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skiing
By Amy Pearson September 28, 2022

It’s no secret that Japan has some of the finest resorts in the world for skiing and snowboarding, but how far away is Tokyo in comparison? If you are visiting Japan for the first time, you may want to spend as much time exploring the vibrant capital city as possible, but will doing so mean that you will have to sacrifice your time skiing? 

In this article, we’re going to look into the possibility of skiing in Tokyo, including how far the nearest resorts are and how you can go about getting to them from the nation’s capital. Here’s everything you need to know…

Can you go skiing in Tokyo?

Unfortunately, you can’t go skiing inside Tokyo itself. That being said, there are many nearby resorts that can be reached in as little as an hour or two. Additionally, there are so many other distractions in Tokyo that you wouldn’t want to go skiing in the capital. It’s much better to get out onto the slopes and carve up the natural powder of Japan’s peak seasons, as opposed to riding on an indoor slope in the big city.

How far is Tokyo from skiing resorts in Japan?

There are many ski resorts within a reasonable reach of Tokyo, it all depends on what kind of experience you are looking for. For example: if you don’t mind an indoor skiing experience, you can head to the Sayama Ski Resort which is only a 40 minute train ride from Ikebukuro (which is about 20 mins from Tokyo). 

The other ski slopes and resorts are anywhere from an hour to 2 hours from Tokyo – with many, many more resorts further out. In any case, you can enjoy some skiing day trips from Tokyo if you wish to remain in the capital and spend most of your time there. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to fly to another domestic airport in Japan to experience some of the other resorts.

How do you get to ski resorts from Tokyo?

So, how do you get to the various ski resorts in Japan, from Tokyo? It all depends on which resort you are visiting. For example, there are some nearby resorts that can be accessed by bus, others that require a longer bullet train journey, and some that can be accessed by flying from Tokyo to a neighbouring domestic terminal. 

Wherever you plan to go for your skiing adventure, it should be easy enough to determine the quickest and most affordable means of reaching your destination. Often, when booking a ski vacation online, you will have access to all of the “getting here” information that you will require. Otherwise, it may be worth reaching out to some prospective ski resorts for more information. 

In any case, if you’d like to remain close to the capital, here is a list of the top ski resorts that you can visit on day trips from Tokyo:

  • GALA Yuzawa Snow Resort in Niigata Prefecture: The Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort is a popular ski and snowboarding resort for people of all ages and abilities. If you’re looking for an easy day trip from Tokyo where you can experience snowboarding, this is one of the best places to go. Within just 75 minutes you can reach the resort directly from Tokyo station.
  • Karauizara Prince Hotel Ski Area in Nagano Prefecture: for families with small children looking for an exciting ski and snowboarding adventure close to Tokyo, the Karauizara Prince Hotel Ski Area is worth exploring! The bullet train from Tokyo takes just one hour so you can enjoy a long day sightseeing and carving up the slopes.
  • Fujimi Panorama Resort in Nagano Prefecture: the locals believe that if you visit the top of the mountain and then ski down the famous heart slope, you’ll “live happily ever after”. Whether or not that’s true, it certainly can’t hurt giving it a go just in case, right? Fujimi Panorama Resort can be accessed by taking a 22-minute journey from Tokyo to Shinjuku city, and then a 2 hour and 15 minute express train ride to Nagano. From there, it’s only 10 mins on the bus, so you can very much enjoy a day trip to Fujimi if you don’t mind a little extra in the way of travel. 
  • Snow Town Yeti in Shizuoka Prefecture: if you would like to ski with the world-famous Mount Fuji as your backdrop, then Snow Town Yeti is the only place to go where you can experience this! And the best part is you can be there in just 2 hours and 40 minutes by catching a bus from Shinjuku. There are also buses that head there direct from Tokyo as well. 
  • Norn Minakami Ski Resort in Gunma Prefecture: for intermediate and the more advanced riders, Norn Minakami boats some awesome steep slopes! You can access this resort with an easy hour and a half bullet train from Tokyo. 
skiing

Conclusion 

While skiing in Tokyo itself isn’t possible, there are so many other things to see and do while you remain in the capital. The good news is that there are plenty of nearby resorts, so you can enjoy several skiing day trips if you would like. 

Further afield, there are a plethora of quality resorts with bottomless snow for you to explore. For example, some of the best ski resorts in Japan are to the north, where the winters are colder and the snow falls in great abundance. Then again, it all comes down to personal preference. 

Simply decide what kind of skiing vacation you are looking for and do some further research into the best resorts around. Naturally, some areas will be better for beginners and intermediates, with other slopes providing challenging runs for the more advanced powder hounds. 

Once you’ve decided what level of skiing experience you’d like, you can start planning your journey from Tokyo to your chosen skiing destination. 

We hope that you’d found this article inspiring and wish you all of the best when you are out there on the slopes, tearing up the rich and bottomless snow that Japan has to offer!

Amy Pearson