Hokkaido & Tohoku regions
Hokkaido PrefectureA resort area much loved by Japanese and foreign travelers alike. Its slopes are blessed with distinctive fluffy powder snow. Apart from fun in the snow, another major attraction is the seafood cuisine. Taste the delicious flavors of seasonal winter delights, such as salmon roe, hairy crab, and oysters.
Aomori PrefectureThis beautiful prefecture located in the North of Japan's main island offers tours with experiences unique to Japan’s famed region of heavy snowfall, such as "snowstorms" where the snow dances over the ground, and a winter-only sightseeing "stove train" with retro stoves installed inside the cars. The Shirakami-Sanchi World Heritage Site is also located within the prefecture.
Iwate PrefectureWorld Heritage Site Hiraizumi-Chusonji Temple is famous here. Apart from fun in the snow, enjoy unique winter fun in a kotatsu heater boat at Geibikei Gorge. View snowbound scenery in perfect luxury while sitting under a warm kotatsu heater! Ideal for photography.
Miyagi PrefectureFrozen “snow monsters", beautiful snow covered trees, can also be seen along the prefecture’s slopes. One major attraction is being able to enjoy hot springs, shopping, and local gourmet dining within a compact area. Traditional crafted kokeshi dolls are growing in popularity among young people in Japan—perfect for souvenirs!
Yamagata PrefectureOn the famous slopes of Zao, the fantastic frozen "snow monster" landscape, a picturesque field of snow covered trees, can be seen only in winter. The prefecture is also home to the photogenic Ginzan Onsen hot spring bathhouse—said to be the inspiration for the setting of the animated movie "Spirited Away.”
Fukushima PrefectureAccess is easy with a direct bus from Tokyo! The snow quality is extremely good, offering the experience of fluffy, micro-fine snow. There are many great spots for connoisseurs of traditional Japan, including the milky blue waters of the Tsuchiyu Onsen hot springs and the Ouchi-juku village with its traditional thatched roofs.
Kanto & Koshin’etsu regions
Gunma PrefectureKusatsu, Ikaho, Shima, Minakami ... some of Japan's best-loved and famous hot springs! Many hot spring resorts are open to non-guests too, so why not drop in after a enjoyable day in the snow and soak your mind and body in hot springs? Close proximity to Tokyo makes Gunma a convenient and attractive spot.
Niigata PrefectureThis is one of Japan's leading rice-producing regions, so Japanese sake brewing also flourishes here. The Sea of Japan coast is famous for fishing, with salmon and luxury blackthroat seaperch caught here in abundance—highly recommended for keen gourmets! The slopes range from family-friendly to more advanced.
Yamanashi PrefectureGreat access is a bonus; it’s easily accessible from Tokyo within a 2-hour trip (one-way). Aside from snow leisure, fishing for Japanese smelt at Lake Yamanaka—one of the Five Lakes at the base of Mount Fuji—is also popular. The area is also a production center for grapes, dotted with famous wineries.
Nagano PrefectureFrom the famous Hakuba resort area to the shoppers’ paradise of Karuizawa, these leading Japanese snow resorts have a lot to offer. Soba noodles are a specialty here, due to the beautiful clean water. Jigokudani Wild Snow Monkey Park, with its world-famous snow monkeys, is also located within the prefecture.
Hokuriku, Tokai & Kansai regions
Toyama PrefectureThe prefecture is home to the Starbucks said to be the most beautiful in the world. There are many delicious and unforgettable foods, such as glass shrimp, harvested only in Toyama Prefecture, fatty yellowtail, and firefly squid—perfect as a snack to accompany drinks.
Ishikawa PrefectureNot only the freshest seafood from the Sea of Japan—but also top-quality Kaga vegetables are famous here. In central Ishikawa lies Kanazawa City, which is home to remnants of past ages, including Kanazawa Castle, Kenroku-en Garden, old samurai residences, and the old teahouse district.
Fukui PrefectureThe prefecture is home to both Japan’s greatest excavation site for dinosaur fossils and also one of the world’s largest dinosaur museums. Here, Echizen crab is the famous taste of winter. Because the harvesting season is so restricted (November 6 – late March), many Japanese people make a "crab pilgrimage" here every year to enjoy this seasonal delicacy.
Gifu PrefectureThe prefecture is home to the Shirakawa-go Village World Heritage Site. Wonderful winter landscapes of breathtaking beauty, where snow falls onto the steep peaked-roof buildings. Famous local cuisine includes Hida beef and the Takayama ramen noodles of Hida Takayama. There is also the famous Gero Onsen hot spring, which was chosen as one of Japan’s top three hot springs.
Mie PrefectureThe 2016 G7 Summit was held at Ise Shima within the prefecture. The prefecture is dotted with sightseeing spots such as the powerfully sacred Ise Shrine, one of the best places in Japan to take a pleasant stroll around town, as well as Nabana no Sato, popular for its illuminations. As far as cuisine goes, the Matsusaka wagyu beef variety is famous.
Shiga PrefectureDue to its proximity to Kyoto, a visit can be easily combined with sightseeing in Kyoto. As for fun away from the slopes, the prefecture is home to Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa. It’s worth hiring a bicycle for a ride along the lakeside.
Hyogo PrefectureThe place where internationally famous Kobe beef is produced! Many of the prefecture’s slopes are family-friendly, perfect for children to play in the snow. Outside of fun in the snow, you can walk the streets of the popular hot spring district, home to hot spring bathing facilities such as Arima Onsen and Kinosaki Onsen.
Chugoku, Shikoku & Kyushu regions
Tottori PrefectureAn unusual prefecture, where you can ride a camel to traverse sand dunes. There are also museums built to commemorate the lives of Gosho Aoyama, creator of the "Detective Conan" manga series, and Shigeru Mizuki, the creator of "Gegege no Kitaro" manga series, who both hail from Tottori. In Tottori’s famous Misasa Onsen hot spring district, there are plenty of facilities where you can simply drop by without an accommodation booking to enjoy bathing in hot springs.
Shimane PrefectureIzumo Taisha Shrine is famous as a sacred ground for bonds of affection between people. In the central region, the city of Matsue is home to Matsue Castle—taking a sightseeing cruise in a small boat around the castle moat is recommended. The Tamatsukuri Onsen hot spring near Matsue is famous for promoting beautiful skin.
Okayama PrefectureEach area has its own attractions, such as Kurashiki, where old-fashioned urban scenery like machiya townhouses and warehouses still remain, and Kojima, known as a sacred ground for blue jeans. There is an abundance of local cuisine, including the “demikatsu” rice bowl of fried cutlets topped with demi-glace sauce, and the miso-based "Hiruzen yakisoba" fried noodles.
Hiroshima PrefectureIntroduction to Hiroshima
Saga PrefectureSaga Prefecture is home to several hot springs said to promote beautiful skin, including Takeo and Ureshino. Ureshino is also home to the Ninja Village Hizen Yumekaido, where visitors can dress up in ninja costumes and enjoy a taste of ninja life. Highly recommended for families. Access by bus or train from neighboring Fukuoka Prefecture is also easy.
List of recommended ski resorts
Hakuba Valley Hakuba Happo-One Winter Resort
Naeba Ski Resort
Niseko Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu
Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort
List of recommended areas
Sapporo, Niseko, Kiroro
Yuzawa, Naeba, Muikamachi
Shiga, Nozawa Onsen, Madarao, Iizuna
List of recommended prefectures