White Valley


White Valley

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White Valley

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Myoko Kogen Powder Packages

White Valley Ski Area

White Valley near Minakami in Gunma is a dinky little ski hill – they even had yodelling music playing over the loudspeakers when we visited! It’s affectionately known as “Little Tenjin” because it’s the spot where the Minakami locals go on a powder day when it’s snowing and blowing and nearby Tenjindaira is closed. White Valley Ski Area should really be nicknamed “Mini Tenjin” because it’s really small, and on a powder day the fresh powder gets chewed up very quickly.

The White Valley Ski Area has the marketing slogan of “the nearest powder slope from the Tokyo metropolitan area”.

Pros and Cons of White Valley

  • White Valley Ski Area is relatively low elevation and reasonably protected, so it’s a good Minakami option for storm skiing and riding when Tenjindaira is closed.
  • On powder days, the upper slopes are left ungroomed.
  • It has a fun local vibe.
  • White Valley is a small ski hill so there is not a lot of variety.
  • On fine days the snow quality can diminish quickly due to its west to southwest facing aspect and its low elevation considering the latitude.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Whilst it is popular on weekends and powder days, on the weekdays that White Valley is open, it’s usually pretty quiet.
  • Car parking on weekends attracts a charge, which is pretty rich for a tiny ski area. Lift passes are also expensive for what you get, although there are some weekday specials for ladies and Instagram promotions, and kids ski for free on some Saturdays.

White Valley Ski and Snowboard Terrain

White Valley only has 5 courses and 380 metres of vertical (650 – 1,030m). It has two double chair lifts, and the upper lift has a mid-station for uploading and downloading, because the terrain serviced by the upper part is suitable for intermediates, whilst the lower part is steeper and classified as “advanced”.

The first pair lift has the wide Fantasy beginner run and beginners can mostly learn in peace because more accomplished skiers and riders tend to lap the upper chair lift.

When the snow forecast looks good, White Valley announces a Premium Powder Day on social media and the groomers get the night off. They still groom a trail for the beginners, but the upper zone is left au naturel. You can traverse from the lift and drop open powder lines. There are also some small tree zones.

Before visiting, double check that it’s open because White Valley is usually closed for a couple of days mid-week.

Where is White Valley?

White Valley Ski Area is located in the Tanigawa Onsen area about 3km northwest of downtown Minakami in the Gunma Prefecture.

White Valley is about 7km from the Minakami interchange on the Kanetsu Expressway, so it’s popular with day trippers driving from the Tokyo area.

Or you can get a train to Minakami on the Joetsu line (incidentally the tunnel for this train line runs right under the bottom of the White Valley Ski Area) and there are a few shuttles a day to the ski resort.

There are various other ski resorts in the area near the towns of Minakami and Yuzawa. See the Minakami ski resorts overview for information on various nearby ski areas.


There is a tiny lodge at the base. Nearby in Tanigawa Onsen are various ryokan and there are plenty of lodging options in the town of Minakami (see the Minakami accommodation page).


The ski area has facilities and services that cover the basics. There are lessons in Japanese, equipment rentals, and the cafeteria has a limited food menu.


The nearby Tanigawa Onsen village is home to various ryokan with onsen as well as Yuterume Tanigawa, a municipal onsen that’s very affordable. In addition to indoor baths, each gender has a large rotenburo (outdoor pool) that sits near the river. It’s a cold walk down the staircase to get to the bath but it’s worth it. It’s about 1km from the White Valley Ski Area.

Just across the road, another example of an onsen experience is to head to the lovely Ryokan Tanigawa. It has small indoor and outdoor baths for each gender, and the traditional décor of the ryokan adds to the experience.
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