Oguna Hotaka

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. Otherwise known as Ogna Hotaka and formerly Snowpal Oguna Hotaka, 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 spots that you wouldn’t visit in isolation but rather you’d go there just for a day as part of a road trip of Gunma.

Pros and Cons of Oguna Hotaka

Pros
  • Ogna Hotaka is close to various other Gunma ski resorts.
  • It’s usually devoid of gaijin so you won’t feel like you’re at Mt Buller in Australia.
  • 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.
  • 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 play 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 easy to find off-piste and sidecountry.

Like the other Mt Hotaka ski resorts, Oguna Hotaka is used for access to the backcountry and guiding services are available to take you up Mt Maehotaka. Unlike backcountry touring from Minakami Houdaigi, the snow quality may not be as primo on this side of the mountain.

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. The top elevation of Oguna Hotaka is decent and the upper slopes have a mostly ENE aspect, but the SE aspect of the lower part of the ski area can be detrimental for the snow quality.

Where is Oguna Hotaka?

Oguna Hotaka is situated on the southeast flanks of Mt Hotaka (Hotaka-yama, not to be confused with the other bigger Mt Hotaka, Hotaka-dake). The ski resort is located in the Tone District, 15.5km by road northwest of Katashina in the Gunma Prefecture. Oguna Hotaka is 185km northwest of Tokyo, which is about a 2 hour drive depending on traffic. The ski resort is about 28km from the Kanetsu Expressway Numata Interchange, and the telephone number for GPS navigation is 0278-58-2133.

Ogna Hotaka is not really accessible via public transport because it is an hour drive from the closest train station. Katashina Snow Express runs a bus from Tokyo to Oguna Hotaka on Saturdays and holidays.

Nearby ski resorts:
  • Kawaba is close as the crow flies and 28km by road, to the east (50 mins)
  • White World Oze Iwakura – 22km to the northeast (35 mins) – which is adjacent to Katashina Kogen (which is not aptly named)
  • Oze Tokura – 26km to the northeast
  • Marunuma Kogen – 29km to the northwest
  • Minakami Houdaigi has a joint season ticket with Oguna Hotaka but it’s about one and a half hours away by road, on the northwest flank of Hotakasan.

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 to just 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. Facilities and services include ski school (in Japanese only), ski and snowboard equipment rentals, and a couple of large cafeterias. There are also eateries further up the hill.
No listings were found for Oguna Hotaka.
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