Want to get some skiing done, but don't want to spend the entire weekend getting there? Kagura Ski Resort located on Mount Naeba in Niigata Prefecture is the perfect answer. The trip is roughly two hours from Tokyo via car and shinkansen. Vehicle chains are required at certain times, depending on the weather, so be prepared to pull off the road if necessary. There are a multitude of rental facilities located at both Mitsumata and Tashiro Stations.
Wada-goya Mountain Hut is located halfway (1380 meters) up the mountain from the Mitsumata Station Ropeway. Skiing with a backpack is required to get to the lodge so basic skills are a prerequisite. While the primary beginner slopes are mostly located on the other side near the Tashiro Station Ropeway, there are a few around the lodge. Powderhounds has provided an excellent map of the slopes. The Naeba Ski Resort is connected via Dragondola, so endless possibilities exist for a long weekend stay.
Upon arrival at Wada-goya, the view of the mountain range surrounding the town of Yuzawa is truly stunning. The hut's check-in is at 3:00 pm and check-out is at 9am. Ample lockers are provided to store belongings before and after if necessary. The rooms are divided by curtains and furnished with large windows from which to enjoy the beautiful sunset. Each group is kept together. A classic futon is provided for comfort.
Two traditional Japanese meals, breakfast and dinner, are included with the accommodation price (roughly ￥7,800 for adults and ￥6,200 for children). Dinner is served at 6pm and breakfast at 7am. The staff is extremely friendly as were the patrons on the weekend we stayed. Some sake was shared with some Japanese guests in the evening after dinner before lights out at 10:00pm.
If spending the weekend skiing, enjoying stunning mountain views and experiencing traditional Japanese cuisine and lodging sounds intriguing, Wada-goya fulfills all requirements. The bonus of getting to hit the slopes earlier than the general public is also very advantageous as being so close to Tokyo, the mountain can get busy very quickly.
Book early as space is limited by calling 025-788-9221.