11 Best Ski Resorts In Japan For Beginners

best ski resorts in japan for beginners
Katie
Katie 
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 5 min read

Skiing and snowboarding are on many’s bucket lists. Let’s be honest, it’s been on the list for a while, hasn’t it? So, let’s seize the opportunity and get you slope-ready. Being on the slopes is one of the most unique experiences you must have in Japan. You may suffer from a few bruises on your bottom, but you’ll be rewarded with the best views ever seen in your life. We’re keen to share this magical, white world with you, so we’ve done our homework and found the best ski resorts in Japan for beginners. It’s not only the vibrant festivals in Japan that bring its people, and tourists from around the globe, together but also its snow-capped mountains. Once you start on this incredible journey, you’ll fall in love with the slopes as much as we have. Continue reading to discover the best ski resorts in Japan for beginners.

We handpicked these listings carefully, considering (wherever possible) recent guest reviews, location, accommodation type, prices, availability of dates, decor, and access to ski slopes and equipment. The image galleries get refreshed with the latest updates regularly. They were last updated on {{date}}.

1. Aomori Spring Ski Resort

Steamboat springs ski resort
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user CarTick used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The family-friendly slopes of Aomori Spring Ski Resort are great spots for beginners to progress their skiing and snowboarding skills. Nestled at the base of Mt. Iwaki in Japan’s Tohoku region, the resort gets abundant snowfall. This is why it is one of the best places to ski in Japan.

It offers ski and snowboard lessons for all sorts of ability levels but one of its main goals is to provide a fun and safe learning setting for those who are just starting to glide in the snow. The lessons are offered in both Japanese and English languages. However, keep in mind that the ones with English-speaking instructors come in limited slots so make sure you reserve early. Lessons are available from 10 am to 12 pm and 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm daily. The resort also offers accommodations and guided backcountry tours.

Aomori Spring Ski Resort

Address: Ajigasawa-kogen, Ajigasawa-machi, Nishitsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture 038-2793, Japan

Website: Aomori Spring Ski Resort

Stayed at this property?

2. Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort, Nagano

Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort (8352066015)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tetsuji Sakakibara used under CC BY-SA 2.0

At this site, they have mixed the beginner and intermediate levels, we guess, to encourage you to progress. That being said, the levels feel fairly comfortable after a short time practicing and in total, there are six courses that beginners/intermediate people can test out. If you definitely want to stick to the beginner ones only, then two courses will be suitable for you. We do love sites that cater to beginner night skiing, and Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort does not disappoint.

Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort, Nagano

Address: 12840-1 Chikuniotsu, Otari, Kitaazumi District, Nagano 399-9422

Website: Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort, Nagano

Stayed at this property?

3. Rusutsu Resort, Hokkaido

CIMG1913
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jeremy Eades used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This popular resort is an ideal starting base for beginners. There are a number of beginner runs and practice areas with gentle slopes. You can spend as much time as you want in the beginner’s area until you have gained enough confidence to move up a gradient or two. The beginner areas are away from the more advanced slopes so you can rest assured that as you’re trying your hardest you won’t be bashed at full speed by another, more advanced snow sports enthusiast. As a side note, we also love the kids’ play area, so even the youngest members of your group can start finding their ‘snow-feet.’ Be warned though, this location is popular among beginners so if you want classes, book early.

Rusutsu Resort, Hokkaido

Address: 13 Izumikawa, Rusutsu, Abuta District, Hokkaido 048-1711

Website: Rusutsu Resort, Hokkaido

Stayed at this property?

4. Grandeco Snow Resort, Fukushima

グランデコ / grandeco
Source: Photo by Flickr user Odyssey used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Next on our list is ideal for skiing beginners but might not be the best bet if you’re keen on trying your hand at snowboarding. There are a number of fairly easy routes and the beginner’s section is in a different area. It’s also really quiet during the weekdays so you can take your time learning slowly to ensure that you have the best technique and don’t pick up any weird habits. It’s fairly small in comparison to some of our other listings and has only eight runs. In total, 40% of the site is suitable for beginners.

Grandeco Snow Resort, Fukushima

Address: Arasunasawayama Hibara, Kitashiobara, Yama District, Fukushima 969-2701

Website: Grandeco Snow Resort, Fukushima

Stayed at this property?

5. Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata

Naebayama2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Takkitakitaki used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The beginner’s area at this ski resort is located at the bottom area of the mountain nearer to the hotel. One of the best ski resorts for beginners, the property is vast in comparison to many other sites. But be aware that it can get extremely busy on the weekends. We love that there is a whole night ski event that is aimed toward, primarily, kids and beginner users. There are some intermediate-level slopes lit up as well. This means that as a beginner, you can experience your first night session. Good luck!

Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata

Address: 202 Mikuni, Yuzawa, Minamiuonuma District, Niigata 949-6212

Website: Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata

Stayed at this property?

6. Kusatsu Onsen Ski Resort, Gumma

Kisatushirane
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Takkitakitaki used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

So, our next entry is probably one of the most unique entries on this list. Ever wondered what a ski resort town would look like with hot spring water running straight through it? Well, now is your chance! Dubbed as the ‘Hot spring field’, it’s a definite must-see. But, we’ve gotten ourselves distracted so let’s get back to talking out beginner’s life at the Kusatsu Onsen Ski Resort. Due to some unfortunate natural events, the upper area of this site has been closed, which means that mainly intermediate and beginner levels are the only ones that remain open. Essentially, it’s like the whole site is geared towards beginners.

Kusatsu Onsen Ski Resort, Gumma

Address: 〒377-1711 Gunma, Agatsuma District, Kusatsu, 白根国有林158林班

Website: Kusatsu Onsen Ski Resort, Gumma

Stayed at this property?

7. Shiga Highlands, Nagano

Shiga Kogen from Nozoki05s4s4272
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 663highland used under CC BY 2.5

This is actually an award-winning site for the best intermediate runs. Now, if you’re a beginner, they might be a little bit out of your league but it’s always good fun to see your aim. This site is slightly more protected from the weather which means that you’ll have more time to get used to your ‘snow-feet’ before being potentially blown off-course by strong gusts of wind. Shiga Highlands is also very expansive and so there is plenty of space for beginners to spread out and find the area that they feel most comfortable practicing on.

Shiga Highlands, Nagano

Address: 7148 Hirao, Yamanochi, Shimotakai District, Nagano 381-0401

Website: Shiga Highlands, Nagano

Stayed at this property?

8. Kita Shinshu Kijimadaira Ski Resort, Nagano

Hakuba Ski Resort Japan
Source: Photo by Flickr user Roderick Eime used under CC BY-ND 2.0

This site is notorious because it was the first Japanese resort that allowed snowboarders. If you’re a boarder, we feel like that alone is reason enough to go snowboarding in Japan. This site also has some of the steepest runs in Japan, so if you’re advanced and have beginners in your party, this might be your ideal compromise. It has been reported that 40% of the trails at this site are suitable for beginners, 40% for intermediate, and the rest for advanced users.

Kita Shinshu Kijimadaira Ski Resort, Nagano

Address: 〒389-2303 Nagano, Shimotakai District, Kijimadaira, 村上木島3876-2

Website: Kita Shinshu Kijimadaira Ski Resort, Nagano

Stayed at this property?

9. Madarao Kogen Ski Resort, Nagano

Madarao Kogen Ski Resort (4483368693)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user takaokun used under CC BY 2.0

This site has a whopping 60% of its runs ungroomed, so it is great if you’re looking for a more off-piste experience. Stick to the base of the mountain and you’ll be safe in the beginner areas. The two main beginner runners called Utopia and Shirakaba should be enough to keep you satisfied. Conquer them first and then when you’re confidence has increased, head to the first intermediate slope. To be honest, we love that it’s so easy to see the progression of skills when tackling the challenges at Madarao Kogen Ski Resort

Madarao Kogen Ski Resort, Nagano

Address: 〒389-2257 長野県飯山市 大字飯山11492-321斑尾高原

Website: Madarao Kogen Ski Resort, Nagano

Stayed at this property?

10. Ryuoo Ski Park, Nagano

Ryuuousita
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 苗場山 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another site with good progressions is Ryuoo Ski Park. Popular among the locals, you are much more likely to be surrounded by Japanese people than foreigners. At this site, the beginner level is 35% of the terrain, but there are only 15 courses in total. Intermediate levels equate to 40% and finally 25% is advanced only. This snow resort in Japan is a great site that also boasts incredible panoramic views so even if you give up on practicing for the day, you can still enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Ryuoo Ski Park, Nagano

Address: 11700 Yomase, Yamanochi, Shimotakai District, Nagano 381-0405

Website: Ryuoo Ski Park, Nagano

Stayed at this property?

11. Ski Jam Katsuyama, Fukui

Ski Jam Katsuyama
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ski Mania used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Ski Jam is designed to be excellent snow runs for beginners, intermediate users and advanced snow-queens and kings alike. There are three separate areas so that you can feel safe and sound practicing without running into any advanced users whipping past you at unfathomable high speeds. As with many of our other listings, the beginner slopes are located at the base of the mountain and so can easily be reached from the hotel’s main facilities.

Ski Jam Katsuyama, Fukui

Address: 170-70 Yoshino, Katsuyama, Fukui 911-0000

Website: Ski Jam Katsuyama, Fukui

Stayed at this property?

Find the best ski slopes

We know that taking to the slopes for the first time can be a daunting experience. We hope that this list of the best ski resorts in Japan for beginners will help you find your confidence to take their first step (or slide). Let’s all hold hands and take that first step together. Simply choose your destination and book online today.

Frequently asked questions about the best ski resorts in Japan for beginners


  • Which ski resorts in Japan for beginners have WiFi?

    You can equally enjoy the snow and the benefits of being connected to the internet when you practice your skiing skills at Aomori Spring Ski Resort. This resort has an onsite partner accommodation, The Rockwood Hotel & Spa, that offers rooms fully equipped with WiFi.

  • Which ski resorts in Japan for beginners have parking?

    Getting your vehicle securely parked will be a breeze when you choose one of these ski resorts as your base for your winter escapade: i) Ryuoo Ski Park, Nagano, ii) Madarao Kogen Ski Resort, Nagano, and iii) Kusatsu Onsen Ski Resort, Gumma.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Katie is a committed full-time global wanderer and volunteer. She possesses an unerring compass that guides her to the obscure and distant corners of the Earth, where she explores jungles,...Read more

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