Honshu, Japan

Naeba Ski Resort is a fantastic ski resort for families. A purpose-built resort area provides well designed facilites and infrastructure, and offers everything you need for a Japan ski holiday. Skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels will enjoy the terrain at Naeba and adjoining Kagura Ski Resort, and be in awe of the incredible Dragondola - the world's longest gondola.

Scout Loves

  • Endless on & off snow activities for the whole family
  • The incredible Dragondola - the world's longest gondola
  • Extensive range of facilities all under the one roof
  • Sipping on a cocktail and watching night skiing from the Chatelaine lounge
  • Night-skiing open until 10PM on Saturdays!

Scout Tips

  • Head into the town of Naeba for a good cultural experience & more traditional dining options.
  • Kagura has great beginner slopes as well as off-piste powder, and tends to be quieter than Naeba on the weekends.
  • Younger kids will love the Pandaruman Snow Park and the Wako Wako Family Snowland

Scout Review

Naeba is a puprose built ski resort in the Niigata prefecture of Japan with very easy access by Shinkanssen from Tokyo. Dominated by several long, large buildings interconnected with each other it's owned by Prince Hotels, a big hotel group that owns several ski resorts in Japan. Naeba is less frequented by westerners than other resorts so coming here will certainly be something a little different.

If large busy hotels aren't your thing, there are other options in Kagura or the nearby town of Yuzawa. The Prince hotel at Naeba is certainly great for families with plenty of family room options, fun facilities for kids and very easy access to the slopes.

Naeba is a relatively large ski area for Japan, with great piste runs and groomers and with terrain catering to all ability levels. The resort is linked to the Kagura Ski Resort to form a larger area called Mount Naeba. Kagura has three ski areas, and is connected to Naeba by the incredible Dragondola (the Naeba-Tashiro Gondola). 

Naeba Skiing

Freestyle skiers and snowboards will love the natural flow of the terrain at Naeba, and the resort boasts a decent vertical for some steeper options. The top lift offers great big mountain terrain and no trees, so perfect for advanced skiers to make some memorable fresh turns. The majority of the lower mountain caters to beginner to intermediate skiers, and can get rather busy on the slopes on the weekends. The two main Prince Gondolas are reliable and work well to access most of the terrain, however, Naeba also has several fast quad chairs and a few double chairs, which means the crowds are spread out quite evenly thoughout the resort area. 

A must-ride when in Naeba is the Dragondola - spanning 5.5kms it is the world's longest gondola (even bigger than Whistler's Peak-2-Peak!). It's a cruisy 20 minute journey between the resort, and the views are rather worth the trip alone. Over at Kagura, skiers can find some great off-piste skiing (allowed here!) and even better backcountry with offical gates for access. There is a great beginner area too, and the runs can be a lot less crowded than Naeba.

Naeba boasts excellent terrain parks, including a snow-cross course, as well as a kids snow park (Pandaruman Snow Park), an indoor ski area for the tiny skiers, and a family snow land (Wako Wako Family Snowland). Phew! Kids can partake in tubing and sledding at Pandaruman Snow Park, while over at Wako Wako, there are endless activities for the down days, including tubing, snowmobiling for kids 8 years and over, snow train, and a carousel. The indoor ski area is specifically designed to cater to the smallest skiers, with mellow slopes for easy learning.

Naeba is not a resort for powderhounds, with only 6m of snowfall annually and off-piste tree skiing generally frowned upon. Kagura receives slightly more, as the storms tend to release all the snowfall there before heading onto Naeba and it is slightly higher in elevation. The resort can also get really windy, with lifts occasionally on wind-hold. However, Naeba is open from 8am to 9pm daily, and until 10pm on Saturdays, so plenty of time to explore everything the resort has to offer.

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Naeba For Families

For families looking for a resort with all the bells and whistles, and endless activities for the whole family, Naeba has to be at the top of the list. Not only does the ski area offer fantastic terrain for beginners through to advanced skiers, there are plenty of areas that cater specifically to the kids. As part of the resort, you will find Pandaruman Snow Park, with a fenced off area with magic carpets for beginners, as well as tubing and sledding. For the little ones, the indoor ski area is perfectly designed to assist with learning to ski and snowboard, with mellow slopes and great facilities. The Wako Wako Snowland is an outdoor area adjacent to the base of the resort, offering a vast array of activities to keep everyone happy for an afternoon (or a whole down day!). 

The Naeba Prince Hotel is the main hotel complex at Naeba, and literally has everything you need for a family ski vacation. Endless variety of room configurations to suit any family (including interconnecting rooms), and extensive facilities - 23 restaurants, karaoke, rentals, retail shops, onsen, game centre, mahjong room, day spa, childcare centre, and kids recreation room! 

One of the only downfalls to Naeba is that the ski and snowboard lessons are only available in private options, and the childcare has no English-speaking carers. Otherwise, Naeba is one of the most family-friendly ski resorts we've visited at Scout!

Naeba Accommodation

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Located ski-in/ski-out at the base of resort area is the Naeba Prince Hotel, a purpose-built resort with well developed facilities and infrastructure. The hotel offers 1300 Western-style rooms (yes,1,300!), with a variety of configurations to suit any traveller, from family rooms to interconnected. There are varying standards in each wing of the hotel. 

The Naeba Prince Hotel has some of the most extensive facilities of any hotel complex in Japan - 23 restaurants, karaoke, rentals, retail shops, onsen, game centre, mahjong room, day spa, childcare centre, and kids recreation room! Choose from traditional izakayas, a New York Steak & Seafood restaurant, Chinese eateries, and Western buffets each evening, and enjoy a cocktail at the Chatelaine lounge - a stunning old fashioned lounge with unbeatable views of the slopes.

If you were after something a little more traditional, the nearby town of Naeba offers hotels and cosy pensions, however, they are a little further away from the ski area. It's a 15 minute walk to the slopes, and some pensions offer a free shuttle service. In the village, expect a more cultural experience, with fantastic dining including Korean BBQ, and cute izakayas.

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Resort Activities

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Pandaruman Snow Park, Pandarun House Indoor area, or the Wako Wako Family Snowland - take your pick from an array of activities that are sure to beat any bout of boredom at Naeba!

The Wako Wako Family Snowland is a popular choice, with snow tubing, snowmobiling, snow train, and a carousel. At the Naeba Prince Hotel, the Takuto Playland is a fun option for the smaller adventurers, whilst the older kids can enjoy the game centre, recreation room, and the indoor & outdoor swimming pools. For the adults, the day spa is a great way to spend an afternoon, or soak away the aches in the indoor or outdoor onsen.

Getting There and Around

Naeba is located in the Niigata Prefecture of Honshu (South Island of Japan), North-west of Tokyo. It's popular for day visitors as it's an easy 90 minute train ride from Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa Station, and an additional 45 minutes by resort bus. The Naeba Prince Hotel offers a complimentary express shuttle from the train station to the resort area. 

The Naeba Prince Hotel also offers a direct bus from Tokyo to Naeba, however, reservations are essential well in advance.

Everything at Naeba is within walking distance, and most of the facilities are located within the purpose-built Naeba Prince Hotel. The hotel complex it so large, it's almost a 15 minute walk from one wing to the other! The small town of Naeba is about a 15 minute walk from the ski area.

When To Go

The season runs from mid-December to early April, however mid-January is definitely the best time to visit Naeba. In January, the snow coverage is at it's best, and there are many facilities that don't open until peak season. Honshu receives the majority of its snowfall earlier in the season (January - mid-February) than the resorts up North in Hokkaido.

Facts & Figures

Mountain Information   Lifts   Terrain    
Base Elevation 2952ft / 900m Gondolas 3 Beginner 30%  
Summit Elevation 5869ft / 1789m Express Quads 7 Intermediates 40%  
Vertical Drop 2916ft / 889m Quad Chair 0 Advanced 30%  
Skiable Area 368ha/909ac Triple Chairs 0      
Annual Snowfall 236in / 6m Double Chairs 2      
Longest Run 2.4 miles / 4.0km Surface Lifts 0      
Operating Hours 8.00am – 9.00pm          
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