train from Tokyo which can be fast, convenient, and incredibly fascinating for children, but you’ll have to lug your bags, ski gear, (and jet-lagged kids) around train stations that aren’t always easy to navigate on good days, let alone when you’re tired and anxious.. It may be easier to get a Nagano Snow Shuttle bus which takes you from Narita Airport to your accommodation.

For the main Hokkaido ski resorts, there are inexpensive buses from Sapporo Airport to designated points at the resort, from where you may need to get a taxi or ask your lodging to pick you up. An easier but more costly option for Niseko and Furano is to get a private door-to-door transfer (child booster seats available). You can look at Hokkaido transport options here.

You can also drive. As I live in japan this is usually my mode of transportation to the ski areas with my kids and gear.  I will mention that tolls are very expensive in Japan so you’ll need to figure this into your budget.  But, for a family of 4, even with the high price of tolls, it could be cheaper to drive than to pay for 4 shinkansens plus taxis or local trains and busses to get everywhere.  You’ll also need to factor in parking, which can be expensive depending on where you go, and the type of accommodation you have, as well as gas, which I find to be really expensive.  But, even if you decide your large family is better off driving, just know that driving in Tokyo can be crazy, they drive on the left, and you might need a special license/permit to drive here.

Tokyo Disneyland is a popular side trip for families. There is a train station at Disneyland so you can readily catch the train there or get a taxi from your Tokyo hotel. Otherwise, you can stay at a Tokyo Disneyland hotel or one of the Disney partner hotels that are right on the monorail loop.  My family really enjoys Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea and 

Google Map

Klook.com

If you are still unsure if you want to go skiing in Japan, think no more. Skiing in Japan with kids is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is a must for snow lovers and for beginners alike. The snow and resort atmosphere in Japan doesn’t disappoint and will no doubt remain one of your favorite memories.

THIS ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. PLEASE READ THE DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO

BlogBest Family-Friendly Ski Resorts in japan