Japan is a popular destination for all types of travellers. It’s distinct culture and unique traditions, it is sure to be a destination on everyone’s travel bucket list.

Japan is additionally renowned for being a world-class ski and snowboard destination with plentiful, top-quality snow, fantastic resorts and beautiful scenery. There are currently over 500 ski resorts across Japan from the northern island of Hokkaido to the southern island of Kyushu.

Described as the “powder capital” of Japan, Hokkaido is the country’s coldest and most northerly Japanese island, as well as the one which arguably gets the most consistent snow, making it the perfect skiing and snowboarding destination for holiday-makers.

When is the Best Time to Visit Hokkaido for ski and snowboarding?

The ski and snowboard season in Hokkaido, Japan, commences in the middle of December and runs to March 15th, of course depending on the snow conditions at each individual resort. But the question still remains, when is the best time to ski and snowboard in Hokkaido? Club Med has you covered with the answer.


Mid-December, pre-Christmas holidays, is generally a great time for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders in Hokkaido. There are usually sufficient gatherings of snow on-piste (ski run or path), however, this is not always the case and may vary from year to year.

Although December can host ideal snow conditions for beginner skiers and snowboarders, it is advisable to avoid going skiing and snowboarding in Hokkaido over the Christmas period as the Christmas rush can be hectic, which in turn can result in the rising price of accomodation, over-crowded slopes and over-priced flights for travelling during the peak holiday season.


Similar to the Christmas period, early January can be chaotic at ski and snowboard resorts around Hokkaido - particularly at resorts such as Niseko, Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen, and Rusutsu, with many holiday-makers all making the most of their time off work. The Christmas holiday period is also the most popular time for the Japanese to go skiing and snowboarding. Resorts tend to be very crowded and prices for accommodation may also sky-rocket over this period.

The best time to ski and snowboard in Hokkaido is usually directly after the Christmas holiday rush. It isn’t called “Japanuary” for no reason. Resorts tend to be much quieter; slopes are more peaceful, there is generally a lot of snowfall of great quality, temperatures are quite cold and the price of skiing and accommodation and flights tend to lower which is a great bonus.


The Chinese New Year holiday and celebrations change annually, falling between the 21st January to 20th February, bringing many Chinese and Asian skiers over the festive period to the slopes. Similar to the Christmas period, prices for accomodation and flights may soar, accommodation may be limited and both resorts and slopes can be very crowded - particularly on-piste.

If you don’t particularly dislike crowds, you may want to visit Hokkaido in early February to attend the annual Sapporo Snow Festival - which attracts around 2 million visitors each year.

February’s weather is similar to January’s in Hokkaido, Japan, with fantastic snow conditions. With the exception of the Chinese New Year holidays, February, post Chinese New Year celebrations, is a great time for skiing and snowboarding in Hokkaido as the crowds begin to disperse.


With temperatures gradually increasing in March, it can be an unpredictable month for skiing and snowboarding with snow-quality varying. For beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, March is a beautiful time to ski on-piste. As a result of warmer temperatures, there is much less competition for the slopes; as well as generally lowered prices on flights and resort stays.


April is believed to be the best time for ski and snowboarding in Hokkaido, Japan, if you want low costs, no crowds, and an abundance of fine weather. The ski season is mostly wrapping up, with few resorts remaining open. Despite the off-piste snow-covering having likely faded, it is likely that the on-piste snow remains in good quality, with many professional skiers and snowboarders having moved on and leaving the slopes.

In addition, The Niseko snow report puts January and February as the most popular and best time for ski and snowboarding in Hokkaido, Japan, however, it is evident that from mid-February to the end of March an excellent base of snow along with more sunny days is very likely - which may prove ideal for families as prices drop but skiing and nightlife is still plentiful.

For any booking inquiries, contact Club Med directly. We will be able to advise and assist you with your ski and/or snowboard holiday in Hokkaido, Japan - making your holiday experience stress-free from the get-go and as well as securing you the best holiday-package to fit your needs and budget.