Kagura3.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
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    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Tenjindaira Backcountry Tours

Kagura Ski Resort Japan
Kagura Ski Resort Japan
Lots of Beginner and Intermediate Runs
Lots of Beginner and Intermediate Runs
Kagura - Mount Naeba
Kagura - Mount Naeba
Kagura: Next to Naeba Ski Resort
Kagura: Next to Naeba Ski Resort
Long Groomed Runs
Long Groomed Runs
Kagura Japan
Kagura Japan
Wada-Goya Lodge Kagura Ski Resort
Wada-Goya Lodge Kagura Ski Resort
Kagura Lunchtime Fare
Kagura Lunchtime Fare
Kagura sidecountry
Kagura sidecountry
Kagura Lake Views
Kagura Lake Views
More Groomed Runs
More Groomed Runs
Kagura Terrain Park
Kagura Terrain Park
Mitsumata Ropeway (Cable Car)
Mitsumata Ropeway (Cable Car)
Kagura Mt. Naeba
Kagura Mt. Naeba
Kagura Ski Resort
Kagura Ski Resort
Kagura Ski Terrain
Kagura Ski Terrain
Chairlift Rides Protected from the Wind
Chairlift Rides Protected from the Wind
Kagura Japan
Kagura Japan
Kagura
Kagura
Heading into the Kagura sidecountry
Heading into the Kagura sidecountry

Kagura

Kagura Ski Resort Mt Naeba To some the term “Kagura” means a dance to entertain the gods, but to powder hounds “Kagura” is a ski resort where powder hounds pray to the snow gods so that they can be entertained amongst the deep powder! Kagura has a reputation for receiving lots of powder so it seems that their prayers are answered!

Kagura is a three-in-one ski resort that incorporates the areas of Kagura, Mitsumata and Tashiro. The Kagura Ski Resort is also interconnected with Naeba Ski Resort via a super long gondola, the Dragondola, to form one large ski area referred to as Mt Naeba. Kagura is generally much quieter than Naeba, and the approach is much more relaxed and casual.

Kagura Ski and Snowboard Terrain At Kagura it’s a sea of green; there are green runs galore. Many of these are a little steeper than a standard beginner slope so they could be more aptly rated as “turquoise” (to match the beautiful colour of the Tashiro Lake). Subsequently Kagura is paradise for confident beginners and timid intermediates, where they can cruise from one end of the resort to the other.

The piste statistics are 45% beginner, 35% intermediate, and 20% advanced, but in reality it feels even more skewed towards beginner terrain because there are only a handful of red and black runs. Nevertheless Kagura attracts lots of experienced skiers and snowboarders due to the off-piste and backcountry opportunities, and thankfully ski patrol has an incredibly relaxed approach to tree skiing, so long as you do it at your own risk. The peak chair in particular offers a plethora of tasty treats. The only downside is that the top chair lift is only open from early January.

The lift infrastructure at Kagura isn’t quite as snappy as at Naeba, but it’s still pretty good. The only limitation with the lift capacity is that on weekends the ropeways up from the car parks may have long queues. The Mitsumata ropeway in particular is sometimes so packed it becomes a gropeway!

Where is Kagura Ski Resort? The Mitsumata ropeway of Kagura is located about 8km southwest of Yuzawa in the Niigata Prefecture, about 175km northwest of Tokyo. A further 6km south on route 17 is the Tashiro ropeway station, and a further 6km south is Naeba ski resort.

Kagura is easily accessible from Tokyo because the train from Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa on the Joetsu Shinkansen (bullet train) takes only 70 to 90 minutes. From the Echigo-Yuzawa train station the bus only takes 25 minutes to get to Mitsumata.

Kagura Accommodation
Kagura accommodation is available in the very small villages of Mitsumata and Tashiro in simple pensions and minshuku (basic Japanese bed and breakfasts), where there is very little to do in the evenings.

Kagura Accommodation Listings

Or you can stay in nearby Naeba accommodation such as the Naeba Prince Hotel or other hotels, and catch the dragondola over to Kagura.

Naeba Accommodation Listings

Or if you want a really nice Japanese experience you could stay in one of the central Yuzawa hotels.

Yuzawa Hotels Listings

Ski Resort Facilities Kagura doesn’t have the comprehensive amenities of Naeba ski resort, but the facilities at Kagura more than cover the basics. Standard ski and snowboard rental is available at little shacks near the top of the Mitsumata ropeway, at the base of the Tashiro ropeway, and at the Powder Station in the Mitsumata car park. This little shop rents out fat skis and sells a range of snow apparel, hardwear and lots of backcountry accessories.

Kagura has a ski school but you may be better placed with Snowcountry Intructors for lessons in English.

The ski resort has about nine on-mountain restaurants serving the usual Japanese ski resort fare. The rustic ambience of the Wada-goya lodge makes for an enjoyable lunch experience, but you’ll have to take off your boots to sit on the tatami so don’t wear your stinky socks!

If you’ve been skiing or boarding a bit in Japan you’ve probably had a chuckle at some of the Japanese that like to have a sleep at the lunch table! At Kagura there’s no need to take a kip at the lunch table because they have free nap rooms in the Mitsumata area.

Kagura Activities Unlike Naeba where activities are prolific, the off-slope activities at Kagura are scarce. It’s pretty much limited to having a soak in the Kai-do no Yu onsen.

Kagura is somewhat unique for Japan because heli skiing tours are offered by the Kagura Tourist Association. The heli ski tours are only run in mid-April and they follow the same course repeatedly, so they are very different to your average heli skiing operation.

A few other backcountry ski and snowboard tours are also run out of Kagura.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Kagura Japan

Pros
  • Those looking to cruise about on groomed runs will enjoy the mellow slopes of Kagura and the gorgeous views across the lake.
  • Naeba can sometimes get a bit crazy, so Kagura is a nice place to get away and enjoy the relative tranquility. The ski area is frequently uncrowded on weekdays and thankfully it’s largely undiscovered by the western hordes.
  • Kagura is a sizeable ski resort by Japanese standards, and when you include the inter-connected Naeba Ski Resort, it offers plenty of terrain variety.
  • Powder hounds will commonly find freshies because it snows a lot at Kagura, and the snow quality in the upper reaches of the ski area is excellent due to the high elevation relative to other Yuzawa ski resorts.
  • Off-piste, sidecountry and backcountry skiing and snowboarding is permitted.
  • Kagura is one of the best Yuzawa ski resorts for powder skiing.
  • Kagura has one of the longest ski seasons in Japan.
  • It’s quick and easy to get there from Tokyo. Whilst not quite as quick as getting to Gala Yuzawa, it’s also not as crowded.
Cons
  • The slopes are mostly mellow so experienced riders will have to head into the sidecountry to find adequate challenge.
  • The slopes are really flat in places, which may be challenging for inexperienced snowboarders.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Kagura is not a commercial glitzy resort, there is not much to the associated villages and they look a little run-down, and very little English is spoken. However this can be rather refreshing compared to the sterile and OTT Naeba ski resort.
  • Children 12 years of age and under ski for free, but it’s not the most family friendly ski resort for international travellers.

Tours That May Include Kagura

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Hokkaido - Honshu Expedition DETAILS
HOKKAIDO & HONSHU GUIDED BC TOUR
12 Nights | 11 Guided Ski Days
From price based on twin/triple-share.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 4,086
10% off advertised price. Must book via Powderhounds.com and pay deposit by June 15th 2017.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This ADVANCED+ ski and snowboard tour starts with 4 days in the Southwest of Hokkaido and then heads south to Honshu where you will ski or ride some of Tohoku's epic hidden gems. The tour includes some ski touring / split boarding (or snow shoeing) but you don't necessarily need to have any experience in this area.
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The Legendary Roadie DETAILS
HOSTED & GUIDED ROAD TRIP
11 Days | 10 Nights | 8 Days Skiing
From price based on twin-share, standard package.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,721
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Experience Japan powder like no other on this legendary road trip where you will visit up to 8 resorts in 3 prefectures; Nagano, Gunma & Niigata! Join a tour as a solo traveler, couple or small group. Max 6 spots per tour so get in quickly!
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Kagura here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Snowcountry Progression Packages DETAILS
GUIDED PROGRESSION PACKAGES
2 Nights | 2 Days Guided Instruction
From price based on twin/double-share room mid-week (Sunday night through to Thursday night) and is based on a 2-day/night package.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 491
Book by July 31, 2016 and lock in last years rates
Ability: Intermediate to Strong Intermediate
Improve your skiing & snowboarding skills with a qualified instructor whilst visiting some of Japan's fabulous ski areas (11 to choose from) in the Echigo-Yuzawa region. This package is ideally suited to low intermediate and above skiers and boarders who want to improve skills on the piste & in powder.
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Kagura here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Tenjindaira Backcountry Tours DETAILS
ADVANCED BACKCOUNTRY TOURS
Fully guided - from 3 days/nights
From price based on 3 nights/days; twin-share tatami room (group 3).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 837
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This tour is for hard-core skiers and boarders wanting to ski & ride some of the deepest and steepest terrain in Honshu Japan. Whilst some of the terrain is accessible by lift, there will be a degree of hiking / touring involved. Snowboarders will require either a split-board or snow shoes....
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Tanken Explore DETAILS
CHASE THE BACKCOUNTRY POWDER
9 Nights | 8 Days Guided Skiing / Riding
From price based on a twin share room (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 2,867
5% discount off advertised price if you book before July 15 2017
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Chase the powder around the Nagano and Niigata Prefectures where there are sooooo many ski resorts to choose from. This tour has the flexibility to pick the best area on any given day & from there you'll explore the backcountry with a lead and tail guide.
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Kagura here