With nearly 80 percent of the country covered by mountains it is no surprise that Japan has so many ski resorts but which one do you choose? Here are some popular family choices.
The northern island of Hokkaido is a skiing mecca for Australians with many of Japan's best known resorts.
Niseko and Hanazono
Known for: champagne snow
Niseko is one of snowiest resorts in the world with an annual snowfall of over 16 metres. Aussies love the four main areas - Hanazono, Hirafu, Higashiyama and Annupuri - that make up this vast skiing area. They are attracted by the quality of the great powder snow and the fact that many of the instructors at The Niseko international Ski School (NISS) are English speaking, making lessons easy and enjoyable. Together the resorts have a total of 30 lifts and 61 runs to choose from ad you can ski them all on one lift pass. Hanazono is one of the most family -friendly and has a great adventure snow park for children with a Zipline, tubing and sledding, directly in front of Hanazono 308. The nearby city of Sapporo has a great range of restaurants and shopping. Visit in February and you'll catch the spectacular Ice Festival with giant snow and ice sculptures. Childcare is excellent and Niseko Snow Kids’ has a night Owls program from 6pm to 9p for those parents who want to head out to dinner a deux.
Furano and Hoshino
Known for: deep powder
When it snows here, it snows A LOT. The snow is also dry - making the powder justly famous. You'll find a whole span of accommodation from traditional ryokens to five star hotels at the base of the lifts and the Furano lift pass can also be used at nearby Kamui Ski Links and Hoshino Resort Tomamu. There are beginner trails from right at the top of the mountain, so families of all levels can go up in the superfast cable car together, spread out, then meet again at the bottom. . The childcare has English speaking staff and offers a variety of activities for kids. Furano Town is a buzzy place with a heap of family-friendly restaurants. Hoshino Resort Tomamu, offer some of the tallest alpine accommodation in the world. The hotel towers in the small base village stand out like giant icicles.
Known for: tree skiing
One and a half hours southwest of Sapporo, Rusutsu has some of the best tree skiing in Japan. Spread across three peaks, West Mountain, East Mountain and Mt Isola. Experts head to the runs from Mt Isola to East Mountain where you can ski through the trees through the trees and are recommended for more confident skiers. Freedom Park is one of the best in terrain parks in Japan and suits ability levels. There are so many activities to choose from in Rusutsu, families will have a hard time fitting everything in. There is an indoor wave pool and Kids of 13 and up will also enjoy the 100 metre long tubing ride in the snow park next to Rusutsu Tower.