Katashina Ski Resorts

Katashina Ski Resorts

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Central Powder Odyssey Tour, Gunma & Aizu areas
Katashina is a little village in the Oze National Park area in the northeast corner of Gunma Prefecture. The region has five ski resorts and because they’re only about 2 hours from Tokyo by car, the Katashina ski resorts are reasonably popular on weekends. Katashina accommodation fills up on Saturday nights, whilst weekdays are really quiet.

Katashina Ski Resorts

If you have a car or are on a multi-resort guided tour you can explore a few of the ski resorts in Katashina.

Oze Iwakura is 7km north of central Katashina. This is the key Katashina ski resort that powder hounds will want to visit, with its lift accessed tree skiing that includes some steeps.

Katashina Kogen is right next to Oze Iwakura and is ideal for families and beginners. It is a skiers’ only resort.

Snow Park Oze Tokura is 11km north of Katashina. This small ski resort has some nice tree skiing, but the top elevation isn’t super high, so visit when temperatures are somewhat cold.

Marunuma Kogen (aka Malnuma Kogen) is 13.5km northeast of Katashina. Marunuma’s claim to fame is that the top elevation goes up to 2,000 metres so snow quality is often sublime in its upper reaches. Its main detractor for powder hounds is that the trees are really close together.

Oguna Hotaka (aka Ogna Hotaka) is 15km to the west of Katashina village. It’s not a phenomenal ski resort for powder hounds, but there’s enough fun to warrant a day.

Whilst not one of the official Katashina ski resorts, Kawaba Ski Resort is also close enough to commute for a day trip.

Katashina Snow

The Katashina ski resorts don’t receive the same massive snow dumps as the Niigata and Nagano ski resorts that are closer to the coast. As storms travel from the coast they dump a lot of moisture on the Echigo mountains and Tanigawadake also steals plenty of snow, so by the time the storms reach Mt Hotaka and Mt Nikkō-Shirane, the volume of snowfall has dwindled. The upside is that the snow quality is better and is often delightfully dry, which we’ve coined as “gun powder” (Gunma powder).


There is very little central Katashina accommodation, with much of the region’s lodging spread about near the ski resorts, hiking trailheads for Oze National Park, and in little onsen villages.

Most of the accommodation consists of inexpensive Japanese inns that offer half-board, and hot spring baths are a common feature. The region also has some basic old-school pensions with western beds and shared bathrooms.

Katashina Accommodation Listings

Evening Dining

As is commonplace with the non-westernised ski areas, the Japanese visitors tend to have an onsen and then dinner at their inn or ryokan, so there isn’t much of a market for evening restaurants in Katashina. There are only about 8 Katashina restaurants open for dinner.

More Reasons to Head to Katashina

  • These days it’s getting somewhat difficult to get an unadulterated Japanese ski experience without the resorts having foreign ownership and being westernised or China-ised, however Katashina is the real Japan. Don’t expect much if any English to be spoken in the area, much of the accommodation is traditional Japanese style, and you’ll be hard pressed to buy pizza.
  • Many parts of the region look a bit run-down and it seems that the locals would really appreciate your tourist yen.
  • The region has lots of onsen for a relaxing soak after skiing or snowboarding.
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