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Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen


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Known for its significant annual snowfall of nearly 4 meters each year, a record in Japan, the village of Yamakoshi in Niigata Prefecture is also the place for outdoor activities.

The tiny ski area makes Yamakoshi an ideal fun destination for families. And, it is also possible to explore the surrounding hills in snowshoes to discover stunning and unpublished views of the snowy Japanese surroundings! All equipment, ski or snowshoes, is available for rent.
Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

 

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.

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen
The unique chairlift of the domain.

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

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.

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen
Give of one’s person for the article.

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

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.

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

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.

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen
Where you can rent your ski suit.

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!

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

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.

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen
A rabbit has passed recently!
Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen
Changing weather and white coat!

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

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.

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

Skiing, snow hiking and eating the delicious products of the village, make a stay in Yamakoshi the perfect winter get-away!

Ski and Snow-shoe experiences in Yamakoshi at Koshi Kogen

 

See access information in the article about the winter life of the village.