Snow Report 26 January 2013 - Japan


Greetings from a very snowy Akakura Onsen village where it has been dumping all day!

Myoko 21 January
What a mixed bag it has been this week. But what a brilliant end to the week - heavy snowstorms across Japan! Yes!

It started off mild and sunny on Monday, turning snowy on Tuesday, but staying unseasonably warm. On Thursday afternoon, snow arrived in Myokokogen, Hakuba, and on Friday morning in the Yuzawa area. Since then, it has continued ...


At Hakuba the snow arrived early on Tuesday morning (5-10 cms) but this was mostly heavy, wet snow. It stopped early too, with fine weather for Wednesday through to Thursday. Then snow fell overnight (20-40 cms) and into Saturday.

Happo One - 240/140cms


Myokokogen was stunning on Monday in the sunshine.

Myoko Suginohara 24 January
Later that day the high cloud rolled in and overnight warm temperatures saw rain to start on Tuesday. This - fortunately - quickly turned to sleet, then snow.

By Tuesday afternoon the snow became more persistent, and it continued overnight for about 20cms accumulation.

It was fine early on Wednesday and that made it fun to ride the fresh snow.

On Thursday it was ridiculously warm for midwinter - up to 3c at the base - and the snow on the lower slopes got a spring feel.

Late on Thursday afternoon it began to snow up high and by the evening it was dumping to village level -  for 10-30cms by the morning.

It snowed all through Friday, but became light by evening. On Saturday morning it was puking, another 20-30 cms, which was doubled during the day. It continues to dump at Myokokogen and the tracks are being filled in each night!

Akakura Kanko - 250cms
Seki Onsen - 450cms

Myoko Akakura Kanko 26 January

A similar story around Yuzawa with rain or sleet much of Tuesday, with only Kagura escaping due to its altitude.

Sunny through until Thursday, then on Friday the snow arrived. About 10-20cms overnight into Saturday.

Naeba/Kagura -  210cms/350cms
Gala Yuzawa - 290cms

Elsewhere ...
Nozawa Onsen - 315/140cms
Dynaland - 200cms


Snow Report 19 January 2013 - Japan


The past week has seen much snow across the ski areas of Central Japan. As usual, Myokokogen scored the most snow with two dumps, each close to half a metre. Everywhere else saw snow on and off, freshening the pistes and keeping the trees nice and white.

I've been fortunate to have been at the wonderful Zao Onsen ski area in Yamagata Prefecture since Monday this week, so this report's snow condition pictures come direct to you from this morning's skiing at Zao!


Snow on and off all week in the Hakuba area meant freshies most days! Happo One cracked 2 metres on the upper slopes.

Happo One ski area - 200/110cms
Shiga Kogen - 175/100cms


Myokokogen ski areas are chasing 3-metre snow depths on the upper slopes and there is around 2 metres at the base and in the ski towns. Aside from the big dumps this week, there have been regular top-ups.

The high-altitude areas of Nozawa Onsen and Kagura already have over 3 metres as we enter mid-winter.

Akakura Onsen ski area - 290cms
Nozawa Onsen ski area - 325/150cms
Naeba ski area - 200cms
Kagura ski area- 340cms


It has snowed every day this week at Zao Onsen, but no huge dumps. Very nice to be greeted by some powder each morning and the quiet post-holiday-weekend slopes have kept it fresh with little stashes to be found around the place.

Visibility has been generally poor up high, and on the upper slopes it has been bitterly cold the last few days. Down to -16c regularly at the top and -11c around the middle of the mountain. Today the sun came out, but its back to snow again this afternoon!

Zao Onsen ski area - 180/100cms


Snow Report 8 January 2013 - Japan

Happo One 5 December [Source: Happo One FB page]

This is more like it! Central Japan got blasted last week by a fantastic winter storm that dumped epic amounts of snow in some regions.

Parts of Niigata got more than a metre in one and a bit days. Everywhere in central Honshu got good falls and the upper parts of most mountains now boast around two metres snowdepth.

A clearing spell arrived this weekend. Enjoy the pictures as clear, blue-sky days are rare mid-winter, at least they were last January.

A little light snow followed, and the next snowfalls are expected later this week. Nothing major on the forecast yet, however. That will no doubt change as the next storm rumbles in across from Siberia.

Togakushi 7 January [Source: Togakushi website]

Snow fell around the Hakuba area from New Year's Day through to 4th January. Around 60cms fell up high during the storm, while 20cms made the village areas nice and white.

Happo One ski area - 190/80cms
Shiga Kogen - 150/90cms
Togakushi ski area - 140cms


Bang! Niigata is renowned for its massive snowfalls ... and last week's was a beauty as it dumped consistently over several days. Nozawa Onsen and Myokokogen both received well over one metre over a period of less than two days. High-altitude Kagura is now boasting over 3 metres snowdepth.

Akakura Onsen 7 January [Source: Akakura Onsen website]
Akakura Onsen ski area - 210cms
Nozawa Onsen ski area - 230/100cms
Naeba ski area - 150cms
Kagura ski area- 320cms


Zao Onsen is in a very different part of the country to the western ski resorts around the Japanese Alps. Still, it received 35-70cms of snow last week during the big storm.

Zao Onsen ski area - 150/85cms


Snow Report 1 January 2013 - Japan


Happy New Year!

Its busy this time of year in the Japanese ski resorts and onsen towns. But you know this is just the start of winter ... and any good snow in early December is always a bonus. January is when things really get going!

There has been good snow in the last few weeks, particularly over the days we call Christmas. These dumps were followed by some magnificent, clear days during the 27th and 28th December.

Togakushi 29 December [Source: Togakushi website]
The last few days have been warm and rain has affected many areas with some loss of snow cover. But not to worry, snow is in the forecast this week and January is typically much colder.

In two weeks I will be in Japan! Let it snow!


There was heavy snow Christmas Eve and then 30cms fell on the 29th December around the ski resorts of Hakuba. Unfortunately the gains in the snow depth were lost as rain arrived on Sunday.
Happo One: 170/60cms

Togakushi 29 December [Source: Togakushi website]
The photos here are from Togakushi in Nagano Prefecture, a ski area that is a little off the radar for overseas visitors. What an amazing layer of cloud early in the morning!
Togakushi - 110cms


At Myokokogen a clear Christmas Day sat snugly between two good snowfalls. Rain and warm temperatures stripped away 40cms of snow, so no net gains over the last week.
Akakura Onsen ski area - 140cms

Nozawa Onsen has also lost a foot of snow since last week. Ups and downs! From here it should be all gains though!
Nozawa Onsen ski area - 180/50cms

Nozawa Onsen 28 December [Source: Nozawa Onsen FB page]
Around and about the Echigo-Yuzawa area of Niigata, including Kagura and Naeba, there was a little snow on the 29th December, then it turned warm on Sunday and rain fell here also. Snow depths are great for this time of the year though.
Naeba ski area - 140cms
Kagura ski area- 240cms


While the southern ski areas were celebrating Christmas snowfalls, Zao was awaiting patiently.

And so it turned to snow finally at Zao Onsen with a foot of fresh Christmas Day into Boxing Day.

Snow also fell yesterday at Zao and snow is forecast through until Thursday.
Zao Onsen - 100/50cms