Does it snow in Japan? The answer is YES.
The traditional snow season in Japan corresponds with the start of winter, so snow can be expected from mid-December onwards.
Many holiday lovers have always asked themselves whether it snows in Japan, especially those with plans to visit the nation during the winter period.
In fact, it does snow in Japan and the country receives a substantial amount of snow during the winter season making it a favorite destination for skiing lovers.
From Mount Niseko to Mount Fuji, there are several places that make Japan a popular destination for spring, winter and some amazing snow games.
Does it Snow in Japan?
Does it snow in Japan? The answer is YES. Japan experiences snow during the winter months.
Nearly all regions of the country do receive snow during the snow season that commences in the second week of December to late March and in some cases early April.
The regions that border the Sea of Japan experience snow every winter period due to the cooling effect of the cold winds from Manchuria and Siberia.
Since the sea does not freeze, it acts as a constant source of moisture to the surrounding areas, which in turn is cooled off by the cold winds to form snow.
The regions facing the Pacific Ocean are shielded by the central mountains making snowing a less phenomenon on this side.
Due to this shielding, the temperatures remain relatively above the freezing point and rarely does snow accumulate compared to the other regions.
The south regions experience higher temperatures compared to the northern regions due to the warm black currents that flow from the southern region.
Therefore, cities located in this region such as Kyushu, the South and Shikoku Islands and Hiroshima rarely experience snow.
When Does it Snow in Japan
Due to its geographical location, most areas of Japan receive considerable amounts of snow during the winter season.
The winter season in this country is long and commences from the second week of December to late March or April in some years.
The country averages a snowfall of between 300 and 600 inches in most areas while high altitude areas such as the mountains receive huge amounts.
The climatic condition of Japan is largely influenced by the surrounding ocean and its currents and the geography of the land /islands that make up the country.
It has four unique seasons namely spring, summer, autumn and winter.
The winter season runs from the months of December to March while spring begins in the months of April and ends in May.
The summer season in this country runs from the months of June to August while autumn runs between the months of September and November.
Majority of the snowing happens during the winter season where the temperatures fall below the freezing point.
For example, in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, the average day temperature during the month of December is 120C and 40C at night.
In the month of January, the average day temperature falls by 20C to 10C and 20C at night.
During the winter, Tokyo also receives some rain.
December receives rainfall on an average of three days, same as the month of January.
In February, the average daytime temperature is 100C and night time temperatures fall as low as 20C.
Additionally, February receives more rainfall compared to December and January.
In high altitude areas, the temperatures are lower compared to other regions.
Where Does it Snow in Japan?
The northern regions receive more snow compared to the southern areas.
Hokkaido, which is the second largest island, is the furthest point to the north and it is famed for its snow and ski areas.
The temperatures in this island are lower compared to the rest of the regions in the country.
Honshu, the main island in Japan, is in the southern region that is a bit warmer compared to the northern region.
Despite the warmer temperatures, the island plays host to the most popular ski areas and resorts in the country.
These ski areas are mostly located in high altitude areas especially the mountains on the island that experience lower temperatures.
Does it Snow in Tokyo, Japan
YES, Tokyo is among the cities in Japan that experience snow.
Tokyo is Japan’s Capital and it’s the largest city.
It covers a total area of 2,194 square kilometers and is located at an elevation of 6617 feet (2,017 meters) above sea level on the major island of Honshu.
Tokyo has a population of about 14 million people, making it the world’s most populous city.
The lowest month in Tokyo is January, with an average low temperature of 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2.80C).
From January to March, snow falls at a cumulative annual depth of 1.06 inches (27 millimeters).
February experiences the most snowfall, with up to 0.83 inches falling (21 millimeters).
Does it Snow in Sapporo?
YES, it does snow in Sapporo.
Sapporo is the largest metropolis on the island of Hokkaido.
Temperatures can plummet to 14.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.8 0C) in January, with snow falling for 28 days and accumulating to a depth of 16.93 inches (430 millimeters).
Throughout the year, Sapporo receives 111.9 snowfall days, with typical depths of 67.83 inches. (1723 millimeters).
Does it Snow in Aomori?
YES, it does snow and quite a lot.
Aomori is the world’s snowiest city, with an area of 824.61 square kilometers.
In January, daily temperatures fall to 21.2 degrees Fahrenheit (-60C).
Aomori experiences heavy snow, with an annual average of 262 inches (6654.8 millimeters).
Amazing Places to Visit in Japan
Japan is among the top tourist destinations in the world.
It offers a perfect blend of cutting-edge technology overlapped with centuries-old traditions and practices.
As one of the world’s most advanced nations in terms of technology and industrialization, most first-time visitors are often left in awe when they visit as this small Asian country.
The country boasts an amazing and rich history that goes back to thousands of years ago.
Ginzan Onsen, Yagamata
Located in Yamagata, in the northern region and facing the Sea of Japan, Ginzan Onsen has one of the most spectacular winter views.
The town is famed for its hot springs and is connected with Tokyo via a railway line.
It is among the most visited areas in the nation due to its hiking trails in the winter months and water falls during the warmer seasons.
The residents have also infused the Japanese culture into the tourism industry creating magnificent wooden inns known as ryokan that also serve as a tourist attraction.
Winter is magical and a spectacle to behold as the streets are lit by gas lamps.
Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture
Tochigi Prefecture is also located in the northern part of the nation, approximately 100km from the city of Tokyo.
The Nikko area is surrounded by a range of mountains as high as 2000 meters above sea level.
Different towns within the area have different unique features.
It plays host to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites including temples and shrines in the mountains.
The area has over 300 religious’ units within the complex with spectacular structures and decorations.
Additionally, the area has magnificent traditional crafts, hot healing springs, shrines dating back to the 8th century, a commercial center and a transportation hub located in the central area of Utsunomiya.
Nyuto Onsen, Akita
Located in the Akita Prefecture, in the mountains northeast of Lake Tazawa, Nyuto Onsen comprises seven wooden inns (Ryokan) and all the ryokan are not related to each other.
Surprisingly, each ryokan uses different hot springs waters and the majority of these pool waters are milky in color and acidic.
The healing properties of these spring waters are attributed to the molecular components of the water.
This small harbor city is located in the northern part of the country and is famed for its unique herring mansions as it is beautifully located in a canal area.
The city also serves as an important fishing port and a major trading point.
During the winter, the snow-covered buildings offer a spectacle to marvel at as they give a vibe similar to that of winter in Europe.
The top attractions in this city include the Canal Area, the Otaru Snow Light path, the city museum, the Sakaimachi Street, the Herring Mansion and the Nikka Whisky Distillery among others.
Ouchi Juku, Fukushima
The town is famed for its ancient touch with numerous thatched-roof buildings and natural streets that take you back to the old days.
Located in the south, this town is a perfect place to visit courtesy of its rich history and unique charm.
There are numerous festivals in this town that attract many visitors.
Among the most famous festivals is the Snow Festival that is held in the month of February, every year.
This festival lights up the town and turns it into a magnificent candle lit scene.
In July, there is a festival held where dancers and other participants adorn traditional costumes from the Edo period.
The town is also famed for some tantalizing local delicacies such as Negi soba and stick-roasted char fish among others.
Shirikawa-go and Gokayama are located along the valley of River Shogawa in the Gifu area.
The area is a UNESCO world heritage site famed for its traditional farm houses known as Gassho-zukuri that were built over 250 years ago.
The designs have been developed over the years and were designed to withstand adverse climatic conditions such as heavy snow.
Its roofs serve as a space for silkworm cultivation.
The largest village is known as Ogimachi and is among the top attractions in this region.
Top attractions in this area are the farm houses, the winter light-up, Ogimachi village and Saganuma village among others.
Skiing Resorts in Japan
Skiing has been a top attraction in Japan.
The winter Olympics have been held in Japan a couple of times.
First was in 1972 and then in 1998 in Nagano.
Japan plays host to some famous ski resorts.
In total, the country has over 500 ski resorts and this article takes a look at some of the best in the country.
Furano Ski Resort, Hokkaido
Furano Ski Resort is among the best in the nation and has modern amenities and offers excellent services to skiing lovers.
Located in Hokkaido, the resort can be accessed by road.
The resort and the surrounding town offer amazing services to the visitors especially English-speaking visitors without losing touch with the Japanese culture.
The resort has a fantastic snowboard and ski terrain for every level.
It covers an area of 194 acres, a maximum run length of about 4000 meters, 28 trails, a maximum pitch of 34 degrees and a vertical drop of about 839 meters.
It accommodates riding for beginners, intermediate and elite riders.
For families, the resort is friendly and has English speaking staff to cater for English speaking visitors.
The resort has ski areas namely Kitanomie and Furano.
Furano operates for a longer period (November to May) compared to Kitanomie (December to March).
Both are accessible by use of a resort shuttle.
Apart from skiing, there are restaurants that offer amazing delicacies, there are accommodation services also and bars.
However, it is good to note that the accommodation service providers do not offer luxury or premium services.
Other activities that visitors can partake in include snowmobiling, ice-hole fishing and backcountry ski tours.
Happo One Resort, Hakuba
Happo One Resort is among the most famous and largest ski resorts in the country and it played host to the winter olympics in 1998 as well as the FreeRide World Tour.
Visitors get to enjoy amazing views of the three peaks of Hakuba mountains as well as the volcanoes of Asama, Myoko and Togakushi.
The resort is famed for its consistent and super dry snow powder and boasts a vertical drop of approximately 1701 meters and its steep pitch makes it ideal for advanced and intermediate skiers.
Additionally, the elevation top is 1820 meters while the elevation bottom is 750 meters.
The total skiable area is 220 hectares while the longest run stands at 8,000 meters.
It has 22 lifts; one Gondola and the number of runs stands at 14.
Moreover, the resort allows night skiing, tree skiing and has a terrain park.
The nearby Happo village plays host to a number of restaurants, bars and shops that complement the accommodation offered at the Happo One Resort.
The resort offers a number of accommodation options for visitors that include apartments, hotels and even houses.
For bookings and in-depth review of their facilities, please check out their website here.
Niseko Ski Resorts, Hokkaido
Niseko attracts snowboarders and skiers from all over the world during the winter period.
Located in the Hokkaido region, the area has an excellent climate that allows for the formation of quality powder snow.
The main attraction is the new fallen snow normally referred to as “aspirin snow” and the impressive powder snow.
This snow covers the majority of the ski slopes.
The town is located in the An’napuri and Hokkaido Mountain ranges.
Niseko United is a collective term for four ski resorts located at the top of Mount An’nupuri.
The resorts include Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort, Niseko Hanazono Ski Resort, Niseko An’nupuri Ski Resort and Niseko Village Ski Resort.
There are many accommodation options ranging from budget lodges to luxurious hotels.
Visitors are often spoiled for choice but Niseko United issues a special pass that allows entry into All Mountain Pass with which you can have access to all lifts in these four amazing resorts in Niseko.
The resorts also allow night or after dark skiing.
Transport, Nightlife, Culture and Language
Located 100km southwest of Sapporo, Niseko is connected to other cities through New Chitose International Airport.
There are also shuttle buses that offer door to door transfers.
Niseko has some of the best nightlife spots and amazing restaurants.
The restaurants are located all over the town but the main center with amazing dining options and opportunities is Hirafu.
This center hosts some of the most vibrant nightlife spots.
For international visitors that are worried about language barriers, Niseko has staff to cater for international tourists as the language of communication is English at the four resorts.
Most staff communicate easily in English and most signage around the area is in both Japanese and English.
For more information, visit their official website here.
Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort, Nagano
Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort is located near Nagano city in the north of the Nagano Prefecture.
The resort is situated at the foot of Mt. Kenashi-yama and its population is about 4000 people.
The village has been in existence since the 8th century and it is famed for its traditional inns and hot springs that date back to the Edo period.
Its popularity has risen due to its amazing terrain and powder snow.
One of the key attractive features of this ski resort is the ski area.
The resort has a ski area of about 300 hectares, a vertical drop of about 1,085 meters and courses that cover over 50 kilometers making it among the largest in Japan.
It is a good destination as it experiences plentiful snowfall.
The hot springs are not crowded but due to its rising popularity, weekends are often full.
The onsen village has its structures built according to the Japanese traditional architecture that enhances that cultural experience to the visitors.
Most of the hot springs are located indoors and there are traditional temples around that you can visit to enhance your cultural experience.
For travelers who bring along their children, worry not Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort is among the few resorts in the country that offer babysitting/childcare services in English.
Additionally, group ski lessons are offered in English.
The town has reasonable nightlife and a number of restaurants that offer local cuisines.
Other activities in the area include the Dosojin Fire Festival held on 15th January every year, and it involves fireworks, fire and kanpai.
Additionally, there is snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
The area plays host to the famous snow monkeys.
Rusutsu Ski Resort, Hokkaido
Rusutsu Ski Resort is one of the most popular ski resorts in the nation and it is famed for receiving the heaviest snowballs and probably the best powder snow compared to other places in the world.
Located in Hokkaido, the area receives an annual snowfall of approximately 13 meters making it amazing for tree and powder skiing.
Referred to as an ‘outdoor paradise’, the resort is one of the few largest all-season resorts that offers a wide range of activities that include skiing, golf, nature outdoors among others.
The ski area covers three mountains namely Mt. Isola, West Mt. and East Mt and each of these mountains have an amazing and unique terrain with a number of well-maintained trails.
In total, the resort has 4 gondolas, 37 runs, 29 miles of well-kept slopes and 14 lifts.
The resort accommodates all levels of skiing as it has gentle and wide slopes for snowboarders and amateur skiers and narrow slopes with challenging runs for expert skiers.
There are many hotels and restaurants that offer catering and accommodation services and there are some dining spots located near the bases of these mountains.
It is family friendly and offers many activities suited for families.
The hotel also has a wave pool, dancing bears and game arcades.
For kids, there is a kids park within the hotel that has snow biking, tubing and other fun activities.
Additionally, there are many English signages and a number of English-speaking staff to help international visitors.
For more information about Rusutsu Ski Resort, please visit their official website here.
Shiga Kogen, Nagano
The Shiga Kogen Resort in Nagano is among the most popular ski resorts in Japan and it first gained fame when it hosted various events during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.
The events hosted included slalom, snowboarding, women’s downhill and super G.
Since then, snowboarders from across the world have visited the resort in a bid to taste what the resort has to offer.
The resort is the second highest ski resort in the country and it has quality snow and a variety of snowboarding and skiing terrain.
The area has other ski resorts that are 19 in total.
The ski area covers about 600 hectares, over 80km of trails and a vertical drop of approximately 980 meters.
The resort has 48 lifts, gondolas, fast quad chairs, “romance chairs” and ropeway accessible through a single ski pass.
The resort has the best intermediate terrain.
Additionally, it has the best ski-in ski-out accommodation facilities in the country and its large area accommodates all levels of skiers.
In addition to skiing, there are many other attractions in the region.
There are several hot spring resorts in the towns around the area.
The famous Japanese snow monkeys are not far away and you can watch them keep warm and play in the hot springs. Shiga Kogen also has many onsens for humans.
Additionally, Matsushiro Kaizu castle and the Zenkoji temple are located near the ski resort.
Final Thoughts on the Question: Does it Snow in Japan
Does it snow in Japan? Definitely, YES. It does snow in Japan.
Japan is one of the most interesting countries and there are many reasons as to why you should visit.
The country has a rich history and culture coupled with magnificent nature.
However, those passionate about skiing want to know whether it does snow in Japan.
I have proven beyond doubt that indeed it does snow in Japan and when in the country, you can visit some of the amazing luxury ski resorts with amazing terrain and powder snow.
Additionally, you can indulge in other activities within the country or visit other spectacular areas.