Kurohime3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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Kurohime Kogen Snow Park
Kurohime Kogen Snow Park
Kurohime is near Madarao, Tangram and Lake Noriji
Kurohime is near Madarao, Tangram and Lake Noriji
Kurohime Ski Resort
Kurohime Ski Resort
A little fresh on-piste
A little fresh on-piste
Mid-mountain base area
Mid-mountain base area
Intermediate run Kurohime Ski Resort
Intermediate run Kurohime Ski Resort
Kurohime Kogen Ski Resort
Kurohime Kogen Ski Resort
Kurohime, the Black Princess
Kurohime, the Black Princess
The top lift is no longer operational
The top lift is no longer operational
Kurohime Kogen Nagano
Kurohime Kogen Nagano
Black run at Kurohime Kogen
Black run at Kurohime Kogen
"Fast food" outlet
Tree skiing at Kurohime
Tree skiing at Kurohime
Kurohime Kogen Snow Park
Kurohime Kogen Snow Park
Not difficult to find fresh powder
Not difficult to find fresh powder
Skinning to the top of the old lift
Skinning to the top of the old lift
Tree skiing Kurohime
Tree skiing Kurohime
Many of the trees don't run fall-line
Many of the trees don't run fall-line
Kurohime Ski Resort
Kurohime Ski Resort
Off-piste skiing Kurohime
Off-piste skiing Kurohime

Kurohime

Kurohime Kogen Ski Resort is a small ski area in the Nagano Prefecture, just near the border of Niigata. Kurohime Kogen (ie Kurohime Highlands) isn’t much of a destination resort and is probably more suited as a day trip from nearby Myoko Kogen or Madarao/Tangram. Kuro-hime (“black princess”) would have been a fun ski resort back in its heyday, but like too many other little Japanese ski areas, it’s shrunk in size due to financial considerations. Sadly the top lift that services the decent terrain is no longer operational.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Kurohime Kogen Snow Park

Pros
  • Kurohime Ski Resort is OK for a change of scenery for a day trip from Myoko or Madarao/Tangram or as part of a road trip of the Niigata and Nagano ski resorts.
  • Barely any gaijin visit Kurohime Kogen Snow Park and rivalry for fresh lines is minimal.
  • Kurohime Kogen offers lovely views across Lake Noriji.
Cons
  • The best off-piste terrain at the top is no longer lift serviced.
  • Common to a lot of Japanese ski resorts, the terrain size is rather small.
  • They should take “kogen” out of the name, because the top elevation of Kurohime isn’t very high anymore. Snow quality is often not as optimal as at other Nagano ski resorts, but it’s ideal for storm riding during big cold storms.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • There is some tree skiing within the resort boundaries, but it doesn’t offer fall line skiing.
  • Kurohime Ski Resort is very family friendly (for Japanese families).

Kurohime Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Kurohime Kogen Ski Resort is a small to medium sized ski area by Japanese standards, with 11 courses (runs), 6 lifts (1 quad, 5 doubles) and 430 metres of vertical (770 - 1,200m).

The ski resort has two distinct areas. The lower zone is a dedicated beginners’ area where falling leafers and snow-plowers can learn in peace without fast riders zooming past. The higher zone has a few intermediate runs and a handful of low-angle advanced runs which quickly turn into a mess of moguls. Kurohime Kogen also puts a lot of work into the terrain parks. There is nothing that pros would want to ride, but there are fun little hits for introductory park junkies.

In-bounds are a handful of tree zones and nothing is roped off except under the lifts (which is taboo at most Japanese ski resorts), but much of the tree skiing is on camber before gullying out. There is a little sidecountry or if you have skins there is some fun backcountry.

Kurohime Snow

The black princess is not aptly named “kogen” anymore because the top elevation isn’t very high relative to the main Nagano ski resorts, and with 6.4 metres of snow per season on average, it doesn’t compete too well in the Japan snow volume stakes either. The aspect is mostly east facing, which combined with low altitude leads to a reasonably short season.

Where is Kurohime Kogen?

The Kurohime Kogen Snow Park is located on the eastern flank of Mt Kurohime near Lake Nojiri in Shinano town, 27km north of Nagano City in the Nagano Prefecture. It’s very close to Myoko Kogen in the Niigata Prefecture.

Nearby ski areas: It’s possible to get there via bullet train from Tokyo to Iiyama and then a 25 minute bus ride. There is also the Kurohime train station, 6km from the Kurohime Ski Resort. However it’s more likely that you’ll visit Kurohime for a day trip from a nearby destination resort, and you’ll want to have a car. The telephone number of Kurohime Kogen for GPS navigation is 026-255-3171.

Accommodation

There is a small village at the base of the ski area that has various pensions and a large hotel. The Kurohime Rising Sun Hotel is ski-in ski-out to the beginners’ slopes, and has Japanese tatami rooms as well as Japanese/western combo rooms.

Nojiri Lake Resort is situated on the shores of Nojiri Lake and only 7.5km from Kurohime Kogen. The hotel provides inexpensive shuttles to Kurohime as well as the Myoko ski resorts and Madarao/Tangram.

Otherwise you can stay in Myoko Kogen or Madarao/Tangram and commute for the day.

Myoko Kogen Accommodation
Madarao Accommodation

Facilities

The beginners’ base area has Smile House (such a Japanese name!) which has a nursery (reservations required), kids ski school (in Japanese), and a restaurant with buffet lunch (yikes, like a buffet breakfast and dinner aren’t enough!). For the kids there is a lift accessed snow play park.

The mid-mountain base has Cosmo Plaza which isn’t very cosmopolitan. It has a cafeteria, rental shop, and a little retail shop. There is also a burger and pizza café where we had to wait an hour to get our meal - definitely not “fast food”.