Japan Weather Agency issues "Heavy Snow" alert for the first time since 2014

“Japanuary” is living up to its name, with ski resorts around the country set to benefit from snowstorms that have closed two runways at Narita Airport and prompted Japan’s Meteorological Agency to issue a “Heavy Snow” warning to Tokyo’s 23 wards for the first time in four years.

23 cm of snow have fallen in Tokyo so far, causing headaches for transport operators and more than 59,000 household electricity blackouts around the city.

Rising temperatures are expected to bring a halt to snowfall in Tokyo early today, but the same cannot be said for many of the ski resorts in Honshu and Hokkaido, with another 9 days of snowfall in the forecast. Mountainwatch.com is reporting 111 cm and 89 cm over the next seven days for Hakuba and Niseko respectively, with temperatures in Niseko tipped to drop as low as -21°C at higher elevations.

Niseko forecast

A forecast for Niseko Hirafu shows heavy snowfall and cold temperatures from January 23–28.

The extreme conditions have made life difficult for Freeride World Tour organisers, who are preparing to get the event underway later today, when the weather allows. Deep snow and an all-star lineup have fans excited for what will be an historic event.