The 3 Most Popular Winter Sports To Try in Japan! | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

The 3 Most Popular Winter Sports To Try in Japan!

By Aika Kaise Dec 10, 2018

This post is also available in: Thai

If you love sports in general, this one is for you! Unlike most other western countries, going out for some winter activity such as sports is quite popular. Since these type of activities are only available in the winter in Japan, people in Japan take the time to enjoy these activities rather than staying in the Winter.
There are various  winter activities such as: Skiing, Snowboarding, Ice Skating, Drift Ice Walking, and many others.
So while you are in Japan or if you plan to come here, make sure to take the time to do these activities!
I’ll focus on the three most popular Winter activity here in Japan and a definite must to try!




1. Skiing



Skiing is most likely the most popular Winter sport in Japan; it is a standard.
There are about 450 to 550 skiing grounds all over Japan, and the prefecture that has the largest number of it is Hokkaido. Hokkaido is located at the northernmost part of Japan.
There are about 100 skiing grounds in Hokkaido.
Among these, the most recommended skiing ground is “Niseko United”.
The “Niseko United” is a combination of 4 skiing grounds that are put together. Due to this fact, it is on the top list of the most recommended skiing spot to visit. Instead of traveling to various ski locations, you are able to be in 1 area and enjoy the different attractions that they all have to offer.
However the area is still very large, and and there are different levels both for beginners and experts.

Another Skiing area that is recommended is the skiing ground named “Zao Hot Spring Skiing Ground” in Yamagata prefecture.
The reason this is a recommended site is because you are able to see trees covered with hoarfrost, and I must say they are BEAUTIFUL.
Many people find skiing with this type of view/scenery to be enjoyable.
As you can probably tell from the name, there is also a hot spring around there, so you are able to relax in the spring right after skiing.
In addition, the hot spring has a very long history. According to historians, this hot spring was made more than 1,900 years ago.
It’s definitely an experience to relax in something that is thousands years old.


2. Snowboarding



Snowboarding is another popular winter sports you are able to enjoy in Japan.
These are also available at some skiing locations.
Some people find Snowboarding to be a little bit difficult due to the fact that you need to control one board, rather than two in skiing.
It is all in the control; that is, it is easier to gain control back when you lose it in Skiing unlike Snowboarding due to the fact that your leg is separated, therefore allowing you to move around more and stabilize yourself.
The popularity of Snowboarding has grown significantly quite recently because of Snowboarders in Japan were able to win medals, therefore exposing the sport more to the Japanese population through the news. This exposure affected more of the younger population, making it more popular among these groups.
If you are interested in Snowboarding, getting a board costs from about 15,000 to 30,000 yen (about $130 to $300 US dollars) in Japan. If you are not willing to pay the price, you can always rent in rental shops at some skiing grounds.
It usually costs about 10,000 yen ($90 US dollars) to borrow it, this includes the outfit, boots, and board.


3. Skating



Finally Skating, another well-known sport in Japan. Japan is quite known for its figure skaters, as a result, skating is quite popular here.
You might have seen quite a lot of them if you watch TV here in Japanese; figure skaters are frequently shown on Japanese TV shows.
Many medals have been won by Figure Skaters in Japan. The most prominent skater for women skating in Japan is Mao Asada, and Yuzuru Hanyu for the men.
Due to their fame and sportsmanship, many children in Japan are following in their footsteps and taking up figure skating as well.
Despite this, skating rinks across Japan are getting shut down and decreasing year after year.
The main reason for these is because people in Japan do not bother to participate in skating unless in the Winter.
Skating is Japan is usually only an hype that lasts for a short amount of time. When a skater wins an award or medal, there is an hype around skating and it draws the people’s attention but it never seems to last.
Because of this, the dedicated skaters often have a hard time looking for skating rinks that are open all year round. This leads them to sometimes go overseas so that they are able to practice.

Ice skating is popular due to its ease.
It might seem scary at first but after a few hours, most beginners are able to easily skate around the ice.
The number of skating rinks that are open increase in the winter, so it is recommended as a must try winter activity in Japan.



In conclusion, you are able to find a lot of winter activities to enjoy in Japan doing the winter; the most popular winter sports are skiing, snowboarding, and skating.
They each have their perks and I would recommend you you try to participate in as much as possible.
I believe they are a great way to spend time with family and friends, and while also learning a new fun skill.
Many of these winter activities, especially Skiing, Snowboarding, and skating; they all are very easy to learn and it would not be a problem for a beginner.
Also, no need to worry about preparing the things you might need for these activities, many rental shops at most locations will be more than willing to rent them to you!

What’s the most popular winter sports in your country?

Aika Kaise / Japan


Wondering what sport to take on in Autumn ? Read more:

3 Popular Sports to Try out in Autumn in Japan