Yuzawa4 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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Wagner Custome Skis

Yuzawa Niigata Japan
Yuzawa Niigata Japan
Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort
Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort
The views to the surrounding mountains are rather spectacular
The views to the surrounding mountains are rather spectacular
Yuzawa is very accessible via train
Yuzawa is very accessible via train
Naeba Ski Resort Yuzawa
Naeba Ski Resort Yuzawa
A valley with Yuzawa ski resorts on either side
A valley with Yuzawa ski resorts on either side
Yuzawa Niigata
Yuzawa Niigata
Yuzawa is renowned for its hot springs
Yuzawa is renowned for its hot springs
Yuzawa Japan
Yuzawa Japan
Sake tasting at Echigo Yuzawa train station
Sake tasting at Echigo Yuzawa train station
Sake museum at Echigo Yuzawa train station
Sake museum at Echigo Yuzawa train station
Night skiing Yuzawa
Night skiing Yuzawa
Foot Onsen Yuzawa
Foot Onsen Yuzawa
Yuzawa Japan
Yuzawa Japan
Yuzawa Japan
Yuzawa Japan
One of the many stalls at the Echigo Yuzawa train station
One of the many stalls at the Echigo Yuzawa train station
Joetsu Kogen is officially located in Minamiuonuma
Joetsu Kogen is officially located in Minamiuonuma
It's very quick to get to Yuzawa from Tokyo
It's very quick to get to Yuzawa from Tokyo
View from Yuzawa
View from Yuzawa
Near Mt Granview Ski Resort Yuzawa
Near Mt Granview Ski Resort Yuzawa

Yuzawa

Yuzawa in Niigata Prefecture is known as “yukiguni” which translates to “snow country”. This is very apt considering the many Yuzawa ski resorts get dumped on with snow each winter. The Yuzawa skiing and snowboarding is well renowned and popular because it’s the most convenient ski region to get to from Tokyo (only 75 to 80 minutes on the bullet train to Echigo Yuzawa).

Yuzawa skiing also has a distinct advantage because lots of the Yuzawa ski resorts are within very close proximity of each other, so it’s very easy to sample multiple ski resorts on the one trip. And with the Yuzawa ski resorts, it doesn’t just need to be all about the skiing and snowboarding.

Yuzawa Ski Resorts

There are about a dozen ski resorts within the Yuzawa town area. The Yuzawa ski resort line-up ranges from little ski areas with less than a handful of lifts to interconnected mega resorts such as Naeba and Kagura. Another example of a large interconnected Yuzawa ski area is the Gala Yuzawa, Yuzawa Kogen and Ishiuchi Maruyama trio. 

There are also 11 resorts that are very close by in the neighbouring Minamiuonuma city, including Ishiuchi Maruyama, Joetsu Kokusai, Maiko, and Muikamachi Hakkaisan.

South Yuzawa Ski Resorts
From central Yuzawa:
  • Naspa is 1.5km to the south (skiing only)
  • Kandatsu Kogen is 4.3km to the south
  • Iwappara is 3.5km to the east
  • Yuzawa Park ski area is 5.5km to the east
  • Nakazato is 6km to the southeast
  • Ludens Yuzawa ski area is 6.5km southeast
  • Naeba is 21km to the south
  • Mitsumata of Kagura is 7.5km to the southwest

North Yuzawa Ski Resorts
From central Yuzawa:

  • Yuzawa Kogen is 0.5km northwest of the station
  • The base of Gala Yuzawa is 3km northwest of the town
  • The Hatsuka Ishi base of Ishiuchi Maruyama is 5km north (officially in Minamiuonuma)
  • Maiko is 9km north of Yuzawa (in Minamiuonuma)
  • Mt Granview is 9km north (a little west of Maiko) in Minamiuonuma
  • Joetsu Kokusai is 14km north in Minamiuonuma
  • Chateau Shiozawa is 16km north in Minamiuonuma
  • Muikamachi Hakkaisan is 30km northeast of Yuzawa in Minamiuonuma

Where is Yuzawa?

Yuzawa is located in the Niigata Prefecture, about 200km northwest of Tokyo. Getting from Tokyo to Yuzawa on the Joetsu Shinkansen (bullet train) is very fast, so even though it seems very close to Tokyo, Yuzawa feels worlds away from the buzz of the highly urbanised Tokyo.

Once in Yuzawa, it’s really easy to get to the many Yuzawa ski resorts via public transport.

Yuzawa Hotels

If you want to sample multiple ski resorts in Yuzawa, you can stay in Yuzawa and enjoy the non-resortified experience of a Japanese town. There are lots of options for Yuzawa hotels ranging from Japanese ryokans and family run inns to western style hotels, and various budgets are covered.

Yuzawa Hotel Listings

Or if you want to stay slopeside and enjoy the convenience of ski-in ski-out accommodation, some of the ski resorts have a range of lodging options:

Yuzawa Activities

The town and region is well known for its onsen (hot springs) so it seems only fitting to have a soak to sooth your weary muscles after skiing or snowboarding. There are onsen at some of the Yuzawa hotels, at public bath houses, at many of the ski resorts, or there’s the foot bath on the main street of Yuzawa.

The area also has a lot of fireworks displays and it seems that each Yuzawa ski resort has to take it in turns to host the display.

And if you’ve got a chance, check out the Echigo-Yuzawa train station. In addition to the many market stalls where you can sample your way around all the Japanese snacks, it’s nice to visit the sake museum and learn about the art of sake making the best way; by tasting it! You can even have a sake onsen.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Yuzawa Japan

Pros

  • Yuzawa is the most convenient ski region to get to from Tokyo (only 75 to 80 minutes on the bullet train to Echigo Yuzawa). The big Shinkansen running through the middle of town detracts from its attractiveness but it sure makes it mighty accessible.
  • Yuzawa has a high concentration of ski resorts, providing an abundant variety of slopes to choose from, and if you stay in town it’s easy to get to lots of the resorts via bus.
  • The views across the mountains are rather spectacular.
  • The town of Yuzawa is not overrun with gaijin, so a Yuzawa snowboarding or skiing trip can provide lovely cultural immersion.
  • Staying in the town of Yuzawa provides a nice “non-resortified” Japanese experience.
  • There are lots of Yuzawa restaurants and bars to choose from, including some where you can partake in karaoke, a quintessential Japanese activity!

Cons

  • Yuzawa is an onsen town, but if you have images of a pretty little traditional town with cobble stone pathways and folks wandering round in their yukatas on the way to the onsen (like Shibu Onsen or Yudanaka), you’re thinking of the wrong town.

Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective

  • Due to its accessibility, Yuzawa can get slammed with crowds on the weekends and many of the slopes become congested (particularly at the ski resorts that are the easiest to get to). Most Tokyo-ites only stay for Saturday night and accommodation availability can be scarce and hotels tariffs are hiked up. Conversely if you have the ability to travel mid-week, Yuzawa is a great value for money ski destination and crowds are at a minimum.
  • Most of the Yuzawa ski resorts are ideal for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders wanting to ride groomed runs. Only a few of the resorts are well suited to powder hounds wanting to ride off-piste.
Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Hokkaido - Honshu Expedition DETAILS
HOKKAIDO & HONSHU GUIDED BC TOUR
12 Nights | 11 Guided Ski Days
From price based on twin/triple-share.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 4,041
10% off advertised price. Must book via Powderhounds.com booking form by midnight Oct 11, 2016 to qualify. Payment of deposit required by Oct 20, 2016 to retain discounted rate.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This ADVANCED+ ski and snowboard tour starts with 4 days in the Southwest of Hokkaido and then heads south to Honshu where you will ski or ride some of Tohoku's epic hidden gems. The tour includes some ski touring / split boarding (or snow shoeing) but you don't necessarily need to have any experience in this area.
More
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Yuzawa here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Snowcountry Progression Packages DETAILS
GUIDED PROGRESSION PACKAGES
2 Nights | 2 Days Guided Instruction
From price based on twin/double-share room mid-week (Sunday night through to Thursday night) and is based on a 2-day/night package.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 486
Book by July 31, 2016 and lock in last years rates
Ability: Intermediate to Strong Intermediate
Improve your skiing & snowboarding skills with a qualified instructor whilst visiting some of Japan's fabulous ski areas (11 to choose from) in the Echigo-Yuzawa region. This package is ideally suited to low intermediate and above skiers and boarders who want to improve skills on the piste & in powder.
More
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Yuzawa here