Minowa Ski Resort


Minowa Ski Resort

Readers Ratings


Minowa3 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit

Minowa Ski Resort

On the face of it, the Minowa Ski Resort looks like just another mediocre Japanese ski resort that was built in the bubble era of excess, that’s only ideal for the local families. Minowa Japan is too small and has inadequate facilities to attract English speaking families, but for powder hounds it is an absolute winner and definitely worthy of at least a day or two of powder snorting.

The Minowa ski area may be petite, but it has so many things going for it as a powder hound destination: amazing tree skiing both in-bounds and in the sidecountry; barely any competition for the fresh powder; and ski patrollers that just nod and grin at you as you wander off to the sidecountry.

Pros and Cons of Minowa


  • The tree skiing at Minowa is superb and the ski patrollers don’t seem to mind you heading off-piste.
  • Minowa has some steep sub-alpine terrain in the sidecountry.
  • There is very little off-piste competition and soooo many fresh powder lines that you’re likely to get white line fever.
  • The resort is at a reasonably high elevation for the area, so the snow quality is often very good.
  • When it’s not snowing and blowing, the scenery can be pretty impressive and the top of the mountain features snow monsters (although these aren’t as grand as the snow ghosts at Zao Onsen).
  • Minowa has a nice ski-in ski-out hotel.
  • There are lots of ski resorts in the area so if you have your own wheels (or are on a multi-resort tour) you can explore lots of slopes.
  • Piste skiers and snowboarders may get bored rather quickly at Minowa because it’s a small ski resort.
  • Minowa is a little hard to get to via public transport, but this is what helps keep it off the beaten path.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • This is not one of those high profile westernised Japanese ski resorts with apartments, where all the staff speak English, and your kids can get group ski lessons in English.
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Minowa Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Statistically, Minowa ski resort is tiny with only 3 lifts, 11 courses, 45 hectares of piste, and 450 metres of vertical (1,050 – 1,500 m).

Beginners have 6 runs to choose from and can explore most of the ski area. Despite the trail stats of 50% of the terrain being for intermediates, in reality there are only 3 runs for intermediates. And there are only 2 black runs, with the Sundance trail reaching a maximum gradient of 34 degrees – whoop-dee-doo!!

The real fun for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders is in the trees, and by golly there are lots of spots to choose from, and the spacing of the trees and the pitch is delightfully varied. The tree skiing can be found in both the off-piste areas (inside the resort boundaries) and the sidecountry which can be accessed with just the tiniest bit of hiking, whilst ingress is easy so long as the creeks are covered. There might be a few locals hitting the off-piste areas, but otherwise there are plentiful fresh powder lines on offer.

Whilst many Honshu ski resorts have a conservative approach to off-piste skiing, Minowa is reasonably progressive and has even opened up an official sidecountry run that drops down to the former Yokumuki Onsen ski area.

Where is Minowa Japan?

Minowa is located in the Mt Bandai area of the Fukushima Prefecture in the Tohoku region (ie the north east of Honshu), 284km north of Tokyo. There are various other ski resorts in the Mt Bandai area including Grandeco, Inawashiro, and Nekoma.

Minowa Hotel and Accommodation

The Minowa ski resort features a ski-in ski-out hotel, the Hotel de Premiere Minowa. This deluxe hotel has western style rooms ranging from twin rooms up to suites for 6 guests, and all rooms have an ensuite bathroom. In addition to other amenities, the Minowa hotel has indoor and outdoor onsen baths. There is no village at Minowa so you might want to get a package with half-board.

Minowa Accommodation Listings

There are a couple of pensions near Minowa, or if you’re visiting multiple ski resorts in the region, you could stay in one of the Inawashiro hotels or the Urabandai hotels.

Aizu Accommodation Listings


The Minowa Ski Resort has pretty decent facilities and services for a small ski area and these are spread across two base areas: the Hotel de Premiere Minowa; and the Rest House (the lower base area). The latter has a nice cafeteria, a snack outlet and an all-important creperie. Other amenities include a retail shop with souvenirs and basic ski and snowboard accessories, private ski lessons in English, ski and snowboard rentals at both base areas, and an indoor kids' play room at the hotel base. Kids will also love the sledding slopes just above both base areas.

After you’ve ruined your body on the slopes, you might want to have a soak in the onsen at the hotel, which non-guests can use for a small fee. Alternatively there are various other establishments in the area with an onsen.
Tours That May Include Minowa

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Central Odyssey
7 Nights | 6 Days Guided Skiing
Ability: Advanced to Expert
The ultimate pilgrimage to the Aizu Region & Gunma Prefecture to satisfy your appetite for powder, Japanese cuisine & genuine Japanese culture, far away from the sheep that go to the mainstream ski resorts. Gunma is the new frontier of powder gem ski resorts in Japan.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share option for 24/25 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,594
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Minowa here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Aizu Freeride Tour
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Days Skiing/Riding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Head to Aizu which is untapped and well worth visiting for its uncrowded resorts, no lift lines and very little western influence. This guided tour heads to various resorts near the onsen hotel & breakfast & dinner are included.
Price p/p
USD 1,795
View Details
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Minowa here