In Myoko it snows a lot. A simple comparison when you look at our average snowfall each season reveals totals that rival the biggest snowfall areas in the world. 15-20 metres of cumulative snow during a ten week period is common around here. Our local hills are just a few minutes away but within 25 minutes a total of 7 different resorts offer a wide variety of terrain to suit any level of skier or rider. From family friendly beginner slopes to side country back bowls full of deep powder snow, Myoko has it all.
A drop off and pick up shuttle service is complimentary for access from our lodge to Akakura Onsen, Kanko and Ikenotaira ski resorts.
A local bus service operates between the big four(first four resorts on the list) but the buses can get crowded on powder days and that's when delays can be a big issue when your counting on first tracks. The ultimate freedom to explore comes with the addition of a rental car or van for bigger groups. For more information just read our section on rental car options listed in To and From Myoko.
Local Rules and Hazards:
Japan has a recent history of having tight policies that once restricted riding off-piste with the threat of taking away even your season pass for offenses. Luckily for visitors to Myoko the local regulations around riding in the forest have relaxed but some areas especially under lift lines are still off limits. Please respect the local rules of each resort.
If you are one of those adventurous types who is prone to ducking the boundary ropes take heed - accidents and rescue in off-piste/unpatrolled areas even inside the resort can be a major issue with considerable costs incurred. These areas should be ridden in the same way that you would ride backcountry terrain. Appropriate insurance, beacon-shovel-probe and avalanche training are all essentials for riding these zones safely. Once you're literally neck deep in Myoko powder after crashing in the trees you will know exactly why.
Akakura Onsen Ski Resort
Located alongside and directly above the village of the same name things can get confusing until you get orientated around town. Onsen is a great place for beginners to intermediates that are looking for some easy terrain. But hold on, did someone say night skiing?
Lunch is an easy ride down to the village of Akakura where a large variety of food awaits. The resort shares a boundary and a dual ticket with Akakura Kanko, which can combine for a big day out.
A favourite among many return visitors who appreciate the diverse off-piste terrain that lies semi hidden in the Japanese beech tree forests. Kanko has a famous old hotel mid slope along with a couple of great lunch options further up the hill. If terrain parks are your thing then you will find a quality park maintained all season from around late December. On a snow day the protection of a roomy gondola and plenty of covered chairs provide respite from the elements on the way back up.
Backcountry access is provided through a gate that checks the operation of your avalanche beacon. Once you have climbed the Mauyama Ridge a world of amazing views and serious terrain awaits those with the right experience and equipment.
Under the radar somewhat, Ike (pronounced Ikeh) is a great place to get away from the powder hungry masses. It is a smaller sized resort with mellow groomed slopes but when the snow is deep some classic tree runs are ready and waiting within the resort boundary. If your looking for a place to make the transition from the groomers to riding powder then this resort would be a great place to start.
Lunch options at Ikenotaira range from a classic ramen restaurant to small local family run places using local ingredients.
Touring is possible above the resort where incredible views of surrounding peaks open up before you dive back into the forest on the way back down.
We call this place Sugi for short. If you prefer leg burner length ski courses then this place is for you. Sugi can boast one of the longest ski runs in Japan with an 8.5 km run top to bottom. A modern gondola provides all weather comfort for the trip back up but when the sun comes out the views from this mountain are awesome.
Ungroomed courses on the upper mountain are a favourite for riders who are looking for that famous Japan powder experience, but the easily accessible sidecountry can get tricky for the uninitiated.
For backcountry enthusiasts this resort can allow a head start into some big mountain terrain above and beyond the resort boundary.
A few large restaurants offer typical Japanese style lunch near the gondola base station but a great selection of smaller places can also be found on the upper mountain.
If you've wondered what Japanese ski resorts were like before the secret got out then a little transfer over to Kurohime might be a perfect day for you. Weekdays can be very quiet here but if it's a powder day as well then your stars might have aligned.
Smaller in size but making up for it with fantastic terrain park features, the Kurohime runs steepen as you get closer to the top of the resort boundary.
Access to the limitless opportunity for steep backcountry riding above and beside the resort should be treated with caution- the powder can get ridiculously deep up there.
Authenticity oozes out of this place as soon as you walk between the old onsen village pensions and find yourself at the famous family run resort. Seki only has one course that is groomed which means that if riding deep powder is not your thing then maybe choose another location.
The small resort size and limited lift numbers are misleading when you realise the amount of diverse high quality terrain on offer. For the full Seki experience we suggest the lift ticket that includes lunch with great options at the one and only resort restaurant - you won't be disappointed. After a day or two without fresh snow Seki can get a bit chopped up so timing is key for a great day at this powder haven.
If 22 metres of cumulative snowfall in 10 weeks doesn't catch your attention then Lotte never will. This place regularly beats any resort in Japan and maybe the world for annual snowfall.
The type of big terrain on offer here is more like something you would find in British Columbia not coastal Japan but luckily avalanche control is well established thanks to some expat Canadian avalanche professionals.
After big overnight totals that can weigh in at around 100 cm, the resort often opens up its off piste slopes in stages to ensure time for the snowpack to settle. Once the famed Big Bowl does open, a short hike within the resort boundary leaves you in an incredible position with views of the Japan sea with some vast powder fields waiting below. Don't even think about ducking the ropes here as avalanches are common in closed areas and especially in the out of bounds back bowls.
The resort buildings are extensive and include a beautiful onsen that is included in your lift ticket price as well as up market fare for a fancy lunch but that will cost you a few extra yen.
Myoko Ski Resorts
Akakura Onsen Free transfer
Akakura Kanko Free transfer
Ikenotaira Free transfer
Suginohara 30 minute return 4000
Kurohime 45 minute return 6000
Seki Onsen 30 minute return 4000
Lotte Arai 1 hour return 8000
Tangram 45 minute return 6000
Madarao 1 hour return 8000
Time for drop off and pick up to be organised with staff the night before.
Note: Price per van not per person