Convenient skiing in Western Japan
While the climate gets warmer as you move further southwest across Japan, you can still find ski resorts in the Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu regions. These areas may not be comparable to the country's famous powder hotspots, but cold winds from the Sea of Japan and East China sea bring plenty of snow to Western Japan's mountains. Wintertime travelers can enjoy the relatively moderate temperatures of the low-lying cities while taking advantage of the snowfall in higher-altitude surroundings.
How to get there
Western Japan’s ski areas are extremely accessible, particularly when compared to resorts in Hokkaido and Tohoku. Many are less than an hour away from major cities.
Skiing in Kansai
You can easily reach resorts along the shore of Lake Biwa, in Shiga Prefecture, from Kyoto and Osaka. Train rides are between 40 minutes and an hour from Kyoto Station, and shuttle buses run from stations to the slopes.
Skiing around Hiroshima and Fukuoka
Snowy slopes are just a two-hour bus ride from Hiroshima Station. From Fukuoka or Kumamoto, rent a car to reach resorts in Oita and Miyazaki prefectures.
Suggested resorts in the region
Lake Biwa is northeast of Kyoto and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains that make for the perfect day trip. Biwako Valley Ski Resort is just 40 minutes from Kyoto Station, meaning you can enjoy a day on the slopes and be back in the city for dinner. Other regional ski resorts include Geihoku Kokusai in Hiroshima Prefecture, the largest resort in Western Japan, and Gokase Highland in Miyazaki Prefecture, the southernmost in the country.