Find winter wonderlands all over Japan!

In winter, ski resorts open throughout Japan, from Hokkaido to Tohoku and many other places. Throngs of skiers and snowboarders come in search of perfect powder, but hitting the slopes is not the only way to enjoy the season! Snow creates entirely new landscapes, while a wealth of activities offers the chance to experience traditional life in what Japanese call “yukiguni,” or “snow country.”

Snow resorts even non-skiers will love

Mt. Moriyoshi ANI SKI RESORT (Akita Pref.)

This ski resort in Kita Akita City is gaining popularity for its high-quality powder snow. Also, the impressive “snow monsters” that emerge from early January to early March has earned the region its place as one of Japan’s three best spots to view frost-covered trees. Families and travel groups love the six-seater gondola that takes you to the viewing area near the top of the ski slope. The frost-covered trees can be enjoyed from inside the Mt. Moriyoshi Visitor Center, but rain boots, snowshoes, snow poles and other equipment can also be used free of charge for an up-close encounter with the sparkling white giants.

Access Aniai Sta. (Akita Nairiku Line) → 20 min by taxi

Hakuba Iwatake Snowfield (Nagano Pref.)

In the Hakuba region, one of Japan’s preeminent alpine resort areas, skiers enjoy a panoramic view spreading forth below the isolated peak, 1,289 meters high. However, even for those with little interest in sliding down the slopes there’s no shortage of ways to spend a fun day. Both children and adults are crazy about the fast-paced ice slide, the giant swing, Snow Wall, and Kamakura (snow hut). Afterwards, head to the spectacular view from the terrace at HAKUBA MOUNTAIN HARBOR to warm up with some hot chocolate or from Soup Stock Tokyo with hot soup while gazing at the majestic Northern Alps and the winter wonderland.

Access JR Hakuba Sta. → Free pick-up shuttle (for a limited time only)

Minakami Kogen Ski Resort (Gunma Pref.)

This popular ski resort just two hours from Tokyo in the outskirts of the Kanto region, is an area renowned for its wealth of winter activities. One of the main attractions here is “snow rafting,” where you can feel all the thrills of white water rafting while being pulled by a snowmobile. People also love the dog-sledding experience, racing through the silver scenery on a sled pulled by dogs. Other than Hokkaido, this ski resort is the only place to try dog sleds, long used as a means of transportation in snowy regions. Seeing the musher and the dogs running in perfect coordination is exhilarating. *Advance reservations are required. See website for details.

Access JR Jomo-Kogen Sta. / JR Minakami Sta. → Free pick-up shuttle (reservation required)

Mt. Gozaisho (Mie Pref.)

Towering 1,212 m above sea level, Gozaisho-dake is accessible from Nagoya in about an hour on the Kintetsu train. Besides the ski slopes here, even those not equipped to ski can easily explore the wintry world by taking the ropeway up to the Summit Park! If conditions are right, you can see frost-covered trees from late December to early March. The sparkling tree branches are like a fairy-tale realm. Try to visit in the morning before the ice melts. The white torii gate at the Summit Park also makes for stunning pictures!

Access Yunoyama Onsen Sta. (Kintetsu) → 10 min by bus

Shikaribetsuko Kotan (Hokkaido)

Shikaribetsuko Kotan is a “phantom village” that exists only during the time of mid-winter on Lake Shikaribetsu near the center of Hokkaido. These structures are made entirely of ice and snow from the lake! Enjoy unique experiences such as sipping liquor from ice-hewn glasses at a bar made of ice, or warming up in an open-air hot spring bath set on the frozen waters.

Period: January 27 – March 10, 2024

Access JR Obihiro Sta. → 1 hr 40 min by bus

Ashigakubo Icicles (Saitama Pref.)

一般社団法人 横瀬町観光協会


The Chichibu area near Tokyo abounds with impressive natural scenery. Making the most of the region’s frigid climes and waters from the mountain streams, local people create icicles up to 30 meters high and 200 meters wide. The event is usually held from early January to late February every year, illuminated with fantastical lights at night.

Period: January 6–February 25, 2024

Access Ashigakubo Sta. (Seibu) → 10 min walk

Frost at Nita Pass (Nagasaki Pref.)

 一般社団法人 雲仙観光局


Unzen is famous for its hot springs. From January to mid-February, hoarfrost can sometimes be seen at Nita Pass. Like white flowers in full bloom, this particularly ethereal type of frost is a naturally occurring work of art that only appears under the right combination of conditions when sub-zero air mixes with strong winds and high humidity. Enjoy this rare beauty with ease by taking the Unzen Ropeway to the top of Mt. Myoken-dake.


Sapporo Snow Festival (Hokkaido)



A major winter event held at three venues including Odori Park. Enjoy the sight of sculptures made of snow and ice in all shapes and sizes, also beautifully illuminated at night. At the Tsudome Site, events that let us touch and feel snow provide fun for all ages.

Period: February 4-11, 2024

Access Odori Site: Odori Sta. (Subway) → short walk Susukino Site: Susukino Sta. (Subway, Streetcar) → short walk Tsudome Site: Sakaemachi Sta. (Subway) → 15 min walk

Aizu E-rosoku Festival (Fukushima Pref.)

Aizu E-rosoku (painted candles) decorated with vivid flowers are a traditional craft of the Aizu region in Fukushima Prefecture. In this festival, Tsurugajo Castle, the symbol of Aizu, and the garden of the Aizu feudal lords called Oyakuen, are both decorated with picture candles amid the snow. Those who climb the tower of Tsurugajo Castle will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the flickering flames from above not to be missed.

Period: February 9-10, 2024

Access JR Aizu-Wakamatsu Sta. → “Haikara-san” or “Akabe” Bus → Tsurugajo-iriguchi stop → 5 min walk Oyakuen: JR Aizuwakamatsu Sta. → “Haikara-san” or “Akabee” Bus → Oyakuen Iriguchi stop → 1 min walk

Yokote Kamakura Festival (Akita Pref.)

This traditional event in Yokote City to honor the god of water has continued for over 450 years. As many as 60 Kamakura (small huts made of snow) are made, within which children serve amazake (sweet sake) and mochi (rice cake). The candle-lit Kamakura amid the snowy scenery is a deeply tranquil, majical sight.

Period: February 15-16, 2024

Access JR Yokote Sta. → 10 min walk

Tsunan Snow Festival (Niigata Pref.)



An event held in Tsunan Town in a region of Japan with one of the heaviest snowfalls. The main event is the launch of “sky lanterns,” a sight like a scene from a movie. To participate in the launch it is necessary to buy lottery tickets, but all are welcome to watch it unfold on the day. Also, with stage performances, various activity programs, street stalls, fireworks, and more, a fantastic time is sure to be had by all.

*Pre-purchased tickets are required to use the parking lot.

Period: March 9, 2024


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The information herein is as of October 2023
I am Ayumi from Chiba Prefecture. I love sweets. I majored in Japanese history in my university. I have visited many historic sites from the ancient days to the modern days on my trips. I have visited about 100 castles of various sizes. I am also obsessed with visiting “anime pilgrimage sites,” the locations featured in popular anime and manga.

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