- Gala Yuzawa’s 2023–2024 season: December 16, 2023 to May 6, 2024
Winter hours: 8 am to 4:30 pm
Spring hours: 8 am to 4 pm
One-day pass: ¥6,500 in person, ¥5,800 online
Gala Yuzawa is a decent skiing and snowboarding resort in Niigata Prefecture. It’s one of many in the area, but what sets it apart is that it has its own bullet train station (aptly named Gala Yuzawa Station) — and it’s only 90 minutes away from Tokyo. That means you can hop on a train just after 6 a.m. in Tokyo, be grinding the slopes by 8 a.m., and get back into the capital by nightfall, in time to feed your cats/child/pet rock.
Who should visit Gala Yuzawa?
The place is well suited to beginners, with a range of gentle slopes (and a snow sledding slope!) in the central area. There are some intermediate options too, with a couple of expert courses in the northern and southern parts of the resort. There is also a 2.5 km downhill course — a fun feature aimed at beginner-intermediate snowsters (yes, that is a word now).
Gala also has a school with English-speaking instructors. The school offers both private and group lessons, ideal for those with a bit of snow shyness. If it’s your first time on the slopes, Gala is definitely a welcome entry point.
How much is it to ski or snowboard at Gala Yuzawa?
It’s a pretty small resort, though when the connected Yuzawa Kogen and Ishiuchi Maruyama resorts are also open there’s a nicer variety of skiing to be had. A one-day pass is ¥5,800 and a half-day pass is ¥4,600.
If you get one of those, the only thing you need to organize separately is gear — you can bring your own, or rent it there (you can select it as an add-on to your resort package).
Accommodation near Gala Yuzawa
If you want to make an overnight trip of it, hotels can be found near Echigo-Yuzawa Station, which is one stop away from Gala Yuzawa Station. Yuzawa has heaps of hot springs, making it a grand old place to kick back and relax.
What facilities are available at Gala Yuzawa?
Hitting the slopes can be tiring work, so Gala Yuzawa also has plenty of space to kick your feet up. Among the facilities in the resort are a large indoor pool and hot spring where you can shrug off the snow chill. Entry is ¥1,000 before 3pm, or ¥1,300 after, with a towel set included. If you’re looking for the cheapo option, there’s also a free-to-enter relaxation space on the 3rd floor of the Ski Center with benches and massage chairs, as well as a children’s play area on the 2nd floor.
If you’re in the mood for a bite, there are several restaurants offering Japanese light bites scattered around the Ski Center, Rest Area, and the North Area.
If you’re looking to bring your own gear from home, there’s also a heavy luggage counter on the 3rd floor of the Ski Center where you can collect and store your board or skis.
Is there an all-in-one package I can buy for a trip to Gala Yuzawa?
Unfortunately not. While Gala Yuzawa does have a lot of space to ski and places to relax, there are no hotel facilities on site. You would have to book a seperate hotel, and then pay for lift tickets for each day you’re visiting.
I’m a more experienced skier/snowboarder. Is Gala Yuzawa worth a trip?
Absolutely! While the majority of courses at Gala Yuzawa are aimed at beginner and intermediate level participants, you’re not going to be left out. The South Area has 3 out of 5 of its slopes ranked as advanced level courses, so there’ll be some challenges to sink your teeth into.
Can I drive to Gala Yuzawa?
You definitely can! While Shinkansen might be the quickest option, Gala Yuzawa is very accesible by road. If coming from Tokyo, the resort is about 3km from the Yuzawa I.C. exit on the Kan-Etsu Expressway. Gala Yuzawa has a parking area with space for around 400 cars, with free all-day parking.
Want to explore other options for skiing and snowboarding near Tokyo? See our guide to all the cool places to hit the slopes.
Though we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Pass prices may vary depending on the time of year. This post was first published in December 2015. Last updated in November 2023 by Shyam Bhardwa.