Where is Joetsu Kokusai?

The main base of the Joetsu Kokusai Ski Resort is located in Kabanosawa in Minimi Uonuma City, 14km north of the town of Yuzawa in Niigata Prefecture. Luckily like Cortina Kokusai near Hakuba and Sapporo Kokusai in Hokkaido, it’s got the “kokusai” (ie international) in the name otherwise you could confuse Joetsu Kokusai with “Joetsu” in Niigata, a city over near the coast!

Train to Joetsu Kokusai

The ski resort has its own train station, JoetsuKokusai, on the Joetsu line, and it takes only 12 minutes to get there from Echigo Yuzawa. From Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa, the Shinkansen (bullet train) takes only 75 to 80 minutes. See Hyperdia for train timetables and fares. For those staying overnight at the Hotel Green Plaza Joetsu, the hotel runs a shuttle service from the train station up to the hotel.

Otherwise from Echigo Yuzawa train station (east exit) you can catch a free bus to Joetsu Kokusai (the local tourism centres will be able to assist with bus timetables).

If you’re just travelling to JoetsuKokusai from Tokyo or the Tokyo airports (and not undertaking other train travel), it’s more economical (and less hassle) to just buy train tickets as you go rather than purchasing a JR Rail Pass.

Driving to Joetsu Kokusai

If you have your own wheels or a rental car, it’s relatively easy to drive to Joetsu Kokusai, and it’s only 130 minutes from Tokyo. The phone number of Joetsu Kokusai for GPS navigation is 81 25-782-1028.

If you plan to ski at other Yuzawa ski resorts, having a car provides significant advantages over catching the train.

There are various base areas at Joetsu Kokusai with different options for car parking. The main base area for day trippers is in the town of Kabanosawa adjacent to the JoetsuKokusai train station. For overnight guests there is parking at the Hotel Green Plaza Joetsu, which is 2.6km up a steep windy road (plenty of onsen water is sprayed onto the road when it’s snow covered).

Day-trippers (but not beginners) could also head to the Osawa base area (south park of the ski area) which is 3km west of Osawa train station. Parking here is free and it’s less busy.

Other Ski Resorts Nearby

Joetsu Kokusai is located in snow country where there are lots of nearby ski resorts on either side of the valley. Some nearby ski resorts include:

Having a car affords the most flexibility to visit these ski resorts. Otherwise you could catch a bus into Echigo Yuzawa train station and then another bus out to your ski resort of choice (except Hakkaisan).
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