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Detailed Forecast

Weekly Japan Forecast – Quieter after a Massive week, but 15-40cm for Honshu this Weekend

Written Thursday morning 7th of March (Japan Standard Time)

It’s been a massive week in Japan, one of the deepest of the season for many resorts on Honshu, after a couple of storm systems rolled through, bringing consistent and deep refills of powder.

Things will be a little slower over the coming 7-day period, especially on Hokkaido where sunshine will be plentiful and winds mostly light. The main event will take place this weekend, and should result in 15-40cm+ of fresh powder for Honshu, thanks to a low out east dragging in some cold air. Another low from the west will bring snow + rain during Tuesday, before another shot of powder on Wednesday.

This is my last forecast of the 2023-2024 Japanese snow season. It’s been a blast and a real pleasure to have been a part of it all. Hopefully I’ve helped you in some way or another to score the goods while also staying safe. Although I’m heading into hibernation until the southern hemisphere winter arrives, there’s still plenty more skiing to be done here in Japan. With more sunshine and warmer temps, as well as the occasional fresh shot of Japow, spring is still a great time to hit the Japanese slopes.

Snowfall accumulations (cm) over the next 7-days. Note, snow depths are calculated using the Kuchera Ratio, which uses is a linear function of the warmest temperature in the lower half of the atmosphere. Compared to the traditional 10:1 ratio, the Kuchera is generally more accurate. Source: ECMWF, WeatherBELL 

Thursday 7th & Friday 8th of March

Today, Thursday, an icy cold N-NW flow over Japan will ease as a high drifts over the north. Resorts will primarily see a mix of sun and cloud. However, light snowfalls tucked in close to the Sea of Japan coastline are making contact with some exposed resorts. These will gradually clear Honshu this morning, but will penetrate further inland over Hokkaido for a time this afternoon.

The first half of Friday will bring a period of snowfall to Honshu as a low develops off the Pacific coast. It’ll be just a light dusting for most resorts, although some resorts exposed to the east will see a little more accumulate, and milder temps may have snow levels slightly elevated.

Some blue sky should pop out Friday afternoon, although there’ll still be a light scattering of snow showers, especially over Central Honshu where they’ll become more frequent late in the day as colder westerlies start to arrive there.

Friday on Hokkaido will be mint, as any morning cloud will clear for a sunny and calm afternoon.


Snowfall accumulation (cm) for Thursday through Saturday. Note: the Kuchera ratio is used here too. Source: ECMWF, WeatherBELL

Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th of March

Central Honshu will cop a decent load of powder of about 15-40cm+ this weekend, thanks to the low out east dragging in colder air as it pulls further away. Winds will initially be coming from the west, then gradually turn northwest. Thus, snowfall rates will peak at different times at different resorts during Saturday into early Sunday, before clearing or easing through the second half of Sunday as pressures start to rise.

Northern Honshu will also see light-moderate snowfall during Saturday and some further light falls Sunday afternoon.

Hokkaido, meanwhile, will remain mostly sunny and calm during Saturday. W-NW winds show up on Sunday, bringing increased cloud cover and some light snow showers.

Snowfall accumulation (cm) for Sunday through Wednesday. Note: the old-school ratio of 10:1 is used here. Source: ECMWF, WeatherBELL

Monday 11th to Wednesday 13th of March

Monday will be mostly fine and calm for Central Honshu as a high drifts overhead. Mild W-SW winds further north will bring rain + snow to parts of Northern Honshu, which will also spread to Hokkaido during the second half of the day.

Tuesday will be an unpleasant one for Honshu, as a low from the west spreads rain + dense high-level snow and warm southerlies up the island. Colder N-NW winds arrive during Wednesday, with a period of moderate snowfall for Central Honshu and light snowfall for Northern Honshu. The bulk of it may fall before snow levels actually reach base levels, however, and once they do, snowfalls should quickly clear up.

Up on Hokkaido, skies will clear up Tuesday as a light, cold northerly flow cleans out any muck, and it’ll stay that way through Wednesday.


Snowfall accumulation (cm) for Sunday through Wednesday. Note: the old-school ratio of 10:1 is used here too. Source: ECMWF, WeatherBELL

Extended Outlook

Warm spring-like westerlies are likely to develop over Japan though the back half of next week, with a period of rain + snow likely during next Thursday, before skies clear next Friday.

Then from next Sunday (17th March) onwards, a low from the west is likely to pass over Japan. Ensemble models are picking it to be a strong one, so after the initial warm, wet spell, conditions are looking ripe for a decent snowfall event, especially for Central Honshu. Fingers crossed!

7-day pressure anomalies, starting Sunday 17th March (JST), showing this period will be dominated by low pressure, centered just east of northern Japan, which bodes particularly well for Central Honshu. Source: ECMWF ensemble mean, WeatherBell

That’s all from me today, and for the season. See you soon in Australia and New Zealand.



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