With loads of ski resorts and an abundance of powder snow, Japan has rapidly grown into one of the world’s leading skiing destinations! Once the winter season begins, travelers from all over the world flock to Japan to enjoy a stellar range of winter sports. In this article, we’ll be introducing 4 ski areas in the Myoko Kogen region of Niigata Prefecture, one of Japan’s best and most accessible winter paradises!
- Table of Contents
- Myoko Kogen, One of the Heaviest Snowfalls in Japan
- The Snow of Myoko Kogen
- The Best Time to Ski at Myoko Kogen
- What Kind of Ski Resorts Are at Myoko Kogen?
- 4 Recommended Ski Spots in Myoko Kogen
- 1. Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort: Wide and Long Slopes Safe for Beginners
- 2. Ikenoitara Onsen Ski Resort: Beginners and Experts Alike Can Enjoy Two Ski Areas!
- 3. Akakura Onsen Ski Area: 17 Courses With 100% Natural Snow
- 4. Akakura Kanko Resort
Myoko Kogen, One of the Heaviest Snowfalls in Japan
It takes about two and a half hours by shinkansen and railway from JR Tokyo Station to Shinano Railway Myoko Kogen Station, and about 4 hours by car. The landscape and attractions here change depending on the season, and in winter, you can enjoy plenty of unique winter activities and sports alongside excellent snow.
The Snow of Myoko Kogen
Myoko Kogen is celebrated for its remarkable high-quality snowfall. This is largely due to the seasonal winds coming from Siberia through the Sea of Japan, which create snow clouds that become cooled at 2000m around Mt. Myoko and other mountains.
The Best Time to Ski at Myoko Kogen
What Kind of Ski Resorts Are at Myoko Kogen?
Thanks to the natural landscape, snow, and ease of access, Myoko Kogen has become a mecca for skiers from all over the world. Alongside this winter wonderland, the beauty of Myoko Kogen also lies in its vast collection of gorgeous onsen hot springs, which draw natural thermal waters from the base of Mt. Myoko and are often connected with inns allowing guests to bathe in their nourishing waters. After skiing, be sure to take a soak in the area's luxurious hot springs!
4 Recommended Ski Spots in Myoko Kogen
1. Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort: Wide and Long Slopes Safe for Beginners
The first resort we'll introduce is Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort, about a 10-minute drive from the Myoko Kogen IC, on the Joshinetsu Expressway. Suginohara Ski Resort has excellent access.
Its main feature is the wide and long slopes with a maximum skiing distance of 8.5 km, perfect for beginners. About 80% of the 17 courses are for beginners/intermediate, making this ski resort an ideal choice for children and adults who want to enjoy skiing safely.
Currently, measures against coronavirus are being implemented (installing separatory panels, limited use of lifts and gondolas, disinfection of rental equipment, spaced seating in dining areas).
Each course is characterized not only by the size of the slope, but also by the snow's quality.
The different courses also each have their unique beauty, like the white birch course surrounded by beautiful birch trees, and the downhill course marked by its famous linden trees.
There are also challenging courses like the super-giant course with a maximum slope of 38 degrees, also called Jigokudani (Hell Valley), so even advanced skiers won't be bored.
There are 5 lifts in the area and one of the ways to enjoy your time is to take in the view while riding them. In particular, the mountains seen from the summit of the No.3 high-speed lift offer you the view, on a clear day, of Mt. Fuji. It certainly doesn't hurt that the lift gondola is free for children up to elementary school age.
Lift Tickets: 4-hour, 2-day, 1 time gondola ride tickets, and more
Suginohara Ski Resort also offers lessons (in Japanese) and has a good reputation for careful guidance tailored to the pupils' skills and preferences. The instructors are certified by the Ski Association of Japan and will support you in your first steps.
You can rent equipment and clothing, so no need to worry about bringing your own.
We recommend staying at inns, pensions, small hotels, guest houses around the Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort. Some plans include one-day lifts and gondola tickets and a ski plan that includes a one-day ticket that includes two meals per night, depending on the inn. The ryokan also has a hot spring to wash away the fatigue after a day of skiing.
Opening Period: December 25, 2021 - March 27, 2022
Opening Hours: 8:30am - 4:00pm
2. Ikenoitara Onsen Ski Resort: Beginners and Experts Alike Can Enjoy Two Ski Areas!
Next up is the Ikenoitara Ski Resort, located 5 minutes driving from the Joshinetsu Expressway Myoko Kogen IC, and about 15 minutes by taxi or bus from the Echigo Tokimeki Railway Myoko Kogen Station, making it easy to access by means other than a car.
During the winter season, there is also a free shuttle bus service from Myoko Kogen Station. As a countermeasure for coronavirus, the facilities have introduced alcohol disinfection, and temperature checking with a thermo-camera on the lifts, allowing for a more worry-free experience.
The biggest feature of Ikenotaira Onsen Ski Resort, is the Kayaba Slope. This comfortable and safe skiing slope merges with the beauty of Mt. Myoko. The forest course Alpenblick Slope is a high speed one ideal for intermediate and advanced visitors.
There are 6 lifts on the vast grounds, and you can easily move to each area stress-free. In particular, the Shirakaba Capsule Pair runs a considerable length of 1,750m, and it's fun to ride over the wide KYB slope. If you're traveling with your family, you can use the lift ticket at a lower price, by using a family-ticket.
Lift Tickets: 1-day, 2-day, morning, afternoon, one-ride tickets, and more.
At the ski resort, you will also find the Myoko Snow Academy, officially recognized by the Ski Association of Japan, which provides an environment where even beginners can easily learn the basics of skiing. In the special lessons, you can learn about the latest techniques by the top practitioners of the All Japan Ski Association, and there are plenty of classes that will challenge and satisfy advanced skiers. Lessons can be in a group or one-on-one.
(*Lessons only in Japanese)
Visitors can rent the latest models of skis, snowboards, boots, and ski wear. The gear on offer here boasts fantastic functionally and is incredibly stylish!
We recommend using the nearby Hotel Alpenblick, affiliated with the Ikenotaira Onsen Ski Resort. The popular open-air bath is a freely-flowing hot spring that draws in directly from the source of a quality nicknamed black mud. This is a popular bath in which the so-called black hot-springs flowers (crystallized minerals) will relieve you of the tiredness of traveling and skiing.
In addition, there are also lots of pension-style accommodations alongside inns featuring onsen hot springs. With such a vast assortment, it’s easy to find a place to stay that suits your budget and style!
Ikenotaira Ski Resort池の平温泉スキー場
- Address 2457-1, Sekigawa, Myoko Shi, Niigata Ken, 949-2112, Japan
- Phone Number 0255-86-2370
Opening Period: December 18, 2021 - March 27, 2022
*Depends on snowfall condition
Lift tickets: 1-day lift ticket, morning ticket, afternoon ticket, 1-time ticket.
3. Akakura Onsen Ski Area: 17 Courses With 100% Natural Snow
Next, let's take a look at Akakura Onsen Ski Area in Akakura, Myoko Kogen. It's about an 8-minute drive from the Myoko Kogen IC on the Joshinetsu Expressway. The advanced snow-removal system makes driving on the road safe. There is also a free shuttle bus from the parking lot to the slopes.
COVID-19 countermeasures are also in place, including thorough alcohol disinfection, ventilation, and plastic barriers across registers and counters.
The Akakura Onsen Ski Area features dynamic slopes that stretch over Mt. Myoko, with slopes that range from gentle to steep. There are 14 lifts and 17 courses. All slopes are 100% natural snow, and the excellent quality and amount of snow make this place very popular among overseas skiers. The wide long course is for beginners, and the steep slope course is for advanced skiers.
One of the main attractions of Akakura Onsen Ski Area is that it's open for night skiing until 10pm. The illuminated slope offers a fantastic atmosphere that is utterly different from the daytime, and it's popular among couples and families. Every Saturday, the snow is compacted before the night runs, allowing to enjoy the same trail that you would in the morning. You could also choose to ski at night and sightsee during the day.
The lifts are divided among three areas for a total of 14 operating lifts. Even though the courses are very wide, it will be easy to reach the section you want. The slopes look beautiful on a sunny day.
Lift Tickets: 5-hour, 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, overnight tickets, and more.
There are 4 teaching courses, including an international one, and you can choose according to your level and interests. The school, approved by the Japan snowboarding Association, the Japan Professional Ski Teachers Association, and the Ski Association of Japan, teaches a variety of courses covering anyone from beginners to race training. Equipment and clothing are available to rent for full days, or for more extended periods.
Rental ski sets, clothing, and more is available from one day to over four days of continuous use. There are also special deals for those spending several days or more!
At the feet of Akakura Onsen Ski Area, there are many historical hot spring inns and restaurants. After relaxing in the finest hot springs, treat yourself with great food and sake, to get the best out of your traveling experience. Find your favorite lodging to go with your skiing needs.
- Regular: December 11, 2021 - April 3, 2022
- Overnight: December 25, 2021 - March 21, 2022
- Regular: 8:30am - 5:00pm
- Overnight: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
4. Akakura Kanko Resort
Akakura Kanko Ski Resort, commonly known as AKAKAN, is another popular ski resort attracting attention from overseas. It's easy to access, making it a great choice, since it's only 8 minutes off the Myoko Kogen IC.
There are 11 courses in total. In addition to the fully maintained flat regular courses, there are also plenty of non-compacted snow courses sure to satisfy both beginners and advanced skiers alike.
There are 7 lifts and most of them are super fast! In addition to half-day tickets, there are also family-deal tickets and services like equipment rentals and classes. Check out the official website for details.
Akakura Kanko Resort赤倉観光リゾートスキー場
- Address 216 Tagiri, Myoko City, Niigata Prefecture, 949-2102
- Phone Number 0255-87-2503
Opening Period: December 18, 2021 - May 5, 2022 (estimated)
Opening Hours: 8:30am - 4:00pm
Lift Tickets: Half-day, 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, family pack tickets, and more
In Myoko Kogen you can have a great skiing experience, with a lot of snow and easy access. Why not try some winter sports in Japan this season?
Text by: Tsubasa Shimoda
*Article contents are current as of October 2021.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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