One of the most appealing things about spending winter in Japan is the lovely, lovely snow, which, by the way, is a hundred times better when on a snowboard or pair of skis! The powdery snow Japan is known for makes these leisure activities more pleasurable than usual, and many flock to places like snowy Hokkaido to enjoy these sports to the max.
But it doesn't have to be Hokkaido, because there are plenty of ski resorts near Tokyo! Here are three such places you definitely should consider, especially since these resorts also come with bonus hot springs for post-sports relaxation. We're confident the list will come in handy for visitors who do not plan to travel all the way to Hokkaido for their snow activities.
1. Karuizawa Prince Hotel Snow Resort (Nagano)
This ski resort near Tokyo can be reached in about two hours by bus or one hour by bullet train from Tokyo city itself. The popular Karuizawa Prince Hotel Snow Resort is located in, well, Karuizawa, also known as Japan's summer retreat.
Winter months in Karuizawa see a high percentage of days with fair weather. Few things can beat skiing down a slope of soft, powdery snow under the clear blue sky on the enjoyment scale!
The resort has a total of 10 interesting courses (8 of which are currently in operation as of January 2020), such as the Prince Slope that offers an impressive view of the majestic Mount Asama. About half of the courses are tailored for beginners, so that those who have little to no experience in the activity can still have fun!
Now, for the hot spring we mentioned earlier. This is offered by the natural hot spring facility Forest Hot Spring that is located within the main building of Karuizawa Prince Hotel East itself for those who opt to lodge with them. Indoor baths, outdoor baths, steam saunas - you name it! These baths will help you to warm yourself up after all that playing in the snow and rejuvenate your tired body.
The hotel also has plenty of relaxing spa plans for its guests, and these are definitely something to consider as well! The special treatment is a blend of Shinshu (Nagano) herbs and components from Karuizawa's hot spring that will completely refresh the body after a tiring day of traveling or activities in the snow. Just a 15-minute drive away from the hotel is the Senga Falls area, where you'll find the more casual Karuizawa Sengataki Hot Spring, where many visit as a day trip because of its convenient location.
Looking for something a little more unique? Try the cottages! The East Cottages (Type A, 27 cottages) face the ski slopes directly and you're literally having fun the moment you step out of the door. Cottages are located a distance away from each other so that guests can really make themselves at home without having to worry about disturbing others.
Karuizawa Prince Hotel Snow Resort軽井沢プリンスホテルスキー場
- Address Karuizawa, Karuizawa-cho, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano
About 1 hour from Tokyo Station to Karuizawa Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, about 1 minute from the south exit by taxi.
Reserve a Lift ticket in advance
[Prince Snow Resort] Lift ticket (4-Hour x 3-Tickets set)
- 4-Hour Ticket
- All Ages
Prince x Tokyu x NSD Multi-Resort lift ticket
- 1-Day Ticket
- All Ages
The ticketing website is available only in Japanese. Please use a translation plugin to view it in your language.
Check with our partner site as the latest rates, details and conditions may vary.
2. Snow Resort Yeti (Shizuoka)
This ski resort near Tokyo, located at the foot of Mount Fuji, is about two hours via direct bus from Shinjuku Station. It is well-known as the first ski resort in Japan to open its doors during the ski season! As a reference, the resort was already welcoming ardent skiers from October 25, 2019 this season.
There are eight courses in all, occupying a wide area, including a section that's specially marked for playing in the snow. Normally, ski resorts require the purchase of a lift voucher for usage. At Yeti, however, you can play all you want for the whole day by just footing the admission fee - there's no need to purchase a lift voucher if you don't need one!
This means those who only want to play in the snow without jumping on skis can do just for an affordable fee at Yeti.
The Sleighing Slope, as its name suggests, is an area for both children and adults to have some sleighing fun. Rental sleds are available for 800 yen per day, a reasonable price in exchange for the bout of delightful time you'll be able to enjoy with family and friends!
There are a few resort hotels located near Yeti, one of which being Highland Resort Hotel & Spa. This hotel has a connected natural hot spring facility called Fujiyama Onsen and is about a 30-minutes car ride from Yeti. Guests staying the night get access to a guest-only outdoor hot spring as well as other bath facilities like bedrock baths and dry saunas to soak all the aches and pains of the day away.
Snow Resort Yetiスノーパークイエティ
- Address 2428 Aza Fujiwara, Suyama, Susono-shi, Shizuoka-ken 410-1231
About 2.5 hours via direct bus from Shinjuku Station or Shinagawa Station; About 3 hours via direct bus from Ueno Station
3. White World Oze Iwakura (Gunma)
The highlight of this ski resort is the variety of courses available - more than 18 in all - from family-friendly courses to slopes designed to accommodate beginners. Whether you're a skier, snowboarder, or sleigher of any level, you're guaranteed a fun-filled day of activity here for sure!
You'll also find five or more restaurants and cafes in each area of the resort. For example, White Square is a restaurant located near the beginner course area that serves all the Japanese food you can think of, from homemade set meals to soup dumplings (500 yen, tax included) and all-time favorites like beancurd skin sushi. Complete your Japanese immersion with a bowl of warm, Japanese food after having your fill of Japanese snow!
Oze Iwakura Resort Hotel is connected to the ski resort, and it comes with hot spring baths filled with spring waters pumped from Oze Iwakura Highland. The ingredients of this hot spring are said to have wonderful skin treatment effects, so you can look forward to leaving the bath with smoother skin than before!
White World Oze Iwakuraホワイトワールド尾瀬岩鞍
- Address 2609 Tsuchiide, Katashina-mura, Tone-gun, Gunma-ken
About 75 minutes from Tokyo Station to Jomokogen Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen on the JR Lines; About 80 minutes to Oze Iwakura via shuttle bus.
See? You don't have to travel too far from Tokyo to play hard on the slopes of a ski resort, then relax even harder in the soothing embrace of a hot spring. While sightseeing around Tokyo, consider going just a little bit farther to one of these nearby ski resorts for a special experience that will add beautiful memories to your Japan trip.
English translation by: Huimin Pan
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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