Niyama Kogen3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    0%
World Nomads Travel Insurance

Niyama Kogen Hakodate
Niyama Kogen Hakodate
Looking across to Mt Hakodate
Looking across to Mt Hakodate
Powder lines are very easy to come by
Powder lines are very easy to come by
Niyama Kogen Ski Resort Hokkaido
Niyama Kogen Ski Resort Hokkaido
A detachable quad chair lift
A detachable quad chair lift
Some of the trees are rather tight
Some of the trees are rather tight
You may not always score typical Hokkaido powder
You may not always score typical Hokkaido powder
Some open off-piste areas
Some open off-piste areas
Niyama Kogen Japan
Niyama Kogen Japan
The region features great seafood
The region features great seafood
Indoor onsen at Hotel La’gent Plaza
Indoor onsen at Hotel La’gent Plaza
Room at Hotel La’gent Plaza
Room at Hotel La’gent Plaza
No one seems to mind if you ski off-piste
No one seems to mind if you ski off-piste
Views across to the sea
Views across to the sea
Niyama Kogen is close to Hakodate
Niyama Kogen is close to Hakodate
One of the beginner areas
One of the beginner areas
A basic cafeteria
A basic cafeteria
No competition for the powder
No competition for the powder
Check out the "crowds"
Check out the
Niyama Kogen Hokkaido
Niyama Kogen Hokkaido

Niyama Kogen

Niyama Kogen Hakodate The little Niyama Kogen Ski Resort is located near Hakodate, way down south in Hokkaido. Niyama Kogen is ideal for a quick stop-over for adventurous powder hounds when travelling between Hokkaido and Honshu, either via the car ferry or by train. Niyama Ski Resort is very close to the Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station (the new terminal for the Hokkaido Shinkansen).

Summary of Pros and Cons of Niyama Kogen

Pros
  • You might receive a few stares from the locals when you rock up at Niyama Kogen, so you’ll know you’ve really got off the beaten track.
  • You might have to share the powder with only a few other skiers and snowboarders, if that.
  • On clear days the Niyama Kogen Ski Resort offers lovely views across to Hakodate Mountain, Hakodate Bay, and across to Honshu.
  • Lift tickets are very cheap, and the cafeteria food is potentially the cheapest of any Japanese ski resort.

Cons

  • Niyama Kogen is just a small ski area, so there is only enough terrain to entertain powder hounds for half a day.
  • The lifts are very tired.
  • Unless temps are super cold, you may not experience typical Hokkaido powder at Niyama Ski Resort.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The amenities are rustic (and some are rusty).
  • Expect zero English to be spoken.

Niyama Kogen Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Niyama Kogen is just a small ski resort with only 10 courses and 4 lifts. Since its heyday it appears to have shrunk a bit, which is not atypical for little Japanese ski resorts as a result of the economic downturn. A couple of the old piste have “keep out” signs on the trail map, and these are potentially “closed” due to a lack of avalanche control undertaken (you’re unlikely to see a ski patroller).

The lower part of the ski area is mellow, and there is decent pitch in the middle and at the top. Officially the trail designation is 40% beginner, 40% intermediate and 20% advanced (the steepest on-piste gradient is 35%), and you’re highly likely to score fresh powder on the runs.

Whilst it’s likely that Niyama Kogen doesn’t have an official open terrain policy, off-piste skiing seems to be well tolerated. There are no ropes and some of the locals even ride under the chair lift (which is usually considered a big no no at most Japanese ski resorts). The top zone has an open area that provides steep but short lines. Tree skiing is also a possibility although the tree spacing is mostly very tight, and the skier’s right side provides some steep and gnarly shots if you’re up for it.

The lift infrastructure isn’t just tired, it’s exhausted. A detachable quad chair at the base is rusted, possibly in part due to its proximity to the sea. A slow fixed-grip double chair services the intermediate-advanced terrain, whilst double and single chair relics service the beginner terrain.

Niyama Kogen Snow

Despite being called Niyama “Kogen” (meaning highlands), the ski resort isn’t actually that high with elevations from only 130 to 630 metres (500m vertical). The slopes are mostly east facing to southeast facing which is also not conducive to high quality snow, so unless the temperatures are frigid, don’t expect typical Hokkaido powder.

Where is Niyama Kogen?

Niyama Kogen Ski Resort is located in the tiny town of Nanae, 23km northwest of Hakodate in southern Hokkaido. The ski area is only 4.5km northwest of the Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto train station, the new (shin) terminal for the Hokkaido bullet train.

The ski area is 350m from the Niyama train station. The train fare to get there from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto will barely make a dent in your wallet, but the trains are not very regular, so it may be easier to get a taxi. Or of course, driving is an easy way to travel to Niyama Kogen and the telephone number for GPS navigation is 0138-65-2000.

Hakodate Nanae Ski Resort is 16km to the northeast.

Accommodation

There is a very basic inn with onsen near the base of the ski resort if you’re game. Or you could stay at the deluxe Hotel La’gent Plaza which is located right next door to the Shin Hakodate Hokuto train station. This modern hotel has a few English speaking staff, onsen baths, massage services, great meals and convenient access to facilities at the train station.

Staying in the city of Hakodate is another option.

Hakodate Accommodation Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

The Niyama Kogen facilities and services are no-frills. There is a small ski school if you speak fluent Japanese, some antiquated looking rental equipment, and a cafeteria with incredibly cheap food.