Kagura Ski Resort: The Best Gigantic Japanese Snow Powder Heaven

Looking for best ski resort for spring? Then Kagura ski resort (かぐらスキー場), a.k.a Kagura snow resort, could be the answer. Kagura ski resort is well known as one of the ski resorts which opens until the very last days of the ski season, around the end of May. The great advantage isn’t only the long skiing season but also its extensive land. From beginners to professionals, everyone can fall in love with Kagura ski resort. 

Here, I’m going to explain how to go to Kagura Ski Resort, what to expect, and what you shouldn’t miss. 

If you’ve never skiied in Japan before, or are interested in finding out the best ski resorts in Japan, check out this article.

KAGURA SKI RESORT

2 base stations at Kagura Ski Resort

Kagura Ski Resort is located in Niigata prefecture nearby Gunma. In Japan, Niigata is considered to produce the best Japanese rice, therefore, many Japanese go to Niigata and stay at a ryokan (Japanese Inn) where they provide the best rice.

Kagura Ski Resort has two base stations: Mitsumata and Tashiro station, so before heading there, you need to know to which station you want to go. Although you can freely move to a different area once you are there, I’d say if you are a beginner at skiing, it’s better you go to Tashiro station.

Because Kagura Ski Resort is in very high altitude, you skin in powder snow not only in winter but also in the spring. Kagura Ski Resort is chosen by many ski lovers because of its enriched snow. I personally enjoy skiing in Kagura Ski Resort in the spring until the end of May because many ski slopes are still opened and I can fully ski without stress.

WHERE IS KAGURA SKI RESORT

Although there is no direct shuttle bus to Kagura Ski Resort, the transport isn’t complicated. Whether going to Tashiro or Mitsumata station, the closest station is the same: Echigo Yuzawa Station via Joetsu Shinkansen. If you go to Kagura Ski Resort from Tokyo Station, take the Joetsu Shinkansen and it brings you to directly to the Echigo Yuzawa Station in about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once you arrive there, you need to use a local bus from the East exit and in about 15 minutes, you will be in front of the base station.

During the ski season, there is also a rapid bus bound for Tashiro and Mitsumata Station. In my opinion, you’d better ask the train office to know which bus you need to take and at which bus stop you should get off because the local bus and express bus are not in the same bus stop though both are in East exit. Remember, if you bring your skis  or snowboard, you need to pay an extra ¥100 ($1).

Express bus to Kagura Ski Resort

All in all, if you go to Kagura Ski Resort, it takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo.

TASHIRO STATION

MITSUMATA STATION

KAGURA SKI RESORT MAP

Map of Kagura Ski Resort

Compared to other Japanese ski resorts such as Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort, Kagura Ski Resort is extremely big. It has three main areas: Kagura, Mitsumata, and Tashiro are.

You cannot try every ski slopes in a day. It’s impossible. One of the reasons why I really like Kagura Ski Resort is that for each level the slopes are well divided so if you are a ski beginner like me, you don’t have to be afraid of others people. Again, thanks to its wide slopes, you feel no stress. This is the reason why there are so many families with kids who go to Kagura Ski Resort. In winter, you can also try many snow activities. I’d say, Kagura Ski Resort is kind of a snow park where everyone can have fun.

MAIN SKI AREAS

Main ski areas at Kagura Ski Resort

As I mentioned above, there are three main areas in Kagura Ski Resort. Each has its individual features. When you buy a ticket to ski, please make sure which area you want to go to. It depends on the season but you can buy a ticket for limited areas for a cheap price.

  • Kagura area
    Kagura area is the symbol of Kagura Ski Resort in a way, and it’s for beginners and intermediates. The view from 1,845m of attitude is the best part! Near the top, ski slopes are steep with snow powder and allow dynamic skiing.
  • Tashiro area
    Tashiro area seems Scandinavian. You can take your time by skiing calmly on the flat ski slopes with wonderful landscape. Most of the areas are for beginners but there are also steep and mogul irregular ski slopes for experts.
  • Mitsumata area
    In Mitsumata area, there are large gondolas for 121 people and it’s always crowded with people from the young to the elderly. Also, there is a space for ski competitions, so you’ll find many professional athletes practicing there.

PRICE FOR LIFT TICKETS

Kagura Ski Resort Gondola

Before buying a ticket, you need to know whether you want to go to Mt. Naeba or not.

Here is the price of the lift ticket for one day.

  • Mt. Naeba joint lift ticket (includes Naeba and Kagura)
    ¥5,700 ($52) for adults, ¥ 5,000 ($46) for 55 years and over, ¥4,300 ($39) for students, free for kids under 12 years old.
  • Kagura only lift ticket (includes Kagura, Mitsumata, and Tashiro)
    ¥4,700 ($43) for adults, ¥ 4,200 ($38) for 55 years and over, ¥3,800 ($35) for students, free for kids under 12 years old.

Please go to the official website to see other options.

For Kagura Ski Resort, you can buy lift tickets on the website. If you go there in the winter and don’t want to wait in line to buy your lift ticket, just buy it online.

KAGURA SKI RESORT WEBCAM

Webcam of Kagura Ski Resort

Before going to Kagura Ski Resort, checking the webcam is important to know what the snow condition looks like. To check the webcam, please go to this page and you can see three images of snow conditions: Kagura, Mitsumata, and Tashiro.

SKI/SNOWBOARD LESSONS IN KAGURA SKI RESORT

Ski/snowboard lessons

If you’ve never tried skiing/snowboarding or are beginner, you need to take a lesson. It’s not only to learn how to ski/snowboard but also to avoid injuring yourself. At Kagura Ski Resort, you can find various ski/snowboard lessons depending on your level. Every lesson isn’t held in all ski areas so please make sure which ski area you need to go for your specific lesson.

KAGURA SKI SCHOOL

Hours: 10:00-12:00, 13:30-15:50

  • Beginner lesson
    This beginner class is for the very first-time beginner to those who will be able to parallel turn soon. The lesson is split into three levels. The lesson is for those over 10 years old.
    Price: ¥4,000 ($36) for a half day. ¥6,000 ($55) for one day.
  • Basic lesson
    This class is for learning the necessary ski movements and the sense of balance, depending on your level.
    Price: ¥6,500 ($59) for a half day. ¥8,500 ($78) for one day.

There are other lessons for experts.

TASHIRO SKI/SNOWBOARD SCHOOL

Hour: 10:00-12:00, 13:30-15:50

  • General lesson
    This beginner class is for beginners, those who haven’t skied for a while, and those who want to learn to parallel turn. The lesson is those over 10 years old.
    Price: ¥4,000 ($36) for a half day. ¥6,000 ($55) for one day.

There are other lessons for experts.

MITSUMATA SNOWBOARD SCHOOL

Hour: 10:00-12:00, 13:30-15:50

  • General lesson
    This beginner class is for beginners, those who haven’t skied for a while, and those who want to learn to parallel turn. The lesson is those over 10 years old.
    Price: ¥4,000 ($36) for a half day. ¥6,000 ($55) for one day.

There are other lessons for experts.

HOTELS NEAR KAGURA SKI RESORT

Hotel Kagura

It’s worth skiing or snowboarding in Kagura Ski Resort over the span of a couple of days. No doubt, you can find many hotels near Kagura Ski Resort. I’m going to introduce you to some hotels which many use when they go to Kagura Ski Resort from elsewhere in Japan. If you want to stay at those hotels, please make sure to book a night as soon as possible when it’s winter season. As always, you’d better go to Kagura Ski Resort in weekdays to avoid the crowd.

PRINCE HOTEL NAEBA

Prince Hotel Naeba

Prince Hotel is one of the biggest resort hotels in Japan. Prince Hotel Naeba is very popular for ski/snowboard lovers due to its close location. This hotel has the biggest in size in the area nearby Kagura Ski Resort. Between Prince Hotel Naeba and Kagura Ski Resort. you can use a free shuttle bus.

WADAGOYA

http://www2.princehotels.co.jp

Wadagoya (和田小屋) guest house opens from the end of November to the end of May. Wadagoya is kind of like a camping base and is 1,380m in altitude inside Kagura Ski Resort. You can socialize with those who love ski or snowboarding. If you’re look for the fresh snow in the early morning, this is where you should stay!

Unfortunately, there is no English website, so for booking, you need to call +81-3-6741-9155 (If you call within Japan, 03-6740-9155). This is the same number as Prince Hotel because Wadagoya is also run by the same company. No worries, they can speak English, Chinese, and Korean.

Wadagoya has a restaurant which is open to everyone, however, during lunchtime it is always very crowded.

ONSEN NEAR KAGURA SKI RESORT

Onsen near Kagura Ski Resort

The combination of skiing/snowboarding and going to onsen (hot spring) is the best. Even if you fall hundreds of times at Kagura Ski Resort, your body will be fixed after onsen. Near Kagura Ski Resort, there are many onsen, however, you need to know where to find them. Because Kagura Ski Resort is pretty large, you may have to walk for a while if you don’t come back to the right base station.

By the way, if you don’t know about onsen, check out the article “Japanese Hot Springs: All You Need to Know to Onsen Like a Pro” to know how to properly use one.

KAIDO-NO-YU

Kaido-no-yu
Kaido-no-yu

The old onsen Kaido-no-yu (街道の湯) is right next to the Tashiro base station. It takes only a couple of minutes on foot. Although it’s not a big onsen, we have all we want: basic onsen inside and open-air onsen outside. Because of the large amount of light coming in from the big windows, it makes us so relaxed and feels like we are in nature. If you come to Kagura Ski Resort for only one day and need to go back later on, why don’t you take a nap at the commonplace? I once fell asleep after onsen.

The reason why Kaido-no-yu is one of the best onsens near Kagura Ski Resort is that there is a roadsidw station: Mitsumata, next to this onsen. In Japan, roadside stations are settled for toilets, restaurants, shops, etc., and it’s a good place to find local souvenirs.

I passed by this roadside station and found how unique and charming it is. Many souvenirs looked very attractive. As I mentioned, because people make the best rice in Nigata, local sake (Japanese alcohol made with rice) and beers are also produced. 

What’s more, there is a free footbath! If you’re not happy about bathing in the onsen with other people, you should take free footbath. It will soothe your feet!

Free footbath

KAGURA SKI RESORT IS A WINTER RESORT

Kagura Ski Resort

I highly recommend you go to Kagura Ski Resort where you can be wild! You can find everything you’re looking for, rental service for skiing/snowboarding, many restaurants, snow powder and it operates later during the year than most resorts. If you want to try skiing or snowboarding in the spring in Japan, Kagura Ski Resort is one of the best ski resorts for you!

Mona
Mona
I 'm Japanese. I love eating and yes I'm always hungry. My mission is to share real aspects of Japanese culture and send true useful information for those who are coming to Japan. I can't recommend if I haven't experienced. Let's Otashift with us guys!

Leave a Comment