Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 28th May 2018

Minakami Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 7:00am
Weather conditions: Clear
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Once again it's super cold, -13C out there at 7am this morning.

No fresh snow at the base of Tenjindaira which for those who can't read between the lines, means dust on crust at best in the ungroomed spots and a hard, fast piste. I have a confession, my snow blower is actually a snow making machine in disguise and for years I've produced snow during the night here at Tenjin and just cleaned it all up in the morning.

We do have some snow forecast for this evening and my benchmark is showing a green light - the forecast at Tenjin is confirmed by the one for Minakami town.

We could really use the reset.


Ski resorts in Minakami:

Minakami Hodaigi
Minakami Kogen Fujiwara
Minakami Kogen Ski Resort
Norn Minakami
Okutone Snow Park
Tanigawadake Tenjindaira
Tanigawa Onsen White Valley


Resort Spotlights with more detail:

Norn Minakami
Okutone Snow Park


Please note that the snowfall numbers posted in this report will be observed from close to the base Tenjindaira Ropeway station - which is often much more than in the central town area of Minakami.    Read more ...

Naeba Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 7:10am
Weather conditions: Bluebird
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning! It's a very chilly start in Naeba today, with the air temperature at sunrise reading -15°C! The sun is already slowly creeping down the mountainside, so it will be warming up the village as the first lifts start rolling around. It's beautifully clear currently, however the forecast suggests we should expect some cloud to fill the valley this evening bringing with it some snow overnight tonight. The pistes will be very hard this morning due to the cold, so please do take care until the sun has had chance to soften the snow up a little.

Looking forwards, temperatures are expected to remain well below 0°C at the base until Monday. With little wind during this period also, its unlikely that we will see much snow accumulation in the valley over the next few days, despite the forecast suggesting as much. On Monday temperatures are expected to rise, allowing some heavier, moisture bearing clouds to blow int Mikuni valley. At the moment, much of this moisture is predicted to fall as rain at the base from Tuesday night through until Thursday. Of course, alongside this, winds are expected to pick up later in the week. It seems that the weather is all around unsettled this week.

Kongō!   Read more ...

Yuzawa Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 7:10am
Weather conditions: Mostly clear skies
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
The full on winter conditions continued yesterday... in northern parts of the Prefecture again. I have a friend in Niigata city who was talking about snow nearly up to 1m piled up outside their home and causing endless problems. A local train stuck in the snow for half a day also made the national news. They're just not used to it up there.

All that while we once again got next to none. That early morning light snow yesterday didn't amount to much and we got some more blue sky and sun.

This has been known to happen before of course, but it is still really unusual - and somewhat annoying for everyone involved!

So I have no new snowfall to report to you this morning and it looks like it is going to be a beautiful morning with almost clear skies at the start of the day; just a few small clouds in places at 7am.

It is a very cold start too.

So snow conditions are far from 'best' at the moment and we should expect some hard and fast conditions. Keep that in mind and take care.

All the same, it should be a fine morning to be outside and on the mountain and a good one to take the camera for some beautiful early morning mountain scenery. Clouds are due to gather as the day goes on so the clear skies might not last too long.

Snow clouds are due to move in later on and give us fresh snow overnight so I am hoping to be able to bring some good snow news tomorrow morning. Let's see if they come down south to visit us this time around. Fingers crossed.


Images today from GALA Yuzawa, NASPA Ski Garden and Ishiuchi Maruyama (looking north).


Updated: Saturday 13th January 2018

** Official snow depths (where available) and resort specific information. Note that while we manually check this information each morning, sometimes official information is updated later than the time of these reports and so at times there may be an apparent delay.

An early report this morning, so many resorts have not yet updated their snow depth data at the time of this report.

Ski resorts in Yuzawa:

GALA Yuzawa
- 230cm

- 145cm

- Kagura area: 320cm
- Mitsumata area: 220cm
- Tashiro area: 270cm

Kandatsu Kogen
- 195cm

- 210cm (base)

NASPA Ski Garden
- 170cm

Yuzawa Kogen
- Top: 220cm
- Base: 160cm

Yuzawa Park
- 150cm

Yuzawa Nakazato
- 150cm


Ski resorts in Minamiuonuma (just to the north of Yuzawa):

Ishiuchi Maruyama
- 180cm

Joetsu Kokusai
- 190cm

Maiko Snow Resort
- Top: 200cm
- Base: 100cm

Muikamachi Hakkaisan
- Closed on Wednesdays between 10th January and 14th March (!)
- 240cm   Read more ...

Hakuba Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 7:12am
Weather conditions: Cloud
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning folks.

I need to go to Matsumoto this morning so it is an early report and that means that some of the resort specific info below has not been updated. Because they haven't updated their info yet - not because I'm lazy! ;)

OK so quickly. Yesterday fairly early on clouds started to clear and we got to see more and more blue sky and sunshine for a while, things getting cloudy once again later in the afternoon. A lovely day.

This morning we're back to limited visibility with a lot of cloud around and some very light snow lazily falling in places. From the limited information available at this moment, resorts do not seem to be reporting any fresh snow this morning.

Clear skies and sunshine are expected tomorrow and the forecast currently shows the next decent snow to be with us from later on Tuesday.

Have a fun Saturday.


Ski resort information on Saturday 13th January 2018 (at time of writing):

Hakuba Happo-one

Operating lifts:
- All lifts operating as planned

Courses open:
- All course are now open

Official snow depth:
- Kurobishi: 380cm
- Usagidaira: 195cm
- Lower: 105cm


Hakuba Goryu

Operating lifts:
- All lifts operating as planned (Alps Number 2 and 4 lifts usually operate on weekends only)

Courses open:
- All courses are open

Official snow depth:
- Top: 305cm
- Toomi: 120cm
- Iimori: 70cm


Hakuba 47

Operating lifts:
- All lifts operating as planned (Line D usually operates only when the Gondola is closed)

Courses open:
- All courses available

Official snow depth:
- Top: 295cm
- Base: 105cm


Tsugaike Kogen

Operating lifts:
- Most lifts are operating as planned

Courses open:
- All course areas are open apart from some parts of Sawa-one and Kane-no-naru-oka Number 2

Official snow depth:
- Tsuga-no-mori: 280cm
- Han-no-ki: 270cm
- Maruyama: 110cm
- Shirakaba: 240cm
- Champion: 140cm
- Oya-no-hara: 130cm
- Kane-no-naru-oka: 130cm


Hakuba Cortina

Operating lifts:
- All lifts are operating

Courses open:
- All courses should be opening

Official snow depth:
- Top: 269cm
- Base: 180cm


Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field

Operating lifts:
- Most lifts are operating with most courses open

Official snow depth:
- Top: 170cm
- Base: 80cm


Hakuba Norikura Onsen

Operating lifts:
- All lifts apart from Alps Number 1 and 7 are operating

Official snow depth:
- 210cm


Hakuba Valley Kashimayari

Operating lifts:
- All lifts apart from Number 8 and 10 are operating

Official snow depth:
- 145cm


Hakuba Sanosaka

Operating lifts:
- All three lifts are operating

Official snow depth:
- 110cm


Night time skiing (nighta) at resorts in the region - weather & conditions permitting
The below 'nighta' information will not be updated every day - please check with resorts if you plan to go!

Hakuba Happo-one
Daily from 5pm until 9pm in the Nakiyama 2 area
Adults - 2,000 yen; children - 1,200 yen

Hakuba Goryu
Daily from 6pm until 9:30pm in the Toomi area until 31st March
The Sky Four quad operates daily; the Number 2 pair mostly on Saturdays and holidays)
Adults - 1,900 yen; children - 850 yen

Hakuba Cortina
Daily from 5pm until 8pm (until 9pm on Saturdays)
Adults - 1,500 yen; children - 1,000 yen

Tsugaike Kogen
Kane-no-naru-oka area from 6pm until 8:50pm on 3rd, 10th, 11th February
Karamatsu Shirakaba area from 6pm until 9pm on 13th, 20th, 27th January; 10th, 11th, 17th February; 3rd, 10th March
Adults - 2,200 yen; children - 1,700 yen

There are no other nighta operations at other ski resorts in the region

   Read more ...

Nozawa Onsen Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 8:03am
Weather conditions: Cloud, blue sky, sun
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Nozawa.

I wasn't out on the mountain (or even in Nozawa) yesterday after I posted my report, but from what I can see the resort itself was reporting 8-14cm of fresh snowfall on the upper slopes during the daytime.

There is no fresh snow to report this morning.

This morning it's a quickly moving mix of thin cloud and blue sky and some sunshine thrown into the mix too; it's cold too.

We're hoping for snow to be falling later on this afternoon and overnight tonight - a generous reset would be most welcome. For the moment I would expect some rather crusty conditions this morning with better snow found higher up.

Check out 'Nasuki' on the third webcam image below. Looking a bit 'deflated' but he/she should be looking suitably bright green, fresh and genki by now!


The main 'Dosojin Fire Festival' takes place on Monday with some events happening from today. More info on the event below.


Saturday 13th January 2018

Fresh snowfall since yesterday (as reported by the resort):

- Yamabiko (1407m): 14cm (yesterday daytime)
- Uenotaira (1230m): 8cm (yesterday daytime)
- Hikage (660m): -cm
- Nagasaka (615m): -cm
- Karasawa (563m): -cm

Official snow depth numbers:

- Yamabiko (1407m): 255cm
- Uenotaira (1230m): 185cm
- Hikage (660m): 140cm
- Nagasaka (615m): 135cm
- Karasawa (563m): 110cm

Lifts operations:

- All scheduled lifts should be operating as normal

All courses open except the following:

- Challenge 39
- Grand Prix
- Mukobayashi
- Kandahar


The Dosojin Fire Festival

The Dosojin Fire Festival is the biggest date on the calendar for Nozawa Onsen and is one of the three most famous ‘fire festivals’ in Japan.

The festival is held on the 15th of January every year - no matter what day that falls on. The festival is to pray for a plentiful harvest, health and good fortune in the coming year and dates back to 1863. Though the locations may have changed, the festivities remain pretty much the same.

During this festival the 25 and 42-year-old men from the village play a very important role. An old belief in Japan dictates that, for men, these years are ‘unlucky’ ages. The 25 and the 42-year-old men in their unlucky ages construct the shaden (shrine) from beech wood, reaching a height of 18 meters. Every year it takes 100 villagers to build the shrine. The trees are cut down in October and brought down from the mountain, through the village, on January 13th.

After the shaden has been constructed, the priest from Kosuge shrine performs a ceremony to endow it with a God. Along with the shaden there are an average of five tôrô (dedicatory lantern poles) erected every year. These poles are made by a family in the village to celebrate the birth of the first son. The tôrô are offered to the Gods in a prayer for health and good fortune.

The festivities begin with the lighting of the fire by the 25 and 42-year-old men. A small group of men carry a torch, which is lit by striking two stones together, from the Kôno residence to the festival grounds. The torch is used to start a bonfire from which the handmade torches, used to attack the shrine, are lit.

The festival centres around the shaden. The 42-year-old men sit on top and the 25 year old men stand guard at the base. Those who are 41 and 43 years old stand around the perimeter to protect the spectators. Torch bearing villagers of all ages attempt to break through the guards and light the shaden on fire. A dangerous and lively battle ensues. The defenders try to put out the fire by striking it with pine branches. The attack lasts for about one hour, after which the 42-year olds call an end to the ceremony and the shaden together with the tôrô are set on fire in an offering to the Gods.

The entire festival can take up to four hours from the beginning to the end, but the main attraction is the battle between the guards and the torch bearing villagers.   Read more ...

Furano Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 8:07am
Weather conditions: Clear conditions
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Morning from Furano and it is perhaps even colder at the start of the day today. Really cold. Clear conditions with no fresh snow and no wind to mention. Expect firm conditions on the lower slopes. Maybe some fresh snow overnight tonight but don't expect much - more is likely on Monday.   Read more ...

Shiga Kogen Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 8:14am
Weather conditions: Sunshine and blue skies
New snowfall: 2cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from a sunny Shiga Kogen.

Blue sky and white snow contrast. Beautiful.

It is really very cold as well.

Is that decent snowfall forecast for tonight? I think it is. I will let you know how that goes tomorrow morning. After the snow, sunny conditions are expected during the day (tomorrow).

For now though, a lovely morning and I am off outside to go sample it!


Official snow depths numbers reported by different areas of Shiga Kogen:

Please note that these numbers are the official numbers that ski resorts publish and we check and update them each morning.



Ichinose Family

Ichinose Diamond




Okushiga Kogen

Sun Valley

Takamagahara Mammoth



170cm   Read more ...

Zao Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 8:17am
Weather conditions: Clear and sunny
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Zao.

The sun is shining through my window this morning and it looks really fantastic outside. Going to be a great morning for taking the camera up with you.

We may get some intermittent light snow at times over the next few days but nothing major. I'd say we are more likely to get more sunny skies. For the next decent snow the forecasts still show that from Tuesday.


Lifts and course info:

- All lifts operating
- All areas open

Official snow depths:

- Summit area: 135cm
- Paradise area: 150cm
- Chuo area: 150cm
- Utopia area: 165cm
- Uwanodai area: 90cm
- Oomori area: 95cm


Zao Onsen forecast:

Zao Onsen 6-day snow and weather forecast

Floodlit night skiing is planned as follows:

In the Uwanodai area:
Daily until Sunday 4th March 2018
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 9th March until Sunday 18th March 2018

In the Yokokura area:
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 12th January until Sunday 18th February 2018
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 2nd March until Sunday 11th March 2018

Night time 'light up' sightseeing ropeway is planned for the following dates:

January 2018: 13th-14th, 20th-21st, 27th-31st
February 2018: every day
March 2018: 1st-4th   Read more ...

Niseko Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 8:20am
Weather conditions: Cloud, blue sky and some sunshine
New snowfall: 18cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning!

And I bring happy news of some lovely fresh snow on the ground here at base. I measured 18cm of very nice quality snow. Hurray! And with up to 30cm being reported higher up, conditions should be excellent this morning. And that sounds jolly good to me. Expect more than a few people thinking the same and hitting the slopes early on.

The sun is out as well at the moment. The winds are calm and it is good and cold.

The sunny conditions might not last the day but tomorrow is expected to be sunny from the start all the way through. It is after all, Sunday. So it would seem appropriate.

After that, the next decent snow should be around Monday.

That is all from me this morning and I wish you a happy and safe Saturday.


Niseko Avalanche Report:

Niseko base 6am: -10℃, 20cm snowfall, calm. Moiwa 800m -10℃, SW breeze, 30cm snowfall. Annupuri 1150m: -13℃, W5m/s, 20cm snowfall. Hirafu 1250m: -13℃, NW8m/s, 30cm snowfall. Coastal data: Benkei cape WSW5m/s, Kamui cape W5m/s, 1010hPa, 1.1m waves.

The isobars are spread out and the weather is calm on the ocean and the mountains. A light surface hoar has formed due to radiative cooling. The new snow is light, typical snow crystals not affected by the wind. The general avalanche risk is low today. Peak gates will open, please seek for ski patrol’s advice before stepping out of bounds.

A thin avalanche from Jan 13th layer may occur in steep slopes. Carefully ride one by one, stay away from valley bottoms or potential avalanche path when resting. Wearing a helmet and beacon is not mandatory but is heavily recommended. Beacons could save your and other’s lives.

Outside the boundaries is not the resort anymore, everyone is responsible of their own actions, better be prudent. Niseko is setting official Rules in order to protect the safety and freedom of out of bounds riding. Please respect the Niseko Rules. The snow is excellent today.


Saturday 13th January 2018

Resort specific information (operations subject to change):

Niseko Grand Hirafu & Niseko HANAZONO Resort

Lifts scheduled to be operating:
- All lifts are generally operating
- 'Early Morning' services from 8:00am until 8:20am (Ace Number 2 Center Four quad lift). Until 28th January. 500 yen special ticket required.

Official snow depth:
- Top: 370cm
- Base: 160cm

Niseko Annupuri Kokusai

Lifts scheduled to be operating:
- All lifts are generally operating

Official snow depth:
- Top: 270cm
- Base: 160cm

Niseko Village

Lifts scheduled to be operating:
- All lifts except Country Road Chair are generally operating
- 'Early Gondola' service from 7:30am until 8:30am (Niseko Gondola). January 13th-14th, 20th-21st, 27th-28th; February 3rd-4th. 1,400 yen special ticket required.

Official snow depth:
- Top: 260cm
- Base: 160cm


Floodlit 'nighta' skiing:

Night skiing is planned for every evening at the Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri areas. There is no nighta at the Niseko HANAZONO area. Ski lifts that are scheduled to be operating for nighta are noted below (subject to change):

* Niseko Grand Hirafu - Ace Family quad, Ace Number 2 quad, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 pair
* Niseko Annupuri - Jumbo Number 1 quad lift
* Niseko Village - Village Express, Upper Village Gondola, Community Chair, Banzai Chair   Read more ...

Madarao Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 8:24am
Weather conditions: Blue skies, some thin cloud
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Morning from Madarao.

I don't have fresh snow to report but I do have sunshine and it should be a fine morning to be out there. Without the refresh, we need to expect some crusty conditions especially with the very cold start to the day. Brrrr, as they say. Worth wrapping up though and the muscles will get a good workout!

Hopefully those snow clouds will hit the spot (ie. over Madarao) later on today and tonight as the forecast still shows to be the case. This way please.


It's the Madarao Fire Festival tonight. While we'd like snow of course, ideally after the fireworks and festivities!


Official snow depth:

Operating lifts:

Number 1 lift
Number 2 quad lift
Number 3A lift
Super quad lift
Number 11 lift
Number 12 lift
Number 13 lift
Number 15 lift

Powder Wave I
Powder Wave II
Free Ride Park
Powder Theater
Adventure Aisle
Crystal Bowl

Kids Park
Snow Mobile Land

Planned nighta operations this season:

11th February 2018
Every Saturday between 4th January and 24th March 2018   Read more ...

Geto Kogen Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 8:40am
Weather conditions: Mostly sunny
New snowfall: 16cm
Snow depth: --
We had a change mid morning yesterday, with the sunshine replaced with snow falls.

It snowed on and off all day, moderate at times and flurries in others, with the visibility only slightly affected.

Since our last report we’ve seen 16cm hit the slopes making today another beautiful powder day with some great conditions to kick it off — blue skies with a cloud or two, and tops of -4C. The snow is set to return, it’s meant to be snowing now actually, so be prepared for a change somewhere in the day, possibly this morning, to light snow. Light winds should stay steady all day.

Sunday: possible snow, tops of -4C, light winds easing
Monday: possible snow, tops of 1C, winds increasing to moderate
Tuesday: fine and sunny, tops of -2C, winds easing to light


Zones open include Summit, Rabbit, Beech & Stream. At this stage Shooter will remain closed until the main gondola is open.

News on Main Gondola:

At this time unfortunately the Main Gondola (Gondola 1) is closed for repair. The resort is working on the repairs, but it will require the next few weeks until it is back in operation. They estimate late January, early February for it to be back in action.


Official snow depths:

Top: 325cm
Base: 245cm

Nighta skiing operations are planned at Geto Kogen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 25th February 2018.
   Read more ...

Grandeco Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 8:41am
Weather conditions: Fair blue skies
New snowfall: 23cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Grandeco.

There was 20+cm of fresh snowfall last night and it has turned into a sunny morning again. Surely close to the perfect weather pattern!

The temperature is keeping cold too. Perfect groomed slopes, blue skies - there is no reason to stay in your house today.

All courses has been covered with that fresh snow, and the upper courses should be powder snow paradise, without wanting to sound like a brochure! ;)

The only downer is that it will be crowded with many people wanting to enjoy the conditions.

Take your time and I hope some of you can be here to enjoy it.


Lifts operating:

- All lifts operating

Courses open:

- All courses open

Official snow depth:
- 290cm

- Grandeco snow and weather forecast   Read more ...

Appi Kogen Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 9:16am
Weather conditions: Cloudy skies
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Hello from Appi,

Another relatively calm day here with light winds, cloudy skies and no snowfall.

The rest of the weekend and into early next week look the same with perhaps a minor increase in the temperature starting on Monday. Unfortunately not much in the way of forecast snow either to help us out here.

Expect all runs to be open today and all lifts/gondolas working as Appi opens its vault and pays the workers to run the vista quad and yellow gondola. You’ve got 2 days to enjoy the whole mountain before they shut the vault and close down those main arteries again…

Enjoy the weekend out there.


Planned lift operations on Monday 8th January 2018 (subject to change):

- APPI Gondola
- Central quad
- Central number 2 lift
- Central number 3 lift A
- Central number 5 lift
- Central number 6 lift
- Sailer gondola
- Sailer quad
- Vista quad
- Nishimori lift

Note: The Sailer Gondola, Central Number 4 lift and Vista quad are usually rested on normal weekdays


Official snow depth:

190cm   Read more ...

Myoko Now!

Saturday 13th January 2018, 10:00am
Weather conditions: Cloudy over the mountain, clear to the south and east
New snowfall: 14cm
Snow depth: --
Another day of a lot of places around us getting crazy heavy snow, and us getting not all that much.

We got 14cm up to this morning, after a really cold night that if nothing else probably kept the snow up high on the mountain in good condition. It's snowing now high up on Mt. Myoko, sunny to the south and east, and dark again out towards the ocean. Could use some more snow before we get another warm wave around Wednesday; the one good news was that the predicted freezing line (the line of 0°C) has come down from 2500 meters to 2050. Still strange for January, but hopefully it will come down even more (don’t need rain!).

A lot of the temperatures below are from early in the day; it did go down to about -10°C at base level last night.


Akakura Kanko:
240 cm, -7°

Akakura Onsen:
275cm, -10°

Ikenotaira Onsen:
215cm, -9°

Myoko Suginohara:
185cm, -11°

Seki Onsen:
290 cm, -5°

Myoko Ski Park:
200 cm, -5°

Kyukamura RunRun:
250 cm, -3°

Tangram Ski Circus:
200 cm, -3°

Madarao Kogen:
180 cm, -8°

Read more ...

SnowJapan Daily 'Now' reports

Yuzawa Now
10th Sep, 17:36am
Niseko Now
27th Aug, 14:26am
Grandeco Now
24th Aug, 11:16am
Madarao Now
12th Aug, 0:17pm
Furano Now
06th May, 9:04am
Hakuba Now
06th May, 9:02
Nozawa Onsen Now
06th May, 8:41
Shiga Kogen Now
06th May, 8:35
Myoko Now
06th May, 8:35am
Zao Now
06th May, 8:30am
Naeba Now
06th May, 8:28am
Minakami Now
06th May, 8:27am
Appi Kogen Now
06th May, 8:04
Geto Kogen Now
06th May, 8:01