“When is the season?” is a common question from people coming to the area for the first time. It varies from resort to resort but in general there are places to ski from late November until May each season, with the main season being December until March.
The slopes leading down to Naeba Prince Hotel
Kagura Ski Resort, about 15 minutes drive from the center of Yuzawa, is the first to open each year and they tend to start the last weekend in November. They usually open up with one run close to the top of the mountain. It has snow making machines on it so if it has been milder than average they can cover it with man-made snow. If the snow has arrived early it can open with natural snow and they may even be able to open a couple of runs below that too. To get up to the snow you have to catch the Mitsumata Ropeway, then a bus, and then the Kagura Gondola.
Other resorts in the area tend to set an opening date for sometime in December, often towards the second half. If your holiday dates are early in December there will always be somewhere to find snow, but it is a good idea to get in contact with us first and we can update you with the conditions and options. You can also check daily snow reports from previous years on the Snow Japan Yuzawa Now page.
The snowiest times of the season are generally January and February.
Weekends, national holiday and the New Year holidays in Japan tend to be busier than other dates.
Lower resorts start closing in late March/early April. Higher resorts try to stay open for the Golden Week holidays at the end of April/beginning of May each year. GALA Yuzawa and Kagura are always open at this time. Kagura is the last resort to close, usually making it to late May, and even into June some years.
All in all that gives you a 6 month window to get out here and experience the snow!