We get this question quite a bit as people are planning their winter snow trips to Japan – which is the best ski resort in Yuzawa, or which is the best resort for snowboarding in Yuzawa?
Unfortunately this is not such an easy question to answer! One of the reasons we like the Yuzawa/Minami Uonuma area is because there is something for all levels. If you are coming for a day trip to the snow you will be able to find some great terrain, whether it is your first time, or you have spent years playing on the slopes. If you are in Yuzawa for an extended stay you can spend days trying the different ski areas before deciding which one you liked best.
For easy access GALA Yuzawa is hard to beat with its bullet train station in the base building. Their current advert points out that they are the only ski resort in the world with a shinkansen station! Other resorts are very close to Echigo-Yuzawa Station too, especially if you are using one of the rental shops that offer a free pick-up/drop-off service. Naeba and Hakkai-san are probably the furthest resorts where we offer ski and snowboard lessons regularly and both are around 30-40 minutes driving (depending on road conditions.) Both are a bit further than the resorts around the station but worth exploring.
For first timers Yuzawa has some great slopes. First time skiers and first time snowboarders have slightly different requirements but there are lots of great resorts to get you up and running. Iwappara, Yuzawa Nakazato, Maiko, and Yuzawa Park all have great slopes to learn on. They also have great runs as you build the skills and confidence to explore more of the resort.
For intermediates slightly bigger resorts give them the chance to ski and board for longer on a variety of slopes. Tashiro is a good choice as it is part of the area that includes Kagura and Naeba, but it has the most cruisy slopes. If you get confident and adventurous you can test yourself in the other two area. Ishiuchi is also a great resort to explore and links to GALA and Yuzawa Kogen as part of the 3 Mountain Area.
For the experts Kagura, Naeba and Hakkai-san have some great steep runs, side country areas, and bumps – a bit of everything to keep you on your toes.
If you are looking for ski-in, ski-out accommodation Iwappara, Maiko, Naeba, and Naspa all have you covered. The Angel Grandia in Nakazato has Nakazato Snow Wood outside its doors though many guests choose to use Yuzawa Nakazato which is just down the road – you can reach it by walking across the snow.
If you are looking to play in the terrain park and work on your freestyle skills Maiko, Ishiuchi, Nakazato, Naeba, and Kandatsu all have parks and features that the locals love. Ishiuchi also has a couple of half pipes.
We really don’t think there is a single best resort in Yuzawa, but depending on your needs and requirements, we are sure there is somewhere that you will enjoy! If you need recommendations, please let us know.
Some of our best days have been spent skiing or snowboarding the same slope in the company of great friends all enjoying the amazing snow that falls in Japan.