Koshi Kogen Ski Area
Between 340 and 444 meters above sea level, the Koshi Kogen ski area dominates the village and offers a magnificent panorama stretching to the sea of Japan. However, because I had skied for two hours, I had only a few minutes of a sun left, so I took some pictures.
Koshi Kogen has a chairlift, which allows you to climb 104 vertical meters in just over 5 minutes. And that’s the biggest difference between skiing in Japan and skiing in Europe: the two-seater chairlift has no safety barrier! It surprised me at first but did not change anything in the end.
Two choices of track are then available, an easier blue section on the left from the top of the chairlift and a red, steeper section, on the right. The two options meet for about a hundred meters at the bottom. On this particular Thursday afternoon, a dozen people, half skiers and half snowboarders, took advantage of the very good powder of the field.
If the village is not a ski destination in itself, Yamakoshi definitely has something to satisfy travelers in winter, starting with families who can enjoy skiing while discovering an endearing village typical of Niigata.
Everything is available for rent, from equipment for skiing (pants, coat, gloves, hat and mask for 1000 yen) to skis (1000 yen, snowboard also available.) First you have to go to the reception in the wooden building where there is also a café. This is where you can get your outfit and change. You can then get your skis near the bottom of the chairlift.
A lift day pass is 2000 yen per person but it is also possible to simply pay 200 yen with each use of the chairlift.
Snowshoe walk in Yamakoshi
Snowshoeing is a good way to explore the hilly village during the winter months. They are also available for rent for 1000 yen a pair but it is advisable to book early to ensure the presence of a local guide. The paths are very similar, especially in white weather!
In any case, you can cover the white expanses and reach the ridge of the hill for a really pleasant view of the surroundings. As it snows very regularly in Yamakoshi, almost daily, there are large expanses of powder to explore, only disturbed by the ephemeral traces of foxes and rabbits.
From the heights, it is possible to see the village center and the Koshi Kogen ski area on a hill a little further out.
On the day of the ride, the sun played hide and seek, alternating with moments of snowfall with cotinuous blowing wind. But despite that, the walk was enough to warm us up and the ride was nice. To discover Yamakoshi by snowshoe, it is best to contact the local tourist office.
Skiing, snow hiking and eating the delicious products of the village, make a stay in Yamakoshi the perfect winter get-away!
See access information in the article about the winter life of the village.