If there are two things that every skier is looking for in their winter ski vacation it is beautiful landscapes and perfect powder, both of which can be found in spades at the ski resorts of Hokkaido. The area around Sapporo City is becoming famous as a haven for lovers of Champagne Powder – the perfect texture of light, dry, smooth snow like the top of a freshly iced cake.
From the most experienced thrill-seekers to first-time explorers, there are many incredible resorts just a stone’s throw from Sapporo that should be at the top of the list for anyone searching for a beautiful holiday in the snow this winter.
This article will give you all of the information that you need to know about the six best ski resorts around Sapporo and what hidden wonders await you in this beautiful region of Japan so that you can start booking your next ski vacation straight away.
Kiroro – 27 Miles West of Sapporo (1hr drive)
Often hailed as having the best snow in all of Hokkaido, the Kiroro resort is an incredible option for families looking for comfort and luxury, alongside great powder.
With an average snowfall of 68 feet annually, you won’t have to worry about patchy slopes or week-old slush and there are many fantastic pistes to explore. You would be hard-pressed to find any resort in the world with more reliable snowfall.
Kiroro is also a great option for its luxurious accommodation options and the boundless activities that are available both on and off the snow – it’s even a fantastic destination in the summer.
There is a great range of slopes, from beginner to advanced, at all different lengths so anyone can carve out their perfect day.
Kiroro Ski Resort Official Website
Once you’ve had your fill of skiing or snowboarding, the snow park offers all kinds of wintery fun, and you can even try out a whole new winter sport with snow driving.
On top of that, there are many fun indoor activities available at the Granship game park if you’re looking for an escape from the cold.
Visiting Kiroro couldn’t be easier as it is only about an hour’s drive from Sapporo, and the resort even offers free parking.
There are also incredibly convenient shuttle busses that operate from the city, and from New Chitose Airport for a no-fuss direct route to the resort.
Asarigawa Onsen – 22 Miles Northwest of Sapporo (40 mins drive)
If you want a little more peace and quiet, the smaller resort of Asari is just down the hill from Kiroro, also boasting wonderful snow but with fewer crowds and relaxed slopes.
The skiing at Asari is perfect for beginners and intermediates as the slopes are less advanced and the atmosphere on the pistes is calm – but experienced skiers can have a lot of fun off-piste as well.
Asarigawa Onsen And Winter Resort Via Tripadvisor
Asari also gets fantastic snowfall, though it is at a slightly lower altitude than other resorts in the region. The resort itself has a few options for hotels and ryokans, but many visitors choose to stay in nearby Otaru, just 5.5 miles away.
Otaru is a wonderful, historic Japanese city that is a great place to indulge in the culture, from shops to seafood markets to the local brewery.
Getting to and from the resort is easiest by car, especially if you are staying elsewhere and visiting the slopes during the day.
Because it is so close to the city, a lot of people choose to stay in Sapporo and simply take the 40-minute journey in and out as and when they please.
Furano – 70 Miles Northeast of Sapporo (2:15hr drive)
Furano is one of the most famous ski resorts in Japan, though it is somewhat of a hidden gem to the rest of the world. With an incredible variety of terrain and unmatched snow conditions, it is a favorite amongst the most enthusiastic of skiers and snowboarders – many of whom will make this resort their home for much of the winter months.
The resort has two different zones for skiing, both of which are less than 10 minutes by shuttle bus from the town of Furano and offer an impressive range of different options for visitors at any confidence level.
Furano Ski Resort Official Website
It is based on one of the steepest mountains in Hokkaido and you can expect regular snowfalls of dry, light powder that eager locals rush to in the early mornings.
The resort borders on Daisetsu-zan National Park so the views are stunning, and guided backcountry trips are a great way to see more of the mountain.
As a world-class location, Furano has hosted the FIS Downhill World Cup 10 times and regularly plays host to national and international competitions of all kinds.
While the Furano resort is a little further afield, about a 2:15hr drive from Sapporo, it is very well-serviced by buses and trains so getting there is a breeze.
Tomamu – 93 Miles East of Sapporo (2:40hrs drive)
A truly modern and high-class resort location, Tomamu offers a luxury experience for any skier or snowboarder. With its iconic skyscraper hotels and majestic Ice Village, it is a sight to behold, and there is no shortage of things to do. If you want the 5-star treatment, Tomamu has it all.
There are great pistes available for experienced and enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders, but also a well-maintained terrain park and sanctioned tree skiing on offer as well.
Tomamu Ski Resort Official Website
The resort also caters to beginners, and the kid’s snow park is a great place for children to get lessons, play in the playground, and have a try at some sledding.
In your downtime, you can visit the spa, the hot spring facilities, the wave pool, and several restaurants. The illuminated Ice Village at Tomamu is a beautifully constructed collection of domes, made entirely from ice and snow, which features a bar, a wedding chapel, and even a hotel.
If you are a guest at the resort entry is free, including the on-site ice rink.
The drive to Tomamu from Sapporo is a longer one, but there are also convenient options by train both from the city and the airport.
From Sapporo itself, the train journey is around one and a half hours, but it is only an hour from New Chitose Airport.
Sahoro – 111 Miles East of Sapporo (2:35hrs drive)
The Sahoro Ski Resort is fantastic for people looking for a stress-free ski holiday with direct access to the slopes and every amenity and service at your fingertips.
The all-inclusive hotel options are particularly appealing if you are traveling with children as you know that everything will be looked after. As a smaller resort, the slopes are not too crowded, and you won’t be losing anyone on the mountain.
Sahoro Ski Resort Official Website
Sahoro receives a little less snow than some of the other Hokkaido resorts, though it is still wonderfully dry and with an average of 28 feet per season, you won’t find it lacking. There are 8 beginner runs, 3 intermediates, and 10 for the advanced skiers, though experienced skiers may also want to look off-piste for an extra challenge and some exciting tree skiing.
The Club Med hotel has everything that you need if you opt for an all-inclusive package, with three meals a day, lift passes, lessons, and even drinks and snacks as part of the offer.
Both Club Med and the Sahoro Resort Hotel at the base of the area are practically ski-in and ski-out, so they are ideal for getting right into the fun.
The drive from Sahoro is a little long, at nearly 3 hours, but there is trains as well, particularly from New Chitose Airport to Shintoku Station, where you can jump on a free shuttle.
Airport transfers are part of an optional transport package if you are staying at Club Med, or a Ski Shuttle can be booked through Sahoro Resort Hotel.
Mount Racey (Yubari) – 47 Miles east of Sapporo (1:30hrs drive)
Mount Racey, otherwise known as Yubari Resort, is just West of Yubari City which is famous for its melons – though you won’t find any of those when the snow is on the ground. This resort is known for having great beginner and intermediate options, as well as beautiful tree skiing.
If you are looking to gain some confidence in your skiing or snowboarding, Mount Racey is just the place and even the expert courses aren’t too threatening once you’ve got a couple of days under your belt.
The resort is quite far below the tree line and offers a lot of fun off-piste, which also means that the slopes are well sheltered on stormy days.
Though Racey may not receive as much in the way of snow as other resorts in the region, they have snowblowers ready to make up the difference, and it is unlikely to suffer from dangerous weather.
Mount Racey is a great option for day visits from nearby locations as well, easy to access from places like Tomamu or Furano.
Easy to access from Sapporo City, Mount Racey is also the closest resort to New Chitose Airport, less than an hour’s drive away. There are many bus and train options to Yubari City as well as it is a very popular tourist destination.