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Gassan Ski Resort: Guide to Japan's Spring & Summer Skiing Paradise

Gassan Ski Resort: Guide to Japan's Spring & Summer Skiing Paradise

Date published: 25 February 2020
Last updated: 18 December 2020

Gassan Ski Resort, located in the wild mountains of Yamagata Prefecture, is a snow paradise with a wickedly long season! When most of the other ski resorts around Japan start closing in April, Gassan Ski Resort is still going strong - even through July!

Table of Contents
  1. Gassan Ski Resort: Where you can enjoy summer skiing!
  2. Why is Gassan Ski Resort so amazing?
  3. Gassan Ski Resort: 4 courses
  4. Gassan Ski Resort Hotels and Restaurants
  5. Hot spring village at the foot of Gassan Ski Resort
  6. Getting to Gassan Ski Resort from Tokyo
  7. Gassan Ski Resort: Perfect in spring and summer!
  8. Hotels Near Gassan Ski Resort

Gassan Ski Resort: Where you can enjoy summer skiing!

Gassan Ski Resort: Where you can enjoy summer skiing!
A ski resort that spreads over the slopes

When it comes to skiing and ski resorts, Japan's standard is winter, between December and February. Nevertheless, many people want to ski and snowboard in summer (Japanese summers can be sweltering).

In Japan, there are places where the snow doesn’t melt completely in summer. Gassan actually gets too much snow in winter, and so its season is incredibly long - even letting people enjoy skiing in the months between July and October!

Why is Gassan Ski Resort so amazing?

Why is Gassan Ski Resort so amazing?
Gassan Ski Resort surrounded by greenery

There are several ski resorts in Japan that can be enjoyed in summer, such as the Kagura Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture, or the Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort in Nagano Prefecture.

Gassan Ski Resort in Yamagata Prefecture is at the forefront of the early summer skiing season, from April to the end of July.

Gassan Ski Resort is located on a mountainside 1600m above sea level, allowing you to glide on real snow even in spring and early summer, although after mid-June it will be hard for non-experts.

Gassan Ski Resort: 4 courses

Gassan Ski Resort is fairly compact and divided into 4 courses: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and long course.

●Beginner course: Ubazawa hut, front slope
●Intermediate course (with bumps): slope, large slope
This is a slope that opens wide. Recommended for skiers of intermediate level or above, because of the bumps in the course.
●Advanced course: cow-head course
A vast course close to the summit. 50-minute walk to get to the beginning of the slope.
●Long course: Shimizu Course
Because this is an area with little snowfall, this is open until around Golden Week. This is a long, gentle 5km slope, good for beginners.

Be sure to check the weather and announcements on the day you are planning to use the course, as any of them may not be available.

Gassan Ski Resort Hotels and Restaurants

Gassan Ski Resort Hotels and Restaurants
Gassan Resort Inn

After skiing all day, you might want to rest and eat something.

You will find restaurants and shops at “Lift Shimoeki,” at the foot of the ski area. At the restaurants, you can taste great food like Konjaku bulb, croquettes, udon, and soba.

Gassan Ski Resort also has a directly managed hotel, Resort Inn. It’s the closest accommodation to the slopes, making it the best place to rest after a long day of skiing.

・Food

Meals to enjoy at Gassan Resort Inn

The meals are prepared with ingredients unique to Yamagata Prefecture, like Yamagata beef, and local vegetables. Local beers and local sake are also available.

Bath House
Here you will find a large public bath to soothe you after a day of skiing. This bath uses natural springs from Gassan. You can use these baths even if you are not staying overnight at the resort.

The hotel is located in the midst of nature at 1160m above sea level, surrounded by a beautiful landscape. What better place to be close to the ski slopes?

  • Gassan Resort Inn
    月山リゾートイン
    • Address 990-0733 Nishikawa-machi, Nishimurayama-gun, Yamagata
    • Phone Number 0237-75-2316

Hot spring village at the foot of Gassan Ski Resort

Go down from the Gassan Ski Resort, and you will find the Gassan Shizu Onsen Village.

Gassan Shizu Onsen Village, a hot-spring town, offers a number of accommodations and hot springs for overnight stays or day trip and short visits alike.

Hot water for skin rejuvenation, relieving muscle pain, and recovering from fatigue is perfect for skiing days.

The hot-spring bath at the feet of Gassan, surrounded by woods and mountains, is exceptional. It will perfectly relieve you of the skiing fatigue.

  • Gassan Shizu Onsen Village
    月山志津温泉郷
    • Address Shizu, Nishikawa-cho, Nishimurayama-gun, Yamagata Prefecture, 990-0734
    • Phone Number 0237-74-4119
    • Price: regular use 500-800yen, Room charge approximately 6,500yen

Getting to Gassan Ski Resort from Tokyo

Gassan Ski Resort is famous for skiing from spring to summer. How do you get there from Tokyo station?

Below you will find access for cars, airplane and car, train and car, train and bus. Refer to the one that applies to you.

●Access by car

The first one up is access by car.

・Tokyo→Urawa (about 35 minutes), Urawa→Murata JCT (Via Tohoku Expressway, about 3 hours and 10 minutes), Murata JCT→Nishikawa IC (Via Yamagata Expressway, about 55 minutes), Nishikawa IC→Gassan IC (Via Yamagata Expressway, about 15 minutes), Gassan IC→ Gassan (About 20 minutes)

It will take you about 5 hours and 25 minutes to get there from Tokyo, but you can load your car with all your ski equipment and clothing, making it a perfect access method with groups and family.

●Access by plane+car (rental car)
This is for those who want to go to Gassan Ski resort directly from the airport.

Haneda Airport→Shonai Airport (About 1 hour), Shonai Airport→Gassan (by car, about 1 hour and 20 minutes).
Total time required: approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. Price: starting at 25,300yen

Haneda Airport→Yamagata Airport (about 1 hour and 5 minutes), Yamagata Airport→Gassan (by car, about 1 hour and 12 minutes).
Total time required: about 2 hours and 17 minutes. Price: 21,000 yen

You can arrive much faster by plane and car or bus, than by car alone. Recommended when you don’t mind spending a little more for a faster trip.

●Access by train+car

mTaira / Shutterstock.com

Below, we will look at the access information by train+car

・JR Tokyo station→Yamagata Station (Yamagata Shinkansen, about 2 hours and 50 minutes), Yamagata Station→Sakuranbo Higashine Station (Yamagata Shinkansen, about 16 minutes), Sakuranbo Higashi Station→Gassan (car, about 1 hour).
Total time required: about 4 hours and 6 minutes

・JR Tokyo Station→Sendai Station (Tohoku Shinkansen, about 2 hours), Sendai Station→Yamagata Station (Senzan Line, about 1 hour and 20 minutes), Yamagata Station→Samue Station (Sazawa Line, about 30 minutes), Samue Station→Gassan (car, about 50 minutes).
Total time required: about 4 hours and 40 minutes.

Access by train requires several transfers. For this reason, it may not be the best option for traveling with children, or groups. Recommended for those who want to enjoy the sights in Yamagata and Sendai as they travel.

●Access by bus
Lastly, let’s look at access by bus.

・JR Tokyo Station→JR Ueno Station (Via JR Keihin Tohoku/Negishi Line, about 8 minutes)
Price: 160yen IC 157yen
Ueno Station→Yamako Building Bus Terminal (via highway bus, about 6 hours and 45 minutes).
Price 6,900yen
Yamako Building Bus Terminal→Gassanguchi (via highway bus, about 42 minutes)
Price 1,700yen
Gassanguchi→Ubazawa (Nishikawa Municipal Bus, 25 minutes)
Price:500yen
Time required: about 9 hours and 6 minutes

The bus takes the longest time, but it has the advantage of allowing you to sleep during your trip, since it’s a night bus and it’s a long trip. In addition, there is no need to rent a car.

Gassan Ski Resort: Perfect in spring and summer!

You can enjoy your skiing in spring and summer, thanks to the nature surrounding Gassan Ski Resort. If you want to slide down slopes of natural snow in summer, go to Gassan Ski resort.

  • Gassan Ski Resort
    月山スキー場
    • Address Ubasawa, Shizu, Nishimurayama Gun Nishikawa Machi, Yamagata Ken, 990-0734
    • Price:
      One-time ticket: Adult 600yen, child 400yen
      7 times ticket: adult 4,000yen, child 2,800yen
      1-day ticket: adult 4,700, child 3,500
      Morning ticket (first bus-1pm): adult 3,500yen, child 2,800yen
      Afternoon ticket (12pm-closing): Adult 3,500yen, child 2,800
      Service days 1-day ticket: Ladies' day (Tuesday/Wednesday); men’s day (Thursday); senior day (everyday), 3,800yen.
      Special price first arrivals: adult 3,500yen, child 1,800yen (April 18-24)
      Hours: 8am-4:30pm
      Holidays: lifts suspended from June 16 to June 18

Hotels Near Gassan Ski Resort

  • Lodge Kashiwaya
    ロッヂかしわや
    • Address Gassan National Forest, 115-Ho, Tsukiyamazawa, Nishikawa, Nishimurayama District, Yamagata 990-0733
    • Phone Number 0237-75-2241
  • Summer Ski & Mountain Lodge Yatsunami
    月山夏スキーと登山の宿ロッヂやつなみ
    • Address Gassan National Forest, 115-Ni, Tsukiyamazawa, Nishikawa, Nishimurayama District, Yamagata 990-0733
    • Phone Number 0237-75-2533
*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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