Seki Onsen3.5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Myoko Backcountry Powder Tour

Seki Onsen Myoko Japan
Seki Onsen Myoko Japan
Deep Seki powder
Deep Seki powder
The main street of Seki Onsen
The main street of Seki Onsen
Seki Japan: plentiful powder
Seki Japan: plentiful powder
A weekend powder day lift line
A weekend powder day lift line
Looking down to the village
Looking down to the village
Seki has some nice steep terrain
Seki has some nice steep terrain
Off-piste skiing Seki Japan
Off-piste skiing Seki Japan
The lower lift
The lower lift
The top chair lift
The top chair lift
One of the piste runs
One of the piste runs
Early season conditions
Early season conditions
The mid-mountain restaurant
The mid-mountain restaurant
Seki Onsen village
Seki Onsen village
Seki Onsen Myoko
Seki Onsen Myoko
Seki Onsen Japan
Seki Onsen Japan
Waiting for the lift to open at 9am
Waiting for the lift to open at 9am
Nice powder!
Nice powder!
The deluxe Uguisu no Hatsune Ryokan
The deluxe Uguisu no Hatsune Ryokan
The walkway between the main street and the slopes
The walkway between the main street and the slopes

Seki Onsen

Seki Onsen Ski Resort

Seki Onsen is one of the Myoko ski resorts, and an off-piste haven for powder hounds. Seki Onsen Ski Resort attracts a lot of hype for its steep tree skiing and the masses of snow that bestow the ski area; somewhere in the realm of 14.5 to 16 metres on average per season! In some respects Seki lives up to the hype, but in others it just doesn’t stack up. It’s definitely steep and deep, but it's also rather petite!

Seki Onsen is an ideal spot to visit for a powder day or two from Akakura Onsen (the main village of Myoko Kogen), or you can stay in the Seki Onsen village for a few days if you want to experience the real Japan and stay off the well beaten tourist path. Otherwise Seki is ideal as part of a multi-day tour.

Seki Onsen isn’t really a “resort”. It’s a little ski area that is family owned and has only a handful of staff, very limited infrastructure, and no bells or whistles (or ski patrollers with a whistle for that matter).

Seki Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Seki Onsen ski area is just a wee little thing and it doesn’t take long for the handful of locals to rip up the in-bounds powder. To give you an idea of the size, it officially has 4 runs (courses), 310 metres of vertical (900 – 1,210 metres), and 2 little lifts. The top lift is a single chair (fondly known as a suicide or pizza box chair) and it's not always open. And on a big powder day it can take them a while to open the bottom chair considering the massive snow depths and the lack of sophisticated machinery to dig the chairs out.

With official trail stats of 20% beginner, 50% intermediate and 30% advanced, you could be sucked into thinking this is a good place to bring the family or some learners, but think again! There’s really only one intermediate run, and it may or may not be groomed. It may depend on whether the grooming man is working or not, and whether the grooming machine is working or not!

The terrain is characterised as being rather steep and it has a mixture of small open areas, tight trees and open glades.

Unlike many Honshu ski resorts, there’s no ban on off-piste skiing and snowboarding (lucky considering there are only 4 piste runs!) and you can venture a fair way from the lifts in search of freshies.

Seki Snow

Seki Onsen reputably gets 16 metres per season, and another source cites 14.5 metres (they probably don’t have a staff member who heads out after a dump to measure the snowfall). Either way, it scores a lot of snow!

Where is Seki Onsen Japan?

Seki Onsen is considered one of the Myoko Kogen ski resorts, and is located north of Nagano in the Niigata Prefecture. Sekiyama is a 30 minute drive northwest of Akakura (the main village of Myoko), and about 12km from the town of Myokokogen.

Seki Onsen Accommodation

The small Seki Onsen village is very cute and traditional and has ryokans and other Japanese style accommodation. And it’s not called Seki “Onsen” for nothing with various onsen hot springs in the ryokan.

Uguisu no Hatsune Ryokan is a beautiful upscale ryokan (Japanese inn) in Sekiyama with plenty of character and open air onsens. This ryokan is located right near the base of the lift. Breakfast and dinner are included.

Facilities

The facilities and services at Seki are reasonably simplistic. There is a ski rental shop but don’t have your heart set on renting equipment from this century. The ski area also has a restaurant and eatery.

Most of the Seki Onsen ryokan and pensions have onsen, which can be used by day trippers for a small fee.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Seki Onsen Myoko

Pros

  • Colossal amounts of snow fall from the heavens at Seki.
  • Much of the terrain is steep and the treed areas are varied.
  • Lift tickets are very inexpensive (although you don’t get much for your handful of yen).
  • The resort has a liberal off-piste policy so you won’t have a ski patroller chasing you.

Cons

  • Seki is fabulous; shame it’s so tiny.
  • The ski area is rather boring if it hasn’t snowed recently.
  • The main parts can get tracked out pretty quickly.
  • On a weekend powder day, the lift queues can be very tiresome.

Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective

  • The village of Seki Onsen doesn’t cater particularly well to gaijin, so it’s a fabulous place to get away from the gaijin.
  • Seki is a no frills ski resort with limited infrastructure and negligible grooming. This is awesome in some respects, but when they can’t get the lifts running first thing in the morning, it’s not so great.

Tours That May Include Seki Onsen

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Chicks Japan Progression Tour DETAILS
Chick's Snow Boarding Powder Progression Tour
8 Nights - 7 Days Coaching/Riding
From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,899
Ability: Beginner, Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
Take your snowboarding to the next level and learn to ride powder whilst meeting some great new female snowboarding buddies! Experience Myoko's rich cultural ambiance and deep dry powder.
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Nagano Niigata Explorer DETAILS
HOSTED & GUIDED ROAD TRIP
10 Nights | 8 Days Skiing/Riding | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,797
Book & page deposit by 31st Oct and take AU$200 off the advertised price.
Ability: Advanced, Expert
Based in Myoko Kogen, enjoy Honshu's rich culture and visit up to 8 ski areas including Myoko (5 ski areas), Nozawa Onsen, Kurohime, Shiga Kogen (18 inter-connected ski areas), Madarao, Tangram & a few other secret spots
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Nagano Snow Tow DETAILS
HOSTED & SELF-GUIDED ADVENTURE
7 Days | 6 Nights | Up to 6 Ski Areas
From price based on dorm-style rooms (2-4 per room).
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen not including consumption tax 8%.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,496
Book and pay deposit prior to C.O.B. November 30, 2016 and get 14.7% off the advertised price.
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
Take the hassle out of organising your powder adventure to Nagano & Niigata (Honshu Japan) next season by joining one of these great unguided tours. You still have the freedom to do your own thing at the ski areas but all of the logistics are taken care of.
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Seki Onsen here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Epic Honshu Buffet (Skiers Only) DETAILS
GUIDED SKI ADVENTURE
10 Days | 9 Night | 8 Skiing | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,631
Book before Sept 30 and get free avi gear rental & 5% off displayed price
Ability: Advanced, Expert
Combine deep untracked powder skiing where few foreigners go, with a rich Japanese cultural experience, a traditional ryokan (Japanese hotel) and food, and you have the perfect Japanese ski adventure!
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Epic Honshu Ski & Snowboard Progression DETAILS
SKI & SNOWBOARD GUIDED INSTRUCTION
10 Days | 9 Night | 8 Skiing | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,631
EARLY BIRD: Book before Sept 30 and get 5% off displayed price
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
Learn to ski and ride deep powder with more confidence whilst checking out some of Honshu's ski areas away from the masses of foreigners. Outside the skiing and snowboarding, experience an area rich in culture and history.
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Epic Honshu Buffet (Snowboarders Only) DETAILS
GUIDED SNOWBOARDING ADVENTURE
10 Days | 9 Night | 8 Riding | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,631
Book before Sept 30 and get free avi gear rental & 5% off displayed price
Ability: Advanced, Expert
Combine deep untracked powder riding where few foreigners go, with a rich Japanese cultural experience, a traditional hotel and food, and you have the perfect Japanese snowboarding adventure!
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Seki Onsen here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Alps to Coast Package DETAILS
HAKUBA & MYOKO BC ADVENTURE
10 Nights | 8 Days Guided Skiing / Riding
From price based on a twin/triple-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 2,948
Ability: Advanced, Expert
The HAKUBA ALPS are the ultimate when it comes to steep alpine terrain in Japan and the MYOKO KOGEN area receives some of the highest snow falls in Japan. This tour takes in the steep & deep alpine backcountry terrain of the Hakuba Valley and the deep POW around Myoko.
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Hakuba Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS from HAKUBA
For PRIVATE GROUPS of up to 5 people
From price based on Hakuba day tour, group of 5 (price displayed is per person however full tour price is 5 X that price).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 607 USD 607
10% discount for tours Feb 12-18 & during March
10% off tours Feb 12-18 and during March
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
If you are in the HAKUBA area, you can't go past a day or more of a guided ski or snowboarding adventure. The area (and also other nearby resorts) is huge and the best skiing is actually outside of the resort boundaries which should only be accesses with a guide. Tours are for PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 5 guests.
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Myoko Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS from MYOKO
For PRIVATE GROUPS of up to 5 people
From price based on a Myoko day tour, group of 5 (price displayed is per person however full tour price is 5 X that price).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 121
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
If you are in the MYOKO area, you can't go past a day or more of guided skiing or snowboarding. The area (and 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. Tours are for PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 5 guests.
More
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Seki Onsen here