You've seen the cherry blossoms, you're all templed out, and you are craving an escape from the city. If you are looking for a fun day trip activity from Tokyo, a quick visit to the mountains to learn to ski or snowboard would be a fantastic adventure. Beats queuing at a crowded theme park!
Think fresh mountain air, exercise, laughs, stunning views and loads of fun.
If you already have a Japan Rail Pass or Tokyo Wide Pass the transport up here is covered. Jump on the Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo, Ueno or Omiya Stations and get up to Echigo-Yuzawa Station. [Sites like Hyperdia will work out the train times and prices for you if you enter your closest station and destination station.]
You can get right into GALA Yuzawa Station by bullet train, but we think coming to Echigo-Yuzawa Station is the better option. You can get picked up by a local rental shop. They will collect you from the station and take you back to their shop to get kitted up. It is a much cheaper option than renting at the resort and includes the free shuttle service to and from the resort, which makes getting around a breeze. Skis, boots & poles rental, or snowboard and boots rental is 2,500JPY per day. Adding the snow wear as well takes it up to 4,500JPY. Let us know what time you are arriving and we will have them at the station waiting for you.
The snow has been less than average this year but the higher resorts are still planning to be open into May and conditions are good. Spring snow is soft and forgiving. We are happy to recommend a good choice of resort, or let you know how the snow conditions are. Lift tickets are around 4,000-5,000JPY per adult per day, though there may be discounts available depending on when and where you go.
Even if you don't fancy trying skiing or snowboarding, playing in the snow is fun for the whole family, and there is an abundance of great food and soothing onsen to enjoy.
Hopefully see you up here soon. Drop us a line from our Contact page with any questions.