Charmant Hiuchi3.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%

Charmant Hiuchi Snow Resort
Charmant Hiuchi Snow Resort
Charmant Hiuchi is good for powder hounds
Charmant Hiuchi is good for powder hounds
Views across to the sea
Views across to the sea
Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort Niigata
Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort Niigata
Early January snow walls
Early January snow walls
Cute log day lodge at the top
Cute log day lodge at the top
A great spot for lunch
A great spot for lunch
The log day lodge at the top
The log day lodge at the top
Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort Japan
Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort Japan
Only competition for fresh tracks is with animals!
Only competition for fresh tracks is with animals!
Base facilities
Base facilities
The day lodge is sort of modern
The day lodge is sort of modern
A small retail shop
A small retail shop
Equipment rentals
Equipment rentals
The cafeteria offers views up the slopes
The cafeteria offers views up the slopes
Classic Japanese ski resort fare
Classic Japanese ski resort fare
Charmant Hiuchi lounge
Charmant Hiuchi lounge
Charmant Hiuchi day lodge
Charmant Hiuchi day lodge
Views from Charmant Hiuchi Snow Resort
Views from Charmant Hiuchi Snow Resort

Charmant Hiuchi

The Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort in Niigata is small, particularly on paper, so it would be pretty easy for a powder hound to dismiss this as just another pokey little Japanese ski resort that’s only suitable for the local beginners. Don’t write off Charmant Hiuchi though, because it’s a snow sanctuary that frequently gets puked on, and it’s not completely mellow.

Best of all for powder hounds, the Charmant Hiuchi ski area (Shulman Hiuchi) is delightfully undiscovered, in part because there are so many larger destination ski resorts that are quicker to get to from Tokyo. Charmant Hiuchi is ideally visited as a day trip from Hakuba, Myoko Kogen or Lotte Arai.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Charmant Hiuchi

Pros
  • Charmant Hiuchi has the essential ingredients for a great powder hound destination for a day trip:
    • The ski area generally gets huge snowfalls and snow bases in excess of 5 metres!
    • Many of the slopes are north facing.
    • You can pretty much ski or snowboard the entire resort and the sidecountry; lots of great tree runs.
    • Charmant Hiuchi isn’t on the mainstream powder hound radar and it’s a bit out of the way so it’s generally very quiet, especially on weekdays.
  • There are beautiful views of the sea on fine days.
  • Cheap lift ticket combos are available that include a lift pass, lunch and an onsen (down the road).
Cons
  • The snow can be very deep but the powder is sometimes rather coastal, so fresh is best.
  • The terrain size is pretty small and if it’s not dumping with snow, then boredom may set in rather quickly.
  • There is no accommodation on-mountain.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The staff tend not to use the grooming machines on powder days.
  • Don’t expect any or much English to be spoken at the ski area and surrounding towns.

Charmant Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Charmant Hiuchi is a bit of a pee wee ski resort, with only 3 lifts (1 quad chair and 2 pair lifts), 7 trails, and 96 hectares of piste terrain. At least it has decent vertical (510m, 501-1,009m) but it’s still pretty small and you can ski most of the mountain off the main quad lift.

Officially the trail stats are 20% beginner, 45% intermediate, and 35% advanced. In reality the slopes are not ideal for novices, and intermediate riders are likely to get bored very quickly. Advanced riders that want to stay on-piste (god knows why!!) will get bored even quicker, even though one of the runs has a pitch of 37 degrees at one point.

Like a lot of Japanese ski resorts, the real fun for advanced and expert riders is in the off-piste and backcountry areas. The tree skiing across the resort includes the typical deciduous trees, evergreen pines, and easy to manoeuvre shrubbery. Of course, the latter is often not even visible when the snow base is at its peak!

Where is Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort?

The Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort is 33km southeast of the coastal town of Itoigawa in the Niigata Prefecture of Honshu, and 103km northwest of Nagano City. No is the closest train station, which is 16km northwest of the ski resort. It’s close to Myoko and Lotte Arai as the crow flies.

Your best bet to get there is to have your own rental car or a guide who provides transport.

Accommodation

There is no accommodation at the base of the ski hill. The closest lodgings are in little villages on Highway 246 such as the Gongenso Hotel at Maseguchi Onsen.

Or the town of Itoigawa (33km away) has inexpensive hotels and is a good spot to stay if you’re road tripping to or from Hakuba. Joetsu (46km away) has a range of hotels including deluxe hotels and budget capsule hotels for the fellas and could be a place to stay if you also want to hit up Lotte Arai Resort. Or you can visit Charmant Hiuchi as a day trip from your Hakuba accommodation, Lotte Arai accommodation, or Myoko Kogen accommodation.

Itoigawa Accommodation Listings
Joetsu Hotel Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

The CharMant Hiuchi Snow Resort is somewhat unique in that it opened post the bubble era, so unlike many other Japanese ski resorts, some of the amenities are relatively modern (don’t get too excited though!).

Centre House at the base of the ski resort hosts most of the facilities and services, including ski and snowboard rentals, a kids’ play room (requires adult supervision), retail shop, rest room, and lockers. The restaurant offers very inexpensive fare that’s pretty typical for a Honshu ski resort and there is a lovely log cabin at the top that serves cafeteria style food. A photography service is provided and Charmant Hiuchi has a ski school, but don’t expect any of the instructors to speak fluent English.

Tours That May Include Charmant Hiuchi

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 1,487
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 Charmant Hiuchi here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Hakuba Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS from HAKUBA
For PRIVATE & MIXED GROUPS of up to 5 people
From price based on a group touring (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 162
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are in the HAKUBA area you can't go past a day or more of guided skiing or snowboarding in the backcountry or sidecountry. Tours are for PRIVATE or MIXED GROUPS of up to 5 guests. So get a group together or join a group as a solo traveler, couple or small group.
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Myoko Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS from MYOKO
For PRIVATE & MIXED GROUPS of up to 5 people
From price based on group tour per person.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 162
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are in the MYOKO area, you can't go past a day or more of guided skiing or snowboarding. The area (& also other nearby resorts) is huge & some of the best skiing is outside of the resort boundaries which should only be accessed with a guide. Bring your own group (of up to 5) or join a group as a solo/small group
More
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Charmant Hiuchi here

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