Bookings and questions are already coming in for winter 2016/2017, and while we were on the subject, we thought we might highlight a few reasons why we think that Yuzawa can be a strong contender for you winter ski trip.
Easy Access - The bullet train is easiest with trains taking around 80 minutes from Tokyo Station. The Joetsu Shinkansen also departs from Ueno Station or Omiya Station. If you have the Tokyo Wide Pass both Echigo-Yuzawa Station and GALA Yuzawa Station are covered. Day trips from Tokyo are easily done, or if you are in the capital on business a few days on the slopes is an easy option. It is also possible to come by local train, airport taxi, or highway bus.
Lots of Resorts - There are about ten resorts in the area with a wide range of slopes that will have something to keep everyone happy, whether it is your first time ever seeing snow, or if you have skied around the world. If it is your first time trying skiing there are some great beginner slopes and it is a fantastic place for your initial ski or snowboard experience. Likewise, if you are looking for a family ski trip in Japan this area has some good choices, both for playing in the snow and for skiing and snowboarding for children of all ages. You can often find our instructors teaching ski and snowboard lessons at Ishiuchi Maruyama, Maiko, Gala Yuzawa, Naeba, Kagura, Tashiro, Naspa Ski Garden, Nakazato, Yuzawa Kogen, Joetsu Kokusai and Iwappara.
Lots of Accommodation - Yuzawa has a bit of everything: classic Japanese ryokans with years of history, modern takes on the ryokan concept, big Western style hotels, self-catering apartments, and small family-run lodges and inns. If you need a bit of help wading through all the options we are happy to tell you what we know.
Lots of Onsen - Onsen play an important part in the culture of Japan and they really come into their own after a long day on the slopes during a cold winter. How did we ever survive without them? If you are a real aficionado the onsen water at Takahan comes straight from the spring source and is very highly regarded.
Lots of Restaurants - The quality and variety of Japanese food seems to be a big draw for many visitors. Yuzawa is full of great restaurants with almost every style of cuisine represented. We often advise people to book breakfast at their accommodation and then eat out every night. Try all the options from fine dining, yakitori, yakiniku, ramen, soba, udon, traditional dishes, shabu shabu, izakayas, oden, sushi from the Sea of Japan, ..... the list goes on. A bad meal is a rarity in Japan. This area is famous for the Koshihikari rice and it is a source of pride for many restaurants.
Other Activities - If you are looking for a break from the slopes of Yuzawa there are plenty of other activities to keep you entertained. Snowshoe treks, snowmobiling, sake brewery tours, temple visits, art galleries, museums, local culture experiences, snow play, sledging, soba making, scenic views from the top of the mountains. Niigata City is just over an hour away by bullet train with its famous seafood and sake, and geisha district. Sado Island is just off the coast from Niigata City and is full of interesting history and culture.
International Instructors and Concierge Service - Snow Country Instructors have an international team of experienced instructors who are waiting to make sure you have the best time possible in the resorts of Yuzawa. The team come from all over the world so a whole variety of languages are spoken, with English ski and snowboard lessons being our most common. We are also keen for you to get the most out of your time here so are happy to answer any questions you may have, dig up key information that you might not be able to find, or recommend some local inside tips. We are based in Yuzawa year round, and are always ready to help.
Travelling further afield to the likes of Niseko, Rusutsu, Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen, Shiga Kogen or Myoko is always going to be a good winter vacation, but you might find that everything that you need is so much closer.