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The Lotte Arai Resort has some great skiing terrain
The Lotte Arai Resort has some great skiing terrain
The base area of Lotte Arai Resort: artist's impression
The base area of Lotte Arai Resort: artist's impression
Arai Ski Resort Japan
Arai Ski Resort Japan
Plenty of open powder bowls
Plenty of open powder bowls
Lots of sub-alpine terrain
Lots of sub-alpine terrain
Deluxe accommodation
Deluxe accommodation
Western style hotel with Japanese touches
Western style hotel with Japanese touches
The hotels offer spacious accommodation
The hotels offer spacious accommodation
Snowboarding Arai Resort
Snowboarding Arai Resort
Arai Resort Japan
Arai Resort Japan
Lotte Arai Resort Japan
Lotte Arai Resort Japan
Base of Arai Resort: artist's impression
Base of Arai Resort: artist's impression
Various dining options
Various dining options
Lounge bar at one of the Arai hotels
Lounge bar at one of the Arai hotels
Lotte Arai Resort
Lotte Arai Resort
Various hotel dining options
Various hotel dining options
Large western style beds
Large western style beds
Communal spaces
Communal spaces
An upmarket lodging experience
An upmarket lodging experience

Arai

Arai Ski Resort Japan

Arai Ski Resort is a “new old” resort! Arai Resort was somewhat unique for a Japanese ski resort in that it was initially built after the bubble economic era and opened in 1993 as the very luxurious Arai Mountain Resort and Spa. What wasn’t unique for Arai Ski Resort was that the bubble burst, and like too many other Japan ski resorts, it had to close operations in 2006 (sadly closing with a snow base of 6 metres!). Now that skiing in Japan is on the increase, particularly with international guests, the fantastic news is that Arai is opening again and has been refurbished, reinvigorated and reinvented. The lavish Lotte Arai Resort will reopen its “doors” in December 2017 and is set to become the new “IT” destination resort for international powder hounds and families. Or in the least, it should become a great day trip option from nearby Myoko Kogen.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Arai Resort

Hopefully the Powderhounds will review the Arai Resort in January 2018, but here’s some on-paper pros and cons.

Pros
  • Lotte Arai Resort has an international snowsports school (Myoko Snowsports), offering group ski and snowboard lessons in English (as well as private lessons). There are only several Japanese ski resorts that offer this, so this is a huge pro!
  • Child care services are provided by the resort hotels, and along with a kids park and tubing, it adds to the family friendliness of Lotte Arai Resort.
  • Arai Resort, like the other Myoko resorts, gets dumped on with lots of snow – an average of about 15m+ of Japow per season.
  • Somewhat rare for a Japanese ski resort, the Arai skiing includes some above treeline terrain (sub-alpine) in wide open powder bowls.
  • The resort has some avalanche controlled areas where off-piste skiing and snowboarding is permitted.
  • The upscale hotel accommodations at the base provide very easy access to and from the slopes.
Cons
  • Arai Ski Resort doesn’t have extensive piste terrain and intermediate riders in particular may get bored.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The base area has a couple of luxury hotels with plenty of classy facilities and services. If you’re looking for an unadulterated authentic Japanese village, or a budget ski holiday, Arai may not be for you.

Arai Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Arai Ski Resort is long and reasonably skinny with only 11 runs and 388 acres of skiable terrain (probably only counting the piste in this statistic) across a big 951 metres of vertical (329 – 1,280 metres). The terrain is serviced by 5 lifts: a gondola; 2 quad chair lifts; and 2 double chair lifts.

The piste statistics are 25% beginner, 45% intermediate and 30% advanced, so that’s probably enough variety for beginners, but it equates to only 4 blue runs for intermediates. At least the blue runs are nice and long and likely to provide some lovely thigh burn.

The avalanche controlled off-piste areas are mostly towards the top of the resort and officially split as 10% intermediate and 90% advanced. The terrain includes a variety of open slopes, sub-alpine with light trees (including my “Happy Place”), and tree skiing. There are also large parts of the terrain within the resort boundaries deemed as off limits. From the top lift you can hike up the additional 149m vertical to the summit for some extra freshies.

Arai Snow

Arai Resort is located only about 22km from the coast, so the storms bring plenty of moisture from the Sea of Japan. It could be assumed that Arai receives a little more snowfall than Akakura and other Myoko ski resorts that are slightly further inland. Many of the Arai ski slopes face east, so the powder is reasonably well maintained, except near the base (which is at only 329 metres) where the snow has a tendency to soften easily when temps rise.

Where is Lotte Arai Resort?

The Arai Ski Resort is situated on Mt Ohgenashi in the Niigata Prefecture of Honshu Japan, only 21km north of Akakura Onsen of Myoko Kogen. It’s in the same vicinity as the Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort, although the two resorts are not particularly close by road.

To get there from Tokyo, you can catch the bullet train to Joetsumyoko train station which takes about 110 minutes. From Narita Airport the train trip via Ueno takes about 180-200 minutes (see Hyperdia for train timetables). Lotte Arai Resort is 15km southeast of the Joetsumyoko train station, and from there you can get one of the free shuttles or catch a taxi.

To get to Arai from Myoko Kogen, you can head there as part of a guided tour or there’s a Myoko shuttle that does a couple of trips a day between Akakura Onsen and Arai Resort (takes about 50 minutes).

Lotte Arai Shuttle

Arai Accommodation

Arai Resort has two very conveniently located hotels at the base of the ski area. Both hotels offer deluxe western-style accommodations, a range of dining options, shops and other amenities. The base area has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, indoor and outdoor onsen baths, gymnasium and day spa facilities.

The Arai has 149 hotel rooms and a child care centre. The Lodge has 108 upscale rooms and a bar, lounge, and karaoke if you really want to get your singing game on.

Lotte Arai Resort Hotel Bookings

Or see package options here >>

Facilities & Services

In addition to the facilities at the hotels, Arai has very well developed amenities for skiers and snowboarders. Ski and snowboard lessons with English speaking instructors are provided by Myoko Snowsports, either in group or private format. Kids from 3 years of age can have lessons and adaptive ski school is also provided.

High quality ski and snowboard rentals are available at the gondola base building, where there’s also a food court. At the top of the gondola there is another food court and a restaurant. You won’t go hungry!

Ski lodging & accommodations

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