Yuzawa (Niigata)

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Naspa Ski Area

Yuzawa (湯沢) * [1] is in Niigata prefecture and the most convenient ski resort town in Japan.

Understand[edit]

The canonical backwoods hot spring and skiing resort, Nobel prize winner Yasunari Kawabata's classic novel Snow Country (雪国 Yukiguni, see box) takes place in Yuzawa. Or so the Yuzawans claim; to be quite strict, the novel never mentions the name of its setting, but Kawabata wrote the novel while staying in Yuzawa so perhaps it's not too big a leap to make.

Snow Country

国境の長いトンネルを抜けると、雪国であった。Kokkyō no nagai tonneru wo nukeru to, yukiguni de atta. The sentence loses more than a little in the translation, but "the train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country" is among the best-known opening lines in Japan. Written in Yuzawa, which has one of the highest snowfall rates in the world — up to 5 meters per year — and was all but cut off from the rest of the country in winter, the novel tells the sad story of a hopeless love between a rich Tokyo playboy and a poor hot-spring geisha, a species quite apart from those in Kyoto and essentially a euphemism for prostitute.

Get in[edit]

By Plane[edit]

From Niigata Airport, take the airport bus direct to Niigata Station - this journey takes approximately 25 minutes, Then from Niigata Station you can take the Joetsu Shinkansen train direct to Echityo Yuzawa Station - this journey takes approximately 45 minutes.

By train[edit]

Yuzawa is easily reached via the Echigo-Yuzawa (越後湯沢) station of the Joetsu Shinkansen line. Trains run 2-4 times per hour from Tokyo station, taking 75-90 minutes at a cost of ¥6490 (no cost with the Japan Rail Pass). Toki trains generally make fewer stops and continue on to Niigata, while Tanigawa trains terminate at Echigo-Yuzawa after stopping at all stations on the route.

In the wintertime, most Tanigawa trains continue on to the Gala Yuzawa ski resort (see Do).

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Do[edit]

Iwappara Ski area

Ski and Snowboard[edit]

  • Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort (ガーラ湯沢) (GALA Yuzawa has its own bullet train station),  +81 25-785-6543. Gala Yuwaza is a ski resort with 15 runs and nine lifts.Gala Yuwaza has a respectable dining area and a spa (Onsen & unisex swimming pool, so take your bathing suit) for soaking after skiing. One-day lift ticket, ¥4300 adults/¥2100 children; one-day rental of skis, poles and boots, ¥4800 adults/¥1500 children.

JR East actively promotes Gala Yuzawa: The Gala One-Day Ticket includes a round-trip on the bullet train between Tokyo and Gala Yuzawa, round-trip lift ticket and a 20% discount off of ski equipment rentals. This ticket permits departure from/return to any JR station within the 23 wards of Tokyo, connecting to the bullet train enroute. Adults ¥11900/Child ¥6500 for ordinary class travel on weekdays; the price is higher on weekends and during the New Year's Holiday, and lower during the off-peak. Foreigners who purchase this ticket will receive gifts at the Gala Yuzawa resort as part of a tourism promotion campaign.

Holders of the JR East Rail Pass can purchase a special Snow Play Set Ticket for ¥1000, which includes a round-trip lift ticket, and rental of a cap, gloves, boots and a sled for one day. The trip on the bullet train is, of course, fully covered by the rail pass.

  • Ipponsugi (一本杉スキー場), 2511-1 Yuzawa Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun Niigata-ken.
  • Iwa-ppara Ski Resort (岩原スキー場), 731-79 Tsuchitaru Yuzawa-machi Minamiuonuma-gun Niigata (Shuttle services are available for transportation from Echigo-Yuzawa Station.). One-day lift ticket:¥4000 Adults(over12)/¥3000 Senior(over55)/¥2500 Junior/¥1000 Child.
  • Kandatsu Kogen Ski Resorts (神立高原スキー場), 4121-1 Kandatsu Yuzawa-machi Minamiuonuma-gun (Free shuttle services are available from Echigo-Yuzawa Station), e-mail: . One-day lift ticket:¥4200 Adults(over12)/¥3500 Senior(over55)/¥3200 Junior.
  • Naeba Ski Resort (苗場スキー場), Mikuni Yuzawa-machi Minamiuonuma-gun Niigata (50 minutes by bus from Echigo Yuzawa Station),  +81 25-789-2211.
  • NASPA Ski Garden (ナスパスキーガーデン), Yuzawa 2117-9 Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun Niigata-ken (Regular shuttle buses run from Echigo Yuzawa Station). The resorts courses range from very easy gentle slopes - suitable for small children and beginners - to the very steep and difficult, complete with three steep mogul courses. One-day lift ticket and lunch, ¥4300 Adults(over12)/¥3300 children/¥14400 Family(2 Adults and 2 Children).
  • Ishiuchi is a ski resort area adjacent to Echigo-Yuzawa, easily accessible by Shinkansen (Bullet Train) from Tokyo.

Golf[edit]

Buy[edit]

  • Sake Museum Ponshu-kan (Inside Echigo-Yuzawa station). Ponshu-kan, enjoy different varieties of sake tasting. In the storeroom more than 100 varieties of sake are on display at a temperature of 15 degrees. You can also take a dip in a bath of sake next-door

Eat[edit]

  • There is a great food court at the base station of the central ski resort. Lunch at Yuzawa Gogen is one of the good choice. Taking the Ropeway at Yen 1200.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Japan's only fully foreign owned and operated Austrian-style ski lodge, STI Ski Lodge in Isiuchi

Cope[edit]

Information[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Yuzawa
NiigataUrasa  N Joetsu Shinkansen icon.png S  Jomo-KogenTokyo
NagaokaMuikamachi  N Kan-etsu Expwy Route Sign.svg S  MinakamiMaebashi


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