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Unlike anywhere else in the world of skiing or snowboarding, and according to, Japan has a very simple ski piste difficulty rating system. In general, slopes are grouped into the following categories to the right, namely, beginner, intermediate an expert.  Furthermore, there is no agreed definition of each difficulty.  In other words, the three difficulties are relative to one another at each resort.  By and large, you should expect them to be similar but there is no guarantee that they will be – caution is needed.

Japan Piste Difficult Ratings

In (OSM), it seems the convention is slightly different for Japan data though. In OSM, it seems there are 6 categories used in Japan, namely, novice, easy, intermediate, advanced, expert and freeride plus many unrarted pistes (eg. no data provided) which is very similar the Europe. In fact, here is the difficulty matrix used in Europe:

Certainly, not all resorts in Japan use all all categories and while some mountains follow the Japan standard, other mountains do not.  Th pie chart shows is an example of the piste ratings for Zao Onsen ski mountain, one of Japan’s largest ski resorts.  Most of the data at is displayed in its raw format, meaning the ratings are the same as OSM data, however, because so many mountains also appear to you a European stand in some pla

Japan SKi and Snowboard Course Difficulty

While Japan has three difficulty categories, often the data in OSM is divided into 6 categories (7 if you count “not rated” as a category).  

On the main index screen, located here, reduces the 6 category to just three although the map continues to display as 6 categories where they do exist.  This is mainly done to help you search for the type of mountain you desire by 3 categories.  On the individual mountain pages, for example Niseko, they are broken down into 6 categories.