It is “Hokkaido“, Japan’s northernmost prefecture.
There are many areas in Japan where it snows, and it snows in most areas north of Tokyo.
A popular ski resort close to Tokyo is Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture.
Snow has different qualities, and snow that falls at temperatures between 0℃ and -3℃ is watery and sticky.
It’s heavy and melts quickly, so it gets wet when you touch it, and it’s not very pleasant.
Even when skiing, it doesn’t slide well, and if you fall, it hurts because it doesn’t provide cushioning.
On the other hand, snow that falls at temperatures below -5°C is silky in small grains, hard to melt, and tight.
It’s called “powder snow”.
In Hokkaido in winter, the temperature drops to -20℃ instead of -5℃, so there are many chances to experience powder snow.
In other prefectures, the temperature doesn’t drop this much, so there are fewer chances to experience powder snow.
There are some places in Hokkaido where it never snows, and it hardly ever snows along the coast.
Also, in Sapporo, where everyone will be going, the temperature doesn’t drop much, so the quality of the snow isn’t very good.
So where are the best places?
If you want to experience powder snow near a city with some shops and hotels and a big ski resort, “Niseko” or “Furano” would be the best.
Niseko is super famous. The snow quality is good and there are many large ski resorts.
It is well developed and has many shops and hotels.
There are a lot of tourists because of that, but you will enjoy it.
However, if you want to enjoy powder snow and skiing in a less crowded place, I recommend Furano.
Furano is a small town, so there aren’t many shops or hotels, but it does have a large ski resort and the best snow.
Perfect for people who want to relax and enjoy the snow.
To access Furano from New Chitose Airport, take a train or bus to Sapporo, then transfer to a long-distance bus from there.
It takes about 3 hours by bus from Sapporo.
It takes 1 hour and 20 minutes by bus from the relatively nearby Asahikawa Airport.
If you are confident in driving, renting a car may be a good idea.
As an extra part, I will introduce recommended places for those who want to enjoy the best snow quality in Japan and the backcountry, even if it is inconvenient.
That is “Asahidake”.
Asahidake is an inconvenient location with only one ski resort and several hotels, but since it is located halfway up the mountain, you can experience the best and most stable snow quality.
There aren’t many people, so you can play with the snow as much as you like.
If you are coming from Sapporo, it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes by train from Sapporo to Asahikawa, and then about 2 hours by bus.
It is 1 hour by bus from Asahikawa Airport.
Finally, due to the effects of global warming, temperatures in Hokkaido can sometimes reach above the freezing point in the middle of winter, and at that time you will have to give up on the best snow quality. But that doesn’t happen very often.
The rest depends on your luck 🙂