Anyone harbouring dreams of a ski season in Japan this winter needn’t worry; you haven’t missed the boat just yet. Thanks to Japan’s slow reopening to visa-free travel, some businesses have delayed the recruitment process, leaving many fantastic opportunities still on the table.
As usual, your chances are much better if you’re eligible for a working holiday visa or, better yet, if you’ve applied already (see our guide to applying for a Working Holiday Visa).
While working a ski season in Japan can be the experience of a lifetime, we strongly advise jobseekers to do their research and find positions with trusted, reputable employers. Many will offer staff accommodation, lift passes and general help with the relocation process, which means less time and paperwork for you, and more hours spent on the mountain.
The three companies below are a great place to begin your search.
Location: Niseko, Rusutsu, Furano
Past visitors to Niseko will likely be familiar with NISADE – it was one of the early foreign pioneers at the resort, founded in 2005, as well as the team behind the multi award-winning property, The Vale Niseko. The company describes itself as a fully integrated development management business, specializing in residential developments (concept to completion) and hotel management.
NISADE has grown significantly over the last decade, and now manages hotels in three of Hokkaido’s best ski resorts: Niseko, Rusutsu and Furano. This side of the business is where most of the seasonal employment opportunities are found, most of which fall under the Guest Services umbrella.
Each destination has its own selling points, although if skiing powder is your drawcard then you’ll be very satisfied in either of the three resorts. In NISADE’s own words: “Niseko (Grand Hirafu) for the great powder and entertainment, Rusutsu for close-knit team, limitless power and outstanding side-country and Furano for a true Japanese experience and proximity to excellent Daisetsuzan backcountry riding”.
NISADE also prides itself on the support it gives to employees through the entire process, including great staff accommodation, events and admin support.
- Great pay
- Recreational Allowance of 30,000yen and Travel rebate up to 50,000yen/ OR Free Ski Pass
- Staff accommodation in the heart of resort
- Staff parties, social events, activities, adventure trips, cultural experiences
- Inclusive team culture
- Full support with Japanese documents, paperwork, translations and medical
Jobs currently listed
Location: Nozawa Onsen
Nozawa Hospitality is a property management company based in the stunning beautiful Nozawa Onsen, one of Japan’s top ski resorts. It manages various types of accommodation, from luxury hotels to guest houses and lodges.
Nozawa Hospitality was founded in 2010 and now employs up to 50 staff per season, with a mission to provide “the best service in Nozawa Onsen”. Naturally, this means a focus on its staff, who benefit from a generous compensation package, free staff accommodation, laundry, meals, and a season-end bonus.
Undoubtedly the best part of a job with the company is the chance to be based in Nozawa for an entire season. The resort is a favourite amongst our readers, not just because of the superb powder skiing, but also the gorgeous town that is dotted with picturesque onsen, cafes, shops and bars.
- Generous compensation
- Free staff accommodation
- Shared ski pass for use on days off
- Free Wifi, laundry and meals
- Training and career development opportunities
- Season-end bonus
Jobs currently listed
Active Life Japan
Active Life Japan owns and operates and operates three hotels in Madarao, all within walking distance to the ski slopes. The company also runs an international ski school, a retail and rental business, as well a several bar and dining venues, making it one of the resort’s largest employers.
If you’re not yet familiar with Madarao, then all you need to know is that a season at the resort will have you riding more powder than you can imagine; it was considered a “hidden gem” not long ago, but is rapidly developing an international reputation thanks to its powder-friendly approach to grooming (60% of the resort is ungroomed) and great tree skiing.
In our minds, that’s reason enough to spend a season there, however a seasonal job with Active Life comes with many other benefits – not least staff accommodation that is just a short walk to the slopes.
“We offer an immersion into the Japanese winter resort lifestyle and a working-holiday unlike anywhere else. Many seasons of employing staff have helped us learn and improve in every aspect as an international employer.”
- Staff accommodation near the slopes
- Competitive wages