Yuzawa – Ski Resort near Tokyo

by Jeffrey Neo

Yuzawa Ski by Rudy Herman on Flickr https://flic.kr/p/7pXHMz

If you’re planning a ski holiday in Japan and looking for a ski resort near Tokyo, why not book yourself a ski package at Yuzawa in Niigata Prefecture. Yuzawa ski resort about an hour and a half train ride form Tokyo. The ski resort offers a selection of hotel accommodation and ski slopes from beginner to advanced levels.

I visited Yuzawa ski resort last winter and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Besides offering ski packages at affordable rates, Yuzawa town is also popular for its onsen (hot springs). Along the Yuzawa high street, there is the Kannakuri foot-spa where you soak you tired feet and it’s free.

Getting to Yuzawa

The main station of Yuzawa Town is called Echigo Yuzawa Station. The Joetsu Shinkasen (bullet train) stops at the station. It takes between 75 to 85 minutes from Tokyo. The town is conveniently located from central Tokyo, and that means a day skiing trip is absolutely possible!

However, if you plan to stay overnight at Yuzawa Ski Resort, hotel reservations should be made in advance as most hotels would offer free transfer between the train station and hotel. Otherwise, finding and getting to your hotel may be time consuming and costly.

Choosing a Hotel in Yuzawa

Without any doubt, most service staff from the various hotels are well trained in English. Hence, communications should not be a major issue. However, choosing the right hotel may be challenging for someone new to the ski resort.

At Yuzawa, the resort hotels offer exclusive ski and snowboarding packages. When you book accommodation and skiing as a package, you could enjoy up to 70% discount! For me, I was pleasantly surprised when I was told that my entrance fee was half-price, SGD35 compared to the usual price of SGD70.

Skiing for Beginners

Skiing classes for kids by Dom Pates on Flickr https://flic.kr/p/49zDnu

For a novice like me, Ipponsugi Ski Resort was an excellent choice as 80% of the skiing ground are meant for beginners. As I learned the hard way, beginner skiers should not go to the intermediate skiing facilities. Easy as it may seem, I had experienced countless falls and bruises while making an ardent attempt at the intermediate skiing ground.

Over at Yuzawa, I was shocked to discover that the hotel rates are significantly lower than in Tokyo. The hotel rates in Yuzawa are about SGD100 compared with more than SGD300 a night in Shinjuku, Tokyo. In addition, the hotel rooms are enormous (by Tokyo standard). For instance, my room at Hotel Yuzawa Yuzawa Denkiya could easily accommodate up to 8-10 people.

Good Food, Excellent Service

Much to my delight, two sumptuous meals (breakfast and dinner) were served daily. At Hotel Yuzawa Yuzawa Denkiya, the chef specially prepared a different menu for me because I was not used to their traditional cuisine. I was indeed impressed by their service attitude.

Contrary to what many people think, skiing in Japan is affordable and accessible, especially for young adventurous Singaporeans. With a huge variety of hotels and resorts to choose from, Yuzawa will make an excellent destination for your next ski holiday in Japan!

Money Saving Tips: Rent your ski wears from your hotel as rentals at the ski resorts may cost up to 60% more!


 

  • Reiko Tan

    Hi Jeffrey… it was a wonderful review!
    How did you get to the ski resort from your hotel? Does the hotel provide complimentary shuttle bus there?
    Besides skiing, what are the other attractions there that you would recommend?

    • Hi Reiko,
      Here’s the reply from Jeffrey: “Hello. there is complimentary pick up from the hotel! Well to be honest. We mostly did skiing there.”

      • Reiko Tan

        Hi Jeffrey, thanks so much for your reply!
        Since I don’t know how to ski, I have decided to take a day trip down. A few questions :
        The ropeway – are there tickets for unlimited rides?
        The ski lift pass – If I don’t ski, then can I take the lift pass up and down for unlimited rides if I purchase a day ticket?
        Thanks once again!

        • Hi Reiko,
          Reply from Jeff:”To be honest I am not entirely sure about the ropeway tickets. Sorry about that!
          With regards to the lift pass, yes, you could take unlimited rides with it with a day ticket:)
          Enjoy your ski trip to Japan!”

  • Geri

    Hi Jeffrey, thanks for your post on Yuzawa. Am planning a trip in 2nd week of December with 2 three year olds who want to play in the snow. We will not be skiing, so we need to find accomodations for a night or 2 that are convenient with 2 toddlers. Which hotel sites do you use for Yuzawa accomodations. the ones i have seen are so expensive.
    Thanks! Geri

    • Hi Geri,
      My friend booked the room with Hotel Yuzawa Yuzawa Denkiya directly and not through any booking sites. Apparently, December is a peak season for skiing and it seems like rooms at Hotel Yuzawa Yuzawa Denkiya are already fully booked in mid December.

      I have checked Booking.com has some twin-sharing rooms at S$142 which you may want to consider. Hotels like Nozawa Onsen Utopia & Fujiyoshi, about 33km from Yuzawa, are selling their japanese-style twin room at S$142.

      http://www.goingplaces.sg/hotel-booking/

  • Megan

    Hi Jeffrey,

    I’m going to Yuzawa in late March this year. Two questions:

    1) Is this the website for Hotel Yuzawa Yuzawa Denkiya? http://www.yuzawa-yuzawa.com/eng/ski.html
    I also want to book directly with the hotel, thanks to your advice.

    2) How do I book a ski package from Ipponsugi Ski Resort? It’s all in Japanese: http://www.ipponsugi.net/
    –> I need to book ski lift pass and equipment.
    Or do I get Hotel Yuzawa Yuzawa Denkiya to book for me?

    Thanks! Meg

    • Reply from Jeffrey: “Hi yes, that’s the website. I would suggest you book with the hotel directly because every hotel has got its own private deals with different ski resorts. It should be cheaper than the online deals.”

      Regarding the ski package from Ipponsugi Ski Resort, the rental ski equipment costs between 1500 – 2500 Yen and opening hours from 8am to 5pm (http://www.ipponsugi.net/school/index.html#_rental).

  • Nick Tan

    Hi Jeffrey,
    Had enjoyed your wonderful write up on Yuzawa. My family would be stationed in Tokyo in deceember for about 11 days.
    My teenage children are interested to go play and enjoy the snow atmosphere at Yuzawa.
    Does the resort Gala Yuzawa and Yuzawa Kogen impose any charges even if we do not ski?
    How much is the return train fare from Tokyo to Yuzawa?

    Thanks.
    Rgds,

  • Michelle

    Hi Jeffrey,

    Do you have any idea which of the ski field have kids park?

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