Japan has a number of great ski resorts, all offering the thrill of the slopes alongside some of the finest, and most luxurious hotels and chalets. Whether you’re an accomplished skier or just starting out, you’ll find a whole host of options for you and your family, if you’re looking for the best skiing in Japan for kids.
Situated over two mountain peaks on the western slopes of Asaridake, Kiroro Snow World has been drawing families and children since 1991, and with good reason. With an average of 13-21 meters of snowfall per season, the Akaigawa Village resort enjoys the most snowfall on all of Hokkaido, not to mention the breathtaking views, perfect for the thrill seeker or those who love to take it all in!
Offering a ski school, terrain park, ski rental and a snow park for young children, Kiroro is a perfect place for your kids to experience the incredibly powdery slopes for the first time or more, and it caters for kids of every age.
It’s the longest running resort in the region, opening in November and running right through to early May. The best part of the resort is the absence of crowds, marking it as one of the true “undiscovered” treasures of Japan.
Snow rafting and mini snowmobiles are available for adults, and after a busy day on the slopes, you’ll find hot spring facilities most welcoming when it comes to soothing those sore muscles and enjoying a little R & R.
2. Morino Lodge, Hakuba
Set against the beautiful Northern Alps, the Morino Lodge offers easy access to all resorts within the Hakuba Valley. Located in Wadano, the lodge offers free shuttle buses to the major resorts in the Valley not accessible by foot. The Morino Lodge has a great, laid-back atmosphere with knowledgeable staff. Even for the fussiest eater, there’s something for every taste, and the accommodation is among the most comfortable in the region.
Kids will feel at home with Western or Japanese style rooms, all of which are equipped with en suite bathrooms, TVs and mini-fridges – enough to keep them occupied when you’re not taking to the slopes.
A short walk away from the lodge, the Sakka area of Happo provides the perfect place for beginners and children to learn to ski, offering a roped off “kiddies area” for kids to learn the basics. Additionally, all mountains in Hakuba have beginner areas for newcomers.
An hour’s train ride from Tokyo and minutes away from the bullet train station, Karuizawa is the ultimate children’s paradise. Not only does the resort have spectacular ski slopes, but kids can also enjoy the bowling alley, arcade games and nature programs.
This is something of a family winter wonderland, and both hotel rooms and individual cottages are available. Just minutes from the bullet train station and ski area, there is something for adults and kids alike, before and after the fun in the snow. Whether its bowling, arcade games, making crafts or enjoying outdoor nighttime activities, there really is something for all.
The Karuizawa Prince Hotel has something of a deluxe feel, with a whole host of high-end amenities, you’ll find the perfect place to wind down after a long day on the slopes.
Due to low elevation and unpredictability that comes with natural snow in this area, the resort uses almost 200 artificial snow making machines to supply snow to the slopes. With a total of 10 courses, two children’s parks and offering ski lessons, kids will love the resort.
Oh and we almost forgot…there’s amazing outlet shopping, and many other delicious restaurants!
This is truly among the best skiing in Japan for kids.
Renowned for its incredibly dry powder and Hokkaido snowfall, the Rusutsu Resort is paradise for everyone from children to experienced adults. But for families especially, the resort cannot be ignored. With lessons that teach kids to ski in indoor and outdoor environments; a winter playground designed exclusively for young children; and a daycare for even younger children, the Rusutsu Resort welcomes children with open arms.
The ski lessons are renowned far and wide, and a number of different classes are available covering both group and private lessons.
There are three mountains to ski here, but it is perhaps a resort for the more accomplished skier. Only one of the three has slopes suitable for beginners so keep that in mind if you’re new to winter sports. The other runs on the other two mountains are predominantly red or intermediate slopes, and you’ll also find some black runs here too.
The Rusutsu resort hotel is a quirky Disney-esque accommodation option for those with young children. With an indoor wave pool and water slide, two games arcades, a carousel, a 4-D theater and a singing tree, the Rusutsu is a child’s dream. And for adults, it’s not too bad — hot springs, an Aroma Treatment Room, bath houses, fountains. This place is heaven on Earth for families.
The amusement park provides a change of scenery for those families looking to take a break from the adrenalin-fueled snow fun!
The Rusutsu is a special place and you’re sure to have a great time. It’s perhaps one for the more experienced skier, or at least an advanced beginner.
5. Mt. Naeba
With 44 ski trails, 4 detailed terrain parks, 20 restaurants in the hotel alone, a family snow land and the “world’s first indoor and outdoor kids ski program,” the Naeba Prince Hotel Ski Resort dominates the breathtaking Mt. Naeba. Combining the Naeba and Kagura ski areas, the Mt. Naeba resort is much higher than many of the surrounding Yuzawa ski resorts and boasts much better quality snow.
It’s regarded as the country’s best-known ski location, and was in fact a World Cup venue. Both domestic and overseas visitors flock here, and the resort has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
For families, the resort has a number of terrain parks, a kids’ snow park, an indoor child’s’ ski area and a family snow land. Like many other family-oriented ski resorts, childcare is available as are ski lessons for youngsters and beginners.
For the kids, treasure hunting on the snow and first track classes are just part of the on-ice program. It’s always worth checking the individual program when you arrive to make sure that lessons and events are taking place during your stay.
The hotel is a breathtaking feat — a 1,300 room palace with stores, equipment rental, spa, an onsen, game center, kids’ recreation room. When you’re not on the slopes, you’ll be having a blast in a number of the impressive regional and local facilities.
6. Tomamu Ski Resort
Of all ski resorts within Hokkaido, the Tomamu Resort is the most lavish, yet still provides the best skiing in Japan for kids.
Boasting a pair of hotel towers that resemble city skyscrapers, a 50-meter wave pool and an Ice Village consisting of domes made of snow and ice, the resort is surprisingly sparse when it comes to guests, meaning even more snow for you and your family to enjoy! The Tomamu offers you an opportunity to escape the traditional tourist ‘Western’ crowds, enjoying the snow on your own terms.
Tomamu is one of the few ski resorts that offers ski lessons for kids in the English language, and also offers a wide array of kid’s activities and beginner slopes perfectly suited to youngsters.
You’ll also find exclusive girls-only lessons with female instructors for those looking to learn how to snowboard! In addition, group lessons, the Chokkari ski and snowboard school, Nipo’s ski school, and special 3-year old classes are all part of an extensive training program.
The resort has a luxurious feel but is popular with young families and welcoming to kids of all ages.
7. Ki Niseko, Hokkaido
Offering breathtaking views of Mount Yotei and Mount Annupuri, the Ki Niseko hotel offers a uniquely sophisticated charm that must be seen to be believed. With access to the powder slopes right outside the hotel, the Ki Niseko is an ideal hotel for any tranquil Japanese skiing vacation.
Often described as the boutique ski-in ski-out hotel, this is a great mix of alpine charm with Japanese sophistication.
While tranquility is found in spades, you’ll still find plenty going on, and a warm welcome for those travelling with kids.
For the foodie, this is one for the list! Sushi is enjoyed readily at Hanayoshi, and Yo, nestled in lower Hirafu, has just 4 tables but serves a host of traditional favorites including Shabu-Shabu. If you’re heading here – be sure to make those reservations in advance!
The hotel also supplies a private valet to ensure your family gets the most out of your stay; a complimentary shuttle to get you to Hirafu and Kutchan; a spa and a private mineral-rich onsen.
Let’s not forget the great skiing on offer here! You’ll find a great program of classes and lessons for all ages, so whether an accomplished skier wanting to take advantage of the plentiful sporting action, or an advanced beginner looking to brush up on those skills, there’s something for all.
8. Joetsu Kokusai Ski Resort, Minimi Uonuma
Just to the north of Yuzawa Town, Joetsu Kokusai draws families from all over the world to enjoy its 10 million square meters of pure fun. Perhaps the biggest draw for families here is the collaboration between Joetsu kokusai and the nearby Iwappara resort (in Yuzawa), offering visitors joint tickets and much more.
Children are incredibly well-catered for here, with a number of very-young-children’s activities designed with a Spongebob Squarepants theme.
The largest hotel found here is the Hotel Green Plaza Joetsu, located right at the base of the Joetsu Kokusai resort. It offers true ski-in ski-out convenience and is popular among family groups. Inside, you’ll find 2 lounges serving soft drinks to cocktails, a sauna and Jacuzzi, outdoor and indoor Onsen, changing room and ski lockers, and 7 restaurants!
There are 22 courses in total, with 50% catering for the intermediate skier, and 30% for the beginner. Advanced skiers are well catered for here too, with the advanced slopes taking up 20% of the available courses.
You’re assured breathtaking views of the surrounding valley and mountains, and skiers of all ages flock to this region each year. Whether 8 or 80, there really is something for everyone, and the resort has a family-friendly, luxurious feel!
9. Grandeco Snow Resort, Fukushima
About 260 km north of Tokyo, the Grandeco Resort is the highest quality resort in the Bandai area. With a 3,500-meter trail for beginners and children, and more advanced trails for the experienced skier, the Grandeco Resort has snow so powdery, you struggle to even form a snowball. With heavy snowfall, the resort often enjoys a long skiing season into May. On weekdays, the resort is largely empty and ideal for new skiers.
Bring your ski or snowboard, and for the best ski or snowboarding experience, try the DECO Wax ski and board valet service.
Families with children will find themselves thankful for the the crepe shop nearby — a blessing for children, especially, allowing for a well-earned break after a day on the slopes, or a busy ski or snowboarding lesson with one of the resorts qualified, reputable ski instructors.
Additionally, a snow sports school, child care facilities, a play room for kids and a nap area for when things get a little too intense.
The big draw for children is Deco Land — a children’s area with snow play equipment, ideal when the grown-ups need a break, or to restore their energy ahead of another day on the slopes.
Ready to explore some of the best skiing in Japan?
Whether you choose a resort based on the skiing and snowboarding, or for the luxury and hotels, Japan really has a lot to offer families seeking the best skiing in Japan for kids. Beautiful scenery, quality skiing and a friendly welcome is assured.