HOME Tohoku Niigata Joetsu, Uonuma And Yuzawa GALA Yuzawa Ski Resort Guide: Winter Paradise Just Outside Tokyo! (2021 Season)
GALA Yuzawa Ski Resort Guide: Winter Paradise Just Outside Tokyo! (2021 Season)

GALA Yuzawa Ski Resort Guide: Winter Paradise Just Outside Tokyo! (2021 Season)

Date published: 30 January 2020
Last updated: 22 January 2021

GALA Yuzawa Ski Resort is one of the best options available when you're looking to hit the slopes around Tokyo! In fact, GALA Yuzawa is famous for being Japan's only ski and snowboard resort with its own Shinkansen bullet train station. GALA Yuzawa is convenient even for day trips and weekend getaways, when you want to enjoy the powder and snow scenery.

Here we will also provide you with information about the JR TOKYO Wide PASS, which can be used for GALA Yuzawa and provides for special Shinkansen fares, making it convenient for sightseeing around Tokyo!

* GALA Yuzawa is implementing measures against Covid-19.

Table of Contents
  1. About GALA Yuzawa's Location
  2. Getting to GALA Yuzawa From Tokyo
  3. Get to GALA Yuzawa Cheap & Fast! Use the JR TOKYO Wide PASS
  4. GALA Yuzawa Facilities
  5. GALA Yuzawa Lift Tickets
  6. GALA Yuzawa's Appealing Slopes
  7. Lessons in Foreign Languages Are Also Offered
  8. Enjoy well-equipped indoor facilities
  9. Enjoying the Snowy Scenery at GALA Yuzawa
  10. Measures against Covid-19
  11. Hotels Near GALA Yuzawa

About GALA Yuzawa's Location

Yuzawa-machi, Minami-Uonuma-gun, where GALA Yuzawa is located, is situated in a heavy snowfall area, allowing for a comparatively longer season.

This area, where the mountains are covered in deep snow, is also famous for being the setting in the novel Snow Country written by Yasunari Kawabata, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. It is also famous as one of the best snow resorts in Japan, attracting many winter sports enthusiasts due to its good snow quality and large amount of snow.

GALA Yuzawa has four main areas: Central Area, Southern Area, Northern Area and the downhill course. Much of the Southern Area is ungroomed. There is also an ungroomed course in the Northern Area.

A new IC card lift ticket system has been installed at GALA Yuzawa for the winter 2020-2021 season.

Getting to GALA Yuzawa From Tokyo

Getting to GALA Yuzawa From Tokyo

At Tokyo Station, follow the signage for the Joetsu Shinkansen (platforms 20-23) and hop aboard a train named Tanigawa or Max-Tanigawa. This will bring you either to Echigo-Yuzawa Station or directly to Gala, depending on the time and train. If your Shinkansen arrives at Echigo-Yuzawa Station, you can hop aboard one of GALA Yuzawa's free shuttle busses at the West Exit.

The journey only takes 75 minutes from JR Tokyo Station.

Get to GALA Yuzawa Cheap & Fast! Use the JR TOKYO Wide PASS

Get to GALA Yuzawa Cheap & Fast! Use the JR TOKYO Wide PASS
Nor Gal / Shutterstock.com

For visitors with a foreign passport, we recommend using the TOKYO Wide PASS (Wide PASS), a discount rail ticket.

JR TOKYO Wide PASS is mainly for the Kanto area covered by JR East, allowing for 3 consecutive days of unlimited train rides - even for reserved seats on Shinkansen and limited express trains.

At 10,180 yen for those above the age of 12 and 5,090 yen for those between the ages of 6 and 11 (if reservations are not made for children under the age of 6, they can ride the Shinkansen for free).

What are the advantages of it? For one thing, if you get a reserved seat on the Joetsu Shinkansen from JR Tokyo Station to Gala Yuzawa Station at the regular rate, the round-trip fare for an adult would cost around 14,000 yen.

However, the TOKYO Wide PASS is far cheaper than this price, and you can enjoy a bit of sightseeing using the pass after you're done skiing. With unlimited rides, it is very advantageous.

One way you could use the Tokyo Wide PASS would be to go to GALA Yuzawa on the first day to enjoy the snow and then during the remaining two days visit such places as Kusatsu Onsen, Mt. Fuji, or Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Haneda Airport and Narita Airport are also included in the areas where it can be used, so the Wide PASS alone would enable you to travel on trains in the Kanto area after arriving in Japan.

You can buy the Tokyo Wide PASS online at the link below or at JR East Ticket Centers and JR Travel Service Centers at Narita and Haneda Airports, Tokyo, Ikebukuro, and Shinjuku.

GALA Yuzawa Facilities

GALA Yuzawa Facilities

As soon as you leave the Shinkansen ticket gate at Gala, you are at the ski center. You can purchase tickets, rent ski wear and accessories at this facility, and there is a locker room for changing, so everything you need to prepare before hitting the slopes can be obtained here.

Everything you need in ski wear and ski equipment can be rented here, so you don’t need to bring anything when you come! That’s an added incentive for going there! GALA Yuzawa is perfect for foreign travelers who want to travel light.

In addition, because so many foreign visitors come to GALA Yuzawa, most of the facilities, such as the information desk, ticket counters, and restaurants have English- and Chinese-speaking staff on duty at all times. As a result there should be no problems with communication. The information and maps on the official website are also displayed in English, traditional and simplified Chinese, and Thai languages.

GALA Yuzawa Lift Tickets

GALA Yuzawa Lift Tickets

The standard price of the "one-day" lift ticket during the main season (December 19 to March 28) is 5,200 yen (tax included) for adults and 2,600 yen (tax included) for children between the ages of 6 and 12, when purchased the same day. If you get your ticket via the Webket online store (or charge your IC card lift ticket), you can get a reduced price, so please check it out.

The two-day and half-day tickets are also reasonably priced. There are various benefits depending on the season. During the spring season (April 1 to May 6) prices change, so you should check the official prices on the official website.

2020-2021 Winter Season
・From December 1, 2020 to May 5, 2021
・Hours:
- Winter Time: 8:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.
- Spring Time: Weekdays, 8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m. (8:00a.m. – 4:30p.m. on Weekends and Holidays)

GALA Yuzawa's Appealing Slopes

Now we'll tell you about the various points that make GALA Yuzawa so appealing.

First of all, here "anyone can have an ultimate snow experience." This is because there are many types of slopes and snow parks from which to choose based on what you want to do.

There are 16 slopes at GALA Yuzawa ranging from beginner to advanced where you can enjoy both skiing and snowboarding.

GALA Yuzawa course map

Among GALA Yuzawa's trails, there are non-compacting snow courses for intermediate and advanced skiers who can fully enjoy powder snow, and forest courses that even beginners can enjoy.

The 2.6 Million Dollar Slope is said to be the most popular compacted snow course for skiers and snowboarders looking for a challenge.

In addition to enjoying snow sports, there is also a “Snow Play Park” where even small children can enjoy playing in the snow and sledding.

The Snow Play Park in enclosed in netting so even small children can play safely.
The sled course is a good place for parents and children to have a memorable experience

Lessons in Foreign Languages Are Also Offered

For those who are active and say, "I've never seen snow before but want to try skiing," there is a ski lesson class available in foreign languages (English group lessons starting at 8,800 yen, including tax; reservations required).

Lessons for the 2020-2021 season will be held in English only, but there are some years when Chinese and Thai schools are held, so please check the official website.

Lessons in English, Chinese and Thai are being offered by foreign instructors, while lessons in Chinese and Thai are provided by Japanese instructors and native staff using simultaneous interpreting.

Helmets equipped with headphones are used during lessons conducted with simultaneous translation

Enjoy well-equipped indoor facilities

Another plus is the various facilities available such as restaurants, a spa (1,000 yen for adults, 600 yen for ages 6 to 12, tax included in both prices), nursery services than can be reserved (1,200 yen per hour including tax; service for the 2020-2021 season is undecided), changing rooms, and lockers (free access on the day 1,000 yen). There are also rest areas where there is no charge.

For example, after working up an appetite skiing or playing in the snow in the morning, you can go to a restaurant. Then after a short break, you can go for a refreshing dip in the hot spring or pool! These are just some of the possibilities. You can even rent swimwear (500 yen, tax included).

Enjoy a bubble massage in a warm Jacuzzi in the cold air outdoors!
There is also a pool for children

Enjoying the Snowy Scenery at GALA Yuzawa

So what if you aren't into skiing? GALA Yuzawa has a variety of fun activities for you.

For those who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the snowy, silver wonderland of the mountains, the Snowshoes Tour (2,000 yen per person, including tax, includes the rental fee for the snowshoes) is a must.

Snowshoes, which are called kanjiki in Japanese, are footwear that has long been used to walk on the snow in areas that get heavy snow. Wearing these you can enjoy the snowy scenery by walking through it.

Walking through deep powder snow. Forget the hassles of daily life for a brief moment

In addition to this, there is the Snow Scenery Sightseeing Tour (500 yen per person including tax), where you can ride on a 6-person sled and enjoy gliding over the snow while being pulled by a snowmobile.

Or sign up for the Love Bell Observatory Set Plan (3,200 yen for adults and 2,000 yen for children, including tax), where you can overlook the snowy mountains at an altitude of 1,030 meters from the observatory.

The exhilaration of running on snow with a snowmobile is irresistible!

In addition, the annual GALA Yuzawa Kamakura Festival will be held toward the end of January. There is no charge for the Kamakura experience, so if you have the opportunity, you should try it.

* Schedule undecided for the 2020-2021 season

Immersing yourself in the mystical atmosphere of a Kamakura is a memorable experience

If you want to see snow, go skiing, or walk in the snow-filled mountains, then GALA Yuzawa is the place to go. If you are going from Tokyo, it is recommended that you use the JR TOKYO Wide PASS that is for the exclusive use of foreign travelers.

Measures against Covid-19

☑All facilities and equipment cleaned/disinfected
☑Disinfectant/sanitizer provided
☑Fresh air is circulated regularly
☑Partitions installed
☑Staff wear masks/perform temperature checks/gargle/wash hands
☑Entry refused to anyone who is feeling unwell
☑Masks required/temperature check enforced

Hotels Near GALA Yuzawa

  • Yuzawa Toei Hotel
    • Address Yuzawa 3459, Yuzawa, Niigata, 949-6101
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Echigo-yuzawa Station (Joetsu Shinkansen)
      12 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

  • Takahan
    • Address Yuzawa 923 , Yuzawa, Niigata, 949-6101
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Gala Yuzawa Station (Joetsu Shinkansen Bound For Gala Yuzawa)
      11 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

  • Purpose Resort Echigo Yuzawa KURA - Vacation STAY 70088
    Purpose Resort Echigo Yuzawa KURA - Vacation STAY 70088
    Purpose Resort Echigo Yuzawa KURA - Vacation STAY 70088
    • Address Yuzawa-machi Yuzawa 292-13 Harvest Resort Echigo Yuzawa "Kura", Yuzawa, Niigata, 949-6101
    • Nearest Station Echigo-yuzawa Station (Joetsu Line)
      10 minutes on foot
  • Hotel Futaba
    • Address Oaza, Yuzawa 419, Yuzawa, Niigata, 949-6101
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Echigo-yuzawa Station (Joetsu Shinkansen)
      10 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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