The 5 best ski runs in Hokkaido

If you're a snow bunny with a love for ski slopes, head to one of Sapporo's best skiing spots for a downhill run.

Ski slope at night
  • Tracey Withers
  • December 2019

You’re spoilt for choice as to where to go in Japan’s hot snow destination of Sapporo opens in new window. Try these perfect spots for a downhill run.

Best for day trips: Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

A one-hour bus ride from the city, the ski resort offers four-hour and full-day lift passes. This one is perfectly pitched for intermediates.

+81 (0)11 598 4511, sapporo-kokusai.jp opens in new window

Best for luxe: Rusutsu Resort

About 90 minutes south-west of Sapporo, Rusutsu Resort fuses super-dry powder and tree skiing with fast gondolas. Luxury resorts like the ski-in, ski-out The Westin Rusutsu Resort feature a wellness spa. Or for a real winter-in-the-woods feel, go for a traditional log house.

rusutsu.co.jp opens in new window

Best for thrills: The Furano Ski Area

Two hours from Sapporo, the Furano ski area has hosted the FIS World Cup 10 times. For adrenaline lovers, there are steep runs at the top of the mountain, great off-piste skiing and all-night skiing.

+81 (0)120 00 8686, princehotels.co.jp opens in new window

Person skiing on ski slope
The Kokusai ski resort is an easy day trip from the city.

Best for skills: Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu

Famous for powder and groomed snow across 30 runs for skiers, boarders and snow scooters, Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu is a 3.5-hour bus ride from Sapporo. Expect two hotels, 10 eating spots and snow schools catering for skiers and snowboarders of all ages.

+81 (0)136 22 0109, grand-hirafu.jp opens in new window


Best for virtual runs: Sapporo Olympic Museum

Visit the Sapporo Olympic Museum for virtual-reality ski jumping and simulated cross-country racing and bobsledding, then catch a chair lift to the Mount Okura Observatory for knockout views.

+81 (0)11 641 8585, sapporo-olympicmuseum.jp opens in new window