Nekoma Ski Resort

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Nekoma Ski Resort

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Nekoma

Nekoma3.5/52
Nekoma3.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
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Japan Ski Tour Tohoku Area
Wagner Custome Skis

Urabandai Nekoma Ski Resort

At Hoshino Resorts Urabandai Nekoma, or Nekoma for short, you can ski like a demonic cat even though you’re a dog (a powder hound). Nekoma, which loosely translates to “demonic cat”, is a ski resort where powder hounds can revel quietly in the powder amongst the trees with very little competition from gaijin or other powder punters.

Pros and Cons of Nekoma Japan

Pros
  • Nekoma Snow Park has some very nice tree skiing if you’re discrete and happy to work a little for your rewards.
  • The Nekoma ski resort is pretty much deserted on weekdays (if it’s open) so the powder (and ‘roys) will belong to you.
  • It has the best snow quality of the Bandai ski resorts, thanks to its mostly northerly aspect.
  • Nekoma is off the beaten track of international skiers and is not westernised. In combination with the nice local Japanese hotels and onsen, you’ll experience plenty of lovely Japanese culture.
  • It has a good terrain park by Japanese standards.
Cons
  • Nekoma is a ski resort that’s going downhill. It has shrunk in terrain size and a key upper lift is now closed. The lifts that remain are a handful of crappy ageing double chairs.
  • Associated with this downhill slide, of late the Nekoma ski resort has been closed Tuesdays to Thursdays.
  • Whilst the resort prides itself on its amazing Japow, you’re only allowed to go powder skiing on the mogul runs! Unlike many Japanese ski resorts that have become progressive and now allow tree skiing, at Nekoma the staff have become stricter with its prohibition of off-piste riding. You can wear an all-white outfit and hide from the patrollers, or if you’re on a tour the guides will have experience at negotiating this.
  • There is no on-mountain accommodation at Hoshino Resorts Nekoma.
  • If you’re looking for luxury shopping, day spas, sleigh rides, and vibrant nightlife, Nekoma should definitely not be on your bucket list. It is very low key (which is a pro for some).
  • Hoshino Resorts Nekoma is a small ski area and there is only enough terrain variety for a day, but it makes a fabulous adjunct to skiing and snowboarding at the various other resorts that flank Bandai-san.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • Negligible English is spoken at Nekoma and the nearby lodging.
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Nekoma Ski and Snowboard Terrain

At Nekoma you could potentially experience a little déjà vu if you’ve visited other non-westernised ski resorts in Honshu. Many of them feel a bit the same and it’s not just the chicken katsu curry for lunch: small terrain size below the treeline; an even spread of trails for beginners, intermediates and advanced riders; and some trees to play in when the patrollers aren’t looking.

The Urabandai Nekoma Ski Resort has 11 courses of piste terrain across only 311 metres of vertical (1,027 - 1,338m), and 5 double chair lifts.

With a terrain split of 30% beginners, 30% intermediates, and 40% advanced, Nekoma has a slightly greater bias towards black runs and is a fraction steeper than some of the other Bandai ski resorts. However despite a couple of the runs being named “Excite 1” and “Excite 2”, don’t get too excited because the piste is rather dull. Like most Japan ski resorts, the real fun for advanced skiers and snowboarders is in the trees.

At the top, Nekoma is sort of interconnected with Alts Bandai Ski Resort and both ski areas are owned by Hoshino Resorts and accessible on a dual lift pass. There is a short hike between the two ski areas and plans are afoot for a lift to connect them in the future.

Where is Nekoma?

Nekoma Ski Resort is situated on the northern face of Mt Nekomagadake on the northern flank or back face (Ura-bandai) of Mount Bandai in the Fukushima Prefecture, 24km northwest of the Inawashiro town and train station. For a multi-day stay in the area to sample various Aizu ski resorts, you’ll want to have a car or be on a guided tour which includes transport, because bus systems to get around are close to non-existent.

Urabandai Nekoma Accommodation

There is no lodging at the base of the Nekoma ski resort, but the very lovely Active Resorts Urabandai is only 8km away. This large Japanese style hotel has a fantastic onsen and very good food.

There are other Urabandai hotels nearby, or further afield there are numerous other Aizu accommodation options.

Urabandai Accommodation Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

All the Nekoma ski resort facilities are housed within a day lodge at the base of the ski area. Amenities include a no-frills restaurant upstairs with a good selection of Japanese fare, child care (no English speaking staff), ski school (private lessons in English if pre-arranged), ski and snowboard rentals, and a retail shop with souvenirs, snacks, and ski and snowboard gear including some Patagonia outerwear.
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