The Top Ski Resorts Near Tokyo Perfect for a Day Trip
Winter is in full swing, and we all know what that means: ski holiday! I’ll be honest, I’ve only skied a couple of times and am still very much in the pizza stages of skiing. But after years with my avid skier-husband, I’ve agreed to go ski with him on the condition he actually stays with me on the slopes and teaches me how to ski. And it turns out, when the slope isn’t horrifically steep, skiing can be a lot of fun! Not to mention, you fall a lot less when skiing than when snowboarding (my tailbone is eternally grateful). If you’re visiting Tokyo in winter, you may want to try some the famed powder but may not have the time for a long ski trip. So, organized by town, here are the top ski resorts near Tokyo that are perfect for a day trip:
The first and most popular area for ski resorts near Tokyo is Yuzawa. Yuzawa is located in Niigata Prefecture north of Tokyo. This area is one of the largest of its kind in Japan. From the city center, you can be on the slopes in less than two hours. Because of this, the slopes can get quite crowded on weekends during ski season. Yuzawa has plenty of ski resorts to try. Gala Yuzawa and Ichiuchi Maruyama are conveniently right outside of the station, while Kagura and Naeba offer beautiful views only a short shuttle away. From Tokyo, take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo Yuzawa Station. The ticket costs under JPY7,000 one way.
Minakami is another great town for skiing near Tokyo. Located in the neighboring Gunma Prefecture, you can get to Minakami in an hour and a half by shinkansen. Ski resorts in the area include Minakami Kogen, Minakami Hodaigi, Minakami Norn, Whitevalley, and more! If you like skiing at night, Minakami ski resorts are great because some are open until midnight. To get to Minakami, take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen Station. From there, take a bus to Minakami Station. The whole trip costs just over JPY6,000 one way.
For skiing and shopping, head to Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture. Karuizawa has only one ski resort, Karuizawa Prince Snow Resort. This ski resort opens earlier than most near Tokyo, at the beginning of November, because they have snow machines. The ski slopes here are particularly great for beginners. Having said that, Karuizawa Prince Ski Resort does have intermediate and advanced courses, so you can have fun regardless of your level. To access, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Karuizawa Station. The ticket costs about JPY6,000 one way.
Have you ever skied before? Which of these ski resorts near Tokyo do you want to visit?