The city of Asahikawa Japan makes a great base to visit the various nearby ski resorts, either as part of a hosted multi-resort tour or a DIY trip.
Ski Areas Near Asahikawa Hokkaido
Kamui Ski Links
is only 20 minutes from Asahikawa (20km east) and is accessible via shuttle bus or car. Kamui Ski Links is a no-frills ski area with super cheap lift tickets. Another drawcard for powder hounds is that off-piste and tree skiing is permitted, and there are good sidecountry areas that are easily accessed from the lifts.
is another no-frills ski area with inexpensive lift tickets. It’s about one hour drive from Asahikawa (46km to the east). Asahidake is only suitable for advanced and expert riders because it is one big off-piste playground for powder hounds.
Furano ski resort
is a mainstream resort with a wide range of on-piste terrain for all ability levels. The lift infrastructure is good, and as such the lift tickets are a little more expensive than Kamui Links. Off-piste skiing is possible, but officially is prohibited. Furano is 57km south of Asahikawa (about 1 hour drive).
Tengu cat skiing is located at the former Kitataisetsu ski resort, whilst NAC Cat Skiing
on Otoeyama is 31km southwest of Asahikawa. The powder here is particularly delightful!
is about 70km east of Asahikawa. Kurodake is an off-piste paradise akin to the ultimate slackcountry experience, and strangely for Japan, it has some steep gnarly terrain. The only downside is that the ropeway is only open for part of the season.
is about 57km southeast of Asahikawa. This is a backcountry ski area that offers the ultimate in deep, deep and deeper, but you have to earn your turns to reap the rewards.
The little family oriented Pippu ski area
is 25km northeast of Asahikawa.
If you're up for a decent drive, Nayoro Piyashiri
is 89km of Asahikawa. You're unlikely to find any competition for the fresh powder at Piyashiri!
The advantage of staying in Asahikawa is that each morning you can check out the conditions at each resort and decide which one takes your fancy. Whichever one you choose, there’s a high likelihood of finding the great powder that Hokkaido skiing
is famous for. And unlike Niseko
and the ski resorts near Sapporo
, these Central Hokkaido ski resorts aren’t near the ocean so the powder isn’t just dry; isn’t superb. These ski areas near Asahikawa provide Japan skiing
at its finest.
Where is Asahikawa?
The city of Asahikawa is located in the middle of Hokkaido, the north island of Japan. Asahikawa is northeast of Sapporo, approximately 1.5 hours by train.
Joining a guided multi-resort tour (see below) or renting a car
provides the most flexibility to sample multiple ski resorts, but as an alternative there are shuttle buses or public transport options to get to some of the ski areas.
Asahikawa accommodation consists primarily of hotels. There are various Asahikawa hotels
that are located conveniently near the train station, the main shops and the restaurant district. Some of the Asahikawa hotels are very reasonably priced and there are also a couple of accommodation options for those travelling on a shoe-string.
The city has a population of about 360,000 so the downtown area is small enough to largely access on foot, yet the city is big enough to be vibrant and exciting. Asahikawa is full of restaurants, bars, and department stores that will delight any shopping-loving female (who’s less than a size 12!). There are various activities to do in and around Asahikawa for those who don’t want to play on the snow, including the renowned Asahiyama Zoo
Asahikawa Japan not only provides access to great skiing and snowboarding, but the city also allows visitors to experience Japanese culture that hasn’t been “resortified”. Outside your hotel, don’t expect many people to speak English beyond a couple of basic greetings, and don’t expect to see too many other Westerners. Some may view this as a bit of a travel inconvenience, but for adventurous travellers the huge advantage is that you’ll find the genuine Japan in Asahikawa.
Asahikawa holds the record for the coldest temperature in Japan with a chilling -41degrees C in 1902. Thankfully it’s not always that cold in winter! Average low temps are about -14 degrees Celsius however when we've visited, it always seems to be really cold with temperatures around minus 25. We needed to wear thermals under our jeans, and even though we’ve seen it many times before in Japan, we've been continually amazed and entertained by the local girls walking around in their short skirts with bare legs! The stilettos accompanying the outfits are also amazing, considering the slippery roads and footpaths on which our Sorrel (Caribous) boots struggle to keep grip.
Why Stay in Asahikawa on a Ski or Snowboard Holiday?
Asahikawa provides a great base to sample multiple ski resorts, some of which have fantastically cheap lift tickets. And at night time you can hang out in a great city where you’ll find plenty of authentic Japanese culture, and an abundance of dining and drinking options.
Tours That May Include Asahikawa