NASPA Ski Garden is a skiers-only resort located very close to the centre of Yuzawa town in Niigata Prefecture. It is one of the few resorts that remains skiers-only and is a popular ski hill for families with children. It is the only ski resort in Japan that has certain elements that are themed with the popular 'Pingu' penguin character, who also makes special appearances at the resort. NASPA Ski Garden is located directly behind NASPA New Otani hotel. Both skiers and snowboarders are welcome to stay at the hotel which offers easy and quick access to the other nearby resorts in Yuzawa. NASPA Ski Garden has been operating since 1992. The name NASPA comes from 'Nature And Sports Personal Area'.
Yuzawa town and neighbouring Minamiuonuma city - located around 200km to the north north-west of the Tokyo region in Niigata Prefecture - are together home to over 20 individual ski and snowboard resorts, including some of the most well-known ski resorts in Japan. With easy and quick access by both train and road and a wide choice in a relatively compact area, this region is one of the most popular ski destinations in Japan. The region usually enjoys very heavy and consistent snowfall each winter and with Yuzawa town also being the inspiration and setting of the famous Nobel prize-winning novel Yukiguni (Snow Country), it can certainly lay claim to being the original 'Snow Country'.
Niigata Prefecture is located in the central region of Honshu to the north of Tokyo and has a 250km long coastline facing the Sea of Japan. Convenient transportation links make Niigata very easy to get to from Tokyo and other surrounding regions. Most of the larger ski and snowboard resorts in Niigata Prefecture are concentrated in the southern regions around Yuzawa town, Minamiuonuma city and Myoko city.
NASPA Ski School is the official ski school at NASPA Ski Garden. General, group and private ski lessons are available. Lessons in English are available at NASPA Ski Garden during the peak season. There are also a number of independent ski and snowboard schools that cover the Yuzawa area, please check the Lessons in English section for current listings on SnowJapan.
Ski equipment and ski wear is available in the Garden Annex building which is located at the base of the resort and 20m from the NASPA New Otani hotel. There is also a limited selection of snowboard gear to rent - although NASPA Ski Garden itself does not allow snowboarding, many NASPA New Otani hotel guests snowboard at other nearby resorts in Yuzawa.
NASPA Ski Garden offers a range of facilities for young children and families. NASPA Kids Garden is located by the Number 1 lift and is an area with a variety of fun things for children to take part in supervised safely. There is a moving walkway, a special kids skiing area, sledging and lots of items to play in the snow. NASPA Kids Garden is open 10am-4pm daily. Entrance fees are as follows:
1 day (10am-4pm) - 1100 yen AM (10am-1pm) - 800 yen PM (1pm-4pm) - 800 yen
NASPA also welcomes the popular character Pingu to it's slopes each season - and Pingu helps out with some special Kids Lessons as well. The Pingu Kids Room in the main NASPA New Otani hotel is a popular play area and free to use.
There is no one main Snow Park at NASPA Ski Garden. There is however a Slopestyle area on Course G, a simple Wave Course on Course H and a special Mogul Area on Course A. All are free to use and do not require any special entry.
NASPA Ski Garden Season & Opening Times
Typical season is from Mid December until Early April
Weekends and holidays
Normally open from 8:30am until 5:00pm
Normally open from 8:30am until 5:00pm
'Nighta' (night skiing)
Weekends and holidays
NASPA Ski Garden is normally open from 8:30am until 5pm every day.
'Thanks Day' (when the Number 1 lift is open from 5pm until 6pm) is on Saturdays and Sundays in January and February, 23rd December 2016 and between 30th December 2016 and 9th January 2017. On those days the 1 day ticket, the Afternoon ticket, the PA.M ticket and the Late ticket are valid until 6pm. The 'Thanks' ticket is for people who just want to ski between 5pm and 6pm.
The Number 1 lift opens from 8am on Saturdays and Sundays in January and February, on 23rd December 2016 and between 30th December 2016 and 9th January 2017.
NASPA Ski Garden Lift Ticket Charges
Elementary School age & under
55 years & over
Pair 1 Day
Season Ticket (All)
Season Ticket (Weekday)
1 Lift Coupon
Thanks (see below)
The PAM ticket is valid from 12:30pm until 5pm on the first day and from 8:30am until 1pm on the second day. The 'Thanks' ticket is for people who just want to ski between 5pm and 6pm. On those days (see Opening times details above), the 1 Day, PM, PAM and Late tickets are all valid until 6pm.
A number of special set tickets are also available that include lunch and a drink: 1 day ticket + lunch ticket + drink ticket: 4,400 yen for adults and 3,500 yen for children Half day ticket + lunch ticket + drink ticket: 3,700 yen for adults and 2,700 yen for children Family set ticket (1 day ticket for 2 adults and 2 children + lunch ticket + drink ticket): 15,200 yen
Ladies Day is every Tuesday between 10th January and 14th March. On those days a 1 day ticket for ladies is 2,500 yen.
NASPA Day is every Wednesday between 11th January and 15th March. On those days a 1 day ticket is 2,100 yen.
Ski-kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) is on the third Sunday of January, February and March. On those days, a 1 day ticket is 1,600 yen for younger children and 2,100 yen for up to two accompanying adults.
Getting to NASPA Ski Garden
By public transport
1.5km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen line
1.5km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Line
1.5km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Hokuhoku Line
NASPA Ski Garden is 1.5km from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Echigo Yuzawa Station is serviced by the JR Joetsu line and JR Joetsu Shinkansen line. Connections to the Hokuhoku line are also available at Echigo Yuzawa Station.
A free shuttle bus operates between the West Exit of the Station and NASPA Ski Garden. The bus takes less than 5 minutes to get to the resort base. An additional free shuttle bus service is also available that operates between NASPA, Yuzawa Kogen and GALA Yuzawa. A taxi journey from the station costs around 900 yen.
2.6km from the Yuzawa IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
10.2km from the Shiozawa Ishiuchi IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
Nearest national route: Route 17 (1.9km away)
Nearest prefecture road: Prefecture Road 351
NASPA Ski Garden is 2.6km from the Yuzawa IC exit of the Kanetsu Expressway and 1.9km from Route 17.
From the Yuzawa IC exit traffic lights, turn right and then turn left at second set of traffic lights (there is a large sign for NASPA on the left side). Follow this road past the town office on the left, over the local train line and then under the Shinkansen train line until reaching a T-junction. Turn left at the t-junction and then follow the road up to NASPA Ski Garden. The car parks for the resort are clearly signposted.
NASPA Ski Garden has plenty of parking for 2000 vehicles near the base of resort, split up into a number of large car parks. Parking is free every day of the season and the car parks are open 24 hours a day.
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