Oguna Hotaka

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Oguna Hotaka

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Oguna Hotaka

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Oguna Hotaka Ski Resort

Oguna Hotaka Ski Resort is located near Katashina in the Gunma Prefecture. The ski resort in isolation is reasonably small and it has nothing particularly special about it. Sounds like a lot of other Japanese ski resorts doesn’t it? And like many other spots in Japan, Oguna is one of those ski resorts that you wouldn’t visit in isolation but rather you’d go there just for a day as part of a road trip.

The ski resort is known under many guises and they don’t seem to be able to agree about how to spell it in English. In addition to Oguna Hotaka it’s otherwise known as Ogna Hotaka and formerly Snowpal Oguna Hotaka, which is sometimes spelt as Snowpar Ogna Hotaka!

Pros and Cons of Oguna Hotaka

Pros 

  • Ogna Hotaka is close to various other Gunma ski resorts around the Katashina area.
  • It’s usually devoid of gaijin so you won’t feel like you’re at Mt Buller in Australia and any freshies in the trees will be all yours.
  • Above the ski resort is some nice backcountry terrain on Hotakasan.

Cons

  • The major part of the ski resort has a south easterly aspect, so the snow can be shabby on very sunny days during the fringes of the season. At least the top elevation is decent.
  • The lifts are not fancy and the whole place looks like it’s stuck in a time warp.
  • Other cons are common to lots of Japanese ski resorts - no challenging on-piste terrain and small terrain size.

Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective

  • Ogna Hotaka is close to Tokyo, which leads to weekend crowds.
  • You’ll need to have a car to get there and around.
  • There is no accommodation at the base, but you’d probably only visit Oguna Hotaka as a day trip anyhow.

Oguna Hotaka Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Like a lot of Japanese ski resorts, Oguna Hotaka is not particularly large with just 9 trails, 6 double lifts and 628 metres of vertical (1,200 - 1,828m), and it’s the type of ski resort where you hope you don’t turn up on a weekday only to find the top lift not operating.

The trail stats are beginner 30%, intermediate 40% and advanced 30%, and as is usually the case in Japan, the black runs are not very challenging. The terrain parks are not death defying either, with just low rails and little waves.

With respect to tree skiing, the staff don’t expect to see foreigners riding off-piste so they don’t tend to look out for it. If you try to play it discretely, all should be well. A lot of the trees in the lower zones are not skiable due to an excess of exposed shrubbery, whilst higher up it’s more feasible and there’s some OK off-piste and sidecountry, and backcountry touring is also possible.

Oguna Hotaka Snow

Like the other Katashina ski resorts, Oguna Hotaka doesn’t receive massive amounts of snow but the powder quality is drier than the Niigata ski resorts because the big mountains closer to the coast suck up the moisture.

Where is Oguna Hotaka?

Oguna Hotaka is situated on the southeast flanks of Mt Hotaka in Gunma. The ski resort is located in the Tone District, 15.5km by road northwest of Katashina. Other nearby ski resorts include Oze Iwakura, Oze Tokura and Marunuma Kogen.

Accommodation

The closest accommodation to the Oguna Hotaka Ski Resort is about 3km down the road, where there is a collection of Japanese inns.

Considering you’re unlikely to be there just to visit Oguna Hotaka, your best bet would be to stay in Katashina or at the base of the Oze Iwakura Ski Resort at the Oze Iwakura Resort Hotel.

Katashina Accommodation Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

The base area is well set up to cater for the Tokyo droves that turn up on weekends, but the amenities look rather pre-historic. Facilities and services include ski school (in Japanese only), ski and snowboard equipment rentals from another era, and a couple of large cafeterias. There is also an eatery further up the hill where people can sit just inside the door and smoke, which permeates throughout the whole café – just like the old days!

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Central Odyssey
GUIDED SAFARI - AIZU & GUNMA
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 2021 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 2,990
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