About the weather maps & forecasts on SnowJapan

We are excited to be able to introduce some new weather maps and forecasts on SnowJapan this season. To learn more about why we have made these changes, see below.

All Japan weather maps:

Weather maps for the whole of Japan, each featuring a 9-day animated forecast focusing on one of the following weather elements:

The settings on each map can be changed:

* Use the top right zoom feature to zoom in on a specific region.
* Use the top right menu to change the type of data shown on the map.
* Use the bottom left Play button to begin the animated forecast.

Individual ski area weather maps:

Each map is centred on the latitude and longitude co-ordinates for the base of each individual ski area. The forecast shown is 6 days by default and can be expended to a 9 day forecast. These pages can be found on the 'Forecast' tab on individual ski area pages, for example:

Shiga Kogen - Okushiga Kogen

* Use the top right menu to change the type of data shown on the map.
* Use the bottom left Play button to begin the animated forecast.

Initially this information is available for a selection of popular ski areas. We plan to gradually add more over the coming weeks.


Now reports:

The forecast and weather maps for individual ski areas can be found using the links in the right hand side column.

About these changes

We believe that one of the main things that makes SnowJapan unique is our in-depth exclusive content. It is the core of what we do. Apart from the official snow depth data and snow and weather forecasts, all content on SnowJapan is ‘made by us’ and under our control.

The official snow depth data that we introduce every winter season is certainly the topic of heated conversation at times, but it is... fixed data. That daily data is originally coming from the ski areas themselves. It is collected and provided to us, and we then present it in our own way. It is a constant through the season and can also be compared year on year. We think the official snow depth data is an interesting and relevant data point and will continue to introduce it within SnowJapan.

Snow and weather forecasts are a different thing altogether. Many forecasts are based on the same few models but due to the very nature of them being forecasts, they can of course always be seen as being accurate or inaccurate.

Only providing one forecast over the years has been seen by some as a specific endorsement of that forecast over others and even the impression that it was our own data. We have often had people contact us to suggest that ‘our forecast’ for a particular place was incorrect; that it regularly forecast less snow than would fall*; that it was more accurate in some regions than in others. Some people suggested we introduce alternative forecasts. As is so often the case, all sorts of differing opinions.

This year we started to re-think the issue of providing forecasts within our site.

For a while we considered not offering any kind of forecast. After all, none are exclusive to us and snow and weather forecasts that are free to use can easily be found online.

Then we remembered the windy animated maps and forecasts. When we first noticed them last year, we were initially taken in by the beautiful swirly animations, but then we started using them every day and found them to be extremely informative. They are based on the global ECMWF forecast model. Watching wind patterns and fronts moving in on a map is certainly more revealing than just data and numbers.

So with 2020 being as good a time as any to make changes, we have decided to introduce these maps and forecasts.

In some ways this is a bit of an experiment. We will be keeping an eye on them to see how they pan out for various regions of Japan. Adjustments may well be made.

For now, though, we suggest that you look at the maps and forecasts almost as a bit of fun. Take them for what they are. Enjoy the swirly bits. Marvel at seeing how all that snow (hopefully very regularly) moves in on the Japan mountains. That is what we are going to do.

Now for the obligatory disclaimer, just to be as clear as we can be:

- We do not own the data
- We do not control the data
- These are forecasts
- All related content is subject to change and adjustments, at any time

We hope you like them and find them to be useful.

Let us all hope they show consistent snowfall across Japan this winter.

October 2020

* 'Under-reporting' of snow in Japan is a commonly heard comment. Forecasts of less snow than actually falls might well be a feature of most/all forecasts for certain regions of Japan. But that is perhaps a topic for another day. Our independent and exclusive Now daily reports do their best to inform you how much snow is actually falling in the popular regions we cover.