Kagura - Reviews

Top Lift Open

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
11/10/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
Easy to find freshies Snowing hard
Thankfully the top lift at Kagura now opens much earlier in the season, so we had easy access to the coveted sidecountry and backcountry terrain at Kagura. The backcountry gate system was quite refreshing: good safety systems in place such as the beacon-opening gate, without having ridiculous rules in place (as found at a few other Japanese ski areas). And with just short skin lines, it was easy to source an abundance of freshies.

It was dumping with snow when we visited, which was early season in a crappy El Nino year, when some of the nearby Yuzawa ski resorts had very sparse cover. Thanks to its elevation relative to other Yuzawa ski resorts, the snow quality and cover was far superior.

See the Kagura overview page for our thoughts on the pros and cons and also see the Japanese ski resort ratings to see how we rate it against other ski areas.

Kogura

Tony
03/01/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Stayed in Yuzawa on the busiest weekend of the year New Years. Skied Kagura 3 days with my 10 year old kids. Very nice terrain for snowboarding. Good pitch not too steep not too flat. Best part is everyone goes under the ropes and gets any pow in sight! We had no snow day one and found some fresh by the sides of the runs. Day 2 had 18 inches and nobody there. Amazing! Day three went under the ropes and thru the nicely spaced trees and found almost all fresh. No lines at all. Only knock is no nice restaurants on the hill but probably as good as vail in that regard. The self serve noodles were great though. All in all amazing for being 77 minutes from Tokyo. Would also recommend Koji at hop step japan to set it all up. Great English and able to get rooms everywhere. Even met us at the ski shop!

Home of the Dragondolla

Tom Caulton
17/02/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    12-17
This mountain is very cool. We were fortunate to have 20-30 cm of new snow and we were not disappointed. Even though the top chair lift was not open, our guide from Epic Ski Adventures introduced us to some of the lightest powder snow I have ever experienced. Nothing like getting face shots every turn (as a 13 year old I seem to get more of those than the adults as I am closer to the ground!).  

Had an awesome lunch on the mountain and very reasonable. The Dragondolla was amazing and we were drooling at all the powder we were unable to cut up.

Dinner at Pension Heidi the second night was incredible and Mamma san as we called her was an fantastic host. Thumbs up!

Explore Kagura!

Stephen
16/02/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
We only had one day to explore Kagura which did not do it justice. This is actually a large mountain with a lot of varied terrain. Although well documented, the Kagura Pair Lift No 5 does not open until Feb 1 which seems a bit strange. It would easily be the best riding/skiing on the mountain when open. Would be great to get back at some time to do some detailed exploring. Once one was able to spend more time on the mountain then you would become more comfortable exploring the many tree areas. The trees are quite openly spaced on the higher reaches and with short hikes were ere able to access some nice terrain after a recent 20-30cm snowfall. This was mainly in the Pair Lift #3 and 4 areas. Generally a lot of terrain is flat/moderate vs steep that we are used to in NZ!.

We returned to Naeba on the Dragondola at the end of the day which was a highlight in itself. Given that we were later to travel to Niseko and board freshies there, I would say that the snow quality was on par with northern resorts although our experience was limited to two days in the area.

During our visit to Naeba and Kagura we encountered NO other westerners; a great way to open the trip. Access from Tokyo via train and bus was simple and efficient. Great value for money when taking into account lift prices.

Criminally underrated.

ipps
16/12/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
Kagura is fantastic.

I spent pretty much 60% of last season riding it and I have to say this place is much better than you might think by looking at those scores. The first thing is that the season is one of the longest in Japan. It starts early, it ends super late. I was on it in the middle of May last year and they still had a full top to bottom run. The temps were proper japanese may temperatures and yeah, it was a waterslide for a lot of it, but it was still running.

Second, the off piste lines are great fun. It's not a huge hike from the top lift, but it gives you access to a couple of ridge lines and some pretty gnarly faces.

Third, lift accessed slackcountry is exactly what this resort is all about. Patrol will not give you any aggro at all. This place is all about its slackcountry. You have lines shooting down the kagura side into some mad face shot tree riding, and then on tashiro side you have a mad open face into a tonne of little ravines and mini pipes to muck about on. When the top lift opens in late feb the area goes bananas.

Fourth, because its really not about its piste, and because the park is down in the mitsumata area, its totally uncrowded up the top around kagura. This is peak season. The rats stay in the park, the average rider heads to a more piste friendly resort, and only really the beginners on tashiro and the slackcountry lift riders are up the top playing in the trees. It all changes in march though once the park gets moved back up the hill and the other yuzawa resorts start closing down. Unfortunately this coincides with the opening of the top lift (or near abouts) and the high speed 1 lift at kagura starts getting super busy (almost 5 minute waits!).

Fifth. It gets puked on. Relentlessly. Its not a coincidence that almost everyone riding the top kagura part has some kind of powder board. I dont think theres another biggish resort in japan with a sheer disproportionate number of powder boards in one place. Even niseko has too many chancers trying to enjoy the park or the piste. Not at the top of kagura. Only powderkiddies.

What it lacks is a decent length line or a nice intermediate gradient. Its pretty soft terrain around the resort area in truth. Its why you then pop across the dragondola when you get bored and go hit up naeba for the afternoon. The two combined are great fun.

Dance to Entertain the Powder Gods

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
10/02/2011
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
If you’re based at Naeba it’s definitely worth heading over to Kagura for a day trip or two. Naeba can sometimes get a bit frenzied so it’s nice to escape to the serenity of Kagura. The only limitation of a day trip to Kagura is that it needs to be a reasonably quick day because of the short operating hours of the Dragondola, and because it takes a while to get to Tashiro and more time to get across to the centre of Kagura.

We unfortunately couldn’t check out the backcountry but it’s got a good reputation. It’s a shame that the best powderhound terrain at Kagura isn’t lift accessed for the major part of the season, although for those happy to hike, the upside is that freshies will be more abundant. Overall Kagura has some good off-piste skiing and good powder, but there are probably even better places in Japan to go off-piste skiing.

For more detailed ratings of Kagura and to see how it compares to other Japan ski resorts (as well as other ski resorts around the world) see our powderhounds resort ratings.