Sapporo Ski Resorts on a Budget for Beginners

If you are a beginner and on a budget, there are an astounding 8 ski mountains to choose from about 1 hour of downtown Sapporo. Staying off the ski mountain will certainly bring down your accomodation price. Also, in early February of each year, Sapporo has their famous snow festival. Ski during the day and drink, eat and be entertained at the Sapporo Snow Festival at night (btw, in 2024, the snow festival is planned for Feb 4 to Feb 11 and that is also a great time to ski in the middle of winter with excellent snow conditions). Some mountains are so close you can take a taxi, bus or train to help you save.

Below is a quick roundup of the eight closest mountains to Sapporo, including prices. Prices are for typical high season passes. There are discounts for early and spring season skiing at some mountains. Several mountains also offer slighly discounted tickets if purchased online. There are also bundles in which you get transportation to and from the ski resort and you hotel plus lift tickets. Yet further, some mountains also bundle meals. Be sure to shop around to find the deal for you!

# of Lifts & Km of Lifts# of Pistes / KM of PistesMax/Min Elevation & Vertical (m)Adult Full Day (Yen)Child Full Day (Yen)Distance from Sapporo by Car
Kiroro ResortYes10 / 11.5 km39 / 22.5 km1184m/ 563m/ 621mYen 7,400Yen 6,500
(13-18 yrs)

Yen 4,000
(6 – 12 yrs)
abt 1 hr 10 mins

Sapporo Kokusai Skiing ResortNo4 / 5.0 km7 / 11.6 km1097m/ 616m/ 481mYen 3,900Yen 2,500
(Jr and High School)

Yen 1,500 (elementary)

abt 1 hr

Sapporo TeineYes10 / 7.0 km20 / 13.5 km992m/ 340m/ 652mYen 5,700
/ Online Yen 5,500
Yen 4,700
/ Online Yen 4,500
(13 to 18 yrs)

Yen 3,200 / Online Yen 3,000
(4 to 12 yrs)

Yen 1,800 if just the snow escalator
abt 50 mins

Asarigawa Onsen Ski ResortNo4 / 2.5 km9 / 7.5 km631/ 147/ 484Yen 4,000Yen 3,000
(13 to 18 yrs)

Yen 2,500
(6 to 12 years)
abt 50 mins

Otaru Tenguyama Ski AreaNo3 / 2.1 km6 / 4.5 km535m/ 206m/ 329mYen 3,500Yen 3,300

Yen 2,900
abt 1 hour

(42.7 km)
Snow Cruise OnzeYes2 / 1.2 km10 / 2.6 km312m/ 103m/ 209mYen 4,400Yen 3,600

Yen 2,800
abt 40 mins

(25.1 km)
Sapporo MoiwayamaYes5 / 2.5 km 16 / 9.5 km440m/ 161m/ 279mYen 4,100Yen 2,900
(elementary school and younger)
abt 29 mins

(10 km)
Sapporo Bankei Ski AreaYes6 / 3.0 km19 / 9.5 km480m/ 289m/ 191mYen 4,700Yen 3,200 (abt 15 years and younger)abt 27 mins

(8.3 km)
Figures concerning number of lifts/pistes, lenght of lifts/pistes estimated and drawn from

Kiroro Ski Resort / キロロリゾート


This is probably the largest resort which is closest to Sapporo. It has 10 lifts with over 22 km of pistes. The resort is also the highest among the 8 resorts reviewed at 1184m high and a total vertical of 621m. This gives the resort longer pistes than most. There are 8 beginner runs, too, which is about 1/4 of the resort. All beginner runs are groomed, as expected. The mountain has one well defined base. From the base, the mountain is shaped like a “V” with runs to the right and left. Kiroro is actually two mountains, Mt. Asari and Mt. Nagamine.

Don’t worry if you cannot master the slopes. Why not try “snow driving”? These are small little carts that you sit upright on and wiz down the hill. Their website says you can learn it in about 10 mins here.

Access: There are buses calling Kiroro directly from Sapporo. If you want to really save, you can take a local train and transfer to a local bus. The easiest way and fastest way is probably by rent-a-car. Here’s a sample;

Bus Departs for Kiroro as Follows:

Incidentally, the Tokyu Hotels are well known for being very well priced for business travelers. The rooms are smaller than western hotels but normally very well maintained.

Bus Arrives at Kiroro as Follows:

  • Kiroro Mountain Center @ 0945hrs
  • Yu Kiroro Hotel @ 0955 hrs

You can buy a bus ticket & a lift pass as a package for Yen 6,800 / Adult and Yen 3,700 / Child (6 – 12 yrs). Infants and under 3 yrs are free of charge, however, the child must sit on your lap. There is no mention about 3 yr to 6 yr old kids though 🙁 Note that the lift ticket is only for 6 hours. It is still good value as the regular price of a 6 hour lift ticket is Yen 6,600 and the bus only arrives at 0945hrs.

Bus and Train to Kiroro:

There is an even cheaper route! Board the Hakodate Train and then transfer to the Mura Bus. Total travelling time from boarding the train to Kiroro is 2 hr 35 mins and the total cost is Yen 1,590. If you board at Sapporo station, that’s 17 stops to Ranshima Station where you will transfer to the Mura Bus (travel time abt 1 hr 20 mins). Once aboard the Mura Bus, it is another 16 stops or 58 mins to Kiroro. If you take the 6 a.m train, you can get to Kiroro by about 0845hrs. You’ll have time to learn a second language on route, too!

Rent a Car: If you have 2 or 3 people in your group, a rent-a-car is probably the cheapest, fastest and easiest way to get to your destination. A good rent-a-car place in Sapporo that offers service in English, Chinese and Korean is Toyota Rent a Car. They have 4WD, snow tires and equipped with a navigation system. Check them out here. You can get them as low as USD 60 or 70 per day. Make sure you have your International Driver’s license and reserve well in advance. Yes, the GPS can be set to English and other languages.

Sapporo Kokusai Skiing Resort / 札幌国際スキー場


As a real beginner, you may even like Sapporo Kokusai Skiing Resort. It only has a total of 7 courses of which only 2 are classified as beginner. The two tails are mentioned as having a max slope of 11 degree and an average slope of 8 degrees. If you advance to the rank of “confident beginner”, you could even try the Woody Course (ウッディコース). It is only slightly steeper with a max slope of 16 degrees and an average of 11 degrees. With lots of snow on the ground, it can mean courses get slower and easier. So, while there is not a lot to choose from as a beginner, they might be the right hill to learn on.

This mountain has invested into some very nice technology to save you time! You can do a lot online such as:

  • Purchase Lift Tickets – purchase you ticket online. You will be issued a QR code. When you visit the ski resort, visit the ticketing machine on the 1st floor and a IC ticket will be issued. No lining up at the ticket office!
  • Recharge Existing Tickets – top up your existing lift ticket from above online! After charging online, you can immediately board your lift with no line ups at the ticket counter.
  • Apply for Ski School!
  • Apply for Rentals (skis, snowboards, etc) – select the equipment you need and pay. When at the ski resort, simply scan you QR code at the rental shop. You will get save time waiting for sure!
  • Reserve Seats at a Restaurant – 4 seats for Yen 600 or 6 seats at Yen 800 (45 minutes).

Sapporo Teine / 札幌テイネ


In 1972, Sapporo Teine held the first Winter Olympics in Japan and also Asia! Specifically, this mountain held the slalom, giant slalom, bobsleigh and luge events (sorry, tracks have been dismantled). The mountain is divided into two zones, namely, the Highland Zone (uppor portion of the resort) and Olympia Zone (the lower portion of the resort). If you are taking the bus, I highly recommend you get off at the Olympia Bus Stop if you are a complete beginner or at the Highland Bus stop and you are a confident beginner. There are more of the beginner slopes in the Olympia Zone but their beginner slopes everywhere. The mountain, on a clear day, also comes with great views of the Japan Sea and Sapporo city. Don’t worry, the two zones each have their own rentals, restaurants, lockers, etc. You can also, of course, buy a lift ticket for the entire mountain at either zone.

There is a terrain park located near the base of the Highland Zone.

There is a Dinosaur Park for kids. It also has tubing, sledding and a small ski & snowboarding zone for complete beginners. There is a snow escalator to bring you to the top of the hill. It costs Yen 1,000 for entry.

You can save further by getting an 8 hour lift ticket and a round trip bus for Yen 7,500 / adult and Yen 5,000 / primary school student. Reservations are required!

Lessons are available!

Ski and snowboard rentals are available.

Access: From Sapporo Station you can take the JR Rapid or local train for about 10 to 15 mins @ Yen 340/ person to Teine Station. From Teine Station it is about 15 mins to Tenine Olympia Station @ Yen 380 /person. If you wish to extend to Teine Highland at another Yen 20/ person and add another 12 mins. Total time from Sapporo Station to Teine Olympia (where most beginners will go) is abt 30 mins and Yen 720 / person.

There is also a dedicated bus which is bundled together with lift passes from various hotels in Sapporo to directly to Tenie and back. Actually, there are 2 buses but they call different hotels. For an 8hrs lift ticket plus return bus fare, it costs Yen 7,500 / adult and Yen 5,000 for a primary school student or younger. Yes, you can buy one way. Total time is about 50 to 80 mins. Buses pickup and dropoff from following hotels:

Bus Number 4401

ANA Crowne Plaza @ 0755hrs

New Otani Inn @ 0800hrs

JR Tower Hotel Nikko @ 0815hrs

Hotel Mystays Sapporo Aspan @ 0825hrs

Kamori Bld 3 / Lawson’s @ 0825hrs

Keio Plaza Hotel @ 0835 hrs

Arrives @ Olympia Ski Center @ 0925 hrs and Highland Ski Center @ 0935 hrs

Departs from Highland Ski Center @ 1640 hrs and Olympia Ski Center @ 1650 hrs

Bus Number 4403

Sapporo Excel Hotel Tokyu @ 0755 hrs

Hotel Mystays Premier Sapporo Park @ 0800 hrs

Fairfield by Marriot @ 0810 hrs

Sapporo Tokyu REI Hotel @ 0820 hrs

Hotel Abest Sapporo @ 0825 hrs

Sapporo Prince Hotel @ 0835 hrs

Arrives @ Olympia Ski Center @ 0925 hrs and Highland Ski Center @ 0935 hrs

Departs from Highland Ski Center @ 1640 hrs and Olympia Ski Center @ 1650 hrs

Asarigawa Onsen / 朝里川温泉スキー場


This mountain advertises only 6 pistes and has only 4 chairlifts. The mountain states, “Enjoy 6 runs for all levels of skiers from beginner to advanced”, however, on the same page not a single piste is mentioned as beginner, albeit the slope of the intermediate runs do not seem that steep. There is a beginner are near the base of the mountain though.

There are rentals available and a pro shop to buy ski and snowboarding goods.

There are several restaurants with hundreds of seats.

You can acces this resort by car (about 50 mins) or a combination of train and bus. See access here but unfortunatley, no prices are mentioned. It is public transport so it is very cheap though.

Otarutenguyama Ski Area


This mountain is also quite small and one 1 or 2 pistes for beginners. Overall, there is a total of 3 lifts and 6 pistes. There is a very nice gondola with some spectacular views of Sapporo. There are rentals a ski school and a cafeteria.

Access: You can access by car, train or bus. By car, it is about a 1 hour drive from Sapporo. By train, it is about 40 mins from Sapporo Station to Otaru Station. From Otaru, you can either take a bus (abt 17 mins) or the Tengu Mtn Ropeway!

There is a snow park at the base of the ropeway which is Yen 500 to enter.

Snow Cruise Onze / スノークルーズオーンズ


Also, this is quite a small mountain with 2 lifts and about 10 pistes. About 1.7 km over 5 pistes are beginner runs. They have night skiing! They have a rental ship, school, cafeteria, etc. They also have snow shoes for rental, however, you are limited in the areas you can you them.

By car, it is about 45 mins by local road or 25 minutes by expressway. There is also a bus option.

Sapporo Moiwayama / 札幌藻岩山スキー場

Certainly, one of the closer mountains from Sapporo! This mountain is only about 20 mins from Sapporo by car.

Lift Tickets: To keep costs down, you can by lift tickets by the single ticket (Yen 400 / lift for adults or 12 tickets for Yen 4,000), by 5 hours, by 7 hours, by 3 hours, etc. Similar deals exist for night skiing.

Ski Schools: They advertise 9 ski schools ranging from absolute beginner and from just 4 years old to master skiers.

There is a pretty cool and long piste for beginner’s run called Kanko Douro Express. It is a toll road when there isn’t snow! Snow above cement makes it perfectly flat. Not much slope in places. Check it out here:

Sapporo Bankei Ski Area