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The Otaru ski resort overlooks the bay
The Otaru ski resort overlooks the bay
Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway
Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway
The evening views are particularly special
The evening views are particularly special
One of a handful of piste
One of a handful of piste
Gorgeous views on fine days
Gorgeous views on fine days
Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway
Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway
Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort
Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort
Otaru Ski Resort Hokkaido
Otaru Ski Resort Hokkaido
Piste trail at Otaru Tenguyama
Piste trail at Otaru Tenguyama

Otaru Tenguyama

Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort is unlikely to blow your mind and become the new “it” powder skiing spot in Hokkaido. The Otaru ski resort definitely isn’t a destination resort where you could park yourself for a week, considering that you can almost count the number of trails on one hand (well you could if you had hexadactyly). Don’t completely dismiss this little ski area though, because it can be a lot of fun for a day, and on weekdays it feels like your own private ski resort.

Located on the outskirts of the seaside town of Otaru, the Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort can be a good pick when the storms are blowing (but not straight off the ocean) and nearby ski areas such as Kiroro have the main lifts closed.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Otaru Tenguyama

Pros
  • The Tenguyama ski area and the restaurant offer amazing views on fine days across Otaru and the bay, and in the evenings the views are particularly impressive.
  • It has some decent gradient for a Japanese ski resort, although the steeps are short and sweet.
  • Competition for fresh tracks is insignificant and crowds are non-existent (especially on weekdays).
  • Lift tickets are pretty inexpensive.
  • Otaru lodging provides very good value for money.
Cons
  • The terrain is mini sized and with only 6 courses (ie piste), it’s only good for a half day, or if there’s fresh powder, a day or two.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The Otaru Ski Resort has a relatively low elevation, so snow quality is generally not as optimal as neighbouring ski resorts with higher elevation (e.g. Kiroro). Sometimes the low altitude can be advantageous during windy conditions when the Kiroro gondola is closed.

Otaru Tenguyama Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Otaru Ski Resort is rather petite with 6 runs across a vertical of 410 metres (122–532m). The ski area is serviced by the Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway (which is used by tourists gawking at the views) as well as a pair lift that runs the vertical of the ski area, and an ancient single “pizza box” chair at the base for beginners.

The official trail statistics are 50% beginner, 20% intermediates & 30% advanced. Beginners have a very mellow area above the Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway where they can appreciate the vistas. There is also a green course that runs the full vertical, but it’s a little pitchy for novices. Intermediates only have a couple of trails and one of them has a steep moment, whilst the other is appropriately rated but déjà vu will set in.

The black rated courses either side of the ropeway (cable car) are delightfully steep and hit 40 degrees plus before mellowing out. As to be expected, the off-piste skiing in this zone is also steep, and it can be a little avalanche prone (particularly to the skiers’ right) and develop glide cracks. The ski patrollers don’t see too many powder hounds foraging for powder, so play it discretely and try to stay away from the lines under the lifts.

Otaru Tenguyama Snow

Like other ski resorts in southwest Hokkaido, the Otaru Ski Resort gets plenty of snowfall. The slopes are mostly northeast facing, but the elevation is rather low and the snow doesn’t get any more “coastal”, so the snow quality isn’t as good as at nearby Kiroro. The snow is usually OK in the height of winter, but if the temps rise a little, you may need a rain coat in the lower sections. With onshore winds, the Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort can get rather blustery.

Where is Otaru Tenguyama?

The Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort sits on the flank of Tengu-yama and is located 3.3km southwest of Otaru train station. The town of Otaru is located 36km northwest of Sapporo, and can be used as a base to visit other nearby ski areas such as Kiroro, Asarigawa, Sapporo Kokusai and Sapporo Teine.

Having a car provides the most flexibility to get around the area. Otherwise to travel to Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway you can get a cheap bus from the Otaru train station, which takes about 15 minutes.

Otaru Accommodation

There are a few lodging options within walking distance of Otaru Tenguyama. Sanroku Kan is a simple hotel with Japanese rooms that is just a 2 minute walk from the ski area. Two other basic inns are near the ski area: Green House in Mogami; and Otaru Villa Moun Teng.

Otherwise there are plenty of centrally located Otaru hotels. The Dormy Inn Premium is an Otaru hotel that is very nice, yet inexpensive, and it's located only one minute walk from the Otaru train station. The Grand Park Otaru is a beautiful 4-star hotel which is located right on the water. Below the hotel is a shopping centre, bars and restaurants. The hotel offers free shuttles to Kiroro. This Otaru hotel is surprisingly inexpensive considering the quality on offer.

Otaru Hotel Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

The facilities are reasonably simple but more than adequate for a ski area for day trippers. Ski and snowboard lessons are available with Japanese speaking instructors, and there are basic equipment rentals. There’s the obligatory retail shop selling cheesy souvenirs and gift boxed food, and there is a cafeteria offering standard fare.

Tours That May Include Tengu

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Hokkaido Storm Chaser DETAILS
GUIDED STORM CHASING SAFARI
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Ski Areas

Base/invoice currency is in yen not including 8% consumption tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,726 USD 2,726
Book before Aug 31st to receive 40,000 yen discount off the advertised price
Book before Aug 31st to get a 13.8% discount
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Chase the storms and access the deepest and best quality snow conditions on the day in the Otaru area and Central Hokkaido's world famous deep dry powder.
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Southern Hokkaido Powder Tour DETAILS
HOSTED & GUIDED ADVENTURE
10 Nights - Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option for group tour for 2018-19 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,303 USD 3,303
Super early bird special if full payment made by June 30th 2018
Pay before June 30 to get 4.7 to 6.7% discount off advertised price
Ability: Advanced to Expert
The Southern Hokkaido region scores the most snow and with this lift accessed sidecountry tour you'll get to explore the best ski areas. 7 nights in Niseko, 3 nights in Otaru, multiple resorts, complete flexibility & as much POW as you can handle!
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Hokkaido Safari DETAILS
GUIDED POWDER PROGRESSION ROAD TRIP
12 Days | 8 Days Guided Skiing/Riding
From price based on twin/double-share room; 6 on tour.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,785
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Explore up to 7 Hokkaido ski areas on this amazing powder progression adventure for advanced to expert skiers & boarders. Locations include the Otaru/Sapporo & Furano ski areas. Groups of up to 6 guests are guided by 1 guide. Accommodation is twin share in deluxe western-style room.
More
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Otaru Tenguyama here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Niseko Freeride Tour DETAILS
POWDER ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Riding
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,656
To be eligible for this special price you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
This snowboarding tour takes in what many would argue are the best ski areas in Japan with a choice of up to 11 ski areas in the Niseko region. Home base is a nice hotel in Niseko so you have access to Niseko's vibrant nightlife. Have a guide to take you to the best powder stashes at each location.
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Chicks Japan Freeride Tour DETAILS
Chick's Snowboarding Freeride Progression Tour
7 Nights - 6 Days Coaching/Riding
From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,148
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Take your snowboarding to the next level and learn to ride powder whilst meeting some great new female snowboarding buddies! Experience the deep dry powder of ski areas in SW Hokkaido.
More
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Otaru Tenguyama here

Ski lodging & accommodations
Hosted Ski Tours & Multi-Resort Safaris

Other Ski Resorts Near Otaru

Asari
Kiroro
Niseko
Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Teine