countryside

~Weekend Trip~ Snowboarding in Niigata

6:11 PM

For the discerning winter sports fanatic, Japan does not disappoint.

So a couple weekends back, some friends and I decided that snowboarding was a thing we definitely wanted to do this winter. Thankfully, our group senpai is a big snowboarder and was totally up to the idea of taking us newbies out to the mountains for a little trial and error.

Cupid Valley Ski Resort

Access

Official Website (ENG)


This ski resort is accessible by car, but there is also a shuttle bus that runs between the ski resort and Mushigawa-Osugi Station. Mushigwa-Osugi Station is about 5.5hrs from Osaka Station, and this route makes use of the Shinkansen line. I'm sure travel by local/rapid lines is possible, but you'll probably need closer to 9 hours to get there. One route takes you to Niigata via Tokyo (this route is about 200USD), while the cheaper route (about 120 USD) along the Sea of Japan takes you through the new Kanazawa Shinkansen station.

The Ski Resort

The onsen building! It looks farther than it actually is.

This resort has everything you need for a weekend on the snow. Equipment, as well as snow wear, is available for rental at the main building. You can event switch from skis to a snowboard for free for the folks interested in trying both. You're also welcome to bring and use your own equipment.

Senpai showing us how to not fail at everything.

There are several courses available varying from beginner to advanced, all of which go all the way to the top of the mountain. Lift tickets must be purchased to ride to the top of the mountain, but if you stay at the hotel, you can get at least 1 set for your group at a discounted rate. For regulars, they also have season passes available. The basic daily rates for the lift are as follows:
  • Adults: 4,300 yen
  • Middle school and up: 3,500 yen
  • Elementary school: 2,500 yen

Plans that include entry to the resort onsen are also available for purchase!


Night-time plans are also available but if you're a newbie, like us, I would not recommend this as the snow is much harder and not friendly to your limbs. A separate night-time lift ticket is also necessary and I believe this lift only takes you to the top of the promenade.

The Stay


The rooms are divided into log cabins supposedly imported from Canada (this is the kind of information they have written on the site, I couldn't make it up if I wanted to). One large cabin has 3 separate rooms, all with 3 floors, a toilet and bathtub, and each room can fit up to 7 people.


Our stay included dinner and breakfast, both of which were delicious. They served a combination of Western and Eastern food, so you could get sushi, lo mein and roast beef. This is great when you're traveling in a group with a variety of preferences (I wouldn't call the buffet vegetarian-friendly though).

Things to Note

  • There are shuttle buses available to take you from the main lodge to the log cabins and onsen. You don't have to use the shuttle bus, the distance isn't that far, however the streets are narrow and can be a bit icy, so it would be safer to ride the shutter when possible.
  • There is a drying space near the entrance of the log cabin rooms for all of your gear; they event have a drier for the snow boots.
  • This resort is TATTOO FRIENDLY, so no worries here (and yes, there are still hotels that will not allow guests will tattoos, even small ones, into their pools/onsen).
  • Hotel guests can purchase their lift tickets from the hotel desk (you don't have to wait in the lift ticket office line).
  • The closest convenience store is 30 minutes down the mountain, so try to bring everything you need for your trip.
  • The onsen closes early (around 9pm I believe), so watch the time if you're doing dinner and onsen.
  • You can rent everything you need for snowboarding at the lodge

As always, questions, comments and concerns are welcome below! I also have a video available of our trip, if you're interested!

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