Location / Travel

Location / Travel

Edgy Day Trip: Ski/Snowboard While in Tokyo

by Hiroki Yanagisawa on December 29, 2010 6:13 PM

Powder Powder Powder!


As Japanese winter sports season kicks in, here's some tips for those of you who wish to have a day ski/snowboard trip in Japan while traveling to Tokyo.

LOCATION
Considering the selection of snow resorts, quality of snow, access, and apres-ski opportunities, Nigata's Echigo-Yuzawa area (200km from Tokyo, to the north-west) is the best for your day trip. (If you've got a couple of more days to spend, Hakuba and Shiga Kogen area in Nagano would be great alternatives.)

ACCESS
Shinkansen. Only 84 minutes ride from Tokyo station. Even if you've got an evening appointment, you can easily come back.

(EDGY JAPAN's founder, Hiroki Yanagisawa, is an avid snowboarder and he frequently makes a 1/2 day snowboard trip to this area -- Take 0800ish train, hit the slope by 1000, non stop snowboarding for 3-4 hours, come back to Tokyo 1600-1700ish -- plenty of time to grab dinner with friends in Tokyo.)

RESORT
Pros and Cons of some resorts in the area

1. GALA Yuzawa
~Great access but beginners-oriented slope


Snow Resorts in Nigata Area

Snow Resorts in Nigata Area

Snow Resorts in Nigata Area


PRO
The best access ever.
GALA Yuzawa was developed br JR East, shinkansen operator and it's fully utilizing this infrastructural advantage. There is GALA Yuzawa Station and once you walk out from the gate, you're already in the building of the ski report.

CON
Too many beginners
Because of this accessibility, the resort attracts many beginners. Sometimes, they are blocking the slope, which can be pretty annoying if you are looking for a smooth and fast ride.

Tiny and short slope
Compared with the other resorts, slopes are relatively short and mundane.


2. Kagura-Mitsumata-Tashiro
~Biggest resort in the area, but need a car.


Snow Resorts in Nigata Area

Snow Resorts in Nigata Area

Snow Resorts in Nigata Area

PRO
Biggest
The biggest snow resort in the area.

Powder
The altitude is relatively higher than the other resorts, providing a great powder experience.

Food
Simply, great.

CON
Access
If you're using shinkansen, you've got to endure a 20 minutes bus ride from Echigo Yuzawa Station. This bus ride tends to be pretty crowded and this is pain.

Auto-oriented resort
Since many skiers/snowboaders travel to Kagura-Mitsumata-Tashiro by car, most of them get changed and keep their belongings in the car. For the train users, there's only tiny space available for getting yourself changed. Plus, the nearest hot spring is 3 minutes ride (15 minutes walk) by car.


3. Kandatsu Ski Resort
~Best of a little bit of everything


Snow Resorts in Nigata Area

Snow Resorts in Nigata Area

Snow Resorts in Nigata Area


PRO
Interesting slopes
Though the resort itself isn't that big, the layout and design of the slopes allow you to try many styles of ride -- ground trick, pipe, schuss, free ride.)

Access
Only 5 minutes by bus from Echigo Yuzawa Station.


Onsen (Hot spring)
Equipped with an outdoor hot spring with a great view.

CON
Food
Since the whole resort was purchased by new company last year, food has been terrible. (lukewarm and small portion) Hoping that there's a great deal of improvements this season.


APRES-SKI
Onsen (Hot Spring) and Sake. For the detail, check the past posting -- Edgy Day Trip From Tokyo: Winter 3S, Snow Spring Sake!.


Want to hit slopes while in Tokyo? Contact EDGY JAPAN for more tips and possible tour opportunity.


If you've got more than 4 days -- Niseko in Hokkaido is highly recommended. (To be covered on EDGY JAPAN in January.)

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