Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort

Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway
Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort
The beginner area is the only highly trafficked zone
Amazing views at night time
Otaru Tenguyama sits above the little city of Otaru
Views across the coast
Otaru Hokkaido
Otaru Tenguyama sits just above the city
Simple facilities
Only in Japan
The cafeteria offers great views
A 30 person cable car
Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway heads up most of the vertical
Nice views across the city
Very basic accommodation at the base
Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort

Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Otaru Tenguyama

Otaru Tenguyama4/52
Otaru Tenguyama4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
Southern Hokkaido Powder Tour

Other Ski Resorts Near Otaru

Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Teine
Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort is unlikely to blow your mind and become the new “it” powder skiing spot in Hokkaido. The Otaru ski resort definitely isn’t a destination resort where you could park yourself for a week, considering that you can almost count the number of trails on one hand (well you could if you had hexadactyly). Don’t completely dismiss this little ski area though, because it can be a lot of fun for a day, it has some steep tree skiing, and on weekdays it feels like your own private ski resort.

Located on the outskirts of the seaside town of Otaru, the Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort can be a good pick when the storms are blowing (but not straight off the ocean) and nearby ski areas such as Kiroro have the main lifts closed.

Pros and Cons of Otaru Tenguyama

  • The Tenguyama ski area and the restaurant offer amazing views on fine days across Otaru and the bay, and in the evenings the views are particularly impressive.
  • It has some decent gradient for a Japanese ski resort, and whilst the steep lines are not particularly long, the tree skiing is mostly fall line.
  • Competition for fresh tracks is insignificant and crowds are non-existent (especially on weekdays).
  • Lift tickets are pretty inexpensive.
  • Otaru lodging provides very good value for money.
  • The terrain is mini sized and with only 6 courses (ie piste), it’s only good for a half day, or if there’s fresh powder, a day or two.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The Otaru Ski Resort has a relatively low elevation, so snow quality is generally not as optimal as neighbouring ski resorts with higher elevation (e.g. Kiroro). Sometimes the low altitude can be advantageous during windy conditions when the Kiroro gondola is closed. And whilst it doesn’t receive as much snowfall as Kiroro, there is about 1/100th the number of gaijin.

Otaru Tenguyama Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Otaru Ski Resort is rather petite with 6 runs across a vertical of 410 metres (122–532m). The ski area is serviced by the Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway (which is used by tourists gawking at the views) as well as a pair lift that runs the vertical of the ski area, and an ancient single “pizza box” chair at the top for beginners.

The official trail statistics are 50% beginner, 20% intermediates & 30% advanced. Beginners have a very mellow area above the Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway where they can appreciate the vistas. There is also a green course that runs the full vertical, but it’s a little pitchy for novices. Intermediates only have a couple of trails and one of them has a steep moment, whilst the other is appropriately rated but déjà vu will set in.

The black rated courses either side of the ropeway (cable car) are delightfully steep and hit 40 degrees plus before mellowing out. As to be expected, the off-piste skiing in this zone is also steep, and it can be a little avalanche prone (particularly to the skiers’ right) and develop glide cracks. The ski patrollers don’t see too many powder hounds foraging for powder, so play it discretely and try to stay away from the lines under the lifts.

Where is Otaru Tenguyama?

The Otaru Tenguyama Ski Resort sits on the flank of Tengu-yama and is located 3.3km southwest of Otaru train station. The town of Otaru is located 36km northwest of Sapporo, and can be used as a base to visit other nearby ski areas such as Kiroro, Asarigawa, Sapporo Kokusai and Sapporo Teine.

Being on a multi-day guided tour or having a rental car provides the most flexibility to get around the area. The telephone number for GPS navigation is 0134-33-7381, and hopefully the snow tyres on the car are reasonable because the road up to the ski area is rather steep.

If you don’t have wheels you can travel to Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway via cheap bus from the Otaru train station (or Otaru bus canal terminal), which takes about 15 minutes.

Otaru Accommodation

There are a few lodging options within walking distance of Otaru Tenguyama. Sanroku Kan is a simple hotel with Japanese rooms that is just a 2 minute walk from the ski area.

Otherwise there are plenty of centrally located Otaru hotels which provide the advantage of access to explore the city and its many restaurants.

The Dormy Inn Premium is an Otaru hotel that is very nice, yet inexpensive, and it's located only one minute walk from the Otaru train station.

The Grand Park Otaru is a beautiful 4-star hotel which is located right on the water. Below the hotel is a shopping centre and eateries. The hotel offers free shuttles to Kiroro. This Otaru hotel is surprisingly inexpensive considering the quality on offer.

Otaru Hotel Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

Pedestrian tourists head up the Tenguyama Ropeway, so whilst the amenities at the top are well established, the facilities near the base for skiers and snowboarders are rather primitive. Ski and snowboard lessons are available with Japanese speaking instructors from two different ski schools (like one wasn’t enough!) and there are basic equipment rentals. In addition to an unwelcoming little cafeteria, there is an ATCO hut for day trippers with kerosene heaters (those heaters just seem so dodgy!).

Head up the ropeway and you’ll find Restaurant Tengu that offers fabulous views and standard cafeteria fare. There’s the obligatory retail shop selling cheesy souvenirs and gift boxed food, and you can head into Tengu House that has about 700 masks of long nosed Tengu goblins on display. The goblin has the magical power to grant wishes to protect people from harm. Touch the long nosed Tengu and make your wish come true (hopefully your wish is for lots of powder).

Near the peak is a snow park for tobogganing.
Tours That May Include Tengu

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Hokkaido Storm Chaser
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Ski Areas
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Chase the storms and access the deepest and best quality snow conditions on the day in the Otaru area and Central Hokkaido's world famous deep dry powder. Share
Price p/p Base/invoice currency is in yen not including 8% consumption tax for 2021 season.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 4,178
View Details
 Early bird special: 10% off listed prices until Aug 31
Hokkaido Safari
12 Days | 8 Days Guided Skiing/Riding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Explore up to 7 Hokkaido ski areas on this amazing powder progression adventure for advanced to expert skiers & boarders. Locations include the Otaru/Sapporo & Furano ski areas. Groups of up to 4 guests are guided by 1 guide. From price is based on twin share in deluxe western-style room.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room; 4 on tour.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 6,906
View Details
Southern Hokkaido Powder Tour
10 Nights - Up to 8 Ski Areas
Ability: Advanced to Expert
The Southern Hokkaido region scores the most snow and with this lift accessed sidecountry tour you'll get to explore the best ski areas. 3 nights in Otaru, 5 nights in Hirafu Niseko & 2 nights in Hakodate. Share
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share option for group tour for 2019-20 season.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 4,825
View Details
 Super early bird special: 10% off listed prices if you book before July 31. Full refund if travel ban or quarantine is in-force*. See T&Cs.
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Otaru Tenguyama here