Piyashiri2.5 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
  • Recommend
    33%
  • Would Revisit
    33%
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Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Area
Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Area
Nayoro Piyashiri Hokkaido
Nayoro Piyashiri Hokkaido
Large snow base!
Large snow base!
3 consecutive pair lifts
3 consecutive pair lifts
Sun Pillar Hotel at the base
Sun Pillar Hotel at the base
No difficulty finding fresh powder
No difficulty finding fresh powder
Piyashiri claims to have the best snow in Hokkaido
Piyashiri claims to have the best snow in Hokkaido
Friendly locals
Friendly locals
Piyashiri Nayoro Ski Resort
Piyashiri Nayoro Ski Resort
Piyashiri sidecountry
Piyashiri sidecountry
Strange looking park features
Strange looking park features
Simple facilities at the base
Simple facilities at the base
Sidecountry Piyashiri
Sidecountry Piyashiri
Super cheap food
Super cheap food
Nice snow at Piyashiri
Nice snow at Piyashiri
The hotel has an onsen
The hotel has an onsen
Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort
Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort

Piyashiri

The Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort is located in Hokkaido Japan, a long way north of the high profile ski resorts where the Aussie hordes typically gather. Nayoro Piyashiri, or Piyashiri for short, couldn’t be more different to the likes of Niseko and Rusutsu. There is fresh powder galore, the ski resort is low key, the skiing and lodging is very affordable, barely any English is spoken, and if you want to eat western food, then you’ll need to go to Niseko!

The Nayoro Piyashiri Resort claims to have the best snow in Hokkaido (and we claim that Hokkaido has the best snow in the world!), in part due to the frigid temperatures in northern Hokkaido. The resort is probably right on both counts!

Nayoro Piyashiri can be a fun spot for powder hounds to hang out for a day or two as part of a road trip, but it’s definitely not a destination resort where you’d want to stay for a week.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Area

Pros
  • Lift tickets are super cheap and the Nayoro accommodation is very inexpensive.
  • Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort is so far off the ski tourism radar that you’re unlikely to see gaijin or others competing for the fresh powder.
  • The ski resort is uncrowded. To provide some perspective, the Sapporo ski resorts are not that crowded and Sapporo has a population of 1.9 million. The little city of Nayoro only has a population of 30,000 people and many of them can’t afford to ski.
Cons
  • Like most Japanese ski resorts, the terrain isn’t very large or very steep, so the terrain isn’t likely to hold the attention of advanced riders for too long.
  • The lifts are not modern or fast, which helps to keep the crowds away.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • It is mighty cold which keeps the snow pristine in the peak of winter, but the temps have the potential to freeze your bits and bobs off if you’re not properly equipped.
  • Nayoro Piyashiri is a bit hard to get to, with the upside being the lack of punters skiing the powder that belongs to only you!
  • If you’re looking for a family friendly destination resort with bells and whistles, then Piyashiri skiing isn’t for you.

Nayoro Piyashiri Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Along with hundreds of other Japanese ski resorts, Nayoro Piyashiri is modestly sized with only 4 double lifts and 9 courses (ie trails). The ski area has a reasonable vertical drop of 480 metres from 673 to 193 metres, so there’s definitely no fear of getting altitude sickness, possibly just white line fever!

And like most other ski resorts in Japan, the terrain is below the treeline and not particularly steep. The steepest on-piste slope is only 32 degrees and there are only 2 advanced marked trails. The rest of the courses are a spread of beginner and intermediate groomed slopes that run almost the full vertical of the ski area.

The real pleasure for advanced riders is the trees in the sidecountry areas, and the off-piste (inbounds) to a lesser degree. The ski patrollers have a reputation for being pretty hostile, so you’ll need to be sneaky and have your A-game on. 

Where is Nayoro Piyashiri?

The Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort is 89km north of Asahikawa in Hokkaido Japan, a drive that takes 1.5 to 2 hours depending on road conditions. It’s 8km northeast of the little town of Nayoro.

Nayoro Piyashiri ski area is located in far north Japan; 168km south of Wakkanai that is situated at the very top of the Hokkaido island where the ferries to Rishiri Island depart from.

The ski area sits on the southern flank of Kudoyama (Mt Kudo), not far from Mt Piyashiri.

The easiest way to get there is via car (telephone number for GPS navigation is 016 54-2-1180) and parking is free. The ski resort is only 4.7km from Nisshin train station on the Soya Honsen line, and there is some sort of bus service that goes from the station and nearby Nayoro, but good luck trying to figure it out!

Nayoro Accommodation

Sun Pillar Hotel is located at the base of the ski resort, with western and Japanese style rooms, and an onsen. “Sun Pillar” refers to the many sun pillars (ie sun dogs or diamond dust) seen at Piyashiri due to the cold temperatures.

The town of Nayoro (8km away) has a few accommodation options. It’s a cute little town and has several restaurants and bars where you’ll definitely know you’ve found the real Japan! Hotel Mystays Nayoro is a well priced hotel with mostly western style rooms with ensuite as well as Japanese tatami rooms.

Nayoro Accommodation Listings

The other option is to stay in an Asahikawa hotel and take a long commute for the day.

Ski Resort Facilities

An old-school cafeteria is located near the base, serving up typical cafeteria fare at dirt-cheap prices and free wifi. Further up the hill is the very cute Log Panorama restaurant that’s ideal for a coffee (if you’re game!) and to soak up the views.

The ski resort offers ski and snowboard lessons if you speak fluent Japanese, and ski and snowboard rentals are available if you want basic equipment. Surprisingly for a ski resort so far north, there is a bit of English signage, lunch menus and trail maps.

Activities

The activities at Nayoro Piyashiri are mostly centred around the skiing and snowboarding. For sightseers, there are snowmobile-towed sleds that head up to the top of the mountain to enjoy the scenery.

Otherwise there is sledding or banana boat riding, or you can have a soak in the Nayoro Onsen Sanpira (at the Sun Pillar Hotel). It only has an indoor onsen and the water is slightly chlorinated (which seems sacrilege) but it’s inexpensive and relaxing nonetheless.

Just down the road are a couple of ski jumps where you may get a chance to watch the crazies in action.

Ski Lodging & Accommodations