ski resorts near tokyo kagura ski slope lake

The Top Ski Resorts Near Tokyo Perfect for a Day Trip

Winter is in full swing, and we all know what that means: ski holiday! I’ll be honest, I’ve only skied a couple of times and am still very much in the pizza stages of skiing. But after years with my avid skier-husband, I’ve agreed to go ski with him on the condition he actually stays with me on the slopes and teaches me how to ski. And it turns out, when the slope isn’t horrifically steep, skiing can be a lot of fun! Not to mention, you fall a lot less when skiing than when snowboarding (my tailbone is eternally grateful). If you’re visiting Tokyo in winter, you may want to try some the famed powder but may not have the time for a long ski trip. So, organized by town, here are the top ski resorts near Tokyo that are perfect for a day trip:


The first and most popular area for ski resorts near Tokyo is Yuzawa. Yuzawa is located in Niigata Prefecture north of Tokyo. This area is one of the largest of its kind in Japan. From the city center, you can be on the slopes in less than two hours. Because of this, the slopes can get quite crowded on weekends during ski season. Yuzawa has plenty of ski resorts to try. Gala Yuzawa and Ichiuchi Maruyama are conveniently right outside of the station, while Kagura and Naeba offer beautiful views only a short shuttle away. From Tokyo, take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo Yuzawa Station. The ticket costs under JPY7,000 one way.


Minakami is another great town for skiing near Tokyo. Located in the neighboring Gunma Prefecture, you can get to Minakami in an hour and a half by shinkansen. Ski resorts in the area include Minakami Kogen, Minakami Hodaigi, Minakami Norn, Whitevalley, and more! If you like skiing at night, Minakami ski resorts are great because some are open until midnight. To get to Minakami, take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen Station. From there, take a bus to Minakami Station. The whole trip costs just over JPY6,000 one way.


For skiing and shopping, head to Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture. Karuizawa has only one ski resort, Karuizawa Prince Snow Resort. This ski resort opens earlier than most near Tokyo, at the beginning of November, because they have snow machines. The ski slopes here are particularly great for beginners. Having said that, Karuizawa Prince Ski Resort does have intermediate and advanced courses, so you can have fun regardless of your level. To access, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Karuizawa Station. The ticket costs about JPY6,000 one way.


Have you ever skied before? Which of these ski resorts near Tokyo do you want to visit?


kagura ski resort and lake with text overlay



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Tokyo and Hong Kong. Freelance content creator. Wife to a Parisien. Pomsky mama. Sharing luxury, food, travel, and expat life. Can speak 日本語(ish) and français(beginner)

  • Will definitely save this for next time I’m in Tokyo!

    January 28, 2018
  • Aloha State

    We will be visiting in mid March and would like to schedule a day trip to ski/snowboard. We will be staying at the Prince Park Tower Tokyo. We are beginners so would like to visit a resort that is easy to get to yet not too crowded. Where would you suggest?

    February 9, 2018
  • Evonne Chew

    hi! Thanks for the tips for places 🙂

    As we are planning just a day trip out of Tokyo, just for my girls to experience snow, will Prince Snow resort be a good option?
    We won’t be skiing but just play around in the snow, Are the rental of snow outfits available near the train station?

    Thanks heaps


    October 22, 2018
  • jenova co

    hello! im bringing my kids to tokyo this chinese new year break. wondering if Yuzawa Kogen is a great daytrip option for us. we want to just play with the snow and not ski. please send some tips and recommendations! thanks!

    January 10, 2019

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