Yuzawa (Niigata)

Naspa Ski Area

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


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

By Plane

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

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).


Iwappara Ski area

Ski and Snowboard

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.




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



Go next

Routes through Yuzawa

Niigata Urasa  N  S  Jomo-Kogen Tokyo
Nagaoka Muikamachi  N  S  Minakami Maebashi

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, November 04, 2013. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.