The Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort is located in Hokkaido Japan, a long way north of the high profile ski resorts where the Aussie hordes typically gather. Nayoro Piyashiri, or Piyashiri for short, couldn’t be more different to the likes of Niseko and Rusutsu. There is fresh powder galore, the ski resort is low key, the skiing and lodging is very affordable, barely any English is spoken, and if you want to eat western food, then you’ll need to go to Niseko
The Nayoro Piyashiri Resort claims to have the best snow in Hokkaido (and we claim that Hokkaido has the best snow in the world!), in part due to the frigid temperatures in northern Hokkaido. The resort is probably right on both counts!
Nayoro Piyashiri can be a fun spot for powder hounds to hang out for a day or two, but it’s definitely not a destination resort where you’d want to stay for a week.
Summary of Pros and Cons of Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Area
- Lift tickets are super cheap and the Nayoro accommodation is very inexpensive.
- Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort is so far off the ski tourism radar that you’re unlikely to see gaijin or others competing for the fresh powder.
- The ski resort is uncrowded. To provide some perspective, the Sapporo ski resorts are not that crowded and Sapporo has a population of 1.9 million. The little city of Nayoro only has a population of 30,000 people and many of them can’t afford to ski.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
- Like most Japanese ski resorts, the terrain isn’t very large or very steep, so the terrain isn’t likely to hold the attention of advanced riders for too long.
- The lifts are not modern or fast, which helps to keep the crowds away.
- It is mighty cold which keeps the snow pristine, but the temps have the potential to freeze your bits and bobs off if you’re not properly equipped.
- Nayoro Piyashiri is a bit hard to get to, with the upside being the lack of punters skiing the powder that belongs to only you!
- If you’re looking for a family friendly destination resort with bells and whistles, then Piyashiri skiing probably isn’t for you.
Nayoro Piyashiri Ski and Snowboard Terrain
Along with hundreds of other Japanese ski resorts
, Nayoro Piyashiri is modestly sized with only 4 double lifts and 9 courses (ie trails). The ski area has a reasonable vertical drop of 480 metres from 673 to 193 metres, so there’s definitely no fear of getting altitude sickness, possibly just white line fever!
And like most other ski resorts in Japan, the terrain is below the treeline (although the vegetation gets a little sparse towards the top) and not particularly steep. The steepest on-piste slope is only 32 degrees and there are only 2 black marked trails. The rest of the courses are a spread of beginner and intermediate groomed slopes that run almost the full vertical of the ski area.
The real pleasure for advanced riders is in the trees in both the off-piste and vast sidecountry areas. Thankfully ski patrollers are unlikely to chase you, firstly because they’re not expecting you to go off-piste, and secondly because there may not be any ski patrol around!
In the Ainu language Nay Oro means "in the middle of the valley” but it should mean “bloody freezing”! The Nayoro area is one of the coldest spots in Japan, and during the height of winter the temps can drop to minus 30 degrees Celsius. At the base of the ski area the resort has a big thermometer that proudly displays how chilly it is!
So the upside is that the snow is super chilled and super fine blower powder, where the chances of making a snowball are slim. The slopes are pretty much south facing which usually spells disaster for a northern hemisphere ski resort, but it doesn’t matter considering how far north Piyashiri is.
The Nayoro Piyashiri ski season typically goes from mid December to early April.
Where is Nayoro Piyashiri?
The Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Resort is 89km north of Asahikawa
in Hokkaido Japan, a drive that takes approximately 1:30 hours plus depending on road conditions. It’s 8km northeast of the little city of Nayoro.
Nayoro Piyashiri ski area is located in far north Japan; 168km south of Wakkanai that is situated at the very top of the Hokkaido island where the ferries to Rishiri Island depart from.
The ski area sits on the southern flank of Kudoyama (Mt Kudo), not far from Mt Piyashiri.
The easiest way to get there is via car (telephone for GPS navigation is 016 54-2-1180) and parking is free. The ski resort is only 4.7km from Nisshin train station on the Soya Honsen line, and there is some sort of bus service that goes from the station and nearby Nayoro, but good luck trying to figure it out!
Most people visiting Nayoro Piyashiri are likely to stay in an Asahikawa hotel
and commute for the day. Otherwise there is a hotel near the base of the ski resort or various hotels in the city of Nayoro.
Nayoro Accommodation Listings
Guest House Nisshin
is ideal if you’re looking for super cheap accommodation. It is located 4.5km from the ski area and only 1 minute walk from the JR Nisshin train station. The guesthouse has beds in dorm rooms and bathrooms are shared.
Ski Resort Facilities
A cafeteria is located near the base, serving up typical cafeteria fare at dirt-cheap prices. Further up the hill is the very cute Log Panorama restaurant that’s ideal for a coffee (if you’re game!) and to soak up the views.
The ski resort offers ski and snowboard lessons if you speak fluent Japanese, and ski and snowboard rentals are available if you just want basic equipment.
The activities at Nayoro Piyashiri are mostly centred around the skiing and snowboarding. For sightseers, there are snowmobile-towed sleds that head up to the top of the mountain to enjoy the scenery.
Otherwise there is sledding or banana boat riding, or you can have a soak in the Nayoro Onsen Sanpira.
Just down the road are a couple of ski jumps where you may get a chance to watch the crazies in action.