Minikami Houdaigi3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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Minakami Houdaigi Ski Resort
Minakami Houdaigi Ski Resort
The main base area at Hodaigi Ski Resort
The main base area at Hodaigi Ski Resort
The largest Minakami ski resort
The largest Minakami ski resort
Lovely hooded chair lift
Lovely hooded chair lift
Nice groomer at Minakami Hodaigi
Nice groomer at Minakami Hodaigi
There are a few options for daytime dining
There are a few options for daytime dining
Midweek crowds!
Midweek crowds!
Minakami Houdaigi Ski Resort
Minakami Houdaigi Ski Resort
Some of the runs don't drop fall-line
Some of the runs don't drop fall-line
The main cafeteria
The main cafeteria
A small gift and sundries shop
A small gift and sundries shop
Big wide beginner run
Big wide beginner run
Minakami Hodaigi Gunma
Minakami Hodaigi Gunma
Hodaigi Ski Resort
Hodaigi Ski Resort
Some of the black runs have decent pitch
Some of the black runs have decent pitch
Some of the trees are somewhat tight
Some of the trees are somewhat tight
Minakami Ski Resort
Minakami Ski Resort

Minikami Houdaigi

The Minakami Houdaigi Ski Resort feels like a locals’ mountain even though it is visited by lots of Tokyo-ites, and whilst Houdaigi (also spelled Hodaigi) is definitely not undiscovered by the Japanese, this Minakami ski resort is rather off the beaten track for westerners.

Mount Hotaka (Hotakasan) in Gunma has various ski resorts sitting on its flanks, yet the Houdaigi Ski Resort is located on the northwestern slope and many of the runs face due north, so the snow quality is particularly nice. For powder hounds, the Hodaigi Ski Resort is a great place to retreat to when the big storms roll in and close nearby Tenjindaira.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Minakami Houdaigi

Pros
  • Minakami Houdaigi and the surrounding areas provide a traditional Japanese experience.
  • The terrain is very well suited to beginners and intermediates, and you can get ski and snowboard lessons with an English speaking instructor as part of a Tenjin Guides Learning package.
  • If you have a car, it’s reasonably quick to get there from Tokyo (if the traffic is OK!).
  • The snow quality at this Minakami ski resort is generally very good to excellent.
Cons
  • There is no après ski in the Minakami area, although this is common to a lot of Japanese ski resorts that haven’t been westernised.
  • Weekends can get congested but the crowds are bearable.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Houdaigi has some lovely tight steep tree runs. The pros of tight trees are that the snow rarely sees the sun and many people don’t have the skills to ride them, so they don’t tend to track out too quickly.

Hodaigi Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Hodaigi Ski Resort might be the largest Minakami ski resort, but don’t get too excited because it’s small without being tiny. The ski area lay-out is compact and user friendly with 7 lifts, 16 courses, and 570 metres of vertical (830-1,400 metres).

Minakami Houdaigi has a spread of piste terrain that’s rated for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. Unlike many Japanese ski resorts, a few of the black runs are aptly rated and have a bit of pitch (one hits a maximum angle of 40 degrees) and as to be expected, they tend to mogul up pretty quickly.

Adjacent to these black runs are some fun tree lines; well fun if you love steep tight technical trees! As is often the case with Honshu ski resorts, off-piste skiing is officially not permitted but it seems like doing it in practice is tickety-boo not taboo.

Where is Minakami Houdaigi Ski Resort?

Minakami Houdaigi is situated 15km northeast of the town of Minakami in the Gunma Prefecture, 190km northwest of Tokyo, on the flanks of Mt Hotaka. The highly renowned powder hound destination of Tenjindaira is 17km (about a 20-25 minute drive) to the west.

Accommodation

There are a few Houdaigi lodgings at the base of the ski area such as Lodge Uenohara Yamanoie which offers simple Japanese style rooms and half board (breakfast and dinner).

Or you could stay at the Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku, which is 5km away from the ski field. This old ryokan sits on the very famous Takaragawa Onsen (one of the largest outdoor hot springs in Japan) and offers very traditional Japanese style tatami rooms.

Or you could stay at Tenjin Lodge near the base of the Tanigawadake Tenjindaira Ski Resort, where a free daily shuttle to and from the Houdaigi Ski Resort is provided.

Minakami Hotel Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

The ski resort amenities and services are middle of the road for a Japanese ski resort. There is an equipment rental shop, a small retail shop, and a few choices for dining at the base and mid-mountain. You might want to order the Dam Curry (in honour of the nearby dam) where they make a rice wall to hold back the flow of the curry!).

There are a few amenities for kids including child care, a kids’ snow play and sledding area, and the local ski school (private lessons only in English).

Tours That May Include Houdaigi

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Tenjin Guides Learn To Ski DETAILS
LEARN TO SKI PACKAGES
from 2 days/nights
From price based on 2 nights/days; quad-share tatami room for travel all season (group 4) including lessons, lift tickets, breakfast, dinner & transfers to ski areas.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 405
Ability: Beginner to Intermediate
This package is ideal for those wanting to learn to ski or snowboard away from the masses and at the same time not having to break the piggy bank. Packages are CUSTOMIZABLE from 2 days including instruction, lift tickets, lodging, breakfast, dinner, transport & can be optioned up with rental equipment as well.
More
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Minikami Houdaigi 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) for travel in January and February.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 828
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....
More
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Minikami Houdaigi here