Ryuoo Ski Resort

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Ryuoo Ski Park Ropeway
Ryuoo Ski Park Ropeway
Great views from the terrace
Great views from the terrace
Photo: Ryuoo Ski Park
Photo: Ryuoo Ski Park
Photo: Ryuoo Ski Park
Photo: Ryuoo Ski Park
Great beginner terrain near the base
Great beginner terrain near the base
Ryuoo Ropeway
Ryuoo Ropeway
The lower part of the Ryuoo Ski Resort
The lower part of the Ryuoo Ski Resort
Ryuo Ski Resort Nagano
Ryuo Ski Resort Nagano
The upper part of the ski area has superb snow
The upper part of the ski area has superb snow
Ryuoo Nagano
Ryuoo Nagano
Ryuoo Ropeway station
Ryuoo Ropeway station
Lower slopes of Ryuoo Japan
Lower slopes of Ryuoo Japan
There are various slow lifts at Ryuoo
There are various slow lifts at Ryuoo
The village has various hotels and pensions
The village has various hotels and pensions
The snow quality is usually very good
The snow quality is usually very good
Ryuoo Ski Park Ropeway
Ryuoo Ski Park Ropeway
Freshies for L-platers
Freshies for L-platers
Some of the Ryuoo accommodation is ski-in ski-out
Some of the Ryuoo accommodation is ski-in ski-out
A good place to learn to ski or snowboard
A good place to learn to ski or snowboard
Ryuo Ski Resort Japan
Ryuo Ski Resort Japan

Ryuoo Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Ryuoo

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Ryuoo4 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
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Ryuoo Ski Park

Ryuoo Ski Park (also often spelt as Ryuo, a dragon king) is a ski area in Kitashiga in the Nagano Prefecture between Shiga Kogen and Nozawa Onsen. Whilst Ryuoo Ski Resort seems popular with the locals, it’s somewhat devoid of gaijin so it’s a nice spot to seek some powder and a genuine Japanese experience.

The name “Ryuoo Ski Park” could be a little misleading, and on arrival to Ryuoo you could be forgiven for wondering whether this is a snowboarders-only resort (a way of getting back at those resorts that only allow skiing!) because most visitors are on boards. There’s a rich culture of snowboarding at Ryuoo because it was one of the first “ski” areas to allow snowboarding and the resort markets itself strongly as the place to make your snowboarding debut. If you’re a two planker don’t fear; you’re allowed to ski at Ryuoo.

Ryuoo could be visited as a destination resort although it’s more of a spot to visit as a day trip or as part of a multi-resort tour

Pros and Cons to Ski Ryuoo

Pros
  • Ryuoo Ski Park has pretty good elevation and aspect, so the snow quality is generally pretty fluffy, especially up top.
  • The beginner terrain is very good and has nice progressions.
  • The terrain serviced by the ropeway is fantastic for strong advanced riders, and there’s unlikely to be much competition for the fresh powder in the trees.
  • The views from the Sora terrace at the top of the ropeway are pretty special.
  • There is lots of ski-in ski-out accommodation which is mostly very affordable.
Cons
  • Don’t go to Ryuoo looking for nightlife (actually don’t go to most Japanese ski resorts!)!
  • Like many other non-mainstream Japanese ski resorts, there is not enough terrain variety for more than a day or two.
  • The base area is often hectic with beginners, even on weekdays.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Ryuoo hasn’t been westernised so most services are targeted to the Japanese.

Kitashiga Ryuoo Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Like many other Japan ski resorts, Ryuoo is somewhat small-ish with only 17 courses (aka piste trails). It’s a long skinny resort with a vertical drop of 1,080 metres (850-1,930m), which is substantial by Japanese ski resort standards.

Ryuoo Ski Resort has 3 vertical sections. The Valley base area is characterised by beginner snowboarders getting wet bums. The middle Kiotoshi area is for intermediate and advanced riders and is serviced by a ropeway (cable car). The top section, Skyland, offers spectacular views on fine days, and the mellow terrain is ideal for confident beginners (beginners need to download the ropeway). The official trail stats are beginner 25%, intermediate 35%, and advanced 40%. There are also a couple of terrain parks that are suitable for beginner and intermediate riders.

Powder hounds are lured to Ryuo for the Kiotoshi section. On-piste there are a few ungroomed courses, one with a maximum pitch of 39 degrees that often develops bumps, and it’s compulsory to wear a helmet. The real action is in the nearby trees. With just a little bit of traversing, a myriad of fabulous steep treed lines can be accessed with some discretion.

The Ryuoo ski resort has streamlined its lift offering down from 13 to 8 which includes 2 quad chairs, and 5 doubles which the Japanese call “romance chairs”. An old ropeway is super romantic because you generally pack in there like sardines. Unfortunately, riding the ropeway is rather clunky. It generally takes about 8 minutes up but only leaves every 20 minutes (in true Japanese style, just because!) and you can’t get into the cycle unless you’re a fast rider. And sometimes on weekends when it’s busy with lots of sardines, you might have to wait a while.

Where is Kitashiga Ryuoo Ski Park?

Ryuoo is located on the slopes of Mt Ryuo in the Yamanouchi region, about 37km northeast of Nagano in the northern part of the Nagano Prefecture. It’s about 10km from the town of Yudanaka (a 20 minute drive) not far from the snow monkeys.

The nearby town of Iiyama is only 15km away, which is home to a train station where the shinkansen from Tokyo arrives.

Ryuoo Accommodation

The base area is purpose built and includes lots of slopeside hotels and minshuku (Japanese inns) that are ski in ski out. Many of these are rather basic and some are downright dodgy looking.

Ryuo Park Hotel ($$-$$$) is located in a ski-in location. The hotel either has Japanese rooms with shared bathroom (onsen bath) or Japanese/western combo rooms with a private bathroom.

Ryuoo Accommodation Listings

Otherwise you could stay in Yudanaka or stay in Nozawa Onsen accommodation or Shiga Kogen accommodation and do day trips to Ryuoo.

Ski Resort Facilities

The ski resort is quite family friendly but it’s unlikely to attract too many foreign families. There’s child care, kids ski school (including English speaking instructors), and lots of activities such as a snow park.

The base area has a few eateries including a curry restaurant and the obligatory crepes, although the popular spot for lunch is up at the Sora Terrace Café at the top of the ropeway.

Take cash with you because not all the services accept plastic fantastic.

Other amenities include a souvenir shop, small pro shop, and Spicy Rental equipment store. Many of the hotels have their own rental equipment too, but don’t hold high hopes for the quality of it.

Some of the hotels have an onsen or there’s one at the base of the mountain.
Tours That May Include Ryuoo

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Nagano Powder Chaser
HOSTED & GUIDED SKI & CULTURE PACKAGES
3, 4, 5 & 6 Nights | 2, 3, 4 & 5 Days Skiing/Boarding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Don't let a lack of time, budget or resort knowledge hold you back from a ski/snowboard trip in Nagano this winter. Experience many of Nagano's best ski areas with guides who have an intimate knowledge; based in the culturally rich town of Yudanaka. Tours can be CUSTOMISED for 3 nights or more.
Price p/p From price based on 3-night stay with 2 days skiing/boarding) in a twin share Japanese room with private bathroom.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,065
View Details
 
Nagano Beginner Packages
BEGINNER HOSTED INSTRUCTION PACKAGES
3, 4, 5 or 6 Nights
Ability: Beginner
This package is ideal for beginners (families, groups, couples and solos) who are looking to experience the great Japanese snow and culture, and have some support to learn to ski or snowboard. Packages include ski/snowboard hire, lessons, and the opportunity to visit the snow monkeys.
Price p/p
USD 1,065
View Details
 
Gozan Explorer
GUIDED LIFT-ACCESS RESORT & SIDECOUNTRY
8 Nights | 7 Days Guided Skiing/Riding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Explore Myoko Kogen ski resorts plus other nearby resorts such as Nozawa Onsen, Shiga Kogen, Madarao, Arai & more with an experienced guide. PRIVATE GROUPS only. Stay in the lovely renovated Gozan Lodge at Suginohara (Myoko).
Price p/p
USD 2,680
View Details
 
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Ryuoo here
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