Getting To Naeba

Getting To Naeba

Where is Naeba?

Naeba is a 23 km drive south of Yuzawa in the Niigata Prefecture, 184km northwest of Tokyo. Naeba is located on route 17, not far from the Kan-etsu Expressway.

From Tokyo, Naeba is the most accessible “proper” ski resort. The bullet train from Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa station takes only 70-90 minutes, and then the bus to Naeba only takes 30-50 minutes.

The town of Naeba (Mikuni) is about a 5-10 minute walk from the Naeba Prince Hotel and the base of the Naeba ski resort.


Tokyo Narita is the main gateway airport for Naeba, but Niigata is another option with flights into Japan coming via Shanghai (with China Eastern Airlines), Seoul (with Korean Air), and a couple of Russian cities such as Vladivostok or Khabarovsk. Flights also originate from other Japanese cities. Niigata airport is 150km to the north of Yuzawa.

To search for flights and compare lots of different airlines and routes, use one of our recommended flight aggregators.

Train to Naeba

See our Japan rail travel page for more information on the JR East Pass (Nagano Niigata) including is it worth purchasing a JR East Pass

Train to Echigo Yuzawa from Tokyo and Narita Airport
From the Tokyo Narita Airport, take the Narita Express train (NEX) to Tokyo, a trip that takes about one hour. There are frequent departures from the airport railway terminals.

From Tokyo take the Joetsu Shinkansen (bullet train) to Echigo-Yuzawa Station. Check Hyperdia for schedules – enter the station as “Echigo-Yuzawa” not “Yuzawa”.

Train to Echigo Yuzawa from Niigata Airport
From the Niigata airport take the airport bus to Niigata train station, a trip that takes about 25 minutes. Take the bullet train from Niigata station to Echigo Yuzawa Station, which takes approximately 45 minutes.

Getting from Yuzawa Station to Naeba
Prince Hotel guests can catch one of the complimentary shuttle buses from Echigo-Yuzawa train station to the Naeba Prince Hotel. The buses depart about every hour between 9:15am and 9:40pm from the east exit. Check in at the Prince Hotel booth which is located just inside the east exit door. The express bus takes between 30 and 50 minutes. This bus may not operate in the very early or late season.

Non hotel guests will need to catch one of the highway buses from Echigo Yuzawa station. The bus takes about 50 minutes and costs only a handful of yen, and they may charge an extra little bit for oversized luggage (ie your ski or snowboard bag). 

Echigo-Yuzawa Station If you’ve got the chance, spend a little time at the very lively Yuzawa train station. The train station has a great information centre, lots of souvenir shops, and an abundance of food shops. The market place has lots of snacks for tasting, so you can figure out what all those interesting looking things taste like without having to commit to a full packet. The market place also features lots of sake stalls where you can try before you buy, and there is a specific sake tasting shop. They have hundreds of sakes and for ¥500 you can have five tastes. The shop also has salt tasting – who would have thought there are that many different types of salt?!

Getting Away
The Prince Hotel buses have 6 departures for the train station between 11am to 5pm, so if you’re trying to catch a morning train to leave Echico-Yuzawa it can be a little tricky.

There are public buses that leave from the Naeba ski resort bus stop right down the end of the hotel. The first bus leaves at 9:34am. Otherwise there are buses from the town of Naeba that start at 7am, but it’s a 500 metre plus walk to get there.

The other alternative is to catch a taxi. It is rather expensive because the taxis come up from Yuzawa.

Bus To Naeba

The Prince Hotel runs daily buses from Tokyo to Naeba, a trip that takes about 4 hours. Reservations have to made at least one month in advance!

Driving to Naeba

The road up from Yuzawa is windy and has lots of tunnels, but it’s wide and well cleared so it’s a pretty easy drive.

Some day trippers choose to stop at Mitsumata and then ski and get the Dragondola across to Naeba. In part this is because Mitsumata is much closer to Yuzawa, but also because the car park is close to the ropeway, whereas at Naeba it’s a decent walk to get to the lifts.

Getting Between Naeba and Kagura Ski Resort

Even for beginner skiers it’s possible to get between Naeba and Kagura via the Dragondola, a long gondola that takes about 20 minutes from one side of Naeba to the Tashiro ski area of Kagura. Be aware that the gondola is only open between 9am and 3:30pm. To get across from Tashiro to the other side of Kagura to the Mitsumata ski area via the slopes and chair lifts can take a long time.

The other option is to catch a shuttle bus between the ski areas. There’s a free shuttle bus (for those with Mt Naeba combined lift tickets) that runs from the Naeba Prince Hotel to Tashiro station (takes 20 minutes) and then to Mitsumata station (takes another 20 minutes). For those without a combined lift ticket the cost is fairly minor.

Naeba also has a shuttle bus that operates between the Prince Hotel and the Dragondola station.

Other Ski Resorts Nearby

The area around Yuzawa in Niigata is a treasure chest of ski areas with more than a dozen places to play, although for most punters, none of them quite compare to Naeba and Kagura. See the travel to Yuzawa ski resorts for a list of the ski resorts and the distances from Yuzawa.

Really close to Naeba in the town of Naeba is Naeba Asagai ski area (currently closed), a little ski hill that is popular with local up and coming ski racers and terrain park lovers.