Snow and skiiers at Gala Yuzawa
Photo by Chris Kirkland

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 am in Tokyo, be grinding the slopes by 8 am, and get back into the capital by nightfall, in time to feed your cats/child/pet rock.

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A gondola at Gala Yuzawa
Photo by Chris Kirkland

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).

A view from the top of a slope at Gala Yuzawa
Photo by Chris Kirkland

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 Three Mountain lift pass, which gives you access to all three, is ¥6,200.

An adult day pass just for Gala Yuzawa will cost you ¥5,000 if you make your own way there (you can book Shinkansen tickets online or at a JR ticket office), but there are combo lift pass + transport packages available, which generally work out cheaper.

For example, you can get a one-day Gala Yuzawa package for ¥9,200 from Voyagin, which includes round-trip bus transport from Tokyo.

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 the 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.

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 January, 2020.

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