If you’re interested in Japan, you may already know that Kyoto, in the Kansai area, is one of the most popular destinations. With a long history, beautiful shrines, and active Geishas, Kyoto has been drawing tourists from all across the world. There are still many things left to discover, such as the quirky Kaleidoscope Museum or the lesser-known seven-deity Kyoto pilgrimage. But, we were also surprised to hear that it is a great base to discover excellent skiing and snowboarding resorts. All of which are located within easy access from Kyoto. Obviously, we had to check them out. We will also let you in on the secret. Simply keep reading to learn about the best skiing and snowboarding resorts near Kyoto, and you could be spending your next winter vacation in Japan.
1. 1. Kutsuki Snow Park
This small snow park is an ideal place for a few days of snow activities if you are in the Shiga prefecture, next to Kyoto. There are a number of pistes that are suitable for beginners and advanced skiers or snowboarders alike. In fact, 30% of the piste is dedicated to beginners, 50% intermediate and 20% advanced. This site is predominantly used by skiers, but you can rent both snowboard and ski equipment. There are three ski-lifts on site. It’s worth noting that there is no access to the slopes at night.
Kutsuki Snow Park
Address: 180-1 Kutsukimiyamaebo, Takashima, Shiga 520-1414
Website: Kutsuki Snow Park
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 4.45pm; Sat - Sun: 8am - 4.45pm
Price: 27 USD (per day)
2. 2. Hakodateyama Ski Resort
This site also has mixed beginner to intermediate levels and there are nine courses in total. The longest run is 700 meters (0.7km) long. Aside from skiing and snowboarding, we love that there are tonnes of other fun, snow-related activities to get involved with. Try the snow-shoe course, the children’s park, snow tubing, and even snow rafting. You can have hours of fun at the Hakodateyama Ski Resort.
Hakodateyama Ski Resort
Address: 4201-1 Hiokimae, Imazu-cho, Takashima City, Shiga
Website: Hakodateyama Ski Resort
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily, but subject to change)
Price: 45 USD (per day)
3. 3. Makino Kogen
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
With four pistes the maximum elevation point is 350 meters (1148 feet). It is worth noting that there are no ski lifts at this site, instead, you traverse the pistes on a moving elevator. There are no advanced level slopes so this site is best for beginners, with 90% of the slope perfect for beginner use. This site is also ideal if you have children; there are plenty of activities during the season to keep them entertained.
Address: Makino 931, Makino-cho, Takashima-shi, Shiga-ken, 520-1836
Website: Makino Kogen
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 9 USD (per day)
4. 4. Biwako Valley
Located near Lake Biwa, this is another great option for families that can spend hours of fun at the Snowland. Uniquely, there is an onsite snow merry-go-round, which we have never seen anywhere else before. At 70% of all runs, this site is geared mainly towards intermediate level guests, but beginners can enjoy their first intrepid steps on the snow with 20% of the runs. Advanced users can tackle the remaining 10% of the slopes. There are a number of ungroomed runs for those who prefer fluffier snow. In total, there are only nine courses, so it is much smaller than some of the other listings, but we think it’s ideal for a quick winter break as all of the amenities are conveniently located nearby.
Address: 077-592-1155 1547-1 Kido, Ootsu-Shi, Shiga-Ken
Website: Biwako Valley
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 49 USD
Accommodation near ski resorts
Located at the base of the mountains, this is an ideal ski base. The nearest ski lift is just 5.4 miles (8.7km) away and the hotel offers free shuttles when booked in advance. After those busy days zooming down the pistes, you’ll welcome a quiet and relaxing place to sleep and recover. There are a number of room options but the lake view is particularly beautiful. There is free parking, WiFi in the public areas and an onsite restaurant serving both Western and Japanese meals for lunch and dinner. A buffet breakfast is offered.
Grand Park Hotel Okubiwako Makino
Address: Takagihama Makino-cho 763-2
Facilities for disabled guests Shops (on site) Free WiFi Skiing Safety deposit box Guests have the option to cancel any cleaning services for their accommodation during their stay Staff follow all safety protocols as directed by local authorities Invoice provided
It is worth noting that the rooms in this hotel are all tatami-bedrooms. The hotel has a communal lounge and free parking facilities. We love that you can easily store your ski equipment and enjoy quick access to the slopes. All of the rooms include a desk and WiFi, and some boast mountain views. The bathrooms are shared. Before hitting the slopes, guests can enjoy an Asian-style breakfast. The nearest Biwako Valley Ski lift is 4 miles (7 km) from the hotel.
Biwako, Hira Hotel
Address: Otsu Kitahira 965 villageviewhira
Located just North of Biwa lake from Kyoto, this four-star hotel is a great holiday base. Alongside the onsite restaurant, free parking, and luggage storage, there is also an onsite sauna and concierge service. To enjoy a day away from the slopes, you can hire bikes or a car directly from the hotel. The front desk is available 24 hours a day. The Okuibuki Ski Area is 21 miles (34 km) away, but before you hit the snow, be sure to enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hotel first.
Another hotel that offers ski-to-door services is the Alvilla Omimaiko. This is a great option if you want to be near the slopes because the nearest ski lift is just a mile (1.6 km) from your front door and each of the rooms boasts mountain views. There is free WiFi throughout the site, an in-room Blu-ray player and private bathrooms. There is an onsite public bath. There is not a restaurant on site but there are a number of cafes and good eateries within walking distance of the property.
Address: Kitahira 985-9
This beautiful base is surrounded by countryside and it is particularly popular with couples. The property is more reminiscent of a villa than a hotel, and it features hot spring baths on site, which can be booked independently for an hour. It’s the perfect way to relax your muscles after a day on the slopes. The nearest ski zone is just 1.8 miles (3 km) away with a ski lift located at 5 miles (8 km). It is worth noting that all of the rooms in this property are Japanese style, so expect tatami mat bedding. The onsite cafe offers a Western-style breakfast each morning for guests to enjoy.
The slopes await
Kyoto is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. We love that these resorts are within easy access, and you can spend just a day-trip or a few days out on the slopes. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, winter sports in Japan is an absolute must-try. So, what are you waiting for? Book one of these top skiing and snowboarding resorts near Kyoto in Japan for your next winter holiday.
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