It’s hard to beat Japan when it comes to skiing. The snow is great, the food is delicious and the hot springs (onsen) are the perfect way to relax and warm up after a day out on the mountain.
If you’re coming to Hokkaido for skiing, not only is the ski season long, but you’ll also have access to some of the best powder snow in the world.
With over 100 ski resorts in Hokkaido, there’s plenty of slopes perfect for those just starting, to veteran skiers who slide down the slopes with ease.
In this article, we will introduce our top 10 recommended ski resorts with onsens you can go apres-ski.
Table of contents
- NISEKO UNITED
- Rusutsu Resort
- Prince Snow Resorts – Furano
- Hoshino Resorts Tomamu
- Tokachi Sahoro Ski Resort
- Daisetsuzan Sounkyou Kurodake Ski Resort
- Kamui Ski Links
- Sapporo Teine
- Sapporo Mt. Moiwa Ski Resort
- Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski Area
1. NISEKO UNITED
Grand Hirafu, Hanazano, Annapuri, Village Ski
|All-Day Adult Pass |
|Highest Elevation||1308 meters|
|Longest Run||5300 meters|
Arguably the most famous ski resort in Hokkaido and one of the most well known in and outside Japan is Niseko United. The large amounts of snowfall in Niseko are related to the seasonal winds coming across from the Sea of Japan, which brings in super fluffy and dry powder snow that is renowned worldwide.
Niseko United includes four resorts on different sides of the same mountain, Niseko Hanazono Resort, Niseko Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village Ski Resort, and Niseko Annupuri International Ski Area.
We recommend you pick up an All Mountain Pass, which gives you access to all chair lifts and gondolas of these resorts, meaning you can explore the whole mountain freely without being limited to just one part of the mountain.
In addition to the incredible snow, Niseko is also very English friendly, with almost all workers in the ski village able to speak English which makes getting around very easy for visitors.
There is also a vibrant nightlife in Niseko for those who enjoy a night out after a day on the slopes. The many western-style bars and restaurants are often open until late and are great for partygoers or those who just enjoy a casual drink with their meal. However, some might find the international style a little lacking in traditional Japanese bars or restaurants.
From New Chitose Airport, it’s a 2-hour drive to the Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu, the largest of the resorts, or a 3-and-a-half-hour bus trip which you can get for around ¥4500 (round trip).
Best Onsen near NISEKO UNITED
Niseko Goshiki Onsen Ryokan
- Beautiful view of the mountains
- 100% natural minteral water rich in sulphur
- About 30 minutes from Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu
‘Goshiki’ meaning ‘5 colours’, referring to the five different colours the water appears depending on the type of day and weather as well as the five different sources from where the spring water is drawn. The water is rich in sulphur but also contains minerals such as magnesium, nitrate, sodium, calcium, and chloride and is said to make your skin soft and smooth as well as treating ailments such as stiff shoulders, neuralgia, and high blood pressure.
We especially like this onsen because it is surrounded by the Annupuri and Iwanupuri mountains which look beautiful in both winter and summer and create a calming and peaceful atmosphere, perfect for winding down after a day of skiing on the mountain.
The Nishiko Goshiki Onsen Ryokan is a Japanese-style Inn that houses this onsen and offers both western-style and Japanese-style rooms for guests.
If you aren’t staying overnight, the ryokan welcomes visitors as well, so taking a day trip there takes around a 30-minutes by car from the Grand Hirafu resort, it’s or an 18-minute drive from the Annupuri International Ski Area.
Niseko Annupuri Onsen
- Natural 54-degree spring water
- Only a 3-minute drive from Annupuri Ski Area
- Free to use massage chairs inside
The spring water at Niseko Annupuri Onsen flows naturally from its source at 54 degrees Celsius and contains no added chlorine or other chemicals. It’s just pure 100% natural mineral water.
On a clear night, you can enjoy a full view of the starry sky while you relax in the onsen. While it might be hard to make yourself get out of the warm, relaxing water, once you finish bathing, inside there are free massage chairs for customers to use to relax your body even further.
This Niseko Annupuri Onsen ryokan is perfect for those who plan to ski at the Annupuri International Ski Area. By car, it’s only a 3-minute drive to the ski slope and if you’re doing a day trip it’s open from 6 am until midnight.
Kanro no Mori
- Private onsen available
- Full of minerals to rejuvenate skin
- About a 15-minute drive from Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu, and 5 minutes from Annupuri Ski area
Hotel Kanro no Mori Hotel is a Japanese-style hotel featuring two beautiful large outside baths. The spring water in these baths has a slight smell of sulphur but is mostly transparent.
The atmosphere and experience of each bath are quite different, and so that guests can enjoy the experience of both, the bathing hours are different for men and women. The minerals in these baths are said to aid with the production of collagen in the skin to make it look glowing and fresh.
The distinguishing feature of Kanro no Mori is that unlike other onsen in the area, there is a private onsen with a sauna that customers can hire for 50 minutes at a time.
This is a great option for those who might be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with a public bathing experience.
From Kanro no Mori it’s about 15 minutes to Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu by car and only about 5 minutes to Annupuri Ski area.
2. Rusutsu Resort
|All-Day Adult pass||6,500 JPY|
|Highest Elevation||994 meters|
|Longest Run||3500 meters|
Rusutsu Resort is another major ski resort in Hokkaido famous for the quality of powder snow, sunny days, and excellent facilities. The resort expands over three mountain peaks giving skiers a lot of variety across the 37 courses.
What Rusutsu lacks in size and scale compared to that of Niseko, it makes up for it with its cheaper ticket prices and slightly smaller crowds.
Beginners can practice at the Debut Park, an area equipped with things like a snow escalator and a giant LED screen displaying videos to help first-timers. For intermediate and advanced skiers, two terrain parks are available for practicing jumps, rails, spins, and more.
On top of skiing and snowboarding, Rusutsu Resort also offers plenty of other activities to keep you entertained, when you’re not on the mountain – especially at night.
Families will especially enjoy attractions such as the world’s largest indoor two-story merry-go-round, a game centre, an illuminated maze, and a projection mapping presentation about Ainu culture- the people of Hokkaido.
Rusutsu is slightly closer than Niseko from New Chitose Airport, only taking about one hour and 40 minutes by car. A shuttle bus also runs between the airport and Rusutsu Resort and takes approximately two hours. A one-way ticket costs ¥3500.
Best Onsen near Rusutsu Resort
Rusutsu Onsen Kotobuki
- 20-meter outdoor bath
- The outdoor bath provides a wonderful view overlooking Lake Shikotsu National Park and surrounding mountains
- A 40-minute drive from Grand Hirafu base, and 5 minutes from Annupuri Ski area
Only opened in 2019, Rusutsu Onsen Kotobuki is one of the best onsen to visit if you’re staying in or around Rusutsu.
The super spacious 20 meter wide outdoor baths give you a gorgeous panorama view of the mountains around Lake Shikotsu National Park.
The chloride in Rusutsu Onsen Kotobuki will leave your skin feeling silky smooth and refreshed after finishing a day on the mountain.
3. Prince Snow Resorts- Furano
|All-Day Adult Pass||6,000 JPY|
|Highest Elevation||1074 meters|
|Longest Run||4000 meters|
Located in central Hokkaido, the air here is dryer than that in Niseko or Rusutsu which makes snow in Furano extra light which is why it is known to have arguably the best powder snow in Japan.
Furano Resort is split into zones, the Furano Zone and the Kitanomine Zone which join at the top of the mountain.
The resort consists of 23 courses that give skiers plenty of variety, with special areas for beginners, lots of long runs for intermediate skiers, and six black advanced runs for the more daring skiers. There are also ungroomed powder sections for those wanting a challenge.
What’s great about Furano is that it feels more like a regular town than a ski resort full of tourists and as such you can enjoy a more authentic experience at traditional Japanese restaurants and bars that are within walking distance from the Kitanomine Zone.
Ningle Terrace, a popular tourist destination -especially for photographers is right next to the Furano ski zone. Ningle terrace is a collection of cute cottages in the forest, each selling small handcrafted goods. At night shimmering lights light up the cottages and create a romantic atmosphere and picturesque scenery.
From New Chitose Airport, Furano is a little over 2 hours by car or train. From Asahikawa Airport it takes about 1 and a half hours by car.
Best Onsen near Prince Snow Resorts- Furano
New Furano Prince Hotel Onsen ‘Shisai-no yu’
- The spring water comes from 1010 meters underground
- Finland-style pinewood sauna
- Only 180 meters away from Furano Ropeway
Right next to the Furano Zone ski slope is the New Furano Prince Hotel Onsen which both guests and visitors can use.
The natural mineral water of Shisai-no Yu is smooth to the touch and comes from 1010 meters underground. A soak in this onsen is guaranteed to leave your body feeling relaxed and all ready for another round on the slopes.
Skiers enjoying the slopes at night do not have to miss out on Shisai-no Yu as it is open right up until midnight, giving you plenty of time for nighttime skiing and even enjoying a meal at one of the many restaurants in the hotel before you have a soak.
4. Hoshino Resorts Tomamu
|All-Day Adult Pass |
|Highest Elevation||1171 meters|
|Longest Run||4500 meters|
Tomamu, home to the famous luxury tower resorts, has to be the most well-known ski resort on the eastern side of Hokkaido. There is a good balance between beginner, intermediate, and advances courses as well as a terrain park, meaning there’s plenty on offer for skiers of all levels.
Tomamu doesn’t have as many international tourists compared to Niseko or Rusutsu so it’s a nice place to go for those wanting to escape the tourist crowds.
Night skiing is available but unfortunately is only offered from 4 to 6 pm. The resort does however make up for this with a variety of approximately twenty restaurants, bars, and cafes to fulfill your culinary needs.
The Ice Village is another attraction of the Resort where visitors can experience the -30 degrees Celsius temperatures of Tomamu at night and enjoy activities such as ice skating, ice bars serving alcohol, and structures created from ice.
Activities such as snowmobiling, horse riding through the snow, and snowshoeing through the forest are also available.
One slight downside is that for snowboarders, towards the end of the courses is a long flat section of snow, and if you don’t have enough speed or your board hasn’t been waxed for a while you might lose momentum and just stop before you make it back to the chair lifts.
Tomamu can easily be accessed from New Chitose Airport by car or train. The train takes close to 1 hour and 45 minutes and if driving via the toll road one hour and a half. Do note that if taking the train it’s close to a 25-minute walk from Tomamu station to the resort area so it might be necessary to take a taxi.
Best Onsen near Hoshino Resorts Tomamu
- Spectacular stargazing in the outdoor bath
- A 5-Minute walk from the ski slope
- Right next to Mina-Mina Beach, a warm indoor beach with wave pool
Kirin-no Yu is the Hoshino Resorts Spa which is open to both guests staying at the resort hotel and visitors. Situated on the edge of a forest, the natural air and beautiful stars on a clear night create a nice feeling of relaxation.
The spa isn’t technically an onsen as the water source isn’t natural spring water but being only a 5-minute walk from the ski slope makes it the perfect place to come after skiing.
If you’d prefer to swim, Kirin-no Yu is also right next to the resort’s Mina-Mina Beach, a heated indoor beach featuring a wave pool.
5. Tokachi Sahoro Ski Resort
|All-Day Adult Pass||5,800 JPY|
|Highest Elevation||1030 meters|
|Longest Run||3000 meters|
While perhaps not as well known as Tomamu, Sahoro Resort is located even further east and is often blessed with many sunny days. The snow quality is normally very good although it can sometimes get a bit windy. Again, like Tomamu, there are not as many international tourists when compared to Niseko or Rusutsu.
The top of the mountain is quite steep and can be challenging for those still learning the ropes. We recommend beginners do practice the easier courses near the bottom of the mountain a few times before riding the gondola to the top.
A nice bonus at Sahoro is that if you buy an All-Day Pass, for just ¥100 more you can add a lunch coupon which allows you to choose from a variety of Japanese dishes at the cafeteria inside the ski lodge.
At Sahoro, backcountry tours, Downhill Snowshoe tours, Wakasagi fishing, and tree climbing are just some of the extra activities you can enjoy when not on the slopes.
To get to Tokachi Sahoro Resort it’s a 2-hour drive from New Chitose Airport taking the toll roads, or a 2 hour and 40-minute drive if you don’t. There’s also a shuttle bus from the airport which costs ¥4300 one way.
Best Onsen near Tokachi Sahoro Ski Resort
Sahoro Hotel Spa
- Negative ion water spa
- A 5-Minute walk from Sahoro Resort Ski Area
- White birch leaf aroma in the sauna
While not an actual onsen (the water isn’t spring water), the health benefits that come from visiting Sahoro Hotel Spa come from the negative ions in the water that are created by a special machine.
The sauna is unlike those in the area – it contains white birch leaves which give off a unique aroma that you can enjoy while your body sweats out fatigue.
This is the closest place to the Sahoro Ski Area so customers can immediately relax and warm up their bodies after a day of skiing.
6. Daisetsuzan Sounkyou Kurodake Ski Resort
|All-Day Adult Pass||3,800 JPY|
|Highest Elevation||1520 meters|
|Longest Run||1200 meters|
Located in the mountains of Daisetsuzan National Park, Kurodake is small and is more of a slope than it is a resort. Known to be for more advanced skiers, the steep vertical slopes give a nice challenge for those who find the gradient at of slopes at Furano or Tomamu a little lackluster.
Unfortunately, there are only 3 courses, but the crowds are small. This means you can enjoy the mountain without wasting much time waiting in line for the ropeway or constantly worrying about avoiding colliding with fellow skiers on the mountain. We think this ski resort is perfect for those who want to further hone their carving, turning, and high-speed runs.
Kurodake is a little hard to get to on public transport so we recommend going by car. From Asahikawa Airport it’s just under 1 hour and a half drive. It’s double that from New Chitose, taking 3 hours if using toll roads or 4 if you choose not to.
Best Onsen near Daisetsuzan Sounkyou Kurodake Ski Resort
Choyou Resort Hotel
- Natural water containing healing minerals
- Reservable private bath
- A 10-minute walk from the Kurodake Ropeway
Choyou Resort Hotel Onsen is one of the closest onsen to the Kurodake Ski resort and one we think is perfect for visiting after being on the cold slopes of Mt. Kurodake.
The water here contains natural minerals from the Daisetsuzan National Park and is said to have a range of health benefits. The outdoor baths here feel like you’re bathing in the middle of the forest, creating a nice relaxing atmosphere.
7. Kamui Ski Links
|All-Day Adult Pass||3,800 JPY|
|Highest Elevation||751 meters|
|Longest Run||3500 meters|
Kamui Ski Links resort is located slightly south-east of Asahikawa and is another resort which often has nice sunny weather.
Its 25 courses are balanced nicely between beginner, intermediate and advanced that are still entertaining but don’t bring the large crowds compared to the more well-known resorts. Unfortunately, there is no night skiing here.
Getting there is close to an hour’s drive from Asahikawa Airport, but only about 30 minutes from Asahikawa. There is a shuttle bus that stops at many hotels around Asahikawa making it easy to access.
Best Onsen near Kamui Ski Links
Manyo-no yu, Asahikawa
- Radium hot springs
- Korean style beauty treatment
- A 20-minute drive from Kamui Ski Links
Manyo-no Yu in Asahikawa is very unique as it is the only radium onsen in Hokkaido.
Similar to the well-known Radium Hot Springs in Canada, this onsen is full of health benefits related to alleviating neuralgia, joint, and muscle pain.
In addition to offering Korean-style beauty treatment options, there is a relaxing room with reclining chairs that each have a screen attached.
Manyo-no Yu is a 20-minute drive from the Kamui Ski Links resort and we think it’s a great place to stop by and refresh before heading back to an Asahikawa Hotel.
8. Sapporo Teine
|All-Day Adult Pass||3,900 JPY|
|Highest Elevation||1023 meters|
|Longest Run||5700 meters|
Sapporo Teine, as the name suggests, is a ski resort close to Sapporo. It became well known for being the first place in Asia to host the Winter Olympic Games in 1972.
The resort is split into two areas, the Olympia Zone and the Highland zone which are connected by a long beginner’s course starting at the top of the mountain. There is also a special practice area called Beginners Cross for those just learning the ropes.
High-level skiers only have about four advanced courses to enjoy, but there is a terrain park for practicing jumps, rails, and boxes.
For those visiting Sapporo, Sapporo Teine Resort is super convenient, only taking about 40 minutes by car from the centre of Sapporo, or under 20 minutes if you’re staying around Teine Station.
Best Onsen near Sapporo Teine
Teine Onsen Honoka
- A shallow bath for kids
- Chloride hot spring
- Under a 20-minute drive from Sapporo Teine Highland Ski Center
As one of the closest onsen to Sapporo Teine Highland Ski Center, we think Teine Onsen Honoka is the perfect place to come to after a session on the slopes at Sapporo to relax and enjoy the naturally warm water.
There are a variety of baths and saunas including unique single-person pot shape baths as well as a herbal medicine steam sauna.
This onsen is open 24 hours, so you have complete freedom on when you choose to come. Teine Onsen is also really easy to access, and is only 20 minutes from the Sapporo Teine Highland Ski Center by car. There are also shuttle buses going from Teine Station and Minosawa Station.
9. Sapporo Mt. Moiwa Ski Resort
|All-Day Adult Pass||3,800 JPY|
|Highest Elevation||448 meters|
|Longest Run||2600 meters|
Sapporo Mt. Moiwa Resort is unique because it is only a resort for skiers – no snowboarders allowed.
We recommend this resort because of the spectacular view of Sapporo from the mountain. The resort has night skiing until 9 pm which means you can enjoy both day and night views of Sapporo.
Mt. Moiwa Resort is a great place for families and beginners to do some skiing while staying in Sapporo. The number of tourists here is nothing like the big resorts of Niseko which makes it a calmer and more relaxing place to ski with the family.
However, if you’re a more seasoned skier and you’re coming to Japan just for skiing, you might find Mt Moiwa a little too tame for your liking. There are only three advanced courses and there are relatively short.
Mt. Moiwa Resort is only about 20 minutes by car from the centre of Sapporo. Taking the train is also an option and there are detailed instructions in English on how to get there from Sapporo Station or Odori station.
Best Onsen near Sapporo Mt. Moiwa Ski Resort
Susukino Tennen Onsen Toukakyo
- Outdoor bath and huge indoor baths
- A 15-minute drive from Sapporo Mt. Moiwa Ski Resort
Susukino Tennen Onsen Toukakyo draws its spring water from 800 meters underground.
Despite being in the middle of Sapporo, the onsen baths are spacious. They also have a jacuzzi.
This luxury onsen is part of Jasmac Plaza hotel in the Susukino area of central Sapporo which is very easy to access by train. It’s still close to the ski resorts around Sapporo, only taking 15 minutes by car.
10. Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski Area
|All-Day Adult Pass||3,100 JPY|
|Highest Elevation||1230 meters|
|Longest Run||1600 meters|
Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski Area is a smaller ski resort on the more eastern side of Hokkaido and is perhaps more famous for the onsen than the ski slope.
While it is a smaller ski resort, the two main benefits are the lack of tourists and the snow. This ski slope is hidden in the southeast corner of the Daisetsuzan National Park and tourists are very few and far between, crowds are never something you need to worry about here.
A lack of crowds also means the snow is relatively untouched so there’s always plenty of powder snow here to enjoy.
Several years ago two of the chair lifts closed down, making the Nukabira ski slope much smaller, now with only 7 courses. However, if you are game, you can still hike up to the top of the mountain and glide down on perfectly untouched powder snow.
Getting there is easiest by car, from Obihiro it’s just over an hour drive. You can also take a bus from Obihiro which takes about two hours.
Best Onsen near Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski Area
Nukabira Onsen Nakamuraya
- Outdoor mixed bath
- Deer can often be spotted from the outdoor bath
- A 4-minute drive from Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski Area
Nukabira Onsen is one of the most well-known in the area and is also quite rare in in the fact that it is one of the last remaining onsen where men and women bathe together.
This onsen is incredibly relaxing and is surrounded by nature. Deer can ofteb be seen roaming from the outside bath.
What did you think? While Japan is mostly known for its food and culture, skiing, snowboarding, and hot springs are world-class here! Adding a trip to Hokkaido might be the best part of your trip if you’re an avid skier or snowboarder.
This article was just focused on the best resort and onsen combinations in Japan’s far north. However, we hope that this article gave you a good idea of what you should be expecting when visiting Hokkaido! The cold air combined with the warm onsen water is one of the most exciting parts of Japan.
Thank you for reading and have fun!