Marc-Olivier Gariou-Pouillas, 49, was skiing off-piste on Mt Ogenashi in Myoko City, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of Tokyo on Friday afternoon when an avalanche occurred, according to police.
“His two friends saw him engulfed by the avalanche and called for help,” Myoko police spokesman Takahiro Chiba said.
“The ski resort patrol there and other skiers managed to dig him up… A police helicopter airlifted him to a hospital but he was pronounced dead,” he told AFP.
The avalanche was some 300 metres long and 30 metres wide, he added.
Gariou-Pouillas had been on a skiing trip in Japan since mid-January with two other Frenchmen, according to police.