06
Jun-2017

Skiing & Snowboarding in Japan: Day Trip To Kiroro Ski Resort

Japan, Snow   /  
Day trip to Kiroro Ski Resort, Japan

Kiroro Ski Resort | © Juliette Sivertsen

 

Do you like tree skiing?

Do you love skipping the crowds at ski resorts and riding lifts and gondolas by yourself?

Do you love beautiful scenery with snow-covered trees like in a magical winter wonderland?

If you’re planning a ski trip to Niseko in Japan, then consider at the very least, a day trip to Kiroro Ski Resort.

 

Day trip to Kiroro Ski Resort - view from the gondola

The view from Kiroro Ski Resort | © Juliette Sivertsen

THE PRETTIEST LITTLE SKI RESORT IN HOKKAIDO

 

Okay, that’s a big claim, we haven’t been to every ski resort in Hokkaido to say Kiroro is the prettiest.

BUT we did hear on good authority from several sources that it was certainly right up there. And from our perspective? It was GORGEOUS.

On our recent trip to Japan, we had 6 days skiing and snowboarding at Niseko, and a seventh day free of any activities.

So we started investigating our options.

We could have gone to Sapporo for the day, but that was three hours away.

We’d heard about Rusutsu Ski Resort – another ski field less than an hour away with a good reputation.

And as we enquired about our options, we were pointed towards another little resort, Kiroro.

We were told Kiroro was beautiful, had lots of trees and some of the best snow in the region.

Best of all, it was only an hour’s drive from Niseko.

 

Day trip to Kiroro Ski Resort

Looking out from the top of Kiroro Ski Resort | © Juliette Sivertsen

KIRORO SKI RESORT FACTS:

  • Average snowfall: 21m
  • 21 trails across the mountains of Asari and Nagamine
  • Majority of staff are fluent in English
  • Longest course: 4050m
  • 5 x hooded lifts and 3 x pair lifts
  • Night skiing available
  • Adult day lift pass: ¥5800
  • Steepest trail: 36.8°

You can easily organise a day trip from Niseko’s Welcome Centre at Grand Hirafu, including bus transfers.

 

Day trip to Kiroro Ski Resort - cabin on the mountain

Cabin at Kiroro Ski Resort | © Juliette Sivertsen

ONE WITH NATURE

 

Kiroro was everything we could possibly imagine and then some more.

The scenery was delightful – beautiful trees covered in snow, lining the trails in the most magical, pretty winter setting we had experienced.

The snow was as soft as icing sugar and most of it was barely touched throughout the day.

At no point throughout the entire day did either of us need to wait in a queue to get on the gondola or chairlifts. We never even shared a gondola with anyone else – a huge contrast from our days at Niseko.

Check out these empty chairlifts:

 

Day trip to Kiroro Ski Resort: Empty chairlifts

No queues for these chairs!

 

Because there were so few skiers and boarders around, the trails were largely untouched and there was plenty of fresh powder among the trees, waiting for us to float through.

Every skier and snowboarder will know there’s something quite delicious about making first tracks through powder.

The trees provided a beautiful setting for a few photographs of John too:

 

Day trip to Kiroro Ski Resort: snowboarding through trees

John snowboarding at Kiroro | © Juliette Sivertsen

Snowboarding at Kiroro Ski Resort | © Juliette Sivertsen

Snowboarder close-up | © Juliette Sivertsen

John snowboarding through the trees at Kiroro | © Juliette Sivertsen

John snowboarding through the trees at Kiroro | © Juliette Sivertsen

 

One of the beginner trails is known as the ‘scenic route’ – and it’s not hard to understand why. It’s an easy, wide, gentle slope, perfect for soaking in the surrounding atmosphere:

 

 

IS A DAY TRIP TO KIRORO SKI RESORT WORTH IT?

 

Absolutely. If you are planning a ski trip to Niseko then allow for at least one day trip to Kiroro Ski Resort, or the other smaller ski fields in the area. 

Our next ski trip to Japan will probably be Hakuba, but if we return to Niseko, we’ll definitely be spending a few days at Kiroro and staying a few nights out there after Niseko.

There are a couple of accommodation options, including the Sheraton Hokkaido Kiroro Resort, or The Kiroro, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel.

 

MORE ON JAPAN

Kiroro Trail Map

Kiroro Trail Map

 

DISCUSS: Have you ever been to Kiroro Ski Resort? When planning a ski and snowboard holiday, do you prefer big, busy resorts or the quieter, lesser known ski fields?


Everything you need to know about this picturesque ski resort an hour from Niseko

 

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

 

Oregon Girl Around the World

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  • Raghav

    I’ve been dying to go back to Japan – I went there as a kid – for years now and although I am not one to ski, I do love the snow and winters, and looking at the photos, the scenery looks so dreamy. Do you feel that it will be as attractive to non-skiers in terms of activities?

    • The snow scenes were so pretty! There are always plenty of non-skiing activities to do around there, you could try snow shoeing for example, that’s quite popular, or even snowmobiling!

  • Tasha Haley

    I always picture European mountains when people talk about skiiing. I had no idea you could do it in Japan. Looks like a wonderful resort to go to

    • Japan has over 500 ski fields! It’s really famous for its powder skiing. Very beautiful.

      • Tasha Haley

        I guess I am a bit behind the times!! Looks so beautiful

  • Never ski before! We snowboard and it is weird that we never wanted to try Skiing. I think we are due to try. We have heard a lot of Hokkaido as a great destination for ski trips and can’t wait to go after reading this!

    • Hokkaido is a fantastic destination and certainly lots to suit all levels of skiers and snowboarders. I am trying to convince my snowboarding husband to give skiing a go! He loved snowboarding in Japan.

  • Susanna Kelly

    So jealous! I am a massive snowboarder! I grew up in Alaska on a snowboard and moved to the Alps with my snowboard. The first big international trip I am doing for snowboarding this Chile this summer (winter for them) after that we have our eyes set on Japan, I’ll have to check out some of your posts on the other areas in Japan too or send you an email asking for a few tips. Great post!

    • How awesome! I would love to visit Alaska. John is a super keen snowboarder and also loved Japan. Chile will be such an amazing trip! Really keen to head over there – although it’s at the same time as the NZ ski season so we have lots of mountains to choose from. One year though! Hope you get to Japan another year though, the powder is insane!

  • travellingslacker

    I have never done skiing and not particularly interested either. But what I love here is the snowy landscapes. This is all the more alluring because right now I am enduring the long and punishing Indian summer.

    • The snowy landscapes are beautiful! Especially seeing all the beautiful trees covered in the white stuff. After living in Fiji we were very relieved to visit a cold climate!

  • Tweet E

    Is it sad that I had no idea skiiing let alone snowboarding was big in Japan?? I ski so this definitely sparked my interest. I’m visiting Japan for the 1st time this fall. Hopefully I have a chance to check this place out!

    • There are over 500 ski fields in Japan! It’s hugely popular, it’s really famous for powder skiing too. We had fresh pow every day for the first 5 days of our trip! Enjoy your trip! What part of Japan are you visiting? Maybe no snow around at that time though…

  • Sonia Sahni

    Learning skiing is on my bucketlist…and this looks like such a pristine place! I would love to go to Japan, learn the sport and ;ossibly, see the snow monkeys too! Just checked the Sheraton here…looks awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    • It was honestly so gorgeous and stunning, spectacular scenery! The snow monkeys were also a definite highlight for us! Hope you can tick a couple more things off the bucket list soon!

  • Rashmi & Chalukya

    We love snow and have visited a lot of snow resorts in Switzerland but never tried skiing. Kiroro ski resort looks fantastic for beginners. You have some great pictures of skiing and the surrounding sceneries. Japan is on list for several reasons but this, now visiting this snow resort also makes to the list. Thanks for this post!

    • Kiroro is great for all levels – the beginner slope was beautiful and wide and exceptionally pretty, while the advanced trails were steep and crazy enough to challenge even my experienced snowboarding husband. Would love to go back again for another season!

  • Whoa ! Whenever I think of skiing and snow, its only Europe that strikes first. Its interesting to read the Japanese side of the adventure sport!!!
    Good to know that the staff knew English well and the its awesome that you didn’t have to wait in a queue anywhere!!!

    • You aren’t the only one – but there are actually 500 ski fields in Japan! Very famous powder skiing and boarding. Niseko was super busy but this little resort was wonderfully quiet!

  • I don’t love to go ski here. We skied in Nagano and it was amazing. The powder was incredible

    • Nagano would have been great! We went to Nagano for the Snow Monkeys but we didn’t ski there – next time!

  • Oh my god! These images are amazing, and I am surprised about the quantity of snow and winter sports you can do in Japan. I never thought about this country in these terms. This is absolutely a good idea if I will visit Japan in winter. Thank you 🙂

    • Japan is really famous for its powder skiing and snowboarding! With over 500 ski fields to choose from, there’s no shortage of skiing and snowboarding opportunities. So much fun! Even for non-skiers – snow shoeing, snowmobiling and reindeer sledding are all exciting fun activities too!

  • Halley Wright

    I’m too afraid to skii, but it does look thrilling!! The photos are so beautiful, great post!

    • You could try snow shoeing first if you don’t want to ski! Then you can still be part of the awesome snowy adventure 🙂

  • I love snowboarding. For some reason, I never even thought that Japan would have good snow. When I visit Japan, I’ll definitely look into booking a day on the mountain to scratch that off my bucket list.

    • John’s a snowboarder and our mates are all snowboarders and they all love Japan (as did I, as a skier). So much powder! Seriously, the powder is amazing there! You have to go!

  • Justine Jobelle M. Kimoden

    I live in Alberta, Canada and we have so many good ski resorts although winter sports isn’t really my thing, I have heard so much about Hokkaido when it comes to skiing and snowboarding!! It would be nice to check out Japan’s pow even if I don’t do winter sports! Aside from skiing and snowboarding, I’ve heard so much about Hokkaido’s ice cream and chocolates!

    • What a fantastic place to live! It’s my dream to head to Alberta (and the other Canadian ski areas). Hokkaido is really fantastic and lots of pow. Also seafood! Hokkaido is famous for its seafood too. The food up there was amazing! I also bought a beautiful glass necklace made in Hokkaido.

  • Medha Verma Bector

    Lovely pictures! I grew up in a very warm place, no snow throughout the year and the first time I saw snow was when I was 25! Unfortunately I never got to learn skiing or any other winter sports. I wish I’m able to one day though!

    • You aren’t the only one who has never experienced snow growing up! Even in New Zealand, there are people in the northern part of the country who have never experienced snow. Hopefully one day you can learn to ski or snowboard – it sure makes winters more fun!

  • Oh my gosh I loved snowboarding in Niseko, and am hoping to go back this year, I’ll have to make a trip Kiroro!
    #farawayfiles

    • It is so worth it! And you can just organise it once you’re there too, if you’re doing a day trip. Just head to the welcome centre and it’s pretty cheap including the bus transfer. Totally worth it because it’s beautiful and there are hardly any people compared to Niseko! We still loved Niseko but the little ski fields nearby a worth discovering. Honestly – we had every single gondola and chairlift to ourselves!

  • CWBush

    Oh wow, that is *stunning*.

    I’m hopefully headed to Japan for a month this November, and I’m sorely hoping that I’ll get the chance to at least see a little snow. It’s a bit of a rarity in Oz haha.

    • Ha ha nope unless you live near Thredbo! What part of Japan will you be visiting? If you head up to Hokkaido you might be able to get a bit of snow, still quite early but not unheard of. We can’t wait to go back to Japan – in fact we’d love to move over there and live there for a while. It’s part of the mid to long term plan.

      • CWBush

        We’re not sure yet. Flying in to Tokyo and doing a ten day hike from there is the plan, but we’ve got two weeks to play with beyond that.

        It’ll be my partner’s first time in Japan and my first time not on a quick visa run from Busan haha

  • Kacie Morgan

    I’ve never been skiing before but this looks like a beautiful place to do it!

  • Danik Bates

    I am not a skier but a sucker for mountains and would love to play in the snow here. Looks like a beautiful place to be. 🙂

    • Oh you would love in this part of Japan! Lots of non-skiing snowy activities to do as well. Especially snow shoeing, that’s super popular.

  • Jean Bean

    This is worth it. So much snow. So much powder. Quick sign me up now!

  • Gokul

    I have never done this before. i am pretty sure I will crash into those tree. But I would love to hangout in this place. A snowy wonderland.

    • Ha ha I must admit I did crash into a few trees as I learnt how to navigate through them – we don’t have tree skiing in New Zealand!

  • I like skiing and would love to go to Kiroro. Never heard of it but it looks beautiful in winter.

  • We spent nearly a week in Hokkaido in winter, but we don’t ski or snowboard, so we stuck to the cities instead. Looks so beautiful, though!

    • Oh that’s a shame you never made it to Hokkaido! Lots of other activities in the region in the mountains even if you don’t ski or snowboard. You could try snowmobiling, reindeer sledding and snow shoeing!

  • Elisa Subirats

    I don’t ski. What can I say? Your pictures are beautiful, maybe I could enjoy this place on my way (in a nice sauna with a huge window with these views?) 😉

  • I actually never done skiing but would definitely would love to try it! Seem like it’s an awesome activity but I’m sure its bitterly cold.

    • It’s so much fun and makes winters far more bearable! You warm up quickly skiing (plus great way to avoid the inevitable winter weight gain!)

  • Cat Lin

    This place looks like a winter wonderland with all the puffy snow! I am not a skier so I usually don’t visit ski resort but I can see the appeal of this place. It doesn’t look too busy with crowds so that’s a big plus!

    • It felt like a winter wonderland! Truly a magical site. You would enjoy going up the gondola on a sightseeing trip.

  • Untold Morsels

    What a gorgeous spot. It’s so rare to find uncrowded ski resorts. That beginner run looks like I could do it too! Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • Very rare, which made it all the more special. Yep – that beginner trail was lovely and easy! I guess it has to be otherwise people would be distracted with all the pretty trees…

  • Totally my kind of place! Love adventure and would absolutely love to try this. The pictures look beyond gorgeous! Love the white blanket. It looks like a scene out of a fairy tale!!

  • Corinne Vail

    I love skiing in Japan. I went almost every weekend for three years in northern Honshu. We didn’t ski in Hokkaido, though, unfortunately. It is beautiful.

    • How fortunate! We didn’t get up to northern Honshu, but maybe another year. Any particularly resorts or fields you recommend?

  • Veronika Tomanová

    Haha, I never have seen this other face of Japan before. So much snow out there! And Kiroko resort looks pretty amazing as well.

    • So much snow in the north! Incredible to see (and to jump into the powder!) Kiroro is absolutely stunning.

  • Suruchi Mittal

    The place looks amazing with so much snow in pictures and i am wondering how beautiful it will be in real. It is like a thick icing layer. In fact i should say its totally my knid of place and would love to try my hands on skiing.

    • Yes it was like icing sugar! Falling over was practically a delight! Getting up on the other hand was somewhat more difficult…!

  • Genie Patra

    I would love to go snowboarding here! Do you consider the runs snowboarder friendly? I feel like a lot of resorts cater to skiers and it’s way easier for snowboarders to get stuck

    • Yeah definitely – my husband snowboards and he had a blast. He actually preferred Kiroro to the Niseko ski fields. Do you go off trail or stick to the groomed runs?

  • Silvia Galván Peña

    Funny how I would never think of Japan if planning a ski holiday! This place looks pretty cool and I’m heading to Japan at the beginning of November… any idea when the skiing season starts?

  • Looks sooo gorgeous – you are right! I miss mountains living in Denmark! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • It was so pretty! We didn’t want to leave! Can’t wait for the NZ ski season to start so we can get back to the mountains. A much needed winter season after living in Fiji!

  • I love tree runs! This place looks great – and super quite. There’s nothing like sailing down narrow track like runs with the trees on either side! I gotta get to Japan soon!

    • Tree runs are so much fun! Although I did take a few tumbles! The powder is hard to get used to – we don’t have powder like that in New Zealand. Such a great place to ski and snowboard, we’ll definitely be back!

  • Melody Pittman

    That looks like some great slope conditions! Loved the photo of all white with the brown wooden house jumping out in the midst! it is lovely!

    • Such a pretty scene! It was so quiet and remote at Kiroro compared to Niseko, it was super beautiful and quaint.

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  • I have been considered a winter season in Japan and didn’t realise there were so many resorts. Thanks!

    • You have to go! There are over 500 ski fields in Japan. Niseko and Hakuba tend to be the most highly rated ones – Niseko because it’s easy for English speakers, Hakuba is apparently less touristy but still amazing, and where we would go next time. But we loved Kiroro too and would love to try some of the other smaller resorts around there too. Now is a good time to book as there are lots of early bird deals on – if you can book early through a ski travel agency, there are some mean discounts and deals!

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