Lotte Arai Ski Resort

Lotte Arai Resort
Arai gets dumped on with a lot of snow
The Lotte Arai Resort food is very impressive
Lotte Arai Resort Hotel is ski-in ski-out
Arai Ski Resort: powder hound heaven
Village Station: base gondola lodge
Lotte Arai is definitely not a flat ski area
Lotte Arai has excellent lift infrastructure
Lotte Arai Resort Niigata
Gorgeous onsen complex
Lotte Arai has a little tree skiing and more sub-alpine terrain
Part of breakfast at the beautiful Japanese restaurant
International snowsports school with lessons in English
Tight tree skiing is somewhat rare at Lotte Arai
Night skiing at Lotte Arai includes intermediate terrain
Indoor onsen at The Arai
Lotte Arai Ski Resort has a lot of open terrain
One of the swimming pools
With big snowfalls, many of the small trees are covered
The ziplining is a rather adventurous activity

Lotte Arai Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Lotte Arai

Lotte Arai4/56
Lotte Arai4 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit

Lotte Arai Resort Japan

The Arai Ski Resort is a "new old" resort! Arai Resort is somewhat unique for a Japanese ski resort in that it was initially built after the bubble economic era and opened in 1993 as the very luxurious Arai Mountain Resort and Spa. What wasn't unique for Arai Ski Resort was that the bubble burst and things went awry, and like too many other Japan ski resorts, it had to cease operations in 2006 (sadly closing with a snow base of 6 metres!). Now that skiing in Japan is on the increase, particularly with international guests, Arai was able to re-open under new ownership from Lotte in December 2017. The Lotte Arai Resort has been grandly refurbished, reinvigorated and reinvented. No expense was spared, and it is now the new "IT" destination resort for discerning powder hounds and families.

There are only a couple of Japanese ski resorts that cater to the luxury ski market as well as the off-piste powder chasing crowd, and Lotte Arai Resort near Myoko is leading the charge here. Or if paying for luxury accommodation and cuisine isn't within your budget, Lotte Arai is also great for a day trip from Myoko Kogen.

Pros and Cons of Arai Ski Resort

  • Arai Resort, like the other Myoko resorts, gets dumped on with lots of snow – an average of about 15m+ of Japow per season.
  • Somewhat rare for a Japanese ski resort, the Arai skiing includes some above treeline terrain (sub-alpine) in wide open powder bowls.
  • The resort has avalanche controlled areas where off-piste skiing and snowboarding is permitted.
  • The upscale Lotte Arai Resort Hotel at the base provides very easy access to and from the slopes.
  • Lotte Arai Resort has an international snowsports school (Myoko Snowsports), offering group ski and snowboard lessons in English for kids (as well as private lessons for children & adults). There are only several Japanese ski resorts that offer this, so this is a huge pro!
  • Child care services are provided by the resort hotel, and along with tubing and trampolining, it adds to the family friendliness of Lotte Arai Resort.
  • The lift infrastructure is impressive and includes a roomy gondola and 2 fast hooded quad chairs.
  • Arai Ski Resort doesn’t have extensive piste terrain and intermediate riders in particular may get a little bored. If the snow isn't good the terrain options are limited, but this could also be said of most Japanese ski resorts.
  • If you're looking for an unadulterated authentic Japanese village atmosphere, Arai may not be for you as the base area primarily consists of just a couple of luxury hotel buildings and a few shops.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The hotel accommodation and the facilities and services are deluxe and are not suited to those on a budget ski holiday.
  • The food at the hotel also caters to discerning guests willing to pay more for nice meals.
  • The ski resort caters well to Anglophones with an abundance of English signage, snowsports lessons in English, and the hotel has some staff that speak English, but you’re unlikely to experience a lot of Japanese culture

Arai Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Arai Ski Resort is long and reasonably skinny with a big 951 metres of vertical (329 - 1,280 metres). Like many Japanese ski resorts, there isn't a lot of piste terrain (only 14 "courses" ie runs), but there's extensive off-piste terrain. The Arai ski area is serviced by 5 lifts: a gondola; 2 hooded fast quad chair lifts; and 2 double chair lifts (one of them is a detachable lift).

The piste statistics are 25% beginner, 40% intermediate and 35% advanced, so there's enough variety for beginners, but it equates to only 4 blue runs for intermediates. At least the blue runs are long and likely to provide some lovely thigh burn.

The avalanche controlled off-piste areas are mostly towards the top of the resort, which includes a variety of open slopes, sub-alpine with light trees (including my "Happy Place"), and tree skiing. From the top lift you can hike up the additional 149 metres of vertical to the summit for some extra freshies. Considering the potential for significant avalanche risk, these areas are opened and closed by the patrollers depending on the snowpack.

There are also a couple of areas within the resort boundaries that are roped off and permanently off limits. Unlike at some Japanese ski resorts where patrollers put up ropes for what seems like no good reason, these zones are aptly out of bounds considering the massive snowfalls, terrain traps and history of significant avalanches.

Where is Lotte Arai Resort?

The Arai Ski Resort is in the Niigata Prefecture, only 21km north of Akakura Onsen of Myoko Kogen. To get there, you can catch the bullet train to Joetsumyoko train station, then get one of the free shuttles or a taxi for the 15km trip to Lotte Arai.

To get to Arai from Myoko Kogen, you can head there as part of a guided tour or there's a Myoko shuttle that does a couple of trips a day between Akakura Onsen and Arai Resort (it takes about 50 minutes).

Lotte Arai Shuttle

Arai Accommodation

The Lotte Arai Resort Hotel consists of two very conveniently located hotel buildings at the base of the ski area. The hotel offers deluxe western-style accommodations, a range of lovely dining options, lounge bars, a child care centre, onsen baths, indoor swimming pool, a small gymnasium, and a day spa. There is even a karaoke room if you really want to get your singing game on.

Lotte Arai Resort Hotel Bookings

Lotte Arai Hotel Packages

Facilities & Services

In addition to the facilities at the hotels, Arai has very well developed amenities for skiers and snowboarders. Ski and snowboard lessons with English speaking instructors are provided by Myoko Snowsports, either in group or private format. Kids from 3 years of age can have lessons, and adaptive ski school is also provided.

High quality ski and snowboard rentals are available at the gondola base building, where there’s also a food court. At the top of the gondola there is another restaurant. You won’t go hungry!


Besides the skiing and snowboarding at the Arai Ski Resort, and the onsen, there are a few other Arai activities on offer. Indoor activities include bouldering walls for kids and adults, and trampolines. Or if you love going fast downhill, zip lining is another option - this is not for the faint of heart.

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Pow Pow Japan Tour
Cultural Ski & Snowboard Adventure
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Ski Japan's famous powder in conjunction with a rich cultural experience on this hosted tour. The tour is hosted by a local Japanese person who speaks fluent English; whilst the focus of the tours is primarily snow sports, you will experience the culture, food & festivities beyond the normal ski/snowboard adventure.
Price p/p From price based on 8-day sample itinerary, twin-share room (group of 6).
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,536
View Details
Fire & Snow
8 Nights | 7 Days Skiing/Riding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Enjoy powder skiing/riding whilst visiting some of the best ski areas in Nagano & Niigata including Nozawa Onsen, Lotte Arai, Myoko Kogen, Madarao/Tangram, Shiga Kogen & finish with the Nozawa Fire Festival. Also visit the snow monkeys, Matsumoto Castle, sake brewery & onsen.
Price p/p From price is based twin-share rooms (private room upgrade is extra & is subject to availability at time of booking)
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen inclusive of tax
*Display price may vary slightly due to fluctuation in exchange rates.
USD 3,246
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Lotte Arai here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Myoko Powder Tour
7 Nights | 6 Days Lifts | 5 Days Morning Guiding
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Get the best out of Myoko Kogen and nearby ski resorts and chase the powder with a Myoko Kogen Powder Tour. This tour includes quality accommodation in a great location, transport to nearby ski areas & morning guide. Tours runs Saturday to Saturday.
Price p/p Sample price based on twin/double-share option at the Lodge with shared bathroom, 7 nights for the 20/21 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,511
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Lotte Arai
Private Groups Only | 1, 2 or 3 days
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are heading to Madarao for a ski or snowboarding holiday with your family or group and you want to explore other ski areas nearby this could be a great option for you. Resorts include Nozawa Onsen, Kijimadaira, Kurohime, Lotte Arai & Myoko ski areas.
Price p/p From price based on 1-day tour (group of 6) i.e. full price is JPY 58,000.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 90
View Details
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Lotte Arai here