Lotte Arai4 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%

Lotte Arai Resort
Lotte Arai Resort
Arai gets dumped on with a lot of snow
Arai gets dumped on with a lot of snow
The Lotte Arai Resort food is very impressive
The Lotte Arai Resort food is very impressive
Lotte Arai Resort Hotel is ski-in ski-out
Lotte Arai Resort Hotel is ski-in ski-out
Arai Ski Resort: powder hound heaven
Arai Ski Resort: powder hound heaven
Village Station: base gondola lodge
Village Station: base gondola lodge
Lotte Arai is definitely not a flat ski area
Lotte Arai is definitely not a flat ski area
Lotte Arai has excellent lift infrastructure
Lotte Arai has excellent lift infrastructure
Lotte Arai Resort Niigata
Lotte Arai Resort Niigata
Gorgeous onsen complex
Gorgeous onsen complex
Lotte Arai has a little tree skiing and more sub-alpine terrain
Lotte Arai has a little tree skiing and more sub-alpine terrain
Part of breakfast at the beautiful Japanese restaurant
Part of breakfast at the beautiful Japanese restaurant
International snowsports school with lessons in English
International snowsports school with lessons in English
Tight tree skiing is somewhat rare at Lotte Arai
Tight tree skiing is somewhat rare at Lotte Arai
Night skiing at Lotte Arai includes intermediate terrain
Night skiing at Lotte Arai includes intermediate terrain
Indoor onsen at The Arai
Indoor onsen at The Arai
Lotte Arai Ski Resort has a lot of open terrain
Lotte Arai Ski Resort has a lot of open terrain
One of the swimming pools
One of the swimming pools
With big snowfalls, many of the small trees are covered
With big snowfalls, many of the small trees are covered
The ziplining is a rather adventurous activity
The ziplining is a rather adventurous activity

Lotte Arai

Lotte Arai Resort Japan

The Arai Ski Resort is a "new old" resort! Arai Resort is 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 things went awry, and like too many other Japan ski resorts, it had to cease 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, Arai was able to re-open under new ownership from Lotte in December 2017. The Lotte Arai Resort has been grandly refurbished, reinvigorated and reinvented. No expense has been spared, and it is now the new "IT" destination resort for discerning powder hounds and families.

There are only a couple of Japanese ski resorts that cater to the luxury ski market as well as the off-piste powder chasing crowd, and Lotte Arai Resort near Myoko is leading the charge here. Or if paying for luxury accommodation and food isn't within your budget, Lotte Arai is also great for a day trip from Myoko Kogen.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Arai Ski Resort

Pros
  • 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 Lotte Arai Resort Hotel at the base provides very easy access to and from the slopes. The variety and quality of cuisine at the hotel is sensational.
  • Lotte Arai Resort has an international snowsports school (Myoko Snowsports), offering group ski and snowboard lessons in English for kids (as well as private lessons for children & adults). There are only several Japanese ski resorts that offer this, so this is a huge pro!
  • Child care services are provided by the resort hotel, and along with tubing and trampolining, it adds to the family friendliness of Lotte Arai Resort.
  • The lift infrastructure is impressive and includes a roomy gondola and 2 fast hooded quad chairs.
Cons
  • Arai Ski Resort doesn’t have extensive piste terrain and intermediate riders in particular may get a little bored.
  • If you're looking for an unadulterated authentic Japanese village atmosphere, Arai may not be for you as the base area primarily consists of just a couple of luxury hotel buildings and a few shops.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The hotel accommodation and the facilities and services are luxurious, and are not suited to those on a budget ski holiday.
  • The food at the hotel also caters to discerning guests willing to pay more for an exquisite meal.

Arai Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Arai Ski Resort is long and reasonably skinny with a big 951 metres of vertical (329 - 1,280 metres). Like many Japanese ski resorts, there isn't a lot of piste terrain (only 11 "courses" ie runs), but there's extensive off-piste terrain. The Arai ski area is serviced by 5 lifts: a gondola; 2 hooded fast quad chair lifts; and 2 double chair lifts (one of them is a detachable lift).

The piste statistics are 25% beginner, 45% intermediate and 30% advanced, so there's 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, which includes a variety of open slopes, sub-alpine with light trees (including my "Happy Place"), and tree skiing. From the top lift you can hike up the additional 149m vertical to the summit for some extra freshies. Considering the potential for significant avalanche risk, these areas are opened and closed by the patrollers depending on the snowpack.

There are also a couple of areas within the resort boundaries that are roped off and permanently off limits. Unlike at some Japanese ski resorts where patrollers put up ropes for what seems like no good reason, these zones are aptly out of bounds considering the massive snowfalls and terrain traps.

Where is Lotte Arai Resort?

The Arai Ski Resort is in the Niigata Prefecture, only 21km north of Akakura Onsen of Myoko Kogen. To get there, you can catch the bullet train to Joetsumyoko train station, then get one of the free shuttles or a taxi for the 15km trip to Lotte Arai.

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 (it takes about 50 minutes).

Lotte Arai Shuttle

Arai Accommodation

The Lotte Arai Resort Hotel consists of two very conveniently located hotel buildings at the base of the ski area. The hotel offers deluxe western-style accommodations, a range of lovely dining options, lounge bars, a child care centre, onsen baths, indoor swimming pools, a gymnasium, and day spa facilities (coming soon). There is even a karaoke room if you really want to get your singing game on.

Lotte Arai Resort Hotel Bookings

Lotte Arai Hotel Packages

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 restaurant. You won’t go hungry!

Activities

Besides the skiing and snowboarding at the Arai Ski Resort, and the onsen, there are a few other Arai activities on offer. Indoor activities include bouldering walls for kids and adults, and trampolines. Or if you love going fast downhill, zip lining is another option - this is not for the faint of heart.

Tours That May Include Lotte Arai

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Pow Pow Japan Tour DETAILS
HOSTED (UNGUIDED) PRIVATE GROUP TOUR
Cultural Ski & Snowboard Adventure
From price based on 8-day sample itinerary, twin-share room (group of 6).
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,503
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Ski Japan's famous powder in conjunction with a rich cultural experience on this hosted tour. The tour is hosted by a local Japanese person who speaks fluent English; whilst the focus of the tours is primarily snow sports, you will experience the culture, food & festivities beyond the normal ski/snowboard adventure.
More
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Lotte Arai here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Myoko Powder Packages DETAILS
HOSTED & SEMI-GUIDED PACKAGES
7 Nights | 6 Days Lifts | 5 Days Guiding
2018-19 season rates: Sample price based on twin/double-share option based on 7-night sample package
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,436
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Get the best out of Myoko Kogen and nearby ski areas and chase the powder with a Powder Recon Myoko Kogen ski package. This hosted package includes accommodation at a quality Japanese hotel/ryokan. Great for families as well! The sample price is for 7 nights, but you can choose your length of stay.
More
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Lotte Arai here