|Geto Kogen Snow Resort (Iwate)|
1. Geto Kogen Snow Resort (Iwate)Known for its abundant snowfall, Geto Kogen is a favourite among ski enthusiasts I know. It is located in the southwestern region of Iwate prefecture, which often registers Japan’s highest snow depth numbers and offers one of the country’s longest ski seasons. Open from early December to early May, Geto Kogen has 14 slopes, seven of which are groomed, while the others are off-piste. This means it is great for both beginners and more advanced skiers – beginners can improve on their ski techniques on the groomed courses (here, the snow has been packed either with a snowmobile or large groomer); while more advanced skiers can challenge themselves on the off-piste courses, where they ski over untouched snow in a more natural setting. The resort regularly adds new tree runs, which are a highlight for skiers looking for some challenging trail action beyond the tried-and-tested.
Getting there: Take the free shuttle bus from the East exit of Kitakami Station at 7:40am, 9:10am, 10:40am or 3:40pm. The shuttle only runs on Saturdays and Sundays.
2. Charmant Hiuchi (Niigata)
|Charmant Hiuchi (Niigata)|
Getting there: The area is relatively remote and is best accessed by car, and is a half-hour drive from the Nou IC exit of the Hokuriku expressway. Alternatively, you can take the free shuttle bus from the South exit of Itoigawa station at 9am on Saturdays and Sundays.
3. Hakuba Goryu (Nagano)
|Hakuba Goryu (Nagano)|
Getting there: Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line and express bus from Tokyo, or the Tokai Shinkansen, limited express Shinano and limited express Azusa from Osaka.
4. Asahidake Ski Resort (Hokkaido)
|Asahidake Ski Resort (Hokkaido)|
Getting here: Asahidake is a 60-minute drive from Asahikawa.
5. Marunuma Kogen Resort (Gunma)
|Marunuma Kogen Resort (Gunma)|
Getting here: Take the shuttle bus from Jomo Kogen Station.
*by Shohei Inomata
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