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10 Ski Resorts to Celebrate the Holidays in Japan

Dec 06 (Sun ), 2015

Dreaming of a White Christmas? We are! Spend the holidays up in the snowy slopes of Japan’s ski resorts. Don’t worry about not feeling “Christmas-y” enough: nearly all major ski resorts have a jam-packed schedule at the end of the year with Christmas and New Year events for the whole family. Plus it might be a great way to meet new friends.

Frozen at Tomamu’s Ice Village (Dec. 1~Middle of March)

From Dec. 1 to middle of March, Tomamu will be transformed into an Ice Village that will delight your young ones – especially the Frozen fans. Go ice skating, send your kids off on slides made from ice, stroll through the outdoor theater, and dine at the Ice Restaurant. There’s also an Ice Bar for the adults.

In December, the Ice Village will be Christmas-themed with Santa making special appearances. Special New Year events such as an ice skating show and countdown party will be held between Dec. 26~Jan. 7.

Holidays at Niseko Annupuri (Dec. 19~Jan. 11)

If you’re at the resort on New Year’s Eve, you’re in luck – not only will you catch the torchlight skiing and fireworks, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the night lift for free between 8:30 p.m.~11:15 p.m. The next morning, enjoy your first powder run of the year at the Annupuri First Run (Jan. 1~Jan. 3, Jan. 9~Jan. 11). Between Dec. 19~Dec. 25, enjoy the candle-lit grounds of Annupuri at the Snow Candle event.

Holiday Jazz and Fireworks at Rusutsu (Dec. 23~April 2016)

Relax after a day on the slopes with Rusutsu’s 100 Days of Jazz, held every evening from Dec. 23-Apr. 2. Gigs will start from 7:30-8:10 p.m. and 9:00-9:40 p.m. at Cricket Bar in the South Wing 1F. There will also be fireworks on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at 9:15 p.m.

Find Santa at Grandeco (Dec. 24-25 and Jan. 1-2)

Keep your eyes peeled for Santa around the ski resort for a lucky present and original Grandeco gifts! Grandeco also celebrates the New Year with soba noodles for guests. 

Santa on Skis at Hakuba Cortina (Dec. 25)

Catch Santa skiing through the piste with presents on Christmas Day at Hakuba Cortina. On New Year’s Eve, have a soba noodle feast before the torchlight skiing show and fireworks at midnight. New Year’s Day will be full of traditional festivities including mochi pounding and hot amazake (sweet rice wine) drinking starting from 8 a.m.

First Tracks at APPI (Dec. 27 and Jan. 10)

Enjoy the sunrise (Jan. 1) and freshly groomed first tracks of APPI (Dec. 27 and Jan. 10) for guests only. The resort will also be celebrating Christmas from Dec. 19-25 with fireworks, workshops, and night light shows on select days. If you’re at APPI for the latter part of the month, ring in 2016 with a torchlight ski show and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve Countdown at Iwappara (Dec. 31)

While Iwappara’s night skiing usually ends at 9 p.m., hours will be extended to 10 p.m. on Dec. 31. After 10 p.m., cruise through the yatai stalls for New Year traditional soba noodles, hot chocolate, wine and beer. Other entertainment includes a comedy show starting at 11 p.m. Right before the clock strikes midnight, check out the slopes for torchlight skiing and start the year with an impressive fireworks show.

Sake Kagami-Wari at Niseko Hanazono (Jan. 1)

Be part of Hanazono’s New Year sake kagami-wari, the ritual breaking of a a barrel of sake. If you’re one of the first 100 lucky guests, you’ll also receive an original Hanazono sake cup. Starts at 10 a.m. on Jan. 1 at Restaurant 308.

Mochi Pounding at NASPA Ski Garden (Jan. 1~2)

Test your mochi pounding skills on Jan. 1 and 2 in front of the Log Center at NASPA Ski Garden. Even if you’re not a fan of the sticky snack, kids and adults alike will enjoy taking part in this New Year tradition.

NASPA Ski Garden’s New Year festivities will start from Dec. 31, with torchlight skiing from 11:45 p.m. and ending with fireworks.

Fresh Groomed Tracks at Myoko Suginohara (Jan. 1-2)

What better way to start the year than riding down freshly groomed tracks while the sun rises?  Grounds open at the Suginohara Gondola from 6:30-8:00 a.m. on Jan. 1. Participation fee is ¥1000. If you’re more of a night owl, head up the slopes between 6:00-9:00 p.m. on Jan. 2 for some evening ski and snowboarding. Participation fee is ¥1900.