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Photo By: Cara Lam
Largest City

Echigo Yuzawa

Join the pilgrimage to the snow mecca on Japan’s main island!

Long known for its hot springs and internationally known ski resorts, Echigo-Yuzawa area in Niigata Prefecture attracts over 6 million skiers each year. The more than 16 in skiing fields include popular ski resorts such as Gala, Kagura and Naeba that provide all the powder snow you need.

Only an hour away from Tokyo, it’s quite convenient. Echigo-Yuzawa can be easily reached via train, car, highway bus and shuttle bus. You will find lots of quaint local restaurants and decades-old architecture, plus the major attractions are all in walking distance from the JR station. Score!

Skiers from beginners, intermediate to advanced abilities flock to Echigo-Yuzawa, mostly for its soft, powder snow. Echigo-Yuzawa is also the venue for various large-scale skiing championships. To make winter sports even more exciting, the ski resorts often hold illumination events and fireworks in winter. Sliding down a colorful slope sure makes the whole experience even more magical.

Photo by: Cara Lam In town!

After a day on the slopes, reward your body with the mineral hot spring waters from one of the seven hot springs in the vicinity. If you’re looking for something different, know that Ponshukan operates a sake bath next to its sake museum at the JR station. If you haven’t been to a Ponshukan before, it is where you can try five cups of top-quality Niigatan sake, from more than 100 options, with ¥500. You will see a long line and full racks of luggage when you’re there — it’s that popular.

While you’re in the area, try the local dish called kenchin. It is a healthy, thick vegetable soup with usually mushroom, tofu, burdock root, Japanese radish, konjac jelly, potato and carrot in it. You can have it with udon or soba noodles.

Photo by: Cara Lam Kenchin soup.

All about nature

Thanks to its location in the Japan Alps, Echigo-Yuzawa a magnificent sight throughout the year. Ascend 1,000 meters via the Yuzawa-onsen ropeway up to Alp-no-Sato, where you’ll see over 1,000 different types of alpine plant species. The recommended-to-see attractions include skunk cabbages in spring, yellow lily in summer and the changing autumn leaves in fall.

If you want to camp, check out Daigenta Canyon. You will be surrounded by waterfalls and forests there. Get ready to hike, canoe or stand up paddle! You can enjoy a barbecue at the pits afterward, too.

How To Get There


2427-1 大字湯沢主水 湯沢町 Minamiuonuma District, Niigata Prefecture 949-6100, Japan

By train

Echigo-Yuzawa Station is about 80 minutes away from Tokyo on the Joetsu Shinkansen.

By car

It takes about two hours to drive from Tokyo on the Kanetsu Expressway. The closest interchange is Yuzawa IC. Note that there is very minimal public parking, even paid, in Echigo Yuzawa.  

Where To Stay

Echigo Yuzawa Hatago Isen
  • 2455 Yuzawa, Minamiuonuma-gun Yuzawa-machi, Niigata, 949-6101 Japan
  • ¥19,950 - ¥43,050
  • 4/5 (192 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Echigo Yuzawa Onsen Inamoto
  • 2497 Yuzawa, Minamiuonuma-gun Yuzawa-machi, Niigata, 949-6101 Japan
  • ¥12,150 - ¥31,599
  • 4.31/5 (289 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Echigo Yuzawa Onsen Sakuratei
  • 1926-4 Yuzawa, Minamiuonuma-gun Yuzawa-machi, Niigata, 949-6101 Japan
  • ¥14,300 - ¥44,000
  • 4.15/5 (439 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Shiki Yuzawa Quattro
  • 1926-4 Yuzawa, Minamiuonuma-gun Yuzawa-machi, Niigata, 949-6101 Japan
  • ¥33,000 - ¥40,700
  • 4.33/5 (146 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Yukemuri no Yado Yuki no Hana
  • 317-1 Yuzawa, Minamiuonuma-gun Yuzawa-machi, Niigata, 949-6101 Japan
  • ¥27,473 - ¥87,450
  • 4.49/5 (431 reviews)
  • 0.3 km

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