- Perfect day trip from Tokyo, easy access via bullet train
- Variety of trails
- Advanced runs hold lots of powder
- Close to Yuzawa Kogen ski area
- Small resort
- Large crowds, especially heavy and potentially dangerous on beginner slopes
- Limited off-piste terrain
- Terrain park is mostly for beginners
A ski resort with its own bullet train station? It doesn’t get any easier to get on the slopes than that! That’s what Gala Yuzawa offers you. After a 70-minute ride from Tokyo, you step off your train and head right for the gondola that takes you to the snow (and when you’re done, they’ll even pack it up for you). It’s linked to two other ski resorts – Yuzawa Kogen and Ishiuchi Maruyama – and you can get a pass good for all three. It might not be Japan’s biggest or steepest place to shred, but you can’t beat the convenience!
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Narita International Airport
Tokyo Station (1.5 hours)
Gala Yuzawa Station (75 minutes)
Yuzawa (1-2 mi)
- Town offers wide range of lodging, restaurants and bars
- Complimentary bus to the resort
- Authentic Japanese town
Beginners will have quite a few runs to choose from with the Central Area being the best spot to start. Our favorite run here is Edelweiss, a nice and long run that is serviced by a high-speed lift. Just beware beginner slopes are generally crowded, so its best for never-evers to learn at another resort.
Intermediates will want to stick to the Northern Area where they will find a number of suitable trails. Our top pick for intermediates has to be Swan. While rated as an easier run, the wide and long slope offers the perfect pitch for cruising and has nice side lines.
The Southern Area sits away from the crowds and is where advanced skiers and snowboarders will want to base themselves. Here you'll find a range of fun mogully lines with tons of off-piste and sidecountry terrain. Our favorite run here is Bronco, a steep and choppy line packed with moguls.
After a snowstorm, Gala Yuzawa isn't the most ideal place for skiers to visit, with many opting for other resorts with more powder instead. If you do happen to be here after a powder dump, the best spot to find freshies is in the Southern Area, specifically the ungroomed Bronco Course.
Ditch the crowds
Crowds can be a nightmare at Gala Yuzawa as it so easily accessible from Tokyo. Avoid the weekend warriors by visiting on a weekday. The beginner slopes are especially bad to the point of sometimes being considered as dangerous. Avoid the crowds and head to the quieter Southern Area and the Swan course in the Northern Area.
For those coming for a day trip from Tokyo, there is a range of activities for non-skiers including snowshoeing, sightseeing on a snowmobile sleigh tour or even taking a dip in the indoor swimming pool and soaking in the hot spring at the base center. The resort also holds a number of events including the Gala Kamakura Festival.
The Central Area is best for families with mellow slopes, a sledding hill and snowmobile sleigh rides. Kids will also love the snow playground and beginner's terrain park. Just beware, the beginner areas can get quite crowded so it's not suitable for never-evers.
|Gala Yuzawa||Akakura Kanko|
|beginner||35 %||40 %|
|intermediate||45 %||30 %|
|advanced||20 %||30 %|
|child lift ticket||Free||¥3,000 JPY ($27 USD)|
|adult lift ticket||¥4,600 JPY ($42 USD)||¥4,300 JPY ($39 USD)|
|value for money|
|average total snowfall||317″||-|