To better understand the spatio-temporal variability of the glaciological environment in Dronning Maud Land (DML), East Antarctica, a 2800-km-long Japanese-Swedish traverse was carried out. The route includes ice divides between two ice-coring sites at Dome Fuji and EPICA DML. We determined the surface mass balance (SMB) averaged over various time scales in the late Holocene based on studies of snow pits and firn cores, in addition to radar data. We find that the large-scale distribution of the SMB depends on the surface elevation and continentality, and that the SMB differs between the windward and leeward sides of ice divides for strong-wind events. We suggest that the SMB is highly influenced by interactions between the large-scale surface topography of ice divides and the wind field of strong-wind events that are often associated with high-precipitation events. Local variations in the SMB are governed by the local surface topography, which is influenced by the bedrock topography. In the eastern part of DML, the accumulation rate in the second half of the 20th century is found to be higher by ca.15% than averages over longer periods of 722 a or 7.9 ka before AD 2008. A similar increasing trend has been reported for many inland plateau sites in Antarctica with the exception of several sites on the leeward side of the ice divides.