Ryuoo Ski Resort

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

Ryuoo Ski Resort

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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 mostly devoid of gaijin. Perhaps it’s the lack of English signage about the resort or that it’s a fraction harder to get to compared to the higher profile Nagano ski resorts. Either way it’s really good news for foreigners looking for powder or a genuine Japanese experience. Now that the Shinkansen goes through from Tokyo to nearby Iiyama (only 15km away), Ryuoo Ski Resort is likely to become easier to get to and more popular, so head there soon before it becomes swamped with all the powder punters!

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. If you’re a two planker don’t fear; you’re allowed to ski at Ryuoo.

Ryuoo is less of a destination resort and more of a spot to visit as a day trip or as part of a multi-resort tour.

Pros and Cons to Ski Ryuoo


  • Ryuoo Ski Park has pretty good elevation, 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, if any, competition for the fresh powder.
  • The views from the Sora terrace at the top of the ropeway are pretty special.
  • 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.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Not much English is spoken at Ryuoo, so it’s a great spot to experience the real Japan.

Kitashiga Ryuoo Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Like many other Japan ski resorts, Ryuoo is somewhat small-ish with only 15 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 35%, intermediate 40%, and advanced 25%. 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 couple of ungroomed courses, one with a maximum pitch of 36 degrees that often develops bumps. 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.

The Ryuoo ski resort has 13 lifts including 2 quad chairs, lots of doubles (“romance chairs” as the Japanese call them), 2 single chairs (anti-romance), and an old ropeway that 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 for the next cable car.

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 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.

Hotel North Shiga is located in front of the ski area and offers Japanese style rooms. The hotel has various facilities including an onsen and a buffet restaurant.

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, tubing, and snowmobiling.

The base area has a couple of eateries including a Subway, a retail shop, and a rental shop. 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 onsens or there’s one at the base of the mountain.
Tours That May Include Ryuoo

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Fire & Snow
8 Nights | 7 Days Skiing/Riding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Enjoy powder skiing/riding whilst visiting some of the best ski areas in Nagano & Niigata including Nozawa Onsen, Lotte Arai, Myoko Kogen, Madarao/Tangram, Shiga Kogen & finish with the Nozawa Fire Festival. Also visit the snow monkeys, Matsumoto Castle, sake brewery & onsen.
Price p/p From price is based twin-share rooms (private room upgrade is extra & is subject to availability at time of booking)
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen inclusive of tax
*Display price may vary slightly due to fluctuation in exchange rates.
AUD 4,704
View Details
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Ryuoo here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Nagano Beginner 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 rentals and lessons, and the opportunity to visit the snow monkeys. Share
Price p/p From price based on 3-night twin/double-share package staying at Lodge Aibiya.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,334
View Details
 5% off listed prices if you book before 31 July 2020
Nagano Powder Chaser
3, 4, 5 & 6 Nights | 2, 3, 4 & 5 Days Skiing/Boarding
Ability: 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. Share
Price p/p From price based on 3-night stay at Lodge Aibiya (2 days skiing/boarding) in a twin share room with shared bathroom.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,334
View Details
 Early bird special: 5% off listed prices if you book before 31 July 2020
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Ryuoo here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Hakuba Guided Day Tours
For PRIVATE & MIXED (early season only) GROUPS of up to 5 people
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are in the HAKUBA area you can't go past a day or more of guided skiing or snowboarding in the backcountry or sidecountry. Tours are for PRIVATE or MIXED GROUPS of up to 5 guests. So get a group together or join a group as a solo traveler, couple or small group.
Price p/p From price based on a group touring (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 256
View Details
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Ryuoo here