Kumanoyu

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Kumanoyu

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Kumanoyu

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Hokkaido Explorer Tour
Wagner Custome Skis

Kumanoyu Ski Resort Shiga Kogen

Kumanoyu Ski Resort is one of the southern Shiga Kogen ski areas, along with inter-connected Yokoteyama and Shibutoge. Kumanoyu call themselves a “snow paradise” which is a pretty apt description. Kuma no Yu is quite isolated it’s and an overlooked ski area, which is an advantage to powder hounds and others that like quiet slopes. It is only busy when a swarm of school kids hit the Kumanoyu ski area, but they’re unlikely to get in your way.

Kumanoyu used to ban snowboarders. Now both skiing and snowboarding are permitted at Kumanoyu Ski Resort, although it has remained conservative, old school and delightfully Japanese.

Pros and Cons of Kumanoyu Shiga Kogen

Pros 
  • Kumanoyu Ski Resort has high elevation and it’s north facing, so the snow quality is usually exquisite.
  • It’s a quiet ski resort with minimal traffic on the slopes and no lift lines. Sometimes the school kids might arrive en masse, but they’ll usually give you priority access to the lift.
  • Powder hounds with some navigation skills or on a guided trip will likely get fresh lines.
  • It’s adjacent to Yokoteyama which has more terrain on offer and is the highest (real) ski resort in Japan.
  • As the name suggests, Kuma no Yu is all about the onsen and it has the best onsen of Shiga Kogen, including outdoor hot spring baths. You know you’ve found a good onsen area when on arrival, the aroma hits you hard. The jade coloured water also takes a little getting used to.
Cons
  • The ski area doesn’t offer much vertical and the steep pitches are short lived.
  • The lifts are slow, but undoubtedly if it was a modern ski resort then it would be busy.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • It takes a bit of effort to get there from the northern Shiga Kogen ski areas, but this helps to keep the crowds away.
  • Kumanoyu is really sleepy. If you stay there, you’ll need to have dinner at your Kumanoyu hotel, and other than having a relaxing soak in the onsen, there isn’t much else to do after the lifts close.
  • It’s refreshingly Japanese so don’t expect western customs or all the staff to speak English, and there are no snowsports lessons in English.

Kumanoyu Ski and Snowboard Terrain

As a stand-alone ski resort, Kumanoyu is small. It has 12 courses, 260 metres of vertical (1,700 to 1,960m), and 5 lifts, although let’s call it 4 because two of the pair lifts run in parallel. Besides one quad chair, the others are double chair lifts and they run at a pace that gives you plenty of time to contemplate life. Stop at the top of the pair lifts #2 and on fine days you can enjoy the views of lots of mountains, including the striking Kasadake (2,075m) in the foreground.

Whilst it may be diminutive, you don’t need to ski Kumanoyu in isolation as it’s interconnected with Yokoteyama and then Shibutoge. You can walk across the road from Kumanoyu to Yokoteyama, or there is a connector trail at the top of the 3rd quad lift. You can return to Kumanoyu via the Yoko car park.

Kumanoyu itself has a few green runs to choose from, and a handful of intermediate runs that terminate as a beginner run. There are also 5 short black runs that are not particularly steep, which can be a good spot for those learning to ski or ride powder.

There are short off-piste runs, whilst in the sidecountry there are some steep tree runs that you might have to fossick for, but they provide some good challenge. The ski area can also be used as a stepping stone for backcountry exploits.

With respect to lift passes, you can get an inexpensive ticket for just Kumanoyu or pay a bit more for the Kumanoyu/Yokote/Shibutoge combo, or a little more again for a Shiga Kogen all-mountain pass.

Kumanoyu Snow

Like various other Shiga Kogen ski areas, Kumanoyu enjoys a high elevation and even the base at 1,700 metres is greater than other Nagano ski resorts (see the Nagano snow stats for the altitude of major Nagano ski resorts). So Kumanoyu Ski Resort is a good pick when temps are too warm elsewhere in the region.

The north facing aspect of the slopes also contributes to great snow quality and a long season from early December to early May.

Kumanoyu snow volumes are probably in the realm of 9 to 10 metres on average per season, which would make many ski resorts around the world jealous, although it’s little less than the snowfall that the northernmost Shiga ski areas typically receive.

Where is Kumanoyu Shiga Kogen?

Kumanoyu is part of Shiga Kogen and 50km northeast of the city of Nagano in the Joshinetsukogen National Park. It’s located in the Nagano Prefecture, not far from the Gunma Prefecture and the Kusatsu and Manza Onsen ski resorts, but not by road in winter because it’s closed.

Along with Yokoteyama and Shibutoge, Kumanoyu is one of the southern ski resorts of Shiga Kogen. This trio is not interconnected via the slopes with the northern areas such as Ichinose or Yakebitaiyama, although shuttle buses connect the two zones.

Kumanoyu is 18km from Yudanaka and 16km from Shibu Onsen, which are onsen villages at the foot of the mountain near the snow monkeys. If driving up for a day trip, the telephone number for GPS navigation is 0269 342166. From the car park or bus stop, it’s a few minutes walk to cross the river up to the lifts.

From the Tokyo Airports you can get a Nagano snow shuttle to get there, or you can catch trains to Nagano Station and then a Nagaden bus up to Kumanoyu (Hotaru Onsen bus stop) although these are not very regular. Or the most convenient way is to get a Chuo Taxi. See the Shiga Kogen travel page for more general tips.

Kumanoyu Accommodation

As with most of the rest of Shiga Kogen, Kumanoyu doesn’t have a village but rather a collection of hotels at the base of the ski area. One of the Kumanoyu hotels is ski-in ski-out whilst the others are separated by a bridge from the ski area and require a short walk to get to the Kumanoyu or Yokoteyama slopes, whilst some of them are ski-in for experienced skiers/riders. The Kumanoyu hotels are delightfully Japanese and feature onsen baths that announce their aromatic presence when you arrive at Kumanoyu. There are no evening restaurants in the area, so unless you want to use your kettle for dried noodles for dinner, you might want to get a half board package.

Hotel 2307 is a renovated ryokan, whilst the other Kumanoyu hotels are somewhat dated.

Kumanoyu Hotel Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

The Kumanoyu ski resort facilities are reasonably minimalist. There is the Restaurant Bell D’or where you can get a cheap feed or have a midday sleep (when in Japan….). There is also the Rental Shop Maine that has reasonably no frills rental gear. Keep your expectations low for snowboard gear considering the longstanding ski culture. There are also equipment rentals at the Shiga Palace Hotel.

Note that the Honshu ski resort ratings include Kumanoyu as a standalone ski resort. There are also ratings for Shiga Kogen which are mostly higher because it factors in all that Shiga Kogen has to offer.

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Nagano Ski/Board Progression
SKI / SNOWBOARD GUIDED INSTRUCTION
10 Days | 9 Nights | 8 Skiing | Up to 8 Ski Areas
Ability: Intermediate to Strong Intermediate
Learn to ski and ride deep powder with more confidence or improve your on-piste technique whilst checking out some of Nagano's fabulous ski areas away from the masses of foreigners. In addition to the skiing and snowboarding, experience an area rich in culture and history. Share
Price p/p From price based on per person twin-share room at Omodaka for 2024/25 season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,002
View Details
 Early bird special: 7% off listed prices - book before July 31
Nagano Powder Zone
SKI & SNOWBOARD GUIDED TOUR
8 Days | 7 Night | 6 Skiing | Up to 6 Ski Areas
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Ideal for economically conscious intermediate to advanced skiers & riders who want maximum pow! Based in the traditional town of Yudanaka, which is relatively free of western influence, you will be ensured of an authentic Japanese ski or snowboard experience. Share
Price p/p From price based on twin share room with private bathroom at Omodaka for 2024/25 season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,426
View Details
 Early bird special: 5% off listed prices - book before July 31
Shiga Backcountry Tours
PRIVATE SHIGA KOGEN BACKCOUNTRY GUIDING
Single & Multi-Day Tours
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Venture into the backcountry of Shiga Kogen with guides with your private group. Have the mountain to yourselves. Go for easy hikes, learn avalanche safety skills, or go ski touring to explore further afield.
Price p/p *based on per person in a private group of 3 for a full day tour for 2025.
base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
Displayed rates might vary to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 179
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Kumanoyu here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Guided Powder Tours
SHIGA KOGEN & SURROUNDING RESORTS
Single & Multi-Day Guiding
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Explore the off-piste and sidecountry at the massive ski area of Shiga Kogen or another nearby ski area. Guiding is for private groups or group tours are available some days.
Price p/p *based on per person in a private group of 5 for a 5 hour tour for 2024/25 season.
base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
Displayed rates might vary to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 79
View Details
 
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Kumanoyu here
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